rattan clutch (old from J.Crew) | raffia statement earrings (current version) | raffia heels (old, current fall version I’m drooling over) | J.Crew Awning Stripe 2 piece set (old, check Poshmark though!)
Tom and I recently spent 3 nights in the Bahamas (2 nights for Tom since his connecting flight from DC to Atlanta was delayed and he missed our flight to Nassau), so today I wanted to share some photos and details of the trip. We visited Nassau and stayed at the British Colonial Hilton and had a really great time!
Traveling in the time of COVID-19
First things first, traveling international these days is a little trickier than it used to be, due to COVID-19. Every country is different, but in order to visit the Bahamas you must receive a travel health visa in order to enter the country. (And you need a passport too, since it’s an international destination.) If you’re fully vaccinated it’s a fairly straightforward process and you just upload a copy of your card and enter the vaccine information and your trip details, and then pay $40. You have to wait and complete the visa within 2 weeks of your trip and the turn around time is pretty much instantaneous. I believe you can also complete the health visa if you’re tested within 3 days of the trip, but I’m not exactly sure on those details since we received the vaccine back in the spring.
In order to return to the US you must receive a negative COVID test 3 days before returning. We completed ours the day before we left and had our results emailed to us within 90 minutes. We did the rapid antigen test which was quick and easy and cost $22.40. There are testing locations all over the place, and there was even a location co-located with our hotel. Once we received the email, we were able to upload it to the Delta website so that it was attached to our airline reservation and then once we checked in at the airport we had to show proof on our phones that we had been cleared. They recommend that travelers arrive 3 hours prior to departure just in case there are any issues with verifying testing information, and in order to get through the long security line. You also clear US customs in the Bahamas so you don’t have to do it when you arrive back in the US.
On planes and in all airports you must wear a mask unless you are actively eating or drinking. Thankfully they’ve resumed real beverage service on flights (at least Delta has, not sure about others) and they do provide a light snack as well. Flights are back to being fully packed, but they do hand out sanitizing wipes as you get onto the plane.
In the Bahamas you must wear a mask inside buildings and at the resorts there are also signs saying you need to wear them on the property, even outside when you’re walking around. There seemed to be a little more freedom outside, but not quite like what it’s been like in the US this past summer, with the removal of most mask mandates.
Where We Stayed
We visited Nassau, and stayed at the British Colonial Hilton. Tom loves a Hilton property just because of their loyalty program that he’s been using for years and years, so we tend to always stay at Hiltons. The resort was pretty and historic but truthfully the building felt a bit tired. The restaurant service was really slow, but the food was great. The property was beautiful and it has its own lagoon, and the fact that it wasn’t crowded at all was a really big perk, especially with a pandemic going on. There is a straw market on Bay Street but it was closed and most of the touristy stores and restaurants on the street seemed to be shuttered as well. The pandemic really impacted places like the Bahamas, since tourism is their number one industry. If we were to do it again, I think I’d want to stay at Atlantis in the Cove or at SLS Baha Mar. Both resorts are sprawling and beautiful, but The Cove at Atlantis and the SLS Baha Mar had the look and feel that I most enjoyed. They reminded me a lot of Four Seasons Oahu, which we used to live next to and walk through often.
Where We Ate and What We Did
While we stayed at British Colonial Hilton, we ventured out a little in the evenings. In order to gain access to the large resorts on the island (Atlantis and Baha Mar, which is where we visited in the evenings for dinner) you have to show your vaccine card (or proof of negative COVID test, I’m assuming) in order to get onto the property. Even in a taxi we had to show our cards as we drove onto the property. Those two resorts were really hopping and all of the restaurants were opened. It was much sleepier where we stayed and the menu was very limited, which is why we visited the two larger and more well known resorts for dinner. Everything around our hotel seemed to be closed down as a result of the pandemic (shops, the straw market, etc) so we just caught a cab and it wasn’t too pricy. The exchange rate is 1:1 and the cab drivers will take American or Bahamian money.
Atlantis and Baha Mar had no available reservations for any restaurants, but if you’re planning ahead I’d recommend you make them because they book up quickly and are impossible to get the day before or day of. Thankfully we were able to walk in wherever we went, so as long as you’re willing to sit at the bar or wait a little bit to see if someone is a no-show it is possible to be spontaneous, like we were.
At Atlantis we walked all around the outside area and the aquariums they have are incredible! There are even manta rays gliding around, which are always a sight to behold. We ate dinner at Nobu, which is the Japanese restaurant they have just off of the casino. We had a great sushi roll and then Tom and I each had a shrimp dish with rice for dinner. It was all wonderful! Then we wandered around the resort (it really is massive, even bigger than it looks in the commercials) and found ourselves over at the Cove, which is part of the resort but has a little bit of a different feel to it (more like Four Seasons on Oahu, which is the resort we used to live next to when we lived in Hawaii). We were able to get a table in the bar section of Fish by José Andres and we had another round of drinks and ordered key lime pie. It was a stunning restaurant and I wish we’d been able to have a full meal there!
At SLS Baha Mar we had a drink at the bar and then we were able to get a table at Cleo, which is an incredible Mediterranean restaurant with tapas style plates. After that we walked around the grounds and found a nice pier which was a great place to take a little stroll as the sun set.
The inside of the SLS resort at Baha Mar is just as pretty as the outside area, so we decided to have one last round of drinks before we caught a cab back to our hotel.
Our plan for the trip was to just get some peace and quiet and sunshine, so during the day we didn’t do anything other than swim in the ocean and pool and read our books on the chaise lounges. It was so relaxing! I finished the book Hello, Summer, which was a nice summery read by Mary K. Andrews. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit and read a book at the beach or pool!
It was a whirlwind of a trip but it was so nice to spend a little time as a couple in a new place, especially after this past year. If you have any questions about our trip to the Bahamas I’d be happy to answer them, just leave them in the comments below!