by Tanicia Pratt
Bahamians’ style of leisure is very different from other nationals. With our sunny and tropical landscape, we love to spend our holidays, away from the bustling city of Nassau. We often get together with our family and friends and take an excursion for a secluded beach experience. With the increasing excursions being offered here in The Bahamas, I took a trip to Pearl Island to see how it compared to what’s already out there in the market.
Pearl Island Bahamas offers a five-hour Beach Day (9:30 am - 2:30 pm) package which provides roundtrip transportation, water activities, full beach access, lunch buffet, and drinks. Every day, the boat leaves the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal (East Dock behind Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville) at 9:30 am. I arrived at the terminal at 9:15 am (check-ins are 15 minutes before departure) as security officers directed passengers to the waiting area.
Promptly after I arrived, the captain of Pearl Island checked in all registered passengers and escorted us onto the boat. The boat ride was fairly swift. Within ten minutes, we arrived at Pearl Island dock and were directed us to the Island House Bar & Grill, where guests were gifted a free Welcome Cocktail. The bar is open all day, serving snacks and a variety of alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. It’s important to note that Pearl Island does not offer breakfast, so, before the excursion, I recommend that visitors eat a hearty meal.
Pearl Island offers many services for its guests’ convenience. The island hosts five bathrooms, three water stations, fresh-water showers, and locker rental service. Their walkways and docks are also wheelchair accessible. The locker services charge $5 for two hours, and $10 USD for the full day and is a safer alternative for securing your valuable belongings. Pearl Island also stands out with its private water filtration plant. No need to worry about water shortage, their fully functional reverse osmosis system uses electricity to produce 150 gallons of water per hour. In total, their water tank holds up to 2,500 gallons - more than enough needed to supply their guest capacity.
Shining beneath the yellow sun, the island is breathtaking. West of Pearl Island features a stunning 3-story white and pink lighthouse that overlooks the Island House Bar & Grill. The lighthouse is a lounge of its own; each floor of the lighthouse holds couches and lounge chairs for you to socialize, eat and gaze through the open window.
This is not the only attraction on Pearl Island. No matter where you choose to relax, there are a variety of comfortable lounge chairs and tables to give guests a relaxing view of our crystal-blue seas. To upgrade your experience, Pearl Island offers 10 rental cabanas which include a bed & table set up, snack platter, free soft drinks, and a butlering service.
Pearl Island also features two all-access beaches that are sure to give you the secluded experience you desire. On the main beach, their water activities staff assists guests with the use of their kayaking, paddleboards, inflatable mats, and the water trampoline. For younger kids, there are also beach toys such as shovels, buckets to make sand castles. Pearl Island always has staff seated in the beach area to ensure the safety of their guests and children. There are also buoys placed in the water to prevent guests from traveling in the deep water.
For guests that enjoy snorkeling, Pearl Island hosts a fantastic group snorkeling experience with its certified diving staff. At an additional cost, their snorkeling service provides gear and a guided tour to the islands’ Cove where visitors can explore the beautiful reefs and native marine life.
At 12:00 pm, Pearl Island’s buffet lunch was ready to serve. The chef creates authentic Bahamian cuisine that is sure to satiate your hunger until dinnertime. The menu includes grilled BBQ chicken breasts, fillet fish fingers, peas & rice and coleslaw and fresh lemonade. I admit that I truly enjoyed the food! The chicken breasts were not too sweet, or dry. And the fish was a good balance for non-meat eaters. After eating, I went over to the Blue Bar (near the beach) and quenched my thirst with a cool, sweet strawberry daiquiri. In their daiquiri menu, Pearl Island also serves pina-colada, strawberry and mango daiquiris; you are free to choose one flavor or a mix of two flavors.
After eating and enjoying a swim on the beach, I enjoyed my last hour in one of Pearl Island’s shaded beach beds. As I mentioned, there are various lounge chairs placed all across the island. The main walkway has beach chairs with a large sunshade to protect guests from direct heat. And the shore, near the beach, holds up to 10 comfortable beach beds with their own built-in shade covers. In both areas, guests are free to rest by taking a nap or catching up on their favorite novel.
I must say, the Beach Day experience on Pearl Island is like no other. The staff is always present and helpful to their guests, and the atmosphere is both lively and relaxing. In addition to the services I mentioned, Pearl Island also has an Island shop where you can purchase novelty souvenirs, as well as a professional photo service, to document your time on the island. While the island has electricity and mobile data access, Pearl Island intentionally limits the access to WiFi so its guests truly experience seclusion from city life. Beach Day packages for Pearl Island currently start at $84 USD for adults, $44 USD for children and free for Infants (0-3 years old). All prices are tax inclusive, but if you book through Book A Tour Caribbean, you are sure to receive a discount!
The island was bought in 2016 by a Canadian resident, Peter Rebman. Being an avid lover of island life, particularly in The Bahamas, Peter would often travel back and forth during his vacation. He fell in love with the island so much that he invested in purchasing the island to build his own villa. Eventually, he turned his villa into what is now “Pearl Island”, so that locals and visitors can share in the beauty of this smaller, secluded island.
How to Paradise Island Ferry Terminal
If you are not staying on Paradise Island, (across the bridge from Nassau), the best option is to take a taxi from your hotel. Taxi services normally start at $30 and may charge an additional $2 toll fee. From there, a taxi is sure to drop you off at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal, which stands behind Margaritaville.
What to Bring
Hat and sunglasses
An extra set of clothes (just in case)
A Smile :)