I’ve never heard of the island of Bimini in the Bahamas until I watched a YouTube video mentioning the name. I knew it was a two hour boat ride from Miami. Bimini is the smallest most western island in the Bahamas.
FRS Caribbean was the tour company that we went through that provided fast cruise ship ride. Just like flying, going to another country through a port means that you will have to arrive early (30 minutes to an hour early depending on the cruise line). You will also have to go through security and be mindful of the things you bring back with you on the boat. The tickets themselves for the cruise were cheap but it’s the taxes you have to watch out for. US citizens can visit Bimini by either having a passport and a form of state issued ID or have a state issued birth certificate with a raised seal and state issued ID.
Instantly, we were bombarded by locals trying to rent a go kart to tourists for 50 dollars. They feed on people who are not aware that there is a free trolley that takes tourists around the island for free that comes every 30 minutes. Trolleys and go karts owned by the only resort on the island will also pick up tourists and take them to where they want to go for free. The staff driving these vehicles won’t ask for proof of your stay at the resort, they’re just happy to help if they see you walking on the side of the road.
Our first trolley driver dropped us off at a more secluded beach with restaurants that were locally owned. Locals owned houses facing the beach so not many tourists were around. The water was the warmest I’ve ever experienced. Plus, the beautiful clear, turquoise color worked in the beach’s favor.
I ordered a salad and fried platanos from a local shack/family owned restaurant. The island of Bimini has a specialty creamy tomato sauce that they put on their dishes. It was delicious on my simple salad. Local salesmen asked if we wanted coconut milk that they harvested straight from the trees in their backyards with a machete. I declined, because I’m not the biggest coconut fan. Instead, I quenched my thirst with a fruity soda.
My friend wanted to move on to other parts of the island but I was content on staying at that end. The island was split into two. In the north was the more pristine beaches, locals, the schools, and places where people actually lived. The south was more developed with beaches that weren’t as warm, and it had the only resort on the island. I was more keen on discovering the town and the local restaurants. My friend’s wishes won out and we went to the other side of the island with the resort.
The locals were kind, but like any tourists area, they tried to sell you things. Just politely decline and be on your way. Everyone seemed to be on island time, napping outside, sitting on the sandy beaches, and smoking weed.
As we took the trolley in the direction of the resort, we passed by Hemingway’s former house. Our trip seemed to have a common theme of Hemingway; we saw his house in Key West and now we were seeing it in Bimini. Unfortunately, most of it was burned down in a fire years ago.
We settled down on another beach that wasn’t as warm but was closer to the dock and the resort. I took to floating in the nearly waveless ocean. The waters were clear, but that I found an issue with that. You can see exactly what is lurking under the water. As I was doggy paddling, a large fish the size of swordfish (but not as pointy) swam past me. From then on, I stayed in the shallowest parts. On that beach near the resort you could rent chairs, umbrellas, and towels. I did nothing of the sort seeing as I wanted to save all my money for local cuisine.
The local trolley drivers told us that conch salad was a popular dish in Bimini since there are many conches harvest in those waters. As you would take a ride on the only main ride in the island, you could see that there were giant piles of conch shells on some the shores, especially near a restaurant. I didn’t try conch salad, but I did try conch fritters, that were surprisingly spicy. I enjoyed the dish nonetheless.
All in all, my favorite part of going on my Miami trip was going to Bimini. The weather was hot like summer, the beaches were gorgeous, the food was good, and I managed to make it out of the country without having to extensively plan.