I had the immense pleasure and wonderful opportunity to return to my all-time favourite island this past May: Bimini, Bahamas!
Some of you may have already read my previous post about swimming with wild dolphins, and this is the exact spot where it all takes place.
I wanted to dive a little deeper (no pun intended!) about the island itself and what makes it so special and magical. I still can’t quite put my finger on it, but there are a few theories and aspects that are particularly interesting that may just be the reason. Nonetheless, it remains a beautiful mystery from nature, and one that is welcomed with open arms and hearts!
Bimini has been somewhat “off the radar” from the rest of The Bahamas, even though it is only 50 miles off the coast of Miami. It has been, until recently, an untouched local island that very few people really ventured out to or even knew about. However, it was a place that some more or less famous people went to, such as Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King. Its also an island that is known for big game fishing, since the island is right off the Gulf Stream which lies between Bimini and Miami and has massive underwater drop-offs where it’s prime big game fishing grounds.
As I’ve visited Bimini quite a few times (5 times I believe), I’ve gathered some interesting info, along with the places I’ve been to myself. Some history, some mystery, and a little of the in-betweens!
A little bit of History… and a lot of Mystery
*please note that some of these are only theories and aren’t necessarily my opinion on the matter.
The Bimini Road, a.k.a The Road to Atlantis
Atlantis is believed to be an ancient advanced civilization that was present around 10,000 BC, when the sea levels were at least 300 feet lower than they are today. in 1938, Edgar Cayce predicted that “Atlantis, or part of the temples rise from under sea water in the area of Bimini. It will be 68 or 69”. This continent was believed to span from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Gibraltar, and Cayce referred to Bimini as being one of the mountaintops of Atlantis, according to edgarcayce.org
To make a long story short (if you want to know the whole history about it, there are plenty of articles on the subject), the Bimini road is an underwater rock formation – one that may resemble the top of a wall, road or similar structure – that is believed to be a part of the lost continent of Atlantis. It was discovered in 1968, much to Cayce’s predictions, while a pilot was flying over the area and saw a rock formation in the shape of a backward J.
Many studies have been conducted in the area, and still no conclusions have been made whether they are natural or man-made structures. Ironically, people who have conducted studies have all positively concluded their own hypothesis – so who knows what it really is! In reality, how can they really know? Whatever anyone’s take is on it , it’s a beautiful place to snorkel since the waters are only about 15-20 feet in depth. Some claim to have out-of-body experience while in the area, others say its a very energetic spot. Needless to say that you can make your own conclusion, but it does leave you with some questions as to what exactly it is, where it came from, what lies beneath, and why all the fuss – which just adds to the magic about it all!
There are many beliefs that there is an energy vortex that lies just off the coast of Bimini.
For those who may be familiar with the earth’s natural energy grid, then you know that one of the major one lies just off the coast of Florida. Of course, there are so many theories on this, and no one can really prove it, but here is an image that may fit into this description, showing the sacred geometry-like structure that inhabits our world. Maybe that could be part of the explanation of the mysteries of Bimini?
Bimini is also on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle – an area that spans from Bermuda, to Puerto Rico and to Florida… so Bimini lies right at the edge of it. The Bermuda Triangle is known for mysterious occurrences happening in the area, from plane disappearances to time-travel. The possibilities are endless!
Ernest Hemingway & others
Aside from Bimini being a little island in the stream, Ernest Hemingway, a well-known writer, spent a lot of his time on this tiny island. From spending his days out at sea, to writing two of his best selling novels “The Old Man and The Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”, Hemingway made Bimini his home for a couple of years. Staying at The Compleat Angler Hotel, it became a landmark for this small island. Unfortunately, the Angler eventually burnt to the ground, but the site and what’s left of it still remains to this day.
It is also known that Martin Luther King would also make his way to Bimini, and also said to have written some of his speeches on the island.
A lot of history can be seen today at The Big Game: a restaurant, hotel and marina, where Hemingway spent a lot of his time while in Bimini. Photos line the interior and murals on the exterior, and The Big Game has become a very popular place to visit and learn some history, as many “celebrities” have come and gone throughout the years.
The Dolphins: Divine Encounters
My Favourite!!! For me, the magic of Bimini has a lot to do with its resident Atlantic spotted dolphins that reside in the area. Maybe it’s the shallow waters and the deep gulf stream that make them stay, or perhaps the human encounters they are known for. Or maybe it’s none of that and an entirely different story that we are unaware of. I can ponder forever why the dolphins love this area so much, and actually seek out human connection.
