Most people think of Nassau when they think of The Bahamas. But there’s a lot more to Bahamas than just Nassau. There are so many islands that comprise Bahamas, a country in the Caribbean. And don’t get us wrong, Nassau is beautiful and popular for families with kids. We, however want to introduce you to an island that is equally gorgeous as Nassau, and fortunately, not as touristy yet–Bimini. So, are you looking for that perfect beach vacation? If so, it’s time that you put Bimini on your radar. This popular beach destination is the ideal getaway for that next summer vacation. Whether you’re going alone or with family, Bimini has a lot to offer you.
Credits: Wikimedia Commons
Is Bimini a Country?
No, Bimini Island is not a country. From the map you can see that’s it part of The Bahamas. If you’ve heard about Bimini, then you probably associate the island with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway lived in Bimini from 1935 to 1937. It was also believed that Bimini was the inspiration behind Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”. Rev Martin Luther King was said to have worked on his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech while visiting this beautiful island in 1964.
Where is Bimini?
So, where is Bimini?
Bimini is a district of Bahamas located in the westernmost part of the country. Bimini is located only 50 miles east of Miami Beach, Florida. Though technically a part of the Bahamas, Bimini is close enough to home to provide for that easy and affordable getaway. In fact, it is the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland US. It is also composed of three chain islands- North Bimini, South Bimini, and East Bimini with North Bimini and South Bimini being the main islands. Bimini is currently owned by the Bahamas, and the capital is Alice Town. Since it is part of the Bahamas, Bimini’s spoken languages include English and Bahamian Creole.
What do you need to get into Bimini?
So, do you need a passport to travel to Bahamas? Do you need a passport to travel to Bimini? Do you need a passport to visit any of the Caribbean Islands? These are common questions we get all the time and will be glad to help. Granted Bimini is close to Miami but when packing your bags for this beach island getaway to Bimini, don’t forget to pack your passport as well even if you’re from the USA.
Although the entry requirements to Bimini may differ depending on which country you are from and how long you are planning to stay, a passport is the basic requirement you’d need to get into Bimini regardless of your country of origin. Sometimes, a valid identification card might be enough again depending on what country issued your passport. Regardless of where you’re from, please make sure your passport has a validity of at least 3 months (6 months for some nationalities) from your date of exit from Bimini.
If you don’t then plan to renew your passport before you travel so you don’t run into any difficulties with immigration. Some nationalities may also need a Visa to enter, so check the official government website of the Bahamas before your trip. Also note that if you are traveling alone with a minor, you would need a notarized travel permit from the minor’s other parent or from the minor’s legal guardians to bring them into Bimini.
You will also need the child’s passport as well, and it’s relatively easy to get a passport of your child. A great way to ruin a vacation is to be held or delayed at immigration on entry because you do not have the proper documents; so check exactly what you need for your trip and prepare in advance so you don’t run into any unnecessary difficulties.
Weather in Bimini
It makes absolute sense to check Bimini weather before you start on your vacation, especially if you’re traveling on a ferry and if you’ve only got a short weekend. You can be rest assured that if the weather is not favorable, the ferry or boat from Florida to Bahamas will not operate.
The weather in Bimini is pretty close to the weather in Miami and similar to the weather in the rest of The Bahamas–tropical with temperature rarely dipping below 63 degree year-round. The average high temperature mostly ranges from mid 70s to high 80s.
The hurricane season starts on June 1 and runs through the months of July, August, September, October, then through November 30th. These months are naturally rainier and less predictable. If you’re a budget traveler, or don’t have a choice but to travel during these months, don’t worry too much as these rainier months are the best times to travel since prices are more reasonable and the island of Bimini will be less crowded.
The rains hardly last and you will still have a great time vacationing during this period while saving some money. If you don’t care much about saving extra money and just want the absolute best time to visit to Bimini, then plan to visit in December, January, February, March, April, and May, after the hurricane season.
These months are considered the peak travel periods in Bimini, and your trip will be slightly more expensive during this time. However, regardless of which month you travel, you will have warm weather in Bimini.
How to get to Bimini from Miami or Fort Lauderdale
If you are coming from the US, then it’s highly likely that your point of entry is Florida; specifically from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. There are two ways to get to Bimini using public transportation: by ferry or by plane.
Ferry to Bimini
If you are travelling via ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini, the travel time is about 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on the company you book your tickets with. Bimini Fast Ferry by Go Bahamas Plus cost an average of $249.15 for a two-way ticket on different days. This includes associated port fees and service charges.
If you would like to add meals, snacks, or priority disembark options, you need to pay an additional $40 or $45 on peak season. Bimini Fast Ferry departs from Fort Lauderdale at 9AM and departs from Bimini at 6:30PM. Please check with Go Bahamas Plus for most current prices.
FRS Caribbean used to have a ferry from Miami to Bimini, but effective August 5, 2019, the Miami-Bimini ferry route provided by FRS Bimini was discontinued. If you visit their website, you will be advised to check out Balearia Caribbean instead. The popular route for a ferry to Bimini from Florida now is via Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. Balearia Caribbean offers trips during Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
One-way economy ticket from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini which leaves at 9AM is about $83.50 before taxes and fees; economy premium is right around $99 before taxes and fees. On the other hand, Bimini Bay to Fort Lauderdale ferry cost is approximately $101.50 before taxes and fees for economy and around $117 before taxes and fees for economy premium.
