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Why Freeport is The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

Beautiful strands of powdery beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, and dense tropical vegetation make Freeport Bahamas a destination for everyone.

Grand Bahama Island is a place shaped by sun and sea. Get on the Queen’s Highway and five minutes after departing the city of Freeport, you’re engulfed by vast native pine

forest and cool sea breeze.

With its postcard-perfect beaches and large tracts of unaltered native vegetation, it is an absolute paradise for families, nature enthusiasts, and even honeymooners.

Here are just a few reasons why Freeport Bahamas became my favorite place to vacation with my family.

The People

On one particular Bahamas Cruise, my family and I had plans for a Freeport Bahamas Shore Excursion. It was a beach day and unfortunately the weather was less than cooperative.

It was raining inconsistently and the breeze would have made the water too choppy for my children to enjoy.

So we decided to walk around the cruise ship port for a bit, browsing the souvenir stalls and go through our options.

My husband decided to speak to one of the cab drivers about a driving tour, preferably something climate controlled.

Maybe we could see a few historic sites like the Garden of the Groves or the Rand Nature Center Freeport and get a few nice family pictures. The kids were antsy and did not want to waste the day in the islands by just sitting on the ship. 

My husband came back with a big grin on his face - which could have just been an indication that cab driver was also a football fan, and nothing else.

I skeptically loaded the kids up and we got on the road.

Now, I have been to Freeport before, but we would usually spend our time by heading to Port Lucaya Marketplace to eat, or buy some t-shirts.

This time we ventured outside the city and boy, was I pleasantly surprised! 

The driver was friendly with a good sense of humor and very knowledgeable. He took us along the coastline from one end of the island to the other.

We stopped at historical sites and a great, cozy local place for lunch where we had conch fritters and fresh seafood.

One of the cooks took the kids outback near the seaside to show them how to remove live conch from its shell. They were thoroughly impressed! 

Lunch for the four of us was about 40 bucks and the portions were so generous that we took food with us. 

We got a good hour of sunshine and stopped at Gold Rock Beach Freeport for a while that radiated with white sand and turquoise waters as far as the eye could see.

The kids spent about half an hour collecting shells while we sipped on local beers that our cabbie picked up for us. 

We stopped at the Port Lucaya Marketplace where our driver kindly loaned us a few umbrellas and helped us maneuver through the stalls to get a few souvenirs to take with us.

On the rainy ride back, we finished up on our beers; it being the perfect afternoon for us. 

Everywhere we went, the people were so friendly and hospitable.

Several of them even invited us to their homes the next time we were in town.

It was a great day of food, laughter, and love. Grand Bahamians relish in this! They are probably among the most friendliest, easy-going people on earth.


It’s an Ecotourist's Dream

I wouldn’t necessarily class myself as an “ecotourist”, but I have a fond appreciation for the outdoors. 

With technology ruling the world, I try to impose as many outdoor days as I can for my children. I think the occasional skinned-knee makes for a well rounded kid. 

This brings me to another reason that Grand Bahama island is my favorite in the Caribbean.

Freeport Bahamas boasts one of the world's largest underwater cave systems, three national parks, and an incredible resource of marine life.

There are miles of untouched beaches, blue holes alive with marine life and colorful coral reefs.

It’s an unparalleled interaction between native land and sea and this makes Grand Bahama Island and absolute paradise for birders, nature enthusiasts, and other tourists. 

Snorkeling is a favorite past time for us, and Freeport Bahamas has lots of shallow dive

sites. Shallow sites are generally 10 – 15 feet deep, just off a powdery peach.

There are so many spots perfect for snorkeling, amateur divers, fish watching and picture taking. 

These reefs are scattered all around the island and offer the most colour, bright fish, friendly sea turtles and coral. It’s the ideal example of a destination where great birding mixes with general tourist appeal.

Most ecotourism destinations lack this.

For birders, you can enjoy an amazing experience with tropical birds - rare and magnificent species like the Bahama Mockingbird, Western Spindalis, Bananaquit, Black-faced Grassquit, Cuban EmeraldBahama Woodstar, Loggerhead Kingbird, Bahama Pintail, Belted Kingfishers, and La Sagra’s Flycatcher—all of them are considered extreme rarities in the US.

In fact, Freeport Bahamas has 18 of the 28 species of birds endemic to The Islands of The

Bahamas including the Abaco Parrot.

In addition to the local tropical birds, numerous Canadian and US migrants are flock to The Bahamas during fall and winter, making it a birding haven.

Unbeknownst to many, the birding on Grand Bahama is amazing overall; and twenty minutes down the street, you can enjoy a pina colada at the beach bar on a pristine beach while the kids collect sea shells. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

It’s the Perfect Mix of Everything

It took me a while and quite a bit of travel to realize that Freeport Bahamas has the perfect mix of things to do and NOT to do.

My husband and I have long loved to travel and over the years the Caribbean has changed.

Some changes I’m grateful for are ATMs and a wider acceptance of credit cards.

Some things I dislike are pushy sales people at tourist traps and unquenchable thirst my kids have for WIFI.

On my list trip to Freeport Bahamas we rented a villa at Old Bahama Bay. It was a week sent from heaven.

It was then that it dawned on me how perfect this destination was.

There were days when everyone was beached out and we didn’t feel up to a 90 minute restaurant escapade.

It was those moments that I was happy to have access to traditional American fast food restaurants.

There were times when I needed to get online to send emails, and there were days that we spent collecting seashells away from the constant hums of our devices.

On Friday night we went out to the Port Lucaya Marketplace. It was crowded there was a live band playing local music and we hammed it up with friendly locals and fellow tourists.

We danced, walked around and ate.

The next day we snoozed in hammocks, trees swaying in the sea breeze and did NOTHING.

Over the years, I’ve vacationed in places that were were as busy and developed as the US, and I returned home feeling like I never vacationed.

I've also vacationed in places that were too remote, returning home to 300 emails and with tons of calls to make after a week of being unable to communicate with relatives.

But this was perfect.

I have conversations with people going to The Bahamas all the time and I’m amazed at how little people know about Freeport Bahamas things to do.

Many cruisers have told me that they stayed on the ship in Freeport, or they took a cookie cutter tour that everyone else took. What a waste!

So, my advice is don’t get in some line at the port.

Talk to a local, take a small tour NOT advertised or sold by the ship.

Take a driving tour out to West End and have conch salad on the waterfront.

Truly experience Grand Bahama.

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