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Re: Bahamas Master Thread Hey there, so I haven't had time to post a trip report and probably won't but I figured I'd give a little info on my experience especially because I didn't stay in any hotel and didn't stay on paradise Island. by the way, this is for Nassau. Oh, and for anyone holding out going to the Bahamas, don't! It was SPECTACULAR!!!
First, We were staying by Love beach (If you look at Nassau as a rectangle, Love beach is pretty close to the top left, ie, NW part of the island). We chose it for its seclusion and snorkeling. It is only around 10 minutes away from the airport which was really nice; it was around 7 min to Solomon's fresh market which is right near the airport (type this into google maps: 25.047681, -77.492329). Just fyi, the planes land basically overhead. We thought it was really cool to watch them basically 500+ feet above our airbnb but I can imagine this would annoy others. If you stay there, you need a car although it seems like the buses run every 30 min. We just went with one because we got a good deal on a local car rental company that doesnt advertise too much and it felt safer. From what we read online, it seems like Nassau is pretty safe from violent crime but there is a good amount of theft. We were told several times by locals when we told them our plans that we should be careful, "you don't need to worry, but you do need to be careful." Love beach is pretty secluded and safe so we were fine there but some of the other places, we felt like having our own car was smart.
Ill just give a bit of info on the things we found and would advise others about:
Solomons is a very high end grocery store with outrageous prices. The store itself is safe but I was a bit nervous to leave my wife alone in the car in the parking lot. I think they have everything you would need to enjoy your time there, but don't expect tons of specifically kosher things there. They had all the necessary things you would need for shabbos: candles, grape juice, etc (although we never found the challah; we werent looking too hard because we had our own). Most of the hechsherim that you have in the US are on the same products there as well. The one exception was store bread. The only one we could find was the sliced "Jewish Rye bread" (Or something like that) which was fine with us. Our plan originally, was to go all out on the grocery store food since we weren't spending on restaurants but when we got there, we almost fainted with the prices. A pint of strawberries was $14.99, grapes were $12 a tiny bag, water bottles were 1.50 a piece even in the grocery store, ice cream was $12 a tiny tub (like hagendaz or bryers), etc. And you have to be careful. The grape juice was like ~$15 for a small jug but the sparkling bottle was only $7; A bunch of times we were able to find an alternative for a significant discount. The candles were a lot also. We saw that they had a case of frozen foods with chicken, meat (I think), latkes, blintzes, and stuff like that (we dont remember cheese but it could be there was).  The prices were between 2-3 times what they are in NY which surprisingly wasn't too bad. They also had a bunch of weird frozen breads (Like flax and glutten free and oat) which my wife saw but she doesn't know if they were shleimim or not. It was a very upscale store and the customer service was great. The staff is largely made up of kids from the area all wearing nice uniforms. Like everywhere else on the island, I got the feeling that you were expected to tip for EVERYTHING (like filling up gas, getting your car rental, opening a door). Here, they offered to take our 3 bags out to our car out but we politely declined. We really weren't interested in tipping for things when we really didn't need help. If you are staying on paradise island, Id suggest stopping on the way from the airport since it's right there. Our driver knew where it was even. We heard that there was a store closer to paradise island also with kosher foods but this is what the Chabad site said.
Besides for relaxing over shabbos, we mainly just did 3 beaches:
On friday, we first went to Cabbage beach. normally, I find most tourist destinations overated but this was so insanely spectacular! The sand was soft and white and the water was otherworldly turquoise. honestly, words don't do it justice. Ill try and upload these pics to show it. It was definitely not so secluded which made me a bit uncomfortable but we were able to find a stretch without anyone on either side for probably 200+ feet. I still had to keep my head down and look at the water but I felt it was ok. I would have walked further down but my wife is expecting and I didnt think it was a good idea. We ended up parking by this spot (25.083096, -77.308099) where there was free parking (we think it was legal) and is next to "paradise beach club bahamas. You basically have to go all the way east down paradise island dr before you hit the country club. theres a cut through to the beach from there that has steps to the beach (but not for people who are less mobile. The last 3 steps were basically missing and you had to scoot around the barrier in order to get up to the steps).  The longer we were there, the fuller it got so Id suggest going there earlier (and maybe not on the weekend) and it might be better.
We saw online that someone had parked near the entrance to the country club and walked ten minutes and found a secluded section of cabage beach. we wanted to do that but we hoped that where we found would be good enough. Next time, Id try for this spot. My guess would be that it would be 25.085515, -77.300346; probably park on paradise island dr somewhere and walk down north shore terrace past 2 holes on the course until youre at houses. It seems like theres an empty lot you can cut through or just walk along the golf course which opens to the beach. you can get to these points from walking on the beach but its very tiring walking on sand :). Im sure these spots will be completely empty if youre male and seeking privacy from others :)
Just to be clear, this beach is WORTH the trouble! Oh, remember theres a $2 toll to get on the island if you aren't already there; only inbound. It was basically an hour drive (terrible traffic to get there besides for the fact that our gps took us through the tourist markets near cable beach) to get from love beach there but was well worth it, just stunning!
We then left and went to Jaws beach all the way on the western tip of the island. We went here because we heard how secluded it was and because of the snorkeling. I had my own gear but didnt see anywhere to rent gear; btw, they only have portapottys here. It was also stunning! the sand was more dirty because of the trees but still decent sand. The real kicker here was the water...WOW!!! just light blue for a thousond plus feet. It also happens to have this old dock that they used for the movie Jaws which made for some great photos. I went snorkeling and had a hard time finding a bunch of fish. Ill admit that Im spoiled since I spent a day in the great barrier reef in australia but it was cool that I saw a baby stingray in the wild! so cool! I suspect that I had to swim more towards the rockier areas but I didnt want to go to far since my wife wasn't with me out there. The water was very calm here and it was very shallow. We parked over here:25.018530, -77.545304 and I would probably guess that the fish would be over here if you swam around a bit: 25.019339, -77.550838. Dont get me wrong, there were plenty of fish, but I was hoping to see more. I heard people seeing lots of things including turtles and baby stingrays. The beach itself was pretty empty. maybe 5-15 other people total on the entire beach but they were the local types (older, kids, etc) and this was on the weekend. during the week, Im sure you have it to yourself (although I felt better with other people because I heard to be careful there because of safety).
Lastly, on sunday we did Love beach. In the morning it was empty and too ourselves but by noon there were probably 20-30 people total on the beach. The sand here is pretty good and the water is also spectacular. The snorkeling is also very good here. you can park by Nirvana Beach Bar and walk out there. A couple hundred feet in front of the bar is where the best snorkeling was: big colorful fish! my guess would be somewhere around this spot:25.063961, -77.489216. If you wanted total seclusion, Im sure you can walk two min down the beach and it would be all yours. there arent too many hotels here and it only filled up around the bar and it was the weekend. During the week in the morning , Im sure its basically empty. Sunsets here are insane! that was another highlight for us.