Booking your round-trip ticket at the same time will save you at least 15-20%. If you want to save even more, Bimini ferry and hotel packages can also be booked through the Balearia Caribbean website. They have partnered with a lot of hotels such as Hilton Resorts World Bimini, Pelican Bay Resort, and Grand Lucayan Bahamas.
We also have an expanded section below on everything you need to know about how to get to Bimini!
Plane to Bimini
If taking the ferry to Bimini from Florida is not an option for you, you can take the plane instead. This may not be the cheapest way to go to Bimini, but it definitely one of the fastest (well, depending from which airport you are flying from). If you are flying from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Bimini International Airport, this will only take you 45 minutes.
There are at least three airlines that fly from Florida to Bimini: Silver Airways, Austrian, and Lufthansa. Scheduled flights from these airlines usually depart between 12PM-4PM from both airports. Round-trip tickets cost anywhere between $217- $1800.
Seaplane to Bimini
Have you ever wanted to ride a seaplane? This might be your chance. You can skip the ferry and the airport and hop on a seaplane to Bimini instead. The highly recommended Tropic Ocean Airways will fly you straight via seaplane to Resorts World Bimini.
You can either depart from Fort Lauderdale International Sheltair or Miami Seaplane Base to North Bimini Seaplane Base. Tropic Ocean Airways offers flights daily from $225 to $425 per way.
If you would want to spend only 30 minutes travelling from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Bimini, this is the best option for you. Book your tickets way ahead of time since the seats are limited and the tickets could get sold out right away. If you are only spending a day trip to Bimini, this is the fastest transportation option.
How to Get to Bimini from Miami or Fort Lauderdale using other options
Renting a private yacht or boat and sail off to the Caribbean sunset is not a new thing. People who can afford this option have been doing this for years. Good thing though is nowadays, you don’t have to be a millionaire to experience Miami to Bimini boat charters privately.
If you are interested in this experience, My Yacht Experience and Miami Charters are two of the best companies to explore for booking your private boat and yacht transfer to Bimini. Some of these boats can fit up to 16 people, so you can invite your friends for more fun and to share the cost so you can all travel in style and spend less money on your Miami to Bimini trip.
Where to stay in Bimini
Okay, we got the getting to Bimini transportation options covered, so let’s move on to places to stay. If budget is not an issue for you, stay at Hilton at Resorts World Bimini. Previously known as Bimini Bay Resort, you can stay in this 5-star hotel for an average of $231 a night. The price will differ based on so many other factors, so be sure to check the prices when you’re ready to book.
A less expensive option, but still 5-star-rated, is Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina at $179 a night. Other great Bimini resorts include Resorts World Bimini, Bimini Big John’s, Wild Quest, Bimini Big Game Resort and Yacht Club, and Bimini Sands Resort and Marina.
If a Bimini Airbnb is more suitable for you, especially for long-term stays, there are a lot of hosts in the area from beautiful villas, to 2-storey homes, to cozy apartments. Just make sure to consider all the facts prior to choosing your vacation rental so you make the best choice for you and your family.
Currency and Spending Money In Bimini
Most people coming to Bimini are from the USA and constantly wonder if they can spend US Dollars in Bahamas. The answer is yes! The exchange rate is 1 USD to 1 Bahamian dollars so you can spend your dollars just as you would have spent the Bahamian dollar except you can save the pesky exchange fees you would have paid to exchange currency. Bahamas also widely accepts credit cards from taxis to grocery stores to restaurants and to activities.
You’ll have no major problem swiping your card in Bimini. Like with every other country you visit, you want to make sure you have enough cash on you for several reasons. There are places that might not accept cards and want cash-only.
Remember that Bimini is a tiny island and most of the businesses are owned by individuals and cash makes more sense for their business. You’ll find it easier to pay in cash for a local souvenir that with a credit card.
Where to Eat in Bimini: 7 Places To Eat In Bimini
One of the most exciting things about traveling to a new place is the food. After basking in the great Caribbean sun and swimming to your heart’s content, it’s time to wine and dine. Sure, your hotel has a great room service, but being out-and-about and simply sitting down for a meal is part of what makes up a great trip to Bimini. There are a lot of places to eat in Bimini, so even if you are a picky eater, you will still find something that suits your liking.
1. Stuart’s Conch Salad Stand
Fancy some conch? You came to the right island. Bimini’s marine life is thriving, so fresh seafood is available all year long in the area. The best conch in the island is served at Stuart’s Conch Stand. The conch’s shell is pretty, but the highlight is the meat. Also known as Fabe’s Conch Salad Stand, Stuart’s is a family-owned food business in Bailey Town, Bimini.
Aside from conch, their other specialty is the lobster salad with their homemade hot sauce. The place is built over the clear Bimini waters, so you can enjoy your conch while overlooking the ocean. The conch is perfect being paired with an ice-cold beer. They can also customize your meals if you have young kids who are picky eaters. The place is casual and kid friendly.
