If you look at the guidebook for best attractions on Paradise Island, you’ll very quickly realise that ‘anything worth doing’ involves spending a lot of money. All the activities listed revolve around the famously expensive Atlantis Resort. With passes to its world class water park and aquarium priced at $125 per person per day and with rooms rumoured to cost well upwards of $1000 per night, a visit to these attractions just couldn’t be justified in our travel budget.
But this isn’t a story about what we didn’t do during our time in the Bahamas. Instead, it’s a story where we discovered the wonder and beauty of the island that might have been missed if we had taken the word of the guidebook. We discovered a few gems that should be at the top of Paradise Island’s must-see/must-do attraction list, at least in our opinions. So if you ever plan to (or dream of) visiting, be sure not to miss these:
What a view!
Confession: I never used to be much of a beach person (gasp!). I try not to tell many people that, due to the risk of being promptly ‘defriended’, because quite frankly, it’s just unAustralian to not LOVE the beach. But I completely changed my mind when I moved to the beach two years ago. After a tough day at work, nothing was better for the soul then sitting on the sand and watching the waves crash over the shoreline. When I packed up my life on the coast, I was absolutely devastated to leave the beautiful beach behind.
Footprints in the sand
The incredible Cabbage Beach!
When we first saw Cabbage Beach, it was like coming home. Its beauty took our breath away and we just stood and stared at the landscape before us for what felt like a really long time! Cabbage Beach is honestly one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to – and I’ve been to Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, so that’s really saying something! The sand was cool beneath our feet, the ocean was turquoise-toned and refreshing and the sky was bright baby blue. It was perfect.
Toes in the sand (yes those are Bandaids on my feet – my poor feet aren’t used to wearing sandals after nothing but closed in shoes for months!)
Me by the beach
We found a shady spot on the sand but the beach was quite busy and someone decided it would be “fun” to feed the seagulls right next to us, so our relaxing spot on the beach soon became the eye of a seagull storm. So that was the end of that!
We strolled up the beach a little way, away from the crowds, and watched as the threat of a thunderstorm rolled in from the high seas. We headed home just in time, as the island was inundated with rain about an hour later. Our visit to Cabbage Beach was perfect and it really is a must-see should you ever visit the island!
Ty by the shoreline
Cabbage Beach – a storm rolling in!
It was so warm (notice our shiny faces?) and so sunny (notice how much we are squinting?)
Island Bike Tour
Our resort offered a free bike tour at 9.15am on select mornings, which we only discovered when we were on our way home from a massive expedition to find sunscreen. We promptly decided we couldn’t miss such an awesome opportunity to see the island and we were in luck – the next tour was scheduled for our very last day on the island.
Ready to cruise!
So on that day we set out on our bikes with our guide and, amazingly, Ty and I were the only ones in the group! Our guide spoke of fascinating facts of bohemian history while we had fun cruising around on our bikes and visiting some gorgeous spots along the way.
We stopped at the breathtakingly beautiful Versailles Gardens and French Cloister. Our bikes were left by the footpath so we could venture in and explore on foot. They are a replica of the famous gardens of the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris, and I found the resemblance uncanny!
The entrance to the gardens
This one is a bit ‘cheeky’!
Ty and our guide – I’m always trailing behind taking pictures!
The French Cloisture was constructed in France by an order of monks, disassembled and then reassembled in the Bahamas – but no instructions came with the pieces so it was a huge undertaking! Today, it is a very popular spot for weddings – and rightfully so. It is so beautiful, and directly opposite the Versailles Gardens, which often hosts the wedding reception!
At the centre of the cloister is a statue of a beautiful woman
I’m still shocked the Versailles Gardens and French Cloister isn’t listed as the number one attraction on Paradise Island! It was so incredibly beautiful and rich in historic detail so it would have been such an incredible shame to have missed this!
We then rode by a little pond full of fish, turtles and ducks. We left the bikes, again by the roadside, and ventured down to the water. From there, we spied a cute family of turtles getting some sun! Can you spot them?
Spot the turtles? No? Here’s a close-up…
Our guide also pointed out a white bird resting amongst the pond’s reeds. It’s nicknamed “the selfish bird” in bohemian folklore because it doesn’t like to share its food! Does anyone actually like sharing food?!
The landscape that we rode through was just so beautiful in itself. The colours, the lushness and oh my handsome
(!!!) all caught my eye and the attention of my camera.
This was such a leisurely way to spend an hour. The ride itself wasn’t difficult at all, which makes it perfect for all ages and fitness levels to enjoy! It was an amazingly fun and fascinating bike tour that I can’t recommend enough!
P.S. I wrote this post around lunchtime on our last day in the Bahamas but by late afternoon Cabbage Beach and our stay on Paradise Island became infinitely more special and magical to us. Tyrone proposed to me on a secluded part of the beach, in the late afternoon sun, overlooking the turquoise ocean. Of course I said yes!! To put it simply, we just couldn’t be happier!!! Without question, THIS was our absolute favourite moment in the Bahamas!
Celebrating Bahamian style!
(Please note: Right hand has officially retired from all photo opportunities. Left hand has become infinitely more photogenic!)
With love, Carly xo