Updated: Apr 4
Are you tired of the cold weather? Are you looking to escape the wintertime blues? Then Atlantis is calling your name. Welcome to year-round sunshine in the Bahamas. There is a reason the Bahamas is called the “Paradise Islands”.
(Be prepared, the Bahama Islands are known for having rolling power blackouts. Luckily, Atlantis has a backup generator that can run for days. We were without power for about an hour one day, before the generator kicked in. It doesn't seem that bad being without power for an hour in paradise, UNLESS you were that poor old man who was stuck in the Reef Tower elevator for an hour.)
(NAS) Nassau Airport in the Bahamas
Flight Budget Tips: 1) We used our Southwest Rapid Rewards points which covered my husband's ticket. 2) I used my Southwest Companion Pass (Southwest Credit Card) to cover my son's ticket.
Transportation from Nassau to Atlantis
We selected an Atlantis town car for our roundtrip transportation. You can take an Atlantis shuttle for a smaller fee, but I heard the process is daunting. I heard you may have to wait for other Atlantis guests to arrive at the airport, or just that the lines are too long. Long story short, be prepared to wait if you are taking a shuttle. The easiest and fastest way, is either a town car or a taxi.
If you are taking a taxi, then this is the time to stop and pick up some grogeries for Atlantis.
(They ran out of town cars so they sent us a Limo! Jackpot!)
This is not an all-inclusive resort.
I repeat this is not an all-inclusive resort.
Where should you stay:
Royal Tower- Is closest to the waterpark. This is my number one pick, if you plan to spend a majority of your time at the waterpark.
Reef Tower- This hotel is more on the luxurious side, plus the rooms come with fully stocked kitchens. The best part is the guests share a private beach with the Cove Tower. This is where we stayed. If you want to save money by cooking your own meals, then this is the place to stay.
Cove Tower- This is the most luxurious building. You have access to private beaches shared with the Reef guests. This is where the "fancy" people stay.
Beach Tower- This hotel is a little outdated, but it is budget friendly. If you want to save money, this is the tower for you.
Atlantis Budget Tips: 1) Book your trip a year in advance. 2) Book in December when companies are closing their books. 3) Book your trip for "off season" dates and stay away from the "peak" travel dates.
This is where we stayed. The best part is we arrived early, around 11:50am, and we were allowed to check in early for no additional charge. Yay!
What to pack:
We packed a full suitcase with snacks, Gatorade, water, plus food to cook.
This is how you will get around the resort. Atlantis offers a 24-hour free shuttle service that takes you around to each tower. Yes, the resort is that big. Pay attention to the signs on the buses. The signs will let you know which tower that bus drops off at. Not all buses go to the same spots.
The Atlantean- Atlantis Activities Sheet
Pick up the daily activity sheet from the hotel concierge and plan your day according. There is so much to see and do at this resort. Atlantis is like a huge cruise ship on land!
Check the activities sheet for movie times. We were able to see the new released Spiderman for free. Just FYI, they started our movie 15 minutes early, so I suggest you show up early.
Marine Exhibits in the Royal Tower
(Included with you stay. Your room key is your pass)
We spent several hours our first day just exploring the marine habitats and marine exhibits. We enjoyed getting lost in the underwater ruins and Atlantis lagoons. I suggest setting aside half a day to explore the various attractions like: The Dig, Ruins Lagoon, Predator Lagoon, Shark Lagoon, Cenote, Estuary Lagoon, Reef Lagoon, Hibiscus Lagoon, Seagrapes Lagoon, Stingray Lagoon, Royal Ray Lagoon, and Water Edge Lagoon.
Use this map to make sure you hit all the marine exhibits.
A-Cenote B- Estuary Lagoon C- Reef Lagoon D- Hibiscus Lagoon E- Seagrapes Lagoon F- Stingray Lagoon G- Water's Edge Lagoon H- Predator Lagoon I- The Dig & Ruins Lagoon J- Royal Ray Lagoon K- Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon L- Dolphin Cay
Water park- 141-acres of water park fun.
(Included with your stay. Your room key is your water park pass, so take it with you.)
Please note, if you plan to spend the entire day at the water park, then you need to pick up a wrist band.
We went in November when the weather was perfect. However, the waterpark and swimming pool water was a little on the chilly side. **The Lazy River and The Current are heated.**
If you are wondering if they serve alcoholic drinks at the waterpark. Yes, yes they do.
(48 inches height requirement)
Here are some videos of the thrilling slides. My husband had a blast on all the slides.
A majority of the slides have a 48 inches height requirement, therefore my 6 year old son was not able to ride the slides. He was only able to ride The Current, which is the rapid river. He loved it! He did it over and over again!
This was 100% lazy. If you like to stay dry and relax, then this river is for you.
This was my daughter's favorite spot. This area is perfect for toddlers.
This was our favorite spot to chill and relax. You get the benefits of the beach with the ocean & sand, but without the waves and undertows. You will even find people snorkeling this lagoon.
On-site Excursions- Book in Advance! Excursions sell out fast!
Dip ’N Discover at Dolphin Cay
(An adult ticket must be purchased with the child)
There is an age requirement for swimming with the dolphins, therefore my daughter had to select the Dip ‘N Discovery activity with the Dolphins. Atlantis will provide the wetsuits to all participants. Once you have your wetsuit on, then you will enter waist deep water. This is where the fun begins with face to face interactions with the dolphins.
