Have you ever been surrounded by scenery so rich and beautiful that you wished you could paint it because you know no photograph could ever do it justice? That’s how I felt about vibrant Bimini. I could not believe the colors—vibrant doesn’t even come close to describing them.
From the deep turquoise of the sea to the gorgeous stretches of pristine white sand, to the lush green of the patches of bush on the cays, Bimini just popped with color, everywhere you looked. It’s like an artist’s palette come to life. It even inspires me to dress colorfully to match it (you can read more on this outfit I’m wearing here).
When To Visit
Traveling to Bimini in June is a calculated risk. Although the sea is calm, making for great fishing and diving, it’s also the height of the rainy season—more rain falls in June than any other month. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged, Bimini is dry and humid all year round so you can visit even through the winter months.
Bimini feels like a well-kept secret. With its friendly people, relaxed atmosphere, and gorgeous beaches, it felt like we should be in the South Pacific—not only fifty miles from Florida! For those who are looking to visit on a spontaneous trip, consider flying with Elite Airways. For the first time ever, all tri-state area travelers are able to fly nonstop to Bimini from Newark without stopping in South Florida. Making Bimini a perfect getaway for anyone looking for a quick escape all year round.
How To Get Around
Our first plan involved transport. Taxis cost five dollars per person per ride, which quickly adds up, so we decided to look for our own transport. Bimini is a small island with two main roads. King’s Highway is the main road, with the shops, hotels and restaurants while Queen’s Highway runs along the beaches. It’s easy to navigate. You can rent cycles from the hotel reception, but because of the heat we opted to do what most people do and rented a golf cart. Ask for Renee at reception. She can bring a golf cart straight to you. A two-person cart is $75 dollars a day, while other places charge $90, not including fuel.
Golf cart is the perfect transportation for Bimini. The relaxed pace fits with ‘island time’ perfectly, and the lack of windows mean that you can take in the view from all directions.
Where To Stay
I don’t think I was prepared for Resort World Bimini. I knew it was going to be an experience, but it still surprised me. I’m not a fan of modern design unless it fits the scenery, but Resort World Bimini was perfectly designed to take advantage of Bimini’s natural beauty. The lobby had huge glass windows that were almost cathedral-like which let in the light. Warm wooden paneling echoed the palm trees outside and stopped the interior from feeling too industrial. A swimming pool surrounded the hotel, the water echoing the rich turquoise of the sea, and beyond it, we could see the marina, and then rows of condos on the opposite shore.
The staff at the reception desk greeted us with warm styles, which we soon learned is the standard on Bimini.
What To Pack
For any tropical vacation, bathing suits and swimwear are essentials. I love packing one-pieces because they can easily be turned into casual beachwear when you throw a pair of shorts or a skirt over it. Be sure to pack a sun hat and comfortable walking shoes or sandals and set out to explore. Throw in some light layers for the evening and the hotel, and some bug repellant for when you’re out and about. Most importantly, pack a sense of adventure, and an appetite for fresh conch.
Where To Eat
Bimini is all about casual, about dining so close to the beach that you wipe sand off your seat, about embracing ‘island time’ and drinking in the beautiful colors that make Bimini a bright, vibrant community. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to glam it up–Resort World Bimini has an amazing sushi restaurant and a steak house–but I recommend embracing all the magic that this unforgettable island has to offer.
Usually, when we arrive at a new place, we like to settle in a bit and get a sense of what there is before making plans but we were ready for some lunch. Specifically, we were ready for some seafood. We headed straight for Stuart Conch Salad Stand. It’s a laid back shack right on the beach. The seafood is so fresh, you can see the owner, Stuart, bringing the conch up from the beach. The lobster salad is good too. And the colors! The pink and white of the salad, the bright green lime—beautiful! But not too beautiful to eat. Delish!
For dinner, we’d decided to go for Big Game Club Bar and Grill. We checked the times in advance and it was a good thing we did. A lot of places in Bimini aren’t open every day or open at odd hours. We sat outside where we had a beautiful view overlooking the marina. The service was relaxed—get used to island time!—but with so much to take in, we didn’t even mind.
On our second day, our first stop was A Taste of Heaven. This bakery offers delicious Bimini style baked goods, including the distinctively sweet Caribbean bread, twist-style doughnuts dusted with sugar and Cinnamon buns–you must try the Cinnamon buns!
We spent a lazy afternoon relaxing back at the hotel in vibrant Bimini before returning to Alice town for after dinner drinks at Coco Plum restaurant, one of Bimini’s best-kept secrets. The open-air restaurant is the perfect way to enjoy a breezy Bimini evening. We couldn’t help but indulge in some conch fritters to go with our drink. Listening to the waves lap at the shore as we looked out across the ocean, watching the distant lights of a boat drift slowly by…It’s easy to see why Bimini made such a big impression on Hemingway.
What To See/Do
We spent one morning exploring Alice Town, one of Bimini’s two big towns. As we slowly meandered down Queen’s Highway in our golf cart, we could see steam rising from the road as the sun banished all traces of the rain. The air smells like freshly cut grass and salt. By the side of the road, we could see fishing nets and boats pulled up off the beach. Bimini was the inspiration for his novel The Old Man and the Sea. While I wasn’t planning on doing any big game fishing, I was eager to be inspired by Alice town.
Our next stop was the Bimini Craft Centre & Straw Market, seventeen shops featuring locally made goods, from straw hats to wooden statues, to candles to paintings to tie-dyed clothing to T-shirts. While we didn’t find anything to take home with us, we enjoyed browsing the colorful stalls. My love affair with Bimini’s color continued. How can you not love a place so bright and so cheerful? No wonder everyone working here has such big smiles! As we browsed, we could smell the delicious freshly baked bread from Nathalie Thompson’s Bread, and knew we’d have to come back. It was really hard not to buy a loaf then and there, but we were holding out for something special.
The Dolphin House is the creation of Bimini artist, author, and historian, Ashley Saunders, who built it himself by recycling materials that washed up on Bimini’s shores or would otherwise end up as trash. The result is a unique building that is more like a piece of art than a guest house. Inside is a museum with Bimini memorabilia like photos of Ernest Hemingway, old cannon balls, and art made with more found objects.
Next, we went to Radio Beach, not one beach but three which starts at Alice town and continue to the North. The first thing I noticed was the rich turquoise of the ocean. It’s easy to see where the inspiration for the island’s vibrant colors come from, surrounded by brilliant ocean. Although close to Alice town, and popular with visitors, we had no problem finding a patch of beach all of our very own. And to add the perfect touch of paradise: fresh coconut milk served straight from the shell. Top it up with rum—no better drink for sitting on the beach.
Honeymoon Harbor, on the North End of Gun Cay, is a beautiful beach known for stingrays.
Tip: Step into the water carefully, shuffling your feet to raise the sand, so the stingray knows you’re coming (they’re more scared of you than you of them!), and kneel in the water to let the stingray come to you.
Another landmark in Bimini is the famous wreck. You can see wrecked ships along the coast, one right on the shore, but you need to take a boat out to reach the SS Sapona, which ran aground during a hurricane in 1926.
Built for WWI, the Sapona never saw action. Instead, it was used to smuggle rum during the prohibition, making it a modern day pirate ship. The part of the wreck visible above the water is not encouraging, covered in graffiti and looking more like a decaying pier than a boat. The wreck explodes with life, with vibrantly colored fish darting in front of you. You can explore the SS Sapona by diving or snorkeling.
Have you visited vibrant Bimini? I hope that you enjoy this post and found some helpful tips. If you’ve been to any tropical places recently, I’d love to hear about it!biminitravel