Here was our car rental company and the review I wrote for him ( A & A Car & Scooter Rental): I used them recently and was very impressed. Highly professional. We had extenuating circumstances and they went ABOVE AND BEYOND what I'd expect. Like all the others, they were waiting for us at the airport with a sign, dropped us at our place, and brought us back to the airport. they were always on time, replied quickly with email, calls, and texting, and were very courteous and professional.
 I was expecting a used and old car, but that's not what I got. My car was a cute nissan note with updated gadgets and they gave us a new GPS for our stay and it was very clean.
 I really highly recommend them to anyone considering a rental (which I would highly recommend if you're not staying near Paradise Island or Cable beach) over any of the big name companies. Oh, and they picked me up and dropped me off at odd hours. When I asked if 915pm on Saturday was ok, Arvin responded: "We're 24/7 for our customers. You just say when and we'll be there." They were really trustworthy, legitimate, and a pleasure to work with!
 PS, I am writing all this (and I expect why everyone wrote there comments) as a genuinely satisfied customer because I want them to be successful. I benefited from their stellar service and I hope more people start using them out of thanks to them :)
 Use A & A!! ;)

looking back, it seems a little shady :). They claim to have 25 cars but I am the only review for like a month. but they did have their own stationery and uniforms. I felt like they were real enough and would recomend to others. They had a two day requirement and it was $50 a day even which came with insurance and the GPS. all the other companies were $75 minimum. Since we didnt need shabbos, I asked if we could split it up so that wed have the rental for friday and sunday but not shabbos. he was totally fine with that! He picked us up form the airport thursday night (with a sign with our name) and drove us to solomons (Im not sure why, but they insisted on driving us from and to the airport. my only guess is that they aren't allowed to rent from the airport so they do this to look like a driver service instead of a rental company). He then picked up the car erev shabbos at the exact time we requested and returned it to us motzai shabbos at 930 pm. He then picked us up on sunday afternoon before our flight and took us to the airport. I tried negotiating a discount if he wanted to skip dropping the car off Motzai shabbos since we didnt need it since we were staying on love beach anyway but he was adamanat on the 2 day minimum. Oh well, we took it back and that was fine. We figured it was worth it to just rent for 100$ for the whole time and not have to pay taxis at any point. Our gas total only came out to $15 so that was great.  btw, Gas on the island is around $6 a gallon.

Just other tidbits:
Keep in mind that we didnt check a bag because we were switching airlines in FLL from Southwest to Jet blue ( different terminals and was a bit harry since we only had an hour between flights and didnt realize they were in different terminals that required a bus. We ended up being at our gate within 25 min but that was quick).
We vacuum sealed most of the food we brought for shabbos. I brought lots of foil (also for double wrapping), a dairy pot, a pareve cutting board and lots of plastic wear (including special for shabbos). I also brought a crockpot which was vital. I brought an entire vacumb sealed chulent which was great because we had some friday night also. the crockpot was also great for heating things up on top. we had to buy a small pairing knife for $18 which was useful for us. Heres a list of what we brought: Chulent, shnitzel, deli, cheese, challah rolls, quinoa salad for both meals (even though vegis are illegal to bring in, no one asked us although they did seem pretty serious :/ . Everything else, you can bring in including meat), corn beef, noodles (with a milk pot since we kashered their stove), grilled chicken.
We bought liter water bottles (like $2 each but we discovered that most places have filtered water in their airbnb), milk, cereal, tuna, bread, peanut butter, ice cream, sparkeling grape juice, a pairing knife and some fruit.
Shabbos made the food much harder but it was so nice to just relax on shabbos from our balcony!

Im forgetting things for sure but I just jotted down everything I could think of bcz i figured I may spark some things you may have forgotten! sorry that its so jumbled!

If youre on the fence....go! If you're on your way....enjoy :)

I tried attaching a collage of all the photos. The ones on the bottom are love beach, the dock is Jaws, and the top beach stuff is cabbage! sunset is from out airbnb ;)
Oh, and drones are soooo cool! I have the DJI spark. There are a few rules about using them in the bahamas but id be SHOCKED if anyone noticed you or cares.

And just props for us for taking EVERYTHING in 2 carry ons and 2 personal bags! We had one carry on for clothes, 1 for cooking equipment, plastic, etc, one personal for electronics and camera stuff (1 mirrorless camera, 1 underwater, 1 drone, and all the accessories!), and 1 personal for frozen food!

All the best!

well the attachment didnt work but if you want some pics, pm me

April 29, 2019, 09:57:07 PM