(Ages 3-6-No adult ticket required)
Each participant receives a free Atlantis rash guard shirt, which they are able to keep. Then, the interaction starts with the children feeding the sharks.
Then, they enter another lagoon where they feed and pet the small stingrays.
Next, they get to feed the massive sea turtles.
This was seriously the best excursion for children who love sea animals. My son was in heaven and couldn’t stop talking about it for days.
Snorkel the Ruins
(Must be at least 8 years old to participate. Kids ages 8 to 11 must be accompanied by a participating adult.)
This is a one hour snorkel adventure through the Atlantis Ruins. Yes, you will be snorkeling with some friendly sharks, stingrays, and colorful fish. My husband had the time of his life. If you love to snorkel, then this needs to be on your bucket list.
Things to keep in mind:
1) You can request a wetsuit.
2) People walking through the tunnels can see you. Please, refrain from picking your nose. Hehe.
Playtime with Sea Lions
(For all ages and swimming abilities. Children under 10 must be accompanied by a paid adult. Complimentary for kids 3 and under.)
This was by far my favorite excursion. My family had an absolute blast playing with Sunny the sea lion. We were able to spend 30 minutes of one on one time with the super sweet Sunny.
Wetsuits are provided by Atlantis.
Salty Toes Full Day Excursion- $129 a person
Do you want to swim with the pigs in the Bahamas? I sure did! It can get crazy expensive to swim with the pigs in Exuma. It comes with a large price tag of $499 a person. You must take a two-hour speed boat ride from Nassau to Exuma and a two-hour boat ride back. Please note, some companies do not allow kids on the speed boat for safety reasons. If you want a cheaper, plus closer version, I suggest going to the Salty Toes Excursion on their private island.
If you have small children, this is the excursion for you at $129 a person. A safer and more relaxing boat will take you to a private island. They even provide everyone with free Rum Punch when you board the boat. Once at the private island, you can snorkel the island and swim with the pigs. Unlike Exuma, these pigs are not wild, therefore perfect for small children. I heard the wild pigs on Exuma can be aggressive.
A huge bonus is that the island beach has zero waves. My kids were able to swim around in the ocean like it was a swimming pool. For once, I was able to kick back and relax at a beach. As you can see in the picture, the private island is…. Private.
Also, the excursions come with a free lunch buffet. Plus, they serve alcoholic drinks that are extremely cheap.
Food at Atlantis
The food is extremely expensive! Also, they add a gratuity of 27% to everything.
Starbucks at the Reef
This is the cheapest breakfast we could find.
Cascades at the Reef Pool
This was my favorite spot to eat. The hamburgers are delicious.
and the Mojito Margarita is to die for
and the view.....
This is where you can find reasonably priced food. Yes, it's still part of Atlantis, so the 27% gratuity is added to everything. Hop on the Atlantis shuttle because it will drop you off at this section of the resort. This is where you will need to be dropped off for the Salty Toes Excursion, as well. (Next to Margaritaville)
Mario Pizza at Marina Village
This is where we had lunch everyday, because for $7.00 you can get a large slice of Pizza. We were able to take one slice and make it into two.
We always carried our own drinks. No way am I going to pay 27% gratuity on an already expensive drink.
Burger Shack- Marina Village
This is one of the most reasonably priced restaurants that we could find, and it's kid friendly. No reservation is required. The only alcohol they serve is beer. However, you can buy a mixed drink in the Marina Village and bring it into the restaurant.
Fish at Atlantis
We had dinner one night at the Fish restaurant which is considered "fine dining" at Atlantis. Huge Mistake! The food is amazing, but be prepared to spend at least $200. There are no kids meals, and I couldn't find any kid friendly options. Also, kids are not allowed to dine after 7:00pm. Reservations are required and if you are a no show, then you will be charged $50.
Fish Fry- Downtown Nassau
You will read a ton of blogs telling you to save money and go to the Fish Fry in town. Well the taxi ride is $40 and the food is crazy expensive. They even add a 27% gratuity to your bill! I’m guessing they make a majority of their money from the cruise ships. Please be aware, a majority of the restaurants only take cash, so read the signs before you sit down and place your order. Also, just like a majority of the Atlantis restaurants you will not find kids meals.
If you do go, I suggest the Big Yard Restaurant. We received free shots and a free conch fritters appetizer. We noticed the jerk chicken in the Bahamas is more like the U.S. version of chicken wings. I prefer Jamaica's slow cooked jerk chicken. However, it is hard to find authentic food near Atlantis, so I could be wrong. Conch seems to be the fish of choice in the Bahamas which is pretty good.
Looking for a romantic Instagram spot? Find the heart swing.
I'm always on the lookout for celebrities. They walk among us! I saw the North Carolina basketball team. Yup, they were just walking around the waterpark with a camera crew following them. Is he looking at me? It sure does seem like it.
Make sure you are looking your best. You could end up on tv.
I hope my blog is able to help you plan your trip. Let me know, if you have any suggestions I could add to my blog. Also, if you spot a celebrity at Atlantis, please comment below.