One of my best friends decided she wanted to celebrate her milestone birthday with a girls trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. I have been to the Bahamas before, so I wasn’t that excited about her choice. However, she has been such a good friend to me, I would have gone just about anywhere to help her celebrate.
Much to my surprise, it was a great birthday weekend! I didn’t want to leave Atlantis and I can’t wait to go back. You may be wondering if Atlantis would be a good vacation destination for you, so I wanted to share some points to consider and tips to help plan your trip.
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Atlantis is a huge resort with several different towers (Royal Towers, Beach Tower, Coral Towers, The Reef, The Cove). The Reef and the Cove are adult only areas and significantly more expensive than the other towers. The Coral and Beach Towers are more affordable but a little farther from the waterpark area. We stayed in the Royal Towers, the “heartbeat of Atlantis.” The room was nice, but I was disappointed when I realized that our balcony was barely wide enough to stand on. Only a few rooms in the Royal Towers actually have real balconies.
The grounds are absolutely gorgeous and well maintained. I really enjoyed exploring especially early in the morning when it was quiet. It is a bit of a walk from any of the rooms to the pools and waterparks. If you prefer not to walk, there is a free shuttle that runs around the resort (every 30 minutes) but we never used it. You can also take the shuttle to the One and Only resort next door where they filmed scenes from the James Bond movie “Casino Royale“.
Carry what you need with you for the day, don’t expect to be able to go quickly back to your room to grab something. We used the lockers by the waterpark to store our phone and other items while we were in the water. It’s $10 well-spent. The only problem is the lockers close early (around 5 pm most days we were there).
Activities at Atlantis:
You will never be bored at Atlantis, there is so much to do! The waterpark area has something for everyone. We had no idea there were two areas that have water slides – Mayan Temple and Power Tower – until our last day. There were a few really scary slides that none of us were brave enough to go on like the “Leap of Faith.”
Right next to the “Leap of Faith” Slide (which pretty much goes straight down), they have a little tamer (although still fast) slide called the “Serpent Slide” that you ride down on in a tube. I went on a two person tube with my friend. The slide goes through a shark tank. Another friend followed us on the ride, but when we got to the end of the ride, an empty tube came out after us. At first, I really worried that she had fallen out of her tube. Actually, the lady helping everyone at the start of the slide let go of her tube before she could get in. So she had to go back down and get a new tube before she could go on the ride. Luckily the line was not too long.
They also have a very tame lazy river (closed for renovation during our stay) and a more exciting one with rapids called – “The Current”. This was definitely my favorite part of Atlantis. It is a mile-long river where you go through river rapids, big waves, and even a water escalator (which was a little odd). I could have stayed on it the whole day. There are two person tubes that you can take on this ride too. It is not as intense as some of the warning signs may make it out to be, but I would still not recommend trying to carry a cocktail.
Additionally, there are 11 pools at Atlantis, so we didn’t get to try them all. It was nice that there always were plenty of lounge chairs. Our favorite was the Baths pool which is located close to the Cove. It has a beach entry, waterfalls, and caves. Plus in the afternoon there was a great DJ and dance area. Also for those that like to swim for exercise, there is also a lap pool by the fitness center.
There are two main ocean beaches by Atlantis. We went to the one closer to the Cove as the water seemed calmer, although it did close at 3 pm for a private event the day we were there. There is another beach on the lagoon with some water sports (snorkeling, paddle boats, and bikes) that I wanted to go to, but just did not have time.
Atlantis is also almost like an animal sanctuary. They have sharks and sting rays and turtles in the various lagoons on the property. They also have a great aquarium called the Dig. Visually the Dig is stunning and if you like you can even snorkel inside it. They also have a dolphin encounter there, where you can swim with dolphins. My friends did that before I arrived and really enjoyed it.
In the evenings, you can find plenty of different things to do. One night we went to the comedy club (there was a $25 cover, which cannot be charged to the room). We weren’t too impressed with the first comic we saw, but we really enjoyed the headliner, Andy Woodhull. We decided to be brave and sit in the front row, so we got lots of attention. Another night we went to the nightclub, Aura, which wasn’t too crowded. We spent most of our time there on the dance floor since the DJ was playing a good mix of music. If you get there early (before 11 pm) there is no cover charge. In addition, there are several other bars, some that even have live music, a movie theater (no extra charge), and a casino with a sportsbook.
Food & Drink:
You have plenty of food options to choose from at Atlantis but most are overpriced as you might expect. They do offer dining plans, but they are not cheap! I would definitely recommend trying to bring something for breakfast (like a protein bar) that you can eat in your room.
Lunches were reasonable, we usually grabbed something from one of the shacks by the pool. I really enjoyed the roti wrap that I had. Dinners are also pretty expensive. Many of the restaurants had portions that were large enough to split. I did think that Bimini Road was excellent and the best value. The food portions were huge – especially the cracked conch, which was delicious. They even had a live band the night we dined there.
There are also lots of options for cocktails. In addition to the bars inside the resort, there are also plenty of bars throughout the pool area. They all had cocktail menus and you could also customize your own frozen drink by choosing the fruits (strawberry, banana, and mango) and the alcohol. Of course, you can also have the frozen drinks without the alcohol.
Booking Your Atlantis Vacation:
While Atlantis can be expensive, you can find promotions periodically. If your plans are flexible, you will probably be able to get a better rate. I have seen deals on groupon too (click here to see if there are any groupons now). You can also use Marriott points here, although you still will have to pay the resort fee for each person ($49.99 plus $3.75 VAT per room per night for most rooms). The resort fee includes 2 bottles of water, access to the gym, and wifi (note: wifi was not very reliable).
Next time I go back, I will probably try one of the less expensive towers like the Coral or Beach. If there aren’t any promotions or groupons, you can click here to check the prices and availability on booking.com. Atlantis offers day passes for $145-$159 for adults and $90 for children age 4-12, but those need to be booked in advance as they do sell out.
So to wrap up, if you haven’t already been to Atlantis, you really should plan a trip. Personally, I can’t wait to go back. Hopefully, this post will help you make the most of your vacation days. If you have been to Atlantis, I would love to hear about your trip.
Expert Tips for Visiting Atlantis in the Bahamas:
- Be flexible with your travel dates so that you can take advantage of the promotions offered.
- Bring breakfast and try to share plates if you want to save money on food costs.
- Bring what you need with you for the day and use lockers. It will save you the long walk back to the room.
- Make sure you go on “The Current,” you will thank me later!
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