Our family had an amazing Spring Break trip to Atlantis, Bahamas. It’s our second time visiting the beautiful Paradise Island (the first trip was pre-covid) and I wanted to share some tips & tricks to help you with your future Atlantis, Bahamas vacation plans. I’m gonna start with a quick FAQ about travel requirements so that you can determine whether or not the destination is a good fit for your family, then we will get into the planning details. Also giving the tea on Airbnbs in Bahamas…
No, as of April 2022 the vaccine is not required. However any adults and children over 12 will need to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their scheduled travel date. Children under 12 are allowed to submit results from a rapid antigen test. All tests have to be through a verified lab. Home test results are not accepted. We did our tests at our local Walgreens. Click here for the most current Bahamas travel requirements and restrictions.
You will also have to test prior to returning to the states but most of the resorts have on site testing that are accepted by the airlines.
Yes, you do. As of April 2022 you will need a Bahamas travel health visa for each member of your family/trip party. The process is fairly simple to apply and you have to submit your negative Covid results as a part of the approval process (whether you are vaccinated or not). You won’t be allowed to enter the country/board your flight without and approved Visa.
The Bahamas travel health visa cost was $60 per person over age 12, so factored that into your budget. Click here to register and apply for your visa.
Yes, yes you do when in public spaces (in the Airport and on flights as well). Removal was fine when in places like the beach/pool or while dining of course.
Yes, all family member will need a passport to enter the Bahamas. Start early to give yourself enough lead time so that they are ordered and delivered prior to your trip. If you currently have a passport be sure that it doesn’t expire within 6 months of your scheduled trip or you wont be permitted to enter. Now, let’s get to the FUN stuff…
Whether you choose hotel or Airbnbs in Bahamas depends on your family style or vacation preference. We booked our latest trip at the last minute, so the flight prices were crazy and the hotel prices even crazier. James is vegan and our kids are picky eaters so we didn’t think the all-inclusive route would be worth the price tag. Airbnbs in the Bahamas was the way to go for both of our trips, each rental was located on Paradise Island (where Atlantis is).
Our Airbnbs in Bahamas were in a suite of villas that was an 7 min walk from the Atlantis resort. The location. has a restaurant located at the entrance, multiple pools and private beach access. We were also able to rent beach chairs/umbrella from local islanders for about $40 a day right outside of our Bahamas Airbnb.
When booking with AirBnb we try to stick to super hosts but if one isn’t available I’m okay with trusting 5 or more recent reviews (within last 6 months). If you have questions, ask. A good host is more than happy to answer any questions to help minimize confusion.
If you’re 100% prefer hotels over Airbnbs in Bahamas our top hotel choices are below. You can find deals/discounted rates when you use a service like Priceline or Tripadvisor.
The major benefit of going the hotel route is not having find alternate covid testing sites for the return trip home.
The Reef Atlantis $$$. They offer 1 & 2 bedroom suites and have a full kitchen option.
Comfort Inn Suites $. This is the best bang for your buck with budget + cleanliness.
Warwick Paradise Island $$
Baha Mar $$$
*note that these locations will require a Taxi over to Paradise Island
If you are staying directly at the Atlantis resort access to amenities are all inclusive. They offer a ton of family friendly activities both indoors and out. The have a marine habitat with over 50k animals and you can book to swim with dolphins/sting rays or even release baby turtles. Their Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis water park featuring 18 water slides for kids 48 inches or taller, “river rides” for preschool-aged children and older, and 20 swimming areas. The resort also has 4 private beaches, a game room, a movie theatre (perfect for rainy days) and so much more.
For those doing private rentals you have two options to access the Atlantis resort. You can get Atlantis day passes starting at $125 per child and $250 per adult. However we went a more budget friendly route for both of our trips.