There are only very few places in the world where dolphins seek out human interactions. Unlike what we perceive dolphins to be due to the awful nature of their popularity in captivity, dolphins are social creatures amongst themselves, but usually would shy away when human presence is in the water. However, in Bimini, this is not the reality. Bimini and its surrounding waters have so many wild dolphins who will happily swim alongside people – and stay! I’ve had quick 5 minute encounters, and ones that have lasted 1-2 hours. It’s all up to them, and that is what I call privilege!
It sort of ties in all the speculations about the mysteriousness of Bimini, and dolphins to be known as highly intelligent, energetic beings. It makes complete sense as to why they would choose to stay in such a lovely place, yet still holds a lot of mystery at the same time.
Even the local Biminites include the dolphins in their lives. One example would be The Dolphin House – a museum/guesthouse entirely dedicated to the resident dolphins. Ashley Saunders, the owner, has been continuously building The Dolphin House for over 30 years, and says that it is all due to wild dolphin encounters. For him, it is a dedication to them and the happiness he feels they bring. What a wonderful homage to them! The Dolphin House is open to the public, and is made up entirely of collected sea glass, shells and ocean collectibles. Definitely worth checking out!
Island Vibes, Deserted Beaches & Healing Waters
Bimini may be small, but it’s natural beauty is incomparable. The people are lovely, there is virtually no crime since there are only about 1200 inhabitants – therefore everyone knows everyone.
The beaches are out-of-this-world gorgeous! Of all the places I’ve traveled to, this island is my favourite place, and these beaches are as well! It’s almost like the ocean glows – nowhere have I found such beautiful pristine waters! There is a quality about it that I can’t quite describe, and that to me is what makes it so desirable! Maybe it’s the dolphin energy that makes it so beautiful, or perhaps that there is virtually no one to be seen on the beaches – but they are the best waters I’ve ever plunged into. The beaches are fairly shallow, making swimming and snorkelling safe, and walking the shores delightful.
There are two spots on the island known to add to its mystery: The Healing Hole and The Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately, I’ve never visited either of them – however “According to Indian legend, the spring supposedly restored youth to older persons who bathed in or drank the waters of the fountain of youth!”
The healing hole, on the other hand, is “a freshwater pond, accessible by boat only, percolates within salt water in the mangrove swamps. It is referred to as the ‘Healing Hole’ because of the healing properties reported by those who have been swimming in it”.
Up to you to decide for yourself if ever you make your way to Bimini!
Where To Stay & Eat
Bimini is small, and therefore places to stay at are very limited and expensive! Here are some local places that I know of:
There are probably a few other places to stay at that I don’t know of, so make sure to check. I can only speak of the places that I actually stayed at myself, and here they are below!
With the help of the Out Island Bahamas Tourism Board, I was fortunate enough to experience staying at the Hilton – a newly built resort on the far side of North Bimini – and the only resort on Bimini. It is quite the establishment for such a small island, which also sparked much debate when the construction was happening a few years ago. Unfortunately, 1/3 of the island’s mangroves were destroyed on the bay side to accommodate such a large structure, and damage was done to build the ferry terminal as well. Aside from the Hilton, the rest of the grounds is operated and owned by Resorts World, a wealthy international company, who developed the resort into what it is today. It definitely attracts a different crowd – mainly from Miami – who take a seaplane or ferry over for a quick escape from the city. The island is definitely not as quiet as it used to be, and there’s of course an increase of movement and traffic throughout the island. The local Biminites have also been affected by this new wave of tourism – some saw it as a positive way to be able to make money, and others stood strongly against it, and still do. I guess it’s like anywhere you go!
The Hilton itself is a very nice establishment in itself, and despite the fact that I don’t really feel like it “fits” with the small island life of Bimini, I can see why many people would be attracted to such a place. Had I not been to Bimini prior to this visit, I would have nothing to compare it to either, and my views would probably be very different. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy my stay, as it was lovely – food, room and all – it just isn’t my scene. I’m not one for crowds, and there are lots of crowds to say the least.. Many of them stay on the property itself, or rent a boat for some fishing or activities, but on the days the ferry comes in – watch out for long lineups, loud common areas, and lots of Miami party people! That’s my disclaimer.