2. Joe’s Conch Shack
Another must-stop in Bimini for some local eats is Joe’s Conch Shack. If you cannot get enough fresh Caribbean conch, drop by Joe’s. Aside from the conch salad, their best-seller also includes grilled conch and grilled lobster. This place is also a popular hangout place amongst locals.
Try Kalik, a Bahamian brand of beer which is manufactured by the Commonwealth Brewery in Nassau. This is also the same brewery that produces Heineken, Guinness, and Vitamalt. Kalik is considered as the “beer of the Bahamas”, so definitely try one on your trip. This is the best beverage when eating delicious conch. The place is very casual, so you do not need to dress up and the view of the beach is just lovely.
3. Nate’s Bimini Bread
Officially Nate’s Bimini Bread and Catering, this is the best place in Bimini to go to for your bread and pastries fix. Also in Bailey Town, this local shop bakes their bread fresh every day. You will be overwhelmed with the number of options available. Tourists come here not only for breakfast but also for snacks and to buy breads to take home. You can get anything from plain bread to pizza to patties.
Are you into fruit breads?
Try their special guava breads. Other best-sellers also include cheese bread, cinnamon bread, seafood patty, seafood pizza, and coconut bread. They will also custom bake for you upon request.
Aside from breads, Nate’s Bimini Bread and Catering also serves full meals such as stuffed lobster, fried fish, conch rice, and even mac and cheese. They also have a wide variety of cakes, and their rum-flavored one is a must try. Try to drop by here before you go on island hopping and buy some snacks for your adventure. This is also a great place to get breakfast.
4. Scant Jerk
Scant Jerk is highly recommended for lunch, although you can come here any other time. Aside from the beautiful beach view where the place is, the food here is also superb. Scant Jerk’s specialty is the Caribbean jerk chicken and jerk pork.
If you want a casual and inexpensive meal, drop by at this place which is located in Queen’s Highway in Alice Town, Bimini. The chicken and pork jerks are both served spicy or mild. Try the spicy one if you want an extra kick in your chicken. There are also other items on the menu such as beef and seafood.
5. Edith’s Pizza and Takeout
The best food places in Bimini also offers the best view and Edith’s Pizza and Takeout is one of these places. You can find this food place in King’s Highway in Bailey Town, North Bimini. They are open for lunch and dinner daily.
On the menu, you can find homemade seafood pizza with fresh toppings such as lobster, conch, and shrimps. You can also order other meals such as cracked conch, cracked and minced lobster, chicken, ribs, fish, beef, and so much more. The meals are usually served with rice and peas or fries. Even if you came back here to eat multiple times during your Bimini vacation, you would still find something on the menu that you would like.
Of course, if you are too tired to get out of your Airbnb or hotel, you can also order to have something delivered. If you are vegetarian, there is also something in the menu for you. Even if you also have little kids who are picky eaters, you still will be able to order something that they will eat here at Edith’s Pizza.
6. End of the World Saloon and Sand Bar
This is more of a drinking and hangout place, but you can also get good food here at the End of the World Saloon and Sand Bar. If you are tired from all of your island adventures and would not want to go hopping from one place to another for meals and drinks, then this is the best place in Bimini for you.
The End of the World Saloon and Sand Bar is built above water, so you would always get the best sea breeze especially at night. They also offer seafood meals as well as chicken, pork, and beef.
Prepare yourselves for the quirky decorations inside the sand bar which includes female underwear hanging all over the place. It’s a good place to chill and have drinks with friends. If you are traveling solo, this is also a great place to meet new people and potentially make friends.
7. Three Daughter’s Deli
A great place to eat in Bimini is the Three Daughter’s Deli- a family-run local food business on the north side of Bimini. They have a wide range of food menu from sandwiches to fresh catch of the day. They also offer daily specials and you can request to have something cooked according to how you want it. This is a great place to take the whole family to for lunch or dinner.
They do not sell alcoholic beverages, but they would allow you to bring your own, which you can buy from the grocery stores nearby. Their dining patio is screened which means you will not have to worry about flies or bugs while eating and you would still get the best view of the ocean while enjoying your meal. You can also come here for breakfast and try their conch and shrimp omelet. Three Daughter’s Deli is also known for their coffee.
What to do in Bimini: 16 Things To Do In Bimini
There are a thousand things you can do in Bimini Islands. This is best place to have the perfect sea, sun, and sand combo. If Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King came here to think and write, for sure you can find something to do to relax your mind, too. If you would rather do something adventurous or outdoorsy, your options are unlimited. So what are the top tourist and non-tourist activities to do here? Here are the top points of interest in Bimini and things to do in there:
1. Explore the shipwreck of SS Sapona
This is a popular spot amongst divers. SS Sapona is a shipwreck of a concrete-hulled cargo steamer that sunk during a hurricane in 1926. Aside from it being a popular diving site today, SS Sapona bears quite an interesting history. It has gone from being used as a casino to a warehouse for illegal alcohol during Prohibition. The shipwreck served useful as a target for practice by the US Army Air Corps. Now, you can come here for snorkeling and scuba diving as well as get a chance to get intimate with the natural marine life of the area. View the area’s amazing sharks firsthand and watch as they feed on their prey. This interesting natural experience will help you reshape your mindset about these incredible creatures.
