Sunday, August 21, 2016

Beating Atlantis Resort at its own game. (1 of 2)

Family Vacation time!

Thankfully I'd read a TON on what to expect before arriving in Atlantis here in the Bahamas, but even with all the preparation i still managed to forget a thing or two. 

First ill begin by saying, yes. its expensive. Its almost impossible to get by without spending money, much more than you usually would on every day items. So i did my best to prevent wasting money by bringing as much stuff as possible in extra luggage. 

We also asked the cab driver to stop at a grocery store on the way from the airport, he was used to the request and made a quick pit stop where we bought a few gallons of water and some bread/oatmeal before continuing on.

To give you an idea of what to expect at the resort, sun block is 30.00, bottled water is 3.25 and up, a game of roulette is 15.00 minimum bet, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is 10.00, 6.00 for a box of altoids, a small snow cone is 4.00 by the beach. Dinner for 2 adults and one child at Virgils BBQ came out to a little over 100 dollars one night and 113.00 another night. Thats with 2 entrees and a few sides. Plus one large bottle of water to share. Carmines was similar, about 100 dollars for one entree, one large appetizer and one large bottle of water to share. In short, if youre planning on having dinner on site you arent going to escape without paying 100+ dollars so its good to cut corners when and where you can.

Quiznos makes egg and cheese bagels/wraps for about 4.50 each theyre big and totally decent making them a nice quick option if you want to eat something on the go and keep on with your day. Starbucks also has its usual menu, wraps, sandwiches, etc. its roughly the same price as in the USA, the only extras are the taxes and fees.

They accept american money everywhere on paradise island that ive gone so far, but you really dont need money at any point while you're here your room card doubles as a credit card which they use to charge everything to your room. But if you venture onto the beach outside the resort youll need cash, on the beach sell small trinkets, sarongs, braids for $7 (thats per braid, not per person) drinks, typical island beach merchants. As for electricity they all take american plugs so you wont need a converter, you might want to bring a power strip though as there arent enough plugs for our digital family.

The first excursion we did was sea squirts, it was only 31.00 and worth every penny. it lasted about an hour and they introduced them to the fish, a baby shark, a baby sea turtle, a sting ray and a sea cucumber in the pet hospital. Then they gave them little t-shirts and brought them out to the lagoons where they were given chum to feed to the stingrays and to another larger shark and a bunch of over zealous fish. 

The second excursion we did was the seal encounter 

It was pretty pricey at 183.00 per person so i decided to sit this one out and let my mother take her, i was pleasantly surprised that i was allowed to follow them throughout the encounter and snap pics the entire time. It started off by going behind the scenes and seeing where the labs are and where the marine biologists work on site, then we moved on to the actual site. The seal and sea lions were a bit much for a 4 year old. She was a bit overwhelmed at first but eventually began to loosen up near the end. They were very wel trained and seemed very happy with their environment and trainers. Even with the apprehension it was still very worth the money spent. The whole interaction lasted about 1.5 hours, pretty much a perfect amount of time i would say as it was stiflingly hot, from what i heard the water was a bit cold but it was perfect for keeping the participants (and the seal) comfortable. 

my checklist for MUST HAVES for Atlantis are as follows:

-A beach bag to carry sunblock and snacks in, i forgot mine and bought a branded one for $25
-Sun block (lots of it)
-snacks (lots of them)
-pool toys like floaties, etc.
-A few plastic spoons/knives
-creamer (the creamer in the room is terrible)
-straps for sunglasses (some rides require them)
-water shoes if you don't want to wear the communal ones for certain excursions
-sun hats for little ones
-MOSQUITO SPRAY even though i haven't seen many of them, Zika is rare but it is here.
-Hand sanitizer
-extra swimsuit

Some things i wish id known before i got here:

-Reservations for excursions cannot be cancelled, they can however be rescheduled. 
-Food reservations seem to be a bit overrated, not sure if its the time of year or the time of day we eat but we see plenty of open tables when we go to restaurants to eat. We ate at virgils at 615 twice and at carmines at 845 once. I would def attempt to make them but if you cant get a reservation i would still go and see how the wait is. 
-The pools close at 5 pm during the week. I was at the pool until 6pm last night (sat) so apparently theyre open later weekends.
-There is an all unclusive option, i didnt notice this on the website until after we had arrived. I dont know if it was only a promotion or if its always available, but if id seen it prior to purchasing our rooms i would definitely gone with that option. 

Food plan

I opted not to get the food plan, we decided to wing it and figure it out as we went along. I still think this is the best option for us as we dont need a full breakfast every morning and full lunch, the only thing we need (as a traditional sit down) is a full dinner. Tonight we plan to eat off resort and for lunch we are rarely ready to eat. we typically pick stuff up beach side, stop at a place like the pizza shops or grab a snack in the room. The food plan is probably a good purchase for people who are very structured with eating on their vacation and prefer not to eat outside the resort. But we like keeping our options open. 


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