Lost Girl Field Trip: Andros Island-Part1

Adventure Travel, All Inclusives, Andros Island, Bahamas, Blogging Your Trip, Caribbean, Dispatches from the Road, Hotels & Resorts, Solo Travel, Websites and Blogs — By on December 30, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Jen: While I wouldn’t trade my position as 1/3 of The Lost Girls writing team for anything in…well…the world, I recently spread my journalist wings and accepted my first solo assignment: a 9-part web series on Andros Island for the pop culture travel site, Jaunted.com. But even though I temporarily flew away from the nest, I felt compelled to bring my stories home to you, my favorite TLG readers. So enjoy my inaugural post and stay tuned each week for a new entry!

*****

“Big Love for Small Hope”
Andros Island Small HopeEvery time I see one of those Corona commercials with the bare feet and beer bottles chillin’ out on a stretch of palm-fringed, powdery white sand, I always think “If I could be anywhere in the whole world right now, it’d be there.” Sitting by the ocean…a frosty cocktail in hand…completely sans shoes…Ahh! As luck would have it, I discovered just such a place during an impromptu vacation to Andros Island.

Desperate to escape the chill and gloom that had settled over Manhattan, I accepted a spontaneous invite from my friend Mark for a week of beach bumming, bungalow-side boozing and world-class scuba diving in the Bahamas. In less than a New York minute, I’d stuffed my passport, PADI card and a few bikinis in a bag and was ready to head south in pursuit of the much hotter sun. Although it’s the largest island in the Bahamas, Andros is far less inhabited and touristy than it’s Nassau neighbor, yet conveniently close in proximity (only 15 minutes by plane), making it an ideal destination for a quick trip from the States.

Bahamas Andros Island The day was just beginning its slow transformation to twilight, when Mark and I arrived at the Small Hope Bay Lodge, an über laid-back, all-inclusive resort we’d reserved for the week. We were greeted by office manager extraordinaire, Anastasia, who quickly got down to the most important order of business – ensuring we were happy and relaxed with an ice-cold Kalik, a popular Bahamian brew. OK, how could I work it so that I never had to leave this island?

Fortunately for us, Small Hope is a self-contained sliver of paradise, so everything from the guest cottages and main house to the ocean front hot tub and outdoor patio bar are just a few (shoes optional) paces down the beach. Since Mark and I were on the scuba diving package, which includes two tank dives in the morning and a third in the afternoon, our schedule was a bit more ‘rigorous’ but still allowed for ample hammock time. All-in-all, our days went something like this:
Small Hope Bay Lodge 8:30am: Leisurely breakfast and chat with the dive masters about the morning scuba trip
9:30am-11:30am: Walk a grueling 100 feet from our cabin to the dive shop to grab our gear and board the lodge-owned dive boat. Experience two out of more than 60 spectacular recreational dives on Small Hope’s regularly scheduled menu, including colorful shallow reefs, coral gardens, wreck dives, blue holes and wall dives. Strip off our wet suits and basked in the sun during the return ride.
12pm-1:30pm: Beach-side lunch followed by a dip in the hot tub
2pm-3:30pm: Another amazing exploration of the Andros Barrier Reef Bahamas Andros Island


4pm-6pm:
Relax in a hammock and watched the Caribbean waves roll in. Force myself to find another, shadier, hammock setting if the hot Bahamian sun started burning my pasty white Yankee complexion. If feeling extra motivated, indulge in other activities like nature walks or a bike ride to an inland blue hole for a fresh water swim
6:30pm ’til whenever: : Take up residence at the beach bar for happy hour with my new Small Hope friends. Dine on a delightfully fresh dinner with many sinful desserts (scuba diving burns tons of calories so it’s my duty to make up for it somewhere). Join the impromptu group jam sessions with lodge-owned guitars, bass, make-shift tambourines and harmonica (Note to future guests: I was shocked to discover that I, in fact, have an uncanny harmonic gift/talent for the harmonic arts – particularly with Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry – so you’ll have a lot to live up to). Retire early for a peaceful night’s rest in one of only twenty-one, beach-facing rooms. Wake up and repeat it all again the next day.

It’s a tough life, I know. But someone has to do it!

Andros Island BahamasAnd with no telephones, clocks or televisions to be found, it’s easy to slip off the technology radar completely, which provided a must-needed break for this overly plugged-in New Yorker. But rest assured all you Type A and ‘Crackberry addicts, there is free wi-fi in the lobby and a computer in the main office if you start to experience withdrawal shakes. Although in my opinion, that’s nothing a stiff dose of island rum can’t cure.

But whatever your getaway fantasy, it’s easy to find it here. And since Small Hope Bay Lodge is featured in “1000 Places To See Before You Die” (by Patricia Schultz listed under The Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda), that only leaves you 999 other travel journeys to plan. And with any luck, they’ll also come with a flip flop free guarantee!

For more information on Small Hope Bay Lodge, including activities, all-inclusive packages and rates, visit Small Hope

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