The marine life is abundant in the area. If you are adventurous enough, you can also climb to the top of the wreck and dive to the waters below. If you have booked an island-hopping package from the Bimini resorts, SS Sapona is usually part of the tour. It is believed that Ian Fleming’s Thunderball was inspired by this shipwreck.
If you have seen the 1977 horror film called Shock Waves, you may have recognized SS Sapona in some scenes. The SS Sapnoa was also important because Compleat Angler Hotel, a historic hotel that housed a collection of Hemingway’s memorabilia, was partly built from wood that was stripped from the wreckage over the years.
Ernest Hemingway was a guest at this hotel from 1935-1937 while he worked on his book, “To Have and Have Not”, an important fact that helped put Bimini on the map. Unfortunately, the hotel was destroyed in a fire in January 2006.
2. Catch up with the local history at Bimini Museum
Bimini Museum may be tiny in size, but it holds a great importance in the local culture. If you are wandering around Alice Town in North Bimini, drop by the Bimini Museum which is located on the second floor of the town’s post office. You can get inside for free and browse through displays showcasing the island’s history. You can see pictures, artifacts, and other relics being displayed.
There is also a significant corner dedicated to Ernest Hemingway who is considered as Bimini’s former resident who lived here from 1935 to 1937. You can also see here displays of piracy and salvaging that happened in the islands as well as photographs from the scenes of Silence of the Lambs in the 1990s.
Learning about Bimini’s history would give help you see Bimini as more than just an island paradise that you escape to when you are in a need of a beach therapy.
3. Discover the Lost City of Atlantis/ Bimini Road
This is a popular site that you only get to see by putting on your swimming gears, hopping on a boat, and diving underwater. Bimini Road, also called as The Lost City of Atlantis, Stone of Atlantis, or Bimini Wall, is an underwater site that you should never miss whenever you are in North Bimini island.
Search for a guide, book ahead, and be prepared to see a whole lost city under the crystal blue waters of Bimini Islands. The Bimini Road is made up of square limestone blocks that are perfectly aligned as a regular road on land would. The Bimini Road measures up to fifteen hundred feet long.
A lot of researchers have surveyed the area, and it is believed that this was constructed by seafarers of the olden times as it resembles a lot to a seawall, pier, or breakwater. Diving in this spot is now part of Bimini things to do list. This is only accessible via boat and you can probably not find it by yourself, so it is better to book a guided tour.
Island tours offered by Bimini resorts also include lunch and snacks, so it is the most convenient way to explore the islands. Make sure to take your underwater cameras with you for awesome photo opportunities in the Lost City of Atlantis.
4. Interact with lemon sharks at Bimini Shark Lab
One of the cool places to visit on a day trip to Bimini from Miami is visiting see some sharks. Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation, commonly known as Bimini Shark Lab, was founded in 1990 by Dr. Samuel Gruber. It is located in 15 Elizabeth Drive, South Bimini, Bahamas. It is a prominent research facility on the island that researches the area’s natural shark life.
Its main purpose was for research on the population dynamics of the lemon sharks, but since the area around Bimini Islands has a diverse marine life, Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation has broadened its scope of research. The facility offers half-day shark excursions, building tours, and hands-on research opportunities.
To date, the research projects here now focus on various kinds of sharks, rays, and hammerheads and Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation is proudly supported by Save Our Seas Foundation. They also have programs that caters to educating students and letting them have a first-hand experience in studying the marine life.
If you are looking for volunteer work in the Bahamas, the Bimini Shark Lab have volunteering opportunities for you. If you are a visitor, there are multiple tours available for you every day. Your donation would be greatly appreciated since it will help fund the research projects the Bimini Shark Lab has.
If you are travelling with kids, this would be a great place to stop by. You will not only know about the life of the sharks, rays, and hammerheads, you would also get a chance to interact with stingrays and baby lemon and nurse sharks. Your children will simply love learning about the different species of shark in the area. What’s more, they will be fascinated by the size and majesty of the creatures. For this reason, don’t forget to add a trip to the Bimini Sharklab when you plan your next vacation!
All activities with the Bimini Sharklab must be scheduled in advance. Scheduling a trip to the Bimini Sharklab can be the perfect educational experience for both you and your children. If you are looking for a way to make your summer getaway a valuable educational tool, make sure to add the Bimini Sharklab to your bucket list.
5. Lookout for Bimini Manatees
Known for its rich marine life, it is no surprise that aside from fishes and sharks, you can also see other ocean creatures in the waters of Bimini. One that you should be in a constant lookout for is the Bimini Manatee. A manatee is a large aquatic marine mammal which is sometimes known as a sea cow.
Manatees are gentle and harmless, so there is no need to fear them, although if you come in a close encounter with one, paying extra caution is still advised. Most times, you can see them from any Bimini ports and sometimes, you can even spot them while in your boat to Bimini from Miami.
