Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Family Vacation To The Abacos, Bahamas {Part 2}

Yesterday I shared about our amazing trip to Abacos, Bahamas and because there was SO much to share I decided to break it up into two parts.  You can click HERE to read all about the Covid procedures, how we got there (by boat!!!) and where we stayed.  Today I'll share the really fun stuff...what/where we ate, and what we did all week. 


We brought as much with us as we possibly could.  Because we were staying in a house and able to cook we brought things for breakfast, some lunch stuff and enough meat for a few dinners.  We also loaded up on a lot of waters, kid and adult drinks, and snacks.  You technically were not supposed to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables so we didn't, but wish we could have.  There were some larger markets that we could have boated to to stock up on some things, but most of the smaller markets we visited were extremely limited in their selection.  For example, one night for dinner we cooked filet mignon that we brought with us and our sides were a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and Rice-a-Roni.  No one was going hungry on this trip, (far from it) but my kids have gotten so used to having exactly what they want when they want it and this was sort of eye opening to them.  When we are out of something at home they write it on my grocery list and it magically appears in the refrigerator or in our pantry a day or two later.  In the Bahamas it took a lot of planning and a little rationing.  It also forced some of my kids to try new things because that's just all there was.  

When we weren't eating at home we had some AMAZING food at some really great restaurants. We went everywhere by boat on all of the surrounding islands. 

Grabbers became our go-to and we were regulars by the end of the week. We loved it for the laidback beach bar vibe. 

There were a lot of locals there on a regular basis. The kids could swim, paddle board or play games while we waited on food. 

Some of us took part in karaoke one night and we had fun watching conch being pulled straight from the water and made into delicious conch salad down at the dock.  

The first time we visited we all put on coverups and flip-flops.  By the end of the week we were rolling up in swimsuits because that is just the kind of place this was.  

At Pineapples Bar and Grill we learned a lesson in patience.  There is a no rush attitude and it took at least an hour and a half to get our food, but the drinks were strong and the locals were entertaining. 

Firefly Bar and Grill was probably the most Americanized place we visited, but I loved the darling details.  

It's a seaside resort that was as charming and southern as you would expect from the creators of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka.  This Boutique, Bar & Grill was the type of upscale place you can still show up to in your swimsuit coverup, but with a fancy drink menu full of yummy cocktails and delicious food. 

Pete's Pub was quite the boat ride to get to, but worth so it.  They have a set menu that changes regularly and again just a super laid-back vibe.  The kids can run around on the beach, parents can hang out, and there was great music.  On the backside of this spot the kids went exploring and about gave us all a heart attack when we realized they had climbed up on a giant rock cliff with waves crashing around them, but it was an epic experience for the kids.  


This trip was the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation.  I'm one who likes to sit myself on a beach and not move. However, I know the rest of my family would prefer to be on an adventure so this was a good mix of both.  Each morning after sleeping in and eating breakfast we would head out on the boat for the day to explore something new.  

Scotland Cay was perfect for relaxing.  The kids could swim, play on the beach, or snorkel. Parents could do that or just relax.  We saw a lot of fish and several stingrays here!  

Tahiti Beach and surrounding areas had the most amazing water. It didn't even look real.  It was just so crazy to me how we were experiencing this gorgeous place and the kids were swimming around there like it was nothing.  

Nun Jack Cay was the perfect snorkeling spot.  The kids swam with sharks and sea turtles!  

My oldest has loved sea turtles since she was little. After swimming right beside one, touching it, and getting some pretty amazing photos she climbed up on the boat and said, "I can cross that off my bucket list." That was a pretty amazing experience for all of them, but especially her.  

No Name Cay had at the swimming pigs.  To be honest this was something I was most excited about for the Bahamas, but those suckers are pretty aggressive. 

 We saved food to bring to them and they knew it. As soon as we pulled up on the boat they started swimming out for the kids and wanted the food.  When the food was gone they still wanted more.  

One of them kind of rammed my daughter's leg to the point that she started bleeding.  It was still fun photo op though and something I'm happy to say we did.


Hope Town was an island with several restaurants, shops, and hotels. Still small, but more to offer and had been rebuilt more than some of the other islands.  We visited Abaco Inn a few times to shop, swim, and just visit with some of the other boaters.  

Along the way if we found something neat, we would just stop and explore.  We found these giant starfish one day. The current was pretty rough on that day, but we fought it so the kids could get pictures.  


This trip could not have been possible if we weren't both boating families.  

Both husbands are very comfortable and knowledgeable about boating and all of our kids have been on boats since they were just a few weeks old.  There is a lot of time on a boat. 

We made the crossing from Florida to the Bahamas with another boat and that gave us all a sense of security knowing that if something happened we weren't out there alone.  

The friends we were with had some other friends who were there at the same time so we met up with them several days and all the kids all got along so well.  Being with people who had been to Abacos before was helpful.  They knew all of these cool spots and made sure we were able to see and experience it all.  

This book was very helpful to our friend and captain of the boat.  It gives a ton of information about each island and what you can expect there.  

The people in the Bahamas are the best.  The locals are kind and grateful for tourist. I was SO proud of my little guy. He played with the same local friend a few times when we were at a local restaurant and on our last evening he ran back to the boat to get one of his footballs to give his new friend.  The child couldn't BELIEVE he was being gifted this toy, but it made his face light up and might my heart swell.  

