Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas is simply put, amazing. In every way it exceeded my expectations. I anticipated it would be beautiful with fun slides and a great aquarium. I did not expect it to be laugh-out-loud fun, top-notch in staffing and service, have virtually no wait lines due to its size, and make me want to return so greatly! We had just one day to enjoy the resort while we stopped on a family cruise, but I imagine you could stay a week and still not experience all there is to offer.
We spent our day enjoying the water park called Aquaventure and the marine habitat, but Atlantis is a full-service resort offering a variety of children, teen and adult programs, leisure activities, environmental programs, golf, nightclubs, casinos, spa services, a collection of restaurants from world-renowned chefs, and more. You can scuba, snuba, snorkel; create pottery, swim, feed or interact with a variety of marine animals and much, much more. They even offer fantasy summer camps ranging from marine adventure camp to Lego camp. Atlantis features five different towers of accommodations, at all different price points.
The day trip to Atlantis was offered as a cruise excursion, but we opted to save money by going self-service. We took a cab from the port for about $4 per person and paid a daily fee which is offered reduced for children. This is also an option if you choose to stay at a different resort and want to just enjoy the grounds.
Aquaventure is an unprecedented 140-acre water park containing seven million gallons of water. It features a mile-long rapid river tube ride, a life-size replica of a Mayan temple, a seven-acre snorkeling lagoon, a lazy river and a variety of outstanding water slides, some of which let you travel by tube in shark lagoons! I never thought of myself as a water slide person but these were surprisingly my favorite part of the day. I asked one lifeguard how many pools there were, and he said he wasn’t sure as they seem to build a new one almost daily. For the record, there are over a dozen pools at Aquaventure! There are several water playground areas to provide safe fun for the younger guests. There are also a series of small shallow pools linked together by short water slides that my youngest child adored. We loved creeping from one pool to another, and often we had a pool to ourselves! Perhaps we just lucked out on the May day, but we found there were so many slides, pools, and rivers at Aquaventure there was virtually no wait for anything we wanted to do. There were plenty of chairs both around the pools and on the beach, plenty of towels (at no extra cost), plenty of tubes to ride on, and plenty of places to buy a snack so we spent virtually no time waiting. I was surprised how reasonable poolside food was priced: for about $8 we bought a chicken Caesar sandwich with chips and a drink, and children’s meals cost even less*.
There are lifeguards stationed literally every few yards both along the tubing rivers and throughout the pools. It was interesting to watch how often they rotate posts, and how alert they are, and even my husband remarked how friendly the lifeguards and other Aquaventure staff were. There are certainly worse jobs out there than spending your days at this gorgeous resort.
Atlantis is home to the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. In all there are over 50,000 marine animals and 250 different species with lagoons for different breeding species, rays, sharks, turtles and more. Many of the tanks offer multiple views and we were fascinated with a couple of rays with ten-foot wingspans. A tour guide told us they get to over thirty feet wide! Sawfish, piranha and unusual breeds kept us all captivated. Atlantis animals eat over 1000 pounds of food daily, and behind the scenes, Atlantis runs multiple conservation programs including breed and release units and fish hospitals.
Dolphin Cay is Atlantis’ dolphin interaction and education center, and home to a number of dolphins rescued after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, there have been over a dozen dolphin births which serves as a testament to the care they enjoy.
We had only one day to enjoy Atlantis, but it is my hope to return and stay at the resort for a few days we can see more of the resrot. If you plan a visit, I’d suggest you take the time to enjoy the free tour they offer. Be sure to sepnd a day at Aquaventure and try even those waterslides that put you outside your comfort level. , and walk out to the beach, even if it’s just for a few minutes. We caught it around sunset and it was gorgeous. To see many images of the grounds and learn more visit the www.atlantis.com. They also have a Facebook page that offers specials.
Note: *This visit happened in May of 2011. Check the website for most up to date prices.