Please take note that manatees are protected species in The Bahamas, so harming them in any way is illegal and could get you in a lot of trouble. Also, as responsible travelers, one should always make it a habit of not harming any living creature anywhere. The manatees eat seaweeds and algae and they also need freshwater to survive, so it is common to see them near docks and marinas. If you are in a Bimini day cruise, you might also spot them every now and then.
6. Go Scuba Diving in the Rainbow Reef
If you are a diving enthusiast and are only taking a day trip to Bimini from Miami, head to Rainbow Reef right away. Before you do though, book a local guide in advance because the waters can be a little rough sometimes depending on the weather. Just like most diving sites in The Bahamas, Rainbow Reef is not something you can easily find by yourself if you are not a local.
If you are on a Bimini weekend cruise, this tour may be offered as an add on at a low price. A lot of the tourists who have done snorkeling and scuba diving in the Rainbow Reef were impressed by how inexpensive the tour package was, yet the experience was way above expectations. Most tour packages also have snorkeling gears that you can use if you did not bring your own.
The guides will also brief you on safety precautions and will ensure your safety as well. You would get to see a paradise underwater in this diving site. Its name, Rainbow Reef, will give justice to the colorful coral and fishes in the area. It is worth the dive. During summer, it would be best to head out early since the spot could get crowded by boatloads full of tourists arriving at the same time.
Too many crowds would scare the colorful fishes away. Rainbow Reef is a protected marine sanctuary, so fishing is not allowed in here. The depth of the water ranges from 15 to 25 feet, so you can free dive if you want to in the shallow parts and scuba dive in the deeper parts. You might also see professional underwater photographers here. Due to the colorful fishes and corals, this becomes the most-photographed diving site in Bimini.
7. Visit the Dolphin House
One of the cool places to visit in Bimini is the Dolphin House in North Bimini, Alice Town, Bahamas. Opened in 1993, the Dolphin House allows Bimini tourists a unique experience at local culture and customs. It was founded by a local author and historian named Ashley Saunders, and this house has a little museum where daily tours are conducted. The Dolphin House is made up of a variety of seashells, sea fans, beach glass, and other eco-friendly materials. It is also built from completely recycled materials, a testament to the region’s eco-friendly attitude.
The house was built by hand and has been continually being maintained by such practice up to date. The goal of the owner, Ashley Saunders, is to make the Dolphin House a historic and important structure to Bimini’s history.
Aside from the unique structure and façade of the building, a lot of tourists drop by to meet Ashely Saunders. He is always available for a conversation, just about anything that has to do with Bimini. He is an inspiring person who has entertained and inspired those who have visited the Dolphin House.
8. Feel victorious drift diving the Victory Reef
Even if you are just going to take a day trip to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale, you would still get the chance to do water activities such as diving. Since Bimini has some of the best diving sites in the Bahamas, not doing underwater activities here would be such an injustice to the beautiful paradise under the blue Bimini waters.
There are a couple of diving sites to choose from, and one of the most popular is the Victory Reef. Victory Reef is famous amongst tourists and locals for drift diving since it is located along the edge of the Gulfstream. Drift diving is a type of scuba diving where you will be transported by the water movement caused by the tide or the current; thus, the term drift diving.
There are some private fast ferries to Bimini that can take you straight to this diving site. Victory Reef is such an enchanting site with its caverns, swim-throughs, and dramatic underwater topography. Plenty of hammerheads, Caribbean reef sharks, and loggerhead turtles make their habitat in this site. Pelagic fishes such as wahoo and mahi-mahi are also plenty in this diving site.
Tangs, parrotfish, angelfish, and spadefish can also be found here. Give yourself some time to get acquainted with the topography in this area. The visibility is excellent on most days, so you will not have a hard time trying to make sense of what is underneath and you can explore confidently. Take time exploring and check out the special spots along the reef: Rainbow Valley, Cathedral, and Sponge Gardens.
9. Checkout the Bimini Barge
Another diving site that is worth taking a one-day trip to Bimini is the Bimini Barge. The Bimini Barge is a shipwreck which is now a popular diving site in Bimini. The shipwreck is located one hundred feet underwater in the extreme northwestern edge of the Great Bahama bank.
The Bimini Barge is a 120’ vessel which sunk in the late 1980s due to a hurricane. It now sits upright at the bottom of the ocean and the top of the barge can be reached at 65’. Overtime, Bimini Barge’s wreck has become an artificial reef. It is covered with coral and sponges and is home to a variety of marine creatures such as groupers, barracudas, jacks, and sharks to name a few. The best time to come here is between the months of December to March.
Make sure you have the proper gear and guides if you are coming for the first time. While diving around the shipwreck is generally safe, swimming through the narrow passageways are highly discouraged amongst newbies or those who only scuba dive occasionally; professionals, however, won’t have that much of a problem exploring the narrow parts of the Bimini Barge.
This is only accessible via boat, so check out for your options about trips to Bimini by boat. The currents are pretty calm and steady especially during warm summer months, but because of its location, there may be times that you will expect strong and unsteady tides.
10. Experience Bimini Nightlife at King’s Highway
One of the exciting things about being in a new place is checking out its nightlife. You might be used to hanging out with friends on weekend nights in your city, but the Bimini nightlife might be a new experience for you. According to the locals and frequent Bimini visitors, the best place to experience Bimini nightlife is in the Kingsway Highway in Alice Town.
