Zika Virus Caribbean: The Bahamas is finally free!
My husband and I have been trying to conceive now for over 3 years and pretty much for all of that time the Caribbean has been completely off limits for holidays due to the Zika Virus being at its rifest in this area amongst other destinations such as Central, Southern America and other tropical countries.
However, earlier this year the Bahamas, situated in the northern most part of the Caribbean ocean, got the all clear for and is now free of the dreaded Zika!
What is Zika?
Zika is something every pregnant women or couples trying to conceive need to be aware of and should avoid traveling to countries where the virus is active. If you don’t know what the Zika Virus is you can find out more about it here…
A Free From Zika Virus Caribbean Destination…
The Bahamas is perhaps one of the most beautiful beach holiday destinations I have ever been to. Not one beach we visited or saw on our trip was bad – with endless crystal clear turquoise waters (almost glowing) and sparkling, fine, white sand it really is the picture perfect postcard destination for tropical beach lovers!
It’s also not too far to get to for a long-haul destination, with direct flight options taking just 9 hours from London, UK.
Where to stay and when to go
We stayed on Nassau, the main island or the capital of the Bahamas, in early September which is usually prime hurricane season. However, as we were booking this trip very last minute (after waiting to see what the results were from our first round of IVF), we were able to check the long range forecast before booking our flights. The temperature was perfect 30°c every day, and only on one day did we have rain at around 3pm in the afternoon. As we travelled in what they technically class as the low season due to the hurricanes, prices were much lower than if we were to travel other months and there were lots of good deals to be had. The resorts are a little quieter too, so if you are looking for less crowds this could be a good time to go, especially if you can be a little flexible and work around the weather. From my research I found that its not often that the Bahamas gets hit by a storm during this time, in fact storms are far more likely to hit mainland USA than the islands – and one actually did hit Georgia whilst we were there, but we would never have known!
Besides Nassau, there are lots of other islands you can stay on but these tend to be a lot quieter, a little bit harder to get to (longer travel times) and less going on in general. We wanted a break where we could chill out and relax after a stressful few months, but equally have entertainment within easy reach should we want it – Nassau was perfect for this.
Top tips, things to do and what to expect
Be prepared – its not cheap!
Due to the £ vs $ exchange rates at the moment, and the fact that 90% of everything you buys, eat and drink on the island is imported from mainland USA be prepared to spend a little more that you expect for things! The Americans said it was a little more expensive than the mainland, but I think we were hit harder with shock due to the poor exchange rate we have currently. With this in mind, I would definitely advise to stay at a hotel or resort with an all inclusive option.
Spend on Exploring
We booked two full days out during our stay – the others we wanted to relax on.
Exuma Islands Tour
The first day was a Powerboat excursion. I have an odd obsession with pigs, so for me I wasn’t going to the Bahamas unless I was able to see the famous Swimming Pigs!
This was an amazing day out and well worth the $250 per person with Powerboat Adventures. We took a boat ride from Paradise Island, Nassau and headed over to the Exuma Islands (also worth a visit if nothing else). A lot of the Exuma Islands are either uninhabited or privately owned. They are absolutely beautiful, if you think about what a tropical dessert island might look like in your mind, then you probably have painted a picture of one of these islands – to my surprise the water got even bluer and the sand even more white!
Our first stop was to see and feed the wild Iguanas. These live on an uninhabited island and we had about 45 mins to take a dip and feed these funny little critters grapes off the end of a stick.
We then jumped back on board, and headed to Ship Cay, a private island owned by Powerboat Adventures where we would be spending the rest of our day. Here we fed the stingrays, swam with the pigs, learnt about and fed 3 different types of sharks and a few of the group even got to try their hand at shark wrangling! We then had a delicious buffet lunch, and went snorkelling before heading back home.
Unfortunately, the pigs are not wild any more. They used to be wild and had free roam of the island, but due to uninvited visitors coming at night and feeding the pigs bad foods, a few started to get ill and one even died so they had to pen them off for their own safety.
This day also included a free bar – which we obviously took full advantage of!
Visit the Atlantis Water Park & Resort
My husband loves waterparks, so we couldn’t leave Nassau with out a trip to the famous Atlantis Waterpark on Paradise Island. Entry passes to the park, at least during our trip, actually cost more for a day pass than it did to book a room and stay overnight ironically. However, I guess they make their money back here with your purchases of food and drink in the park for dinner instead.
It was well worth a trip though, and is probably one of the most amazing resorts I have ever visited. We had a shark pool right outside our balcony, and besides the waterpark there is tones to explore and see for free once in the resort. The architecture and design of this place is unreal, I can only imagine how exciting it must be for children – they must feel like they have fallen into a film or something. So, although expensive, I would definitely say it is worth the visit. Many people often save on costs by purchasing their food for the day/evening at the local supermarket and ‘eating in’. You can then explore the Casino, the Dig (free) and other attractions at night for entertainment rather than blowing your money on just food and drink!
Summing it up!
Overall I loved the Bahamas and definitely would recommend it as a holiday destination. However, due to the expense side of things, we probably won’t be going back until the British pound starts doing a little better!