I’ve had some time to think about my trip to Bimini but I can’t help but compare it to my happy place, the Exumas. I understand every island has its own flavor but I just can’t stay objective. I was surprised to meet several people who proclaim Bimini as their happy place. To each their own. It’s certainly possible that others may dislike Exuma but I guess it all just depends on individual experiences.
Bimini is famous for it’s fishing and diving, hence the reason I decided to go. They have a few excursions that are unique to the island that I was looking forward to experiencing but unfortunately didn’t get to do any of them. The island is merely a large sandbar, 7 miles long and 700ft wide so it is easy to cover from top to bottom in less than an hour.
Like many islands, the homes and streets are unkempt. Feeding the family is far more important than manicured lawns and material possessions, which I can respect. The only aspect of the Bahamian islands that is disturbing is the amount of litter on the roadways, yards, beaches, and even underwater. It’s too bad there isn’t more of an emphasis on the importance of conservation and sustainability, especially given their livelihoods largely depend on their environment.
The people of Bimini are just as kind and warm hearted as any other island I have spent time on. As mentioned in a previous blog, it would appear on the surface that Bahamians are standoffish and lack any interest in conversing with tourists. In some cases perhaps that it true, but in most cases it is not so. Once you show that you have interest in getting to know them, they will gladly open up. One thing I notice a lot of in the islands are big smiles and belly laughs. They love to pick on each other and their laughs are contagious. We need more of that.
The resort, Resorts World Bimini, is so large it likely employs half the population of Bimini, which seems great for the economy and welfare of the residents, but I feel it also takes away the authentic Bahamian culture that many visitors seek to experience. I would venture to say that if you plan to visit an island and stay on a resort, you might as well just stay in the US. Everything about the resort is American, yet owned by a Malaysian company; the food, the service, the amenities, the décor, the standards, etc. Nothing about Resorts World Bimini is Bahamian. That is not to say it isn’t a great place because it will be once it is complete. It just isn’t for me. It reminds me too much of Disney World, where everything is perfect. On a side note, I STILL don’t understand why that place is so successful. It literally makes me nauseous.
Restaurant and bar choices off the resort are extremely limited which often left us with the casino as our only option when it was too windy to take the golf cart to town. Prices are comparable to Exuma, about double the price of anything in the US. Entertainment was non-existent while we were there. From what I learned, the “superfast” ferry used to transport crowds of people from Miami to Bimini but it is temporarily out of service until they get a new boat. The casino dealer explained that there are usually hundreds more people on the island and in the casino. Further, the weekends are much more crowded as opposed to the 4 days we spent there. If I ever went again, I would go on the weekend. Casinos are much more fun when you have people to play with.
Having said all of this, we didn’t intend to spend much time on land during our trip but the wind gods decided to change our plans. Again, I am grateful that the casino was available to provide some not-so-cheap entertainment. We would have been lost without it. I’m not sure Bimini is somewhere I would go again unless I was stopping on the way to another island via boat, got a free trip, or one of you that has been there before can convince me to go again. 🙂
The last day of our trip we spent laying on the fake resort beach and were excited about taking off in the seaplane that landed on the runway when we arrived to the island. And takeoff was just as exciting as we’d hoped. Of course, I filmed the takeoff right from the pilots shoulder. I’m sure he appreciated that. Ha! He must have said something to the other pilot through their headset because the Captain said “I heard you got some good video of the takeoff.” Oops.
As I proofread this post, I see that the tone is awfully negative but I don’t mean it to be. The water is beautiful, the people are friendly, and I’m sure the fishing and diving are world class. It is the closest island to the US and it sounds like the Superfast can get you there from Miami in a jiffy (once it’s up and running again) for a nice little easy weekend. It’s just not my spot but was worth every dime I spent and we made the best out of it. The National Family Island Regatta in Exuma is at the end of April so I’m excited to see what all the fuss is about. The boats are all handmade Bahamian sloops that they race through Elizabeth Harbour. Looking forward to it. Until next time…