You can find a lot of bars that are walking distance from each other, so pub crawl is an option for you here. Restaurants are available here, too, so you can grab a meal before you start your cocktails or beer. One of the famous bars in Alice Town, Bimini is the End of the World Saloon Sand Bar. Although it may not look like the fancy bars you have at home, End of the World Bar has its own charm.
It is basically a shack built out of plywood with handwritten messages on its walls written by visitors who came, drank, and went on their way. The inside of the bar also somewhat resembles a clothesline. Don’t be weirded out when you see hundreds of women’s bras and panties hanged all over the place; they are supposed to be there.
It is definitely a sight you will not see anywhere else which makes it another reason why you should drop by End of the World Saloon Sand Bar. The bar is also open during daytime. It is on a waterfront, so outside sitting is ideal especially if you fancy sunset watching.
They serve strong rum drinks and cold Kalik beer. Another place worth spending your Bimini nightlife is Ebbie’s Bimini Bonefish Club. It is built over water, so it is the perfect place to chill out at night and have a cold bottle of beer while listening to the waves and feeling the ocean breeze. Mackey’s Sand Bar is also highly recommended.
It is a great place for music and dancing. They have local bands play on weekends. The place is also popular for their seafood pizza and fish fingers. If you are travelling with kids, this is a cool place to hangout with during late afternoons or early evenings. No matter what it is you’re looking for, Bimini nightlife has a couple of options for you to choose from.
11. Spend a day diving at Turtle Rocks
Spending a day diving, or a couple of hours, at Turtle Rocks is one of the things you can do on a one-day cruise to Bimini from Miami or other parts of Florida. Located about seven minutes southwest of South Bimini at Port Royal, Turtle Rocks is one of the most popular diving sites in Bimini that caters to divers of all levels.
This is also known for being a reef that only begins at three meters. There are three islets that make up the Turtle Rocks- North, Middle, and South Turtle Rock. These are all in close proximity to each other yet have different characteristics. You can get here via a small boat, and diving is possible at any time of the year.
You can see dense formations of colorful corals and fishes such as parrotfish, angelfish, spotted drums, file fish, Yellowhead jawfish, eagle rays, and lobsters. Although the diving site’s name is Turtle Rocks, you won’t see a lot of turtles here. The diving site is called as such because of the large brain and star corals that can be seen in the diving site during low tide which looks like the back of giant turtles.
12. Go hiking in Bimini Nature Trail
If you can stay for a couple of days, go for an Airbnb Bimini island option and spend at least half a day going on a hike in Bimini Nature Trail. This one-mile-long nature trail is in Bimini Sands Resort and Marina. Along the guided hike, you will get to be informed about the indigenous plants and animals growing and living in the island.
These hikes are usually guided by locals knowledgeable about the island’s ecology and history (self-guided tours are also allowed). You may also get to interact with indigenous animals along the way such as Bimini boa. If you prefer to do the hike without a guide, there are signages along the way, so you will not get lost.
Strap on your hiking shoes and pack some bugs spray. Along the way, you will see local plants such as gum elemi, palms, poisonwood, and five finger bush to name a few. If you have mobility challenges, you can also explore the trail on a golf cart which the resort can provide. If you would like to take a break from all the water activities but still be with nature, this is a great place to check out.
The trail is flat with very minimal inclines, so you can take little kids on the hike. Bimini Nature Trail is good for all ages who would like to spend time with nature.
13. Go deep diving in Continental Shelf
If you fancy some deep dive in Bimini, the best diving site for you is the Continental Shelf. There are a lot of Bimini weekend packages that include diving in Continental Shelf. The best time to come here are between the months of December to March, although you can still dive here all year long.
This diving site is on the western side of Bimini and the Great Bahama Bank. Its depth begins at 140 feet along the edge of the wall and you can drop from there down a couple of thousand feet into the deep blue below. This is commonly referred to as the “great unknown” since not many divers have ventured in this diving site.
Because of its topography, the strong currents and the vertical cut of the underwater cliff, diving here is only recommended to the professional divers. This is not a diving site that you should go to after finishing a 4-hour crash course on diving 101.
14. Have a close encounter with the turtles at Wreck of Hesperus
The Wreck of Hesperus is also commonly known as Turtle Wreck. Take a day trip from Port Everglades to Bimini, Bahamas, and head to this diving site. The Wreck of Hesperus is a shallow one, which is perfect for new divers and those who would like to snorkel. Hesperus was a cargo ship that carried loads of cement bags when it sunk.
These cement bags have hardened along the sea bottom of the ship. Because of its shallowness, the bottom of the wreck gets plenty of sunlight ideal for underwater photography- one of the reasons why this is site is also popular. At night, though, loggerhead turtles would gather here.
There are adventurous nighttime divers who purposely come here at nighttime just to have a close encounter with these turtles. You can also see other marine creatures here such as stingrays, triggerfish, red snapper, mackerel, pompano, lobsters, kingfish, grunts, barracuda, remoras, and nurse sharks. Occasionally, blacktip and hammerhead sharks would also surface here.
