I recently went on a beautiful trip to Great Exuma, Bahamas with my family & close family friends. It was the first time in years that we were able to travel as a family, coincidentally falling on a week when the temperatures were below freezing in NYC and when the (2) Fyre Festival documentaries aired on Netflix & Hulu. What are the odds with this timing!?
There’s nothing better than a tropical getaway during the winter. We’ve been excited about this trip since booking it last October and I’m sad it’s already come & gone so quickly. Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time & I know I’ll 100% be coming back very soon!
WHERE WE STAYED
Grand Isle Resort & Spa
We spent 6 nights at the Grand Isle Resort & Spa in a gorgeous 3-bedroom villa complete with a living room, full-sized kitchen, and two patios with oceanfront views. I spent every morning out on the patio with a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise over the crystal clear water. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do absolutely nothing in the morning, and I really think having this blissful view helped me to embrace complete relaxation.
Given our resort wasn’t all-inclusive like others on the island, having the kitchen was great for us because we were able to cook our breakfast food & save some money. We pre-packed certain things that we didn’t think would be available once we arrived (i.e. almond milk & dairy-free options) & once we landed, stopped at a grocery/convenience store on our way to the resort to pick up eggs, bread, regular milk, assorted snacks & beer.
We stayed in Villa #1011 which I think was the best one on the property. It overlooked the ocean & parts of the golf course, as well as felt more private than most other villas because it was on the edge of the property with only one neighboring/shared wall to the villa next to it.
Along with a private beach to enjoy complete with paddle boards, kayaks, & beach games, Grand Isle Resort’s list of amenities & services helped us to ensure we had a luxurious stay with them. We enjoyed having 24/7 access to the fitness center, swimming in the infinity pool when the ocean was too chilly, and dining at the two grilles on the property when we weren’t in the mood to venture off the resort.
WHERE WE DINED
Big D’s Conch Spot
Open for lunch & dinner daily (except Mondays), Big D’s Conch Spot gives you a true taste of the Bahamas, literally. Family-friendly & overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this cabana-style restaurant quickly became one of our two favorite spots to dine off the resort. We even got to meet Big D himself (photo below.)
What we loved: Conch Fritters, Tropical Conch Salad, Blackened Snapper, & Garlic Shrimp.
Shoreline Restaurant & Bar
We ended up dining at Shoreline twice during our stay, choosing it as the destination to celebrate our family friend’s birthday dinner for two reasons: 1) the food was spectacular, and 2) the view was heavenly (seen above.)
What we loved: Blackened Mahi Mahi, Lobster or Conch Bisque, & Fried Grouper Fish Tacos.
WHAT WE DID
Sun Fun Boat Tour
The best time spent on our week-long vacation was our private, full-day boat tour exploring the islands. We booked through Sun Fun Tours and thanks to Captain Ty along with first mate CJ, we got to see some of the most incredible sights you can only get to by boat.
Here’s where we stopped & what we saw:
BLOW HOLE BEACH. A secluded island separating the rough Atlantic from the calm Caribbean with a powerful blow hole blasting water up & over our heads. It kind of reminded me of that scene from the movie ‘Fools Gold’, but way less intense.
IGUANA ISLAND. We pulled up to another secluded island inhabited by hundreds of wild iguanas! CJ started tossing small pieces of bread and all of a sudden, the beach was taken over by tons of these reptiles. I was one of the few brave enough to get off the boat and feed them by hand. My dad even sat down and fed/pet them! It was so cool to be able to interact with these animals & witness how gentle they are!.
CELEBRITY ISLAND SIGHTSEEING. Many of the neighboring islands are owned by some of the world’s richest humans, from movie stars to company CEOs. We were lucky to be able to closely cruise by the magnificent island getaways of those including Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, & David Copperfield.
BIG FARMER’S CAY SAND BAR. This stretch of pure white sand emerges from the middle of the ocean at low tide. It’s also popularly known as ‘Mile-long Sandbar’ & happened to be the exact spot where Penélope Cruz got married in 2010.
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS. Hands-down my favorite part of our boat tour! These nurse sharks were extremely docile, just like big puppies that would rub up against you for gentle pets.
SWIMMING WITH TURTLES. Another stop we made was to our Captain Ty’s family island, where we got to experience swimming with wild sea turtles! One of his cousins would fish for conch and tap the shell with a hammer to call the sea turtles into the shallow bay. It was truly incredible to be able to see these animals up close, along with various other sea critters including two pufferfish & a sting ray!
SWIMMING WITH PIGS. Lastly, we got to swim with the famous Swimming Pigs! These guys are SO ENORMOUS, I’ve never seen such giant pigs. After we fed them, most fell asleep on the sand and rolled over for us to rub their bellies. It was the perfect end to our full-day excursion.
WHAT I WORE
Resort Outfits + Swimwear
Here are some of the outfits I wore during the week. Personally, I love shopping for pieces “off-season” because they’re generally cheaper or on sale. Plus, it can help get you excited about an upcoming spring break trip or winter getaway, as well as prep you for the summer season!
Maxi Dress (also love this one) | Red Sandals (comes in 5 colors)
Bikini: Bralette Top (size small) & Cheeky Bottom (size medium)
Ps, use code TILDEN10 for 10% off this dress, those sandals, or anything else on the site!
Ps, use code TILDEN10 for 10% off both these pairs of sandals + anything else on the site!
Similar Jumpsuit (another style)| White Sandals | Tassel Earrings
Bikini Top (wearing size small, comes in 6 colors) | Cover-Up Skirt