The other boaters we met were just as friendly and helpful. Everyone strikes up a conversation with everyone. We had a guy gave us tips about where to find some great beaches. Another person we met gave us coordinates to make our trip to West End a smooth and easy one. One mega yacht even shared their ice with us for our coolers when the market was sold out.  It was so refreshing to see the good in so many people!  

The hurricane destruction made parts of these islands like third world countries.  It was sad, but the people there were so generous and grateful we were there.  

During our trip I realized this is an expensive vacation, but the places we visited (aside from Firefly and Abaco Inn) do not have an expensive or luxury feel AT ALL.  It was eye opening to all of us, but we would go back in a heartbeat and I'm so happy that we got to experience it all.  

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Monday, August 30, 2021

Family Vacation To The Abacos, Bahamas {Part 1}

It's been just over two months since we took our amazing trip to the Bahamas and I'm finally feeling ready to sit down and share about it.  

It was one of those vacations that was filled with SO many amazing memories and experiences that I felt overwhelmed with where to even begin. 

My kids are already talking about wanting to go back next summer and while there are a million places I would love to visit, I'd be perfectly happy to have a repeat of this trip.  

We went to the Abaco Islands and it was truly magical.  The island chain is known as the boating capital of the Bahamas and I don't think you could do this trip without a boat.  

You could take a boat like we did (more on that below) or fly there and rent a boat, but without a boat you wouldn't be able to island hop and experience all there is to see and do.  

The waters and beaches are like nothing I have ever seen, the sea life surrounding the islands is like something from a National Geographic movie and the laidback vibes of the towns, restaurants and Bahamian people were a welcomed change of pace.  

No Chick-fil-A or Starbucks, no Target runs, and not even a grocery store with the essentials we are so accustomed to, BUT we didn't think twice about it.  I didn't put on a stitch of makeup for 10 days and not sure why I packed anything but swimsuits and flip-flops. 

Because there is just SO much to share I decided to split this trip into at least two posts and will try to share everything for anyone that might be wanting to plan a similar vacation!


During the time we went the Bahamas was requiring a full vaccination OR a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival in order to get your travel visa.  I was nervous about the turnaround time for both the tests for my kids and the travel visa approval, but never should have worried. I'd read online that the Visa approval could take up to a few days, but ours were approved within a few hours and we were all set and ready to go.  If you stay in the Bahamas for longer than a certain amount of days you were required to get another Covid test and there was a daily health survey that was emailed to us that I had to fill out each day. It only took a few minutes and was really not a big deal.  We weren't really around many people except when we were at restaurants, but they are all outdoors.  If you went into a store or market, you were expected to wear a mask. 


We took this vacation with some of our best friends who have a boat and the original plan was for the husbands to drive the boat over to the Bahamas and the wives and kids were going to fly and met them there.  Well, somewhere along the line of planning we all ended up on the boat.  

We left bright and early from Stuart, FL and we were prepped for some rough seas crossing the Gulf Stream.  We thought a few hours of that then it would be smooth Bahamas water.  We never could have prepared for the day of travel we got.  We crossed with another boat and were told conditions weren't great, but that it would be safe.  We were in  4-5 foot seas felt like 10 foot seas and instead of the water getting calm when we hit the Bahamas it was pretty rough the entire way. We made a few pit stops along the way, but the entire day door to door was about 12 hours.  

We felt beat up, tired, and I questioned why we were on that dang boat almost the entire time.  I remember my little guy looking at me at one point and saying, "This trip isn't as much fun as I thought it would be."  He spoke for all of us. No one was having a good time.  I kept wondering why we couldn't just take a normal vacation like normal people.  

All of that said, the amazing week made up for it and the ride back to Florida on the boat was a million times better.  It was like a different ocean.  The water was like glass for most of the ride and we broke up the trip into two parts, staying overnight in West End for a night. 

Even crossing the gulf stream was a breeze.  Our first day was just not ideal conditions and I would 100% do the crossing again, but I'd be very picky about the conditions. I'd even be willing to loose a day of our trip, if it meant calmer waters and I would totally recommend breaking up the trip and staying half way like we did on the way home.   


We rented a house through VRBO on Treasure Cay.  It was a very spacious 4 bedroom, with an adequate kitchen, dining, and living area.  It had a laundry room, all the necessities, and was right on the canal with a dock, which we needed for the boat.  

The house we were in was great, but there was still so much destruction in this area from the hurricane that hit them a few years ago. Many places were destroyed and still have not been able to be rebuilt. 

There was no restaurant on our island and just a small market with limited items. If we had to do it over again we'd probably try to stay on one of the islands that has been able to rebuild a little more so we were closer to restaurants and markets. 

On the way back home in West End we tried to book rooms at Old Bahama Bay Resort, but it was July 4th and since it was a last minute decision to break up our trip we couldn't get in there.  We did stop by for a quick drink and swim at the pool.  The little cottages were adorable, it seemed very family friendly, and the beach was so picturesque. 

We ended up staying just around the other side of the island at the Blue Marlin Cove Resort & Marina.  It wasn't fancy, but it was just what we needed. Each unit had two bedrooms, a kitchen and living area.  There was a nice pool and hot tub, and outdoor bar and some of the BEST food we ate on our trip.  It was great for families to be able to spread out and the boat was able to be parked right there, which made it nice also.  

I'll finish up the rest of our trip info in my second post later this week so be sure to check back!  If anyone has any questions, just leave them in the comments and I'll try to answer.  

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