15. Visit Bimini Bull Run
Want to take your Bahamian vacation to the next level? Do just that with a visit to the Bimini Bull Run! And in case you’re wondering, it’s not bulls that you’ll be coming up close and personal with. It’s sharks. Bimini Bull Run is located at Bimini Big Game Club which hosts several fishing tournaments several times a year.
If you decide to participate in the daring Bimini Bull Run, you will be lowered into a cage and have the ability to intimately view stunning bull sharks. The dive site is built to keep shark divers safe, as well as keep the sharks safe. It is also built for non-divers to safely participate in shark encounters in an area that is considered the sharks natural environment. This initiative, which protects sharks as well, is endorsed by the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative as a way to preserve sharks for generations to come. If you’ve got an adventurer’s spirit, make sure to add this spectacular Bimini activity to your bucket list.
16. Visit South Bimini
Bimini has three islands – North Bimini, South Bimini, and East Bimini. East Bimini is one of the smallest, and so most people visit North Bimini and South Bimini. North Bimini is a bit more active than South Bimini so if you want some downtime, then head to South Bimini. South Bimini though, doesn’t have as much accomodations as North Bimini does so you might end up with a day trip unless you’re able to rent a private home to stay. There is an area where people live in South Bimini called Fort Royale and this is where you could find a place to rent if you wanted to stay here more than just a few hours. Most tourists to South Bimini still visit by boat and leave afterwards. The population of South Bimini is under 200 but it does have a little airstrip, South Bimini Airport and a few airlines like Silver Airways and United do fly into there for a very expensive price.
And what is the attraction for South Bimini? The beaches. The beaches of the South Bimini island are world-renowned for their beauty, shopping, and clarity. Enjoy the perfect getaway at one of these crystal-clear beaches. You and the family both will enjoy escaping from the pressures of daily life at one of these internationally recognized beach resort areas.
One of the most popular of all Bimini islands, South Bimini offers you and your family the ultimate summer vacation. Soak up the sun and enjoy the waves at this incredible beach location.
How to Get Around Bimini
Getting around Bimini is pretty easy. You can pretty much get chauffeured by your hotel shuttle services anywhere in the island. If you are staying long-term though, this may not be the most cost-efficient option. You can call taxi services or do the old way and flag them down the street.
The widely used transportation here though are golf carts and bicycles. There are very few cars for rent since the island is small and cars here are few. There are a lot of Bimini golf cart rental companies that you can get in touch with for short term or long-term golf cart rental.
Some of the top Bimini golf cart rental companies are A.B.C. Golf Cart Rental, Bimini Gulfstream Rental, D&S Golf Cart Rental, Dolphin’s Golf Cart Rental, and Elite Golf Cart Rentals. You can call them ahead of even just walk in when you decide to rent one. It is very unlikely that they will runout of golf carts to rent even during peak season.
You can also rent bicycles for a cheaper option. The downside to this though is if you have small kids, this may be a bit challenging. If everyone in your group can bike, biking around the island is a great activity you can bond with.
If you wish to travel from North to South Bimini, there are ferries that travel daily between these islands. If you arrived in Bimini via plane and landed in South Bimini Airport, you can get to North Bimini easily.
All you need to do is take the airport taxi waiting outside the arrival area (the cost is around $5 and there are a couple of them waiting for tourists) and instruct the driver to take you to the port where you can take a water taxi to North Bimini.
These water taxis have multiple schedules and are available daily. You would also have to take the same route going back to South Bimini from North Bimini. Water taxi fare is around $8 per person per way which only takes a couple of minutes travel time.
Bimini might be small, but that’s what we love about it. You only need a few days to get through most of the island and really get to feel at home. If you’re in the mood for a little Caribbean island love, consider taking a trip to the Bahamas which already ranks high on our list of top Caribbean islands to visit. But specifically, visit Bimini for a less touristy but fun trip.
Bimini Ferry: Everything you need to know about taking the ferry to Bimini
We have recently gotten a lot of questions about how to get to Bimini on a ferry and have dedicated this section to discuss the best way to get to Bimini on a ferry!
The Bahamas comprise hundreds of islands and Bimini is the one that is closest to the United States. This extraordinary island is approximately fifty miles to the east of Miami and one hundred and thirty miles to the northwest of Nassau in the Bahamas.
Many people think that they need to fly to reach Bimini, but then some wonder, “Does Bimini have an airport?”. While there is an airport on Bimini, the South Bimini Airport, most people traveling to the island from the United States will find that it is much easier to take the Bimini Ferry.
Once people realize that they can reach Bimini so easily, they then ask the question, “Do you need a passport to go to Bimini?”. The answer to this question is yes, because a REAL ID or passport card is not valid for international travel to the Bahamas and that includes Bimini. That means that you will be required to show your passport prior to boarding the ferry or boarding the plane, because they want to make sure that you have valid identification, so you are not turned away when you reach the island.
Ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas
The easiest way to get to Bimini from the United States is to travel to Fort Lauderdale and then take the Bahamas ferry over to the island. The Bahamas fast ferry will have you arriving on the gorgeous island of Bimini in just two hours.
This ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas leaves Port Everglades on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays all year long, but it leaves more often during the busier months of July and August. The ferry hold six hundred passengers and you can choose from business premium or economy seating when you purchase your tickets. While you can do one-way service via the Bahamas fast ferry, you can also do a day trip or book your return date as you are purchasing your one-way service.
The Bahamas fast ferry leaves the port at nine o’clock in the morning, but you must be checked in by ten minutes before eight. This should not be too difficult since check-in begins at quarter to seven in the morning. You will then arrive in Bimini at eleven in the morning.
When it comes to leaving Bimini and traveling back to Fort Lauderdale, you can start checking in at quarter to four in the afternoon. Check-in closes at half-past five and the ferry leaves Bimini at half-past six in the evening.
Is There a Ferry from Miami to Bahamas
There used to be a ferry from Miami to Bimini, but that ended in the beginning of August of this year. While this is disappointing, since Fort Lauderdale is eleven miles further away from Bimini than Miami was, you can still reach the island in less time than you think. Therefore, don’t worry too much about needing a new starting departure point. Simply change where you are heading, and leave for Bimini from there!
How to Reserve a Seat on the Bahamas Fast Ferry
There are two ways to reserve your seat on the Bahamas fast ferry, but one is better than the other. I always recommend reserving your seat online, because then you are guaranteed a seat when you arrive. This is definitely best during peak season on the island, as well as the weekends.
While reserving online is quite easy, you must be careful and double-check your reservation prior to your departure, because the ferry schedule can change without notice.
It is not normal for the ferry to change its schedule that often, but it does happen, and you must be prepared if it happens for your trip to Bimini. If you do not want to reserve your seat in advance, or you are taking a last-minute trip to Bimini, then you can get your ticket right at Port Everglades. There is a chance that the Bahamas ferry will be booked for the day that you want to leave though, so you may end up not visiting the island on the day that you want to.
Services Aboard the Bahamas Fast Ferry
Once you board the ferry for your trip over to Bimini, you can find your lounge seat and relax. There will be a bar onboard and you can watch live television as you quickly ride to your destination.
The bar will have more than drinks for you to enjoy too. You can purchase all types of snacks, pastries, and even sandwiches for your boat ride. While you can purchase these items on board, you may want to purchase dining services online or at the ticket office, because you then get a ten percent discount.
Not many people realize that the Bahamas fast ferry has stores onboard, but they do. You can purchase a large variety of gifts, souvenirs, books, personal items, and more. If you do not want to purchase magazines at the store, and you didn’t bring anything to read, you can always grab a complimentary copy of Entreolas by Baleària. This magazine is jam-packed with lifestyle, travel, and other trending articles that you will immensely enjoy reading.
The Cancellation Policy for the Ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini
As with everything else travel related, there is a cancellation policy in place with a penalty fee. While you are better off cancelling your reservations well in advance, you do have a few options available to you. Basically, if you cancel your trip at least thirty-one days in advance, you will receive seventy-five percent of the cost of your trip back as an account credit. That credit will be valid for twelve months from the date of your initial booking.
If you cancel anywhere from seven to thirty days before your reservation, you will only receive a fifty percent account credit. If you cancel your trip six days or less before you leave, you will not receive any account credit at all.
Carrying Luggage onto the Bahamas Fast Ferry
Everyone normally takes at least one bag with them when they travel to Bimini via the ferry, even if they are just going for the day. After all, who doesn’t need a bag for their sunscreen, sunglasses, and all those souvenirs!
While you are allowed one carry-on bag, with maximum dimensions of twenty-two inches by eighteen inches by ten inches, you can take others for a fee.
Each piece of additional luggage, or those that are larger than the dimensions listed above, will currently cost $25 each way. If you are taking any really large items with you to Bimini, like scuba gear or bicycles, they will be considered oversized luggage and the charge for those items will be $50 each way.
Consider a Bimini Cruise and Stay
While day trips to Bimini are spectacular, staying there for a few days is even better! If you think that you want to consider this option, I recommend looking into the Bimini Cruise and Stay that the Bahamas fast ferry company offers.
Currently, their package offers the fast ferry service with accommodations at the five-star Hilton at Resorts World Bimini. You can choose to stay one night or seven nights to go with your round-trip ferry ride.
There are six new restaurants to enjoy at this hotel, with one being on the roof and another being poolside. Add in the lazy river pool and the world-class spa and you will finally have found your piece of paradise.
It is important to note that there is a resort fee of $25 per room for each night of your stay. This resort fee is not included in the price of your reservation and will need to be paid upon your arrival.
The cancellation policy is the same as just the ferry ride, so be prepared to accept an account credit if you do need to change your plans. And remember, it is best to cancel a lot sooner than later!
Located just a few miles off the coast of Florida, Bimini offers individuals that perfect summer getaway they’ve been dreaming of. Simply put, the island has everything you could ever ask for in a tropical paradise: beautiful beaches, iconic scenery, and the chance to interact intimately with the local culture and wildlife. Now that you know how easy it is to reach Bimini via the Bimini Ferry from Fort Lauderdale, you must be ready visit this spectacular island within the Bahamas!