Now to move on, I did enjoy myself at this property. The rooms are very lovely, modern, and luxurious. The details were very well thought out, from USB ports in the bedside lamps to the view of the bay from my balcony. I enjoyed sitting outside watching the storms come and go. I had a bike rental to roam around the island, and they offer golf cart rentals too. Taxi’s on the island are $5 per person to go anywhere, and there’s a shuttle on site to take you to the different restaurants, the beach, and anything on property. The top floor of the hotel boasts a beautiful infinity pool, which is best enjoyed before 1030am if you want peace and quiet. After that, the bar opens and they blast music all day, and it gets quite crowded. Again, not what I like.
There are at least 5-6 restaurants to enjoy, I only had time to try 4 of them. “The Tides” is the main restaurant which serves the breakfast buffet which is very generous and diverse, and a sit-down menu dinner service. The sushi restaurant was also really good that I tried on my first night there, the main bar that has take-away food (I had the salad and vegetable sandwich which was great and very reasonably priced), and the casino restaurant (yes there’s a casino) “Hemingway’s” that I had fish tacos at for lunch one day. The service was always excellent everywhere, and the staff were great, going out of their way to remember you! The prices are quite high throughout the hotel and resort, but not outrageous considering the fact that everything needs to be imported. After all, this is a luxury resort.
The Hotel also has a spa, gym and a salon. I didn’t try the salon, but I did have a wonderful 50 minute massage which was very lovely! The facilities are some of the best I’ve been to, with views to die for! The decor is also beautiful, but that’s probably because my favourite colour was all over! 🙂 The prices were quite high for my Canadian standards, but again, it’s a resort so it’s to be expected.
All in all, I definitely like the grounds of the hotel and had a great stay. I still do feel that certain things should have been better taken care of for the island and its people, and the destruction of the mangroves gets me a little heated. I’m one for preserving the environment as much as possible, and it breaks my heart when money overrides that no matter where I find myself in the world.
It’s definitely a nice weekend getaway if you like sleek and luxurious hotels! But my all-time wish would be this: if you do end up spending time here, whether at the Hilton or elsewhere, I ask that you please do your best to be mindful of this tiny island and its people, and support them and their local stores and restaurants as much as you possibly can!
For those who know me know that my all-time favourite place to stay on island is with the lovely Wildquest team and retreat. This isn’t somewhere you can stay for a night or two, these are week-long retreats that are planned out week by week.
I HIGHLY suggest checking them out! They are all about community, healing, and swimming with wild dolphins! They have their amazing crew who hold a very sacred and loving space for their guests, and the week-long stay is a journey in and of itself!
Without going into too many details in this post, I urge you to check them out here, and also my upcoming post about them, where I dive into what a whole week is like with them! Stay tuned for that coming soon! In the meantime, you can read about my swimming with wild dolphins post here, as they are mentioned in that post as well… and you can get a glimpse into what it’s like to swim with these beautiful and divine beings!
Stay tuned for my full review of Wildquest, coming soon!!!
Local places on the island to check out
Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Centre
Although the weather didn’t hold up for my few days on island before my Wildquest week, I did have the chance to meet Neal himself as I was planning on doing an excursion or two with them. The team at Neal Watson’s is really great and they are very knowledgable about the marine life and great places to go for some epic dives. They have excursions from dolphin safari’s to shark dives, so if you’re ever looking to do an excursion or a dive, these guys are your go-to people! You can find them located at The Big Game Marina, and you can also check them out here
Stuart’s Conch Shack
For the BEST conch salad on Bimini, Stuart Conch Shack is THE place to go to! It’s literally a little shack on the side of the water in Porgy Bay that serves up freshly made conch salad – it is the ultimate dish to eat!
Not far from Stuart’s Conch Shack, Edith’s Pizza is known for – you guessed it! – their sweet crust pizza! They also have a few other choices on the menu, such as conch fritters and some local dishes, as well as the stuffed Lobster. OMG this was sooo good! Definitely a go-to place!
Bimini Big Game
As mentioned above, The Big Game is a a well-known landmark on Bimini in Alice Town, the main town on Bimini. From historic photos lining the interior, to the colourful marina and artsy walls, be sure to check them out!
That wraps up my review about Bimini! I hope you enjoyed!
For more information about Bimini, make sure to check out the Out Islands website for official information on any of these places and for assistance in your travel plans.
Bimini is my forever home away from home!
As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions! Remember to sign up for my newsletter for new fun posts! Thanks again for stopping by!
Love and light,