The Comfort Inn Suites Paradise Island is located right next to the Atlantis resort and booking a stay with them grants access to the Atlantis property (water park, marine habitat and beaches). This is a great hotel choice if you’re not a resort snob btw. Booking a 3 night stay, will give you 4 days of access to the Atlantis resort (same access that the Atlantis day passes would). Let’s do the math, shall we?
Four Atlantis day passes directly from the resort will cost about $2850 for 4 days of access. A three night stay in 2 bedroom suite at the Comfort Inn Paradise Island is roughly $1120 for those same four days of access. The fact that the Comfort Inn offers free breakfast and free covid testing for your return trip only sweetens the deal. So booking the Comfort Inn for Atlantis Day passes is absolutely the budget friendly win here. You do have to fully check into the hotel to get access to the Atlantis day passes. I did take a peak at the room to see how clean they were but we didn’t actually stay/sleep there.
The Atlantis property is huge so it’s helpful to grab a map. The Aquaventerure water park is on the furthest end of the property. There is a separate check-in process for Aquaventure alone, there they give you wrist bands and towel access so you don’t need to lug those around. They have lockers for rent to secure your phones and/or cameras too.
PRO TIP: Go to the water park early morning or late afternoon to secure chairs and avoid crowds. If you do go mid day, slide the pool attendants a good tip and they will secure a batch of chairs for you and the family. If you really want to splurge you can reserve private Cabanas in advance.
Of course visiting the beach (we did 3 beach days and 2 water park days). Our Airbnb provided a few sand toys but you can also buy them from one of the local shops on Paradise Island or bring them with you. If you have older children or are into water sports the island locals offered everything from jet skiing to parasailing to catamaran rides right on the beach behind where our Airbnb was located.
With the exception of a few restaurants we didn’t explore much beyond Paradise Island, so let’s talk dining options.
Go to the grocery story first. You’ll thank me later. In a family full of picky eaters a grocery store run was imperative. We stopped before heading to our rental to grab breakfast foods, nonperishable snacks and the ever beloved PB &J. Our rental had a grill so we also grabbed hamburgers and hotdogs for a simple dinner (which came in handy the one night it rained cats & dogs). James is vegan (insert eye roll) so we bought a bunch of his favorite snacks in advance and packed them in a carry on suitcase. A guy has gotta have his seaweed right?
Our plan was to do breakfast at the rental (or Comfort Inn). Pack sandwiches for lunch at the beach or pool and then go out for dinner to help keep the food costs down. We stuck to this for the most part although we did end up ordering poolside lunch at the waterpark two days. All the walking and playing in the sun made the kids extra hungry.
If you aren’t able to taxi to the store for any reason they do have grocery delivery services on Paradise Island too. Expect for the groceries to be more expensive than they are here in the states. I haven’t seen prices like that since we lived in California. Even still, it was cheaper than doing a restaurant 3 meals a day for a family of five.
The Atlantis resort and surrounding properties have tons of restaurants to choose from. Quite a few of them take reservations and fill up pretty quickly so I would make dinner reservations in advance.
Chopstix or Cafe Martinique (both of these are located on Atlantis)
Carmines, Frankies Gone Bananas, Murrays Deli and Lagoon Bar & Grill (lunch only). As well as Crusoe’s Restaurant (located at Comfort Inn) and Violas (located at the Sunrise Beach Resort); all are walking distance from the Atlantis property.
Fish Fry, Poop Deck, Baha Mar, Twin Brothers, Latitudes or Cafe Jonny Canoe and Margaritavilla. Also there is a Carribean spot “under the bridge”, the bridge that you take to get over to Paradise Island. You have to use a taxi to get to any of these locations so your driver will know exactly where you mean.
Tripadvisors restaurant reviews/ratings have never failed us when traveling, so feel free to look any/all of these places up before giving them a trip.
As with any trip you want it to be a trip of a life time. While photos and videos to capture those memories are important, remember to take time each day or full days to really live in the moment with your loved ones. Anyone thinking of going to the Bahamas soon? If so, I hope these tips are super helpful in making your trip a great one!