A few years ago we started planning a vacation to the Bahamas...and then we got pregnant and put the trip on hold. Fast forward to when our daughter was almost 1, we decided to take that trip. Thanks to Mary-Kate and Ashley, I have been fascinated with Atlantis after watching Holiday in the Sun, and I convinced my husband this is where we should stay. It totally lived up to my MK&A dreams, where I am the long-lost triplet they didn't know they had... Anyone else have this fantasy growing up?? No? Just me?
Save Money On Upgrades
A few weeks after we booked our room (one of the cheaper ones at Atlantis), we started receiving room upgrade emails. We waited until two weeks before our vacation to take advantage of the upgrade, and I'm so glad we did it! We upgraded to a one bedroom, two bathroom suite with a full kitchen and living room for only a few hundred more than our original room.
The last minute upgrade saved us over $4,000! And the upgrade put us at The Reef, which we heard later is the quietest of all the resort hotels, perfect for families of little littles.
What We Packed
Before we left we checked the weather often to see what to expect. We booked our trip for the last week of February and I have to say, the weather was fantastic. It ranged from 78-85° during the day and didn't dip below 70° at night. With that in mind, this was how we packed:
Swimsuits and summer clothing! Of course 😉
A few nice outfits for dinner
Walking shoes because we knew we would be walking a lot
A pair of jeans and sweater (just in case) - although, I didn't end up using either one
Baby hats and swimsuits with SPF/UPF protective coverage
Baby water floats (we loved this one from Amazon)
Baby pouches in our suitcase. We knew our daughter would want food on the go, and we weren't sure what she would be willing to eat at the resort
Diapers and wipes for the week (we didn't want to shop for these when we got there. Plus I figured we would want the extra space in our suitcase for souvenirs)
Obviously everyone has a different idea about packing, so I'm not saying what we did was perfect! But it was what worked for us and our family.
When we arrived we took a taxi from the airport to the resort. We could have taken the resort shuttle, but we weren't sure if we would want to with all the "gear" we had. So we opted for a taxi ride instead.
If you're going to take a shuttle, the pickup time has to be scheduled with the resort prior to arriving. Taxi's are available any time of day.
Our taxi ride was just over $40, which seemed reasonable for us since it's a 40 minute drive from the airport to the resort.
There are other ways of getting around the island as well. There's a bus that stops just outside the resort and shuttles back and forth between Nassau (and other locations) and Atlantis. We used that method to go downtown a few days, and it's a much cheaper option than using a taxi.
While at Atlantis, there are shuttles that pick up and drop off between every resort building and attraction. If you're in a hurry to get somewhere, or don't feel like walking a few miles, definitely use the resort shuttles. Added bonus, it won't cost you anything.
Take Advantage of Grocery Shopping
Instead of buying every meal at the resort, we went grocery shopping our first day in town and made meals all week. We ate out a few times, but the food is expensive at Atlantis. We bought drinks and food and made our own, it's a much cheaper way to go!
We spent two entire days in Nassau exploring the city. We brought our stroller, which is lightweight and easy to carry, and our baby Bjorn. Our daughter napped in the stroller during the afternoon while we explored. It honestly worked out better than we expected it to!
In downtown Nassau you'll find the Queen's Staircase, one of the more popular destinations.
The Staircase is made from solid limestone rock by slaves between 1793 and 1794 and is said to have provided a direct route from Fort Fincastle and the city of Nassau.
We climbed the 66 steps and at the top is Fort Fincastle. The Fort was built in 1793 by Lord Dunmore to protect Nassau from pirates. I don't know about you, but I find there's something magical about touring historic structures.
I highly recommend stopping by The Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle if you're ever in Nassau. And it's free!
We also spent time shopping at the Nassau Straw Market and stopped by Parliament Square to see the pink House of Parliament. The best part of Nassau (for me), is the bright colored buildings, historic areas, and lively culture.
Most of our 8 day vacation we spent at the resort exploring the many attractions. Atlantis boasts the largest open-air marine habitat in the world.
If you end up taking a cruise to the Bahamas, make sure you stop by Atlantis and see it. They also have several underground aquariums that we walked through more than once. And their outdoor pools are filled with marine wildlife as well.
Our resort hotel had its own private pool and beach front that we spent a lot of our time enjoying. But with 11 pools across the entire resort (and one adult only pool), it's not like we were lacking for water! We took Skylar to see the lazy river, water slides, and splash pads. Word of warning, you can, in fact, lose your swim top on the Leap of Faith water slide if you're not careful. Just cinch that sucker up nice and tight. 😉
Head Over To Harborside to Shop & Eat
Atlantis takes up residence on its own island, aptly named Paradise Island. One end of the resort is designated to shops and restaurants. Almost every day we walked from our end (The Reef) to the other (Harborside).
It's an easy walk, maybe a mile one-way, and we spent time at the restaurants and shops. I love to collect Christmas ornaments from anywhere we travel and I found the cutest sand dollar with a painted dolphin on it for our tree. And of course, we had to stop for ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.
More than once I commented to my husband that I felt like a goddess walking around Olympus. Everything from the pools to the colonnades to the immense columns and opulence of the buildings are meant to make you feel like you've stepped into heaven. And it was heaven, for 8 blissful days.
With Joy, Jessica
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