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The Best Bahamas Birthday Vacation Recap and Review

Updated: Jan 24


a yacht on the turquiose blue waters in the bahamas

The Bahamas is a tropical paradise with everything you need to celebrate your birthday in style. With its cerulean waters, soft sandy beaches, and vibrant culture, the Bahamas is a fantastic place to relax, unwind, and partake in a myriad of activities. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun, indulge in local cuisine, or engage in adventurous water sports, the Bahamas has something for everyone.


Our trip to the Bahamas was the perfect way to kick off the new year and celebrate our birthday with a week of revelry and relaxation. With four nights in Nassau and four nights on the island of Exuma, we were able to experience a tantalizing mix of everything the Bahamas has to offer.


In this blog, I'll share our experiences on both islands, as well as some insider tips for planning your trip to the Bahamas. Let's Dive In!


The Bahamas

a black woman in a white bathing suite with white heart sunglasses holding a nurse shark in the water on the island of exuma in the Bahamas

The Bahamas, an archipelago of 700 islands in the Caribbean, is a destination that stirs the senses. This island paradise is blessed with a tropical climate, making it an ideal year-round destination for travelers looking for a warm and sunny escape.


The archipelago is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, making it a haven for divers. Of course, adventure seekers can indulge in a variety of water sports, such as snorkeling, diving, and sailing. For those who prefer to stay on land, the Bahamas offers a plethora of activities, from exploring the local markets to visiting historical landmarks such as Fort Charlotte. The Bahamas is also a foodie's paradise, with a cuisine that reflects its diverse history and culture. Bahamian cuisine draws inspiration from African, European, and Caribbean influences, and is known for its fresh seafood and tropical fruits. From freshly caught conch to locally grown pineapple, the Bahamas is a destination that is sure to please your palate.

Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventure-packed getaway, the Bahamas offers travelers an unforgettable experience.


Nassau

Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is a vibrant and lively city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located on the island of New Providence, Nassau is a destination that has been shaped by its colonial past, evident in its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and historical landmarks.


Where to Stay

Sandals Royal Bahamian

an aerial view of the docks and beach at the Sandals Royal Bahamian resort in Nassau

Our experience at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort was nothing short of amazing. The newly renovated resort is a stunning property that is easy to navigate, thanks to the central location of the restaurants. We were blown away by the beauty of the resort, from the sparkling pools to the pristine sandy beaches.


Unfortunately, our first two days at the resort were marred by bad weather, with rain and high winds preventing us from fully experiencing all the resort had to offer. Despite this setback, we were still able to enjoy the many amenities and activities available at the resort, such as the spa and the various restaurants. However, the weather did put a damper on our plans for my birthday, as I could not go scuba diving as planned. Additionally, the Private Island, one of the highlights of the resort, was closed for two days due to the high winds. It was disappointing not to be able to visit the Private Island earlier in our trip, but we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit on our last day.


Despite the weather setbacks, our experience at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort was truly unforgettable. The resort's luxurious amenities, top-notch service, and stunning location make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a romantic and indulgent getaway. We can't wait to return to this incredible resort and experience all it offers under sunnier skies.


What to Do

a black heterosexual couple standing next to rum barrels at the John Watlings Distillery in the Bahamas

If you are staying at Sandals Royal Bahamian, you have to go to the private island. The island offers a range of watersports, such as snorkeling and kayaking, as well as a spa that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. For those looking for a more intense workout, the penthouse gym offers a breathtaking ocean view that will inspire you to push yourself to your limits.


For those looking for some nighttime fun, the Piano Bar and Billiard Room are excellent options. These venues offer a lively atmosphere and a chance to unwind with friends or make new ones. Coconut Grove is another spot for entertainment, with a range of food trucks and daytime activities such as trivia and guess that song. At night, the Grove comes alive with shows that include dancing, singing, and aerobatics.


One of the highlights of our trip was going off-site to experience the island. We highly recommend doing a food and rum tour, where we tried local eats, cocktails, and ended with a rum tasting. We also got to experience a tour of John Watlings Distillery and learned about the history of Nassau and the Bahamas. Another great off-site experience was visiting Graycliff, a famous hotel and restaurant where we saw how Bahamian cigars are made. This is a spot where Beyonce and Al Capone have both stayed. Lastly, Baha Mar is a destination that is not to be missed. It is home to the Caribbean's largest and most luxurious casino, offering a range of games and entertainment options.


Where to Eat

several rolls of sushi from the resturant at Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau Bahamas

If you're staying at Sandals Royal Bahamian, be aware that the beach and bar service can be lacking. You'll need to go to the bar to order your drinks, but don't let that deter you from enjoying the resort's amazing dining options.


Pro Tip: Be sure to make dinner reservations the first night you arrive for your stay. Additionally, if you want to order room service, make sure you have a club-level room.


Some of our favorite restaurants at the resort include La Plume, a French restaurant that offers a fantastic brunch menu. We highly recommend trying the off-menu lobster benedict. Butch's Inland Chop House is another great spot for surf and turf, and their crab cake is a must-try. If you're in the mood for sushi, Soy Sushi is a great option. And for drinks, make sure to try the Dragon in the Coconut, which is only served at the bar at Coconut Grove.


Suggested local restaurants:

  • The Pub (get the conch fritters)

  • Frankie's (known for their service)

  • Goldie's (great atmosphere)

  • Naughty Johns (Bahamian food)

  • Envy Lounge (sports bar)

Exuma

a swimming pig partially submerged in the water at Pig Island in the Bahamas

Exuma is a stunning island that is certainly worth the trip. We booked our flight from Nassau to Exuma via Bahamasair, and while there was nothing particularly special about the airline, it did get us from point A to point B. However, it's important to note that there isn't a lot of variety in terms of flight times to choose from, so keep this in mind when booking your flights


Where to Stay

Sandals Emerald Bay

an exterior view of the villas at Sandals Emeral Bay Resort in Exuma Bahamas

Our experience at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort was truly unforgettable. We loved the resort's beach, which was very large and had plenty of amenities such as hammocks and beach swings. It was the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. However, our room was located in building 7, which meant a bit of a longer walk to get to the restaurants and other amenities. The resort is more spread out than some others, so we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time to walk to dinner.


One of the highlights of our stay was the dedicated quiet pool and zen garden. It was the perfect place to unwind and have a more relaxed day. We were impressed with the attention to detail, as the staff wouldn't even make mixed drinks at the quiet pool to avoid disturbing the guests. This level of service really made our stay feel special and luxurious.


Overall, Sandals Emerald Bay Resort was a fantastic choice for our vacation. Between the beautiful beach, the peaceful pool and garden, and the excellent service from the staff, we felt truly pampered and relaxed throughout our stay. We would highly recommend the resort to those looking for a luxurious vacation spot. We will definitely be back!


What to Do

There are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy at Sandals Emerald Bay. Golf lovers will be thrilled to know that Sandals Emerald Bay has a golf course designed by Greg Norman. It's the ideal spot to enjoy a round of golf while taking in the resort's stunning views. For those looking to enjoy the water, non-motorized water sports such as kayaks, Hobie cats, and paddleboards are available for use. The resort also has a unique feature - pet cats! These cats have homes throughout the resort and are provided food and water every day, but they mainly keep to themselves. We highly recommend getting a massage; the 90-minute deep tissue relief massage is highly worth it. It's the perfect way to unwind and relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the resort.


For some evening entertainment, we suggest attending the all-white/silent party on Wednesdays. It's a unique experience that's a lot of fun. Club Level Rooms also offer a special snorkeling trip every Tuesday. This is a great way to explore the beautiful waters surrounding the resort and see some incredible marine life.


One activity that we 100% recommend is the Swimming with Pigs Tour. To get the full-day experience, we suggest booking off the resort. We booked the Full Day 007 Staniel Cay with Exuma Water Sports, and it was an unforgettable experience. The tour included swimming with the famous pigs at Big Major's Cay, swimming with nurse sharks at Compass Cay, viewing endangered Bahamian Rock Iguanas on Leaf Cay, snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto, and visiting a beautiful sandbar in the middle of the ocean. We also had lunch at the iconic Staniel Cay Yacht Club, where Pablo Escobar was known to dine frequently. The tour included two additional snorkeling stops and was well worth it.


Where to Eat

Food is an essential part of any vacation, and Sandals Emerald Bay has plenty of delicious options to choose from. Our favorite restaurants at Sandals Emerald Bay include La Parisienne, where we highly recommend the steak, Barefoot By the Sea, where the crab cake, grouper, and snapper are favorites, Jerk Shack, where the jerk chicken is a must-try, and Dino's, where the signature pizza and jerk-marinated seafood are both delicious choices. For those who enjoy wine, Wednesdays are the perfect time to indulge in a glass or two at the Club Lounge. Friday nights offer a different vibe with martini night in the Club Lounge. If you're looking for a refreshing drink, we highly recommend trying the Spicy Watermelon Margarita at Barefoot By the Sea.


To order room service, you must have a club-level room, which also comes with full bottles of liquor in your room, along with a bottle of champagne and wine. We highly recommend trying the baked mac and cheese when ordering room service -thank me later!


Overall Experience

Overall, our 8-night trip, split between Nassau and Exuma, was filled with unforgettable experiences, from swimming with pigs to indulging in local cuisine and exploring the island's beautiful waters. We can't wait to return to the Bahamas for another unforgettable vacation!


 

Looking to plan a Bahamas getaway? Reach out to the expert planners at Travel Queen LLC! As experts in all things luxury travel, we know what it takes to create the ultimate vacation. Let us help create your most memorable getaway yet!


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