Port Lucaya is located on Grand Bahama Island. It’s a 40-minute flight from south Florida to the Grand Bahama International Airport, which has nonstop daily air service from several cities, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Newark and Pittsburg. Restaurants are mostly concentrated around the Port Lucaya Marketplace, Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort and the Pelican Bay Resort. Accommodations are available at local resorts as well as the Port Lucaya Marina, which offers maritime “berths.”
Port Lucaya was developed in the 1950s to expressly serve as a tropical vacation spot. It’s unusual in that the infrastructure (water, electricity, garbage, etc.) is owned and operated by a private company. Explorers will enjoy proximity to a vast forest and cave system.
Grand Bahamas Nature Tours offers several eco-tours, including a guided jeep and safari tour of Grand Bahamas Island, kayaking and hiking tours. UNEXSO, the Underwater Explorer Society, is one of the top Caribbean dive centers. Among their offerings is a dolphin experience that gives attendees a chance to get up close and personal with the majestic aquatic animals in an open ocean environment. They also offer reef dives and guided tours of shipwrecks. Planners can charter a glass-bottom boat, party boat or semi-submarine from the Port Lucaya Marina for a reef tour, sunset cruise or beach party.
Every night, Count Basie Square is filled with the sounds of steel drum music and local entertainers, who encourage visitors to limbo or learn other island dances. On New Year’s Day, the world famous Junkanoo Festival takes place in Freeport. It features revelers dressed in vibrant costumes, and the sounds of steel drums, cowbells, horns and whistles. Any time of year, Junkanoo bands may be hired to perform at events. The Isle of Capri is a Las Vegas-style casino with slot machines and baccarat, poker, blackjack and roulette tables. There are several discos and nightclubs in the area, some of which may be booked for private events.
Garden of the Groves is a 12-acre botanical garden with waterfalls, tropical flora and a Labyrinth Gallery. Several areas of the garden are available for private rentals, including the Hibiscus Garden, Bahamian House and the Hanging Garden. At the resorts, ocean-front event lawns, beaches and pavilions are available to groups.
Butch Harmon, who has coached golf greats such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, says, “Many people play golf, but few truly understand it.” Attendees can gain a greater understanding of the game during one- or three-day golf schools at the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort, which is ranked the No. 1 golf resort in the Bahamas by LINKS Magazine. The resort has two courses: The lush Lucayan Golf Course is a par-72 course that requires a great deal of strategic thinking; and the Reef Course is a Robert Trent Jones-designed course that rewards strong short-game golfers. Fortune Hills Golf and Country Club has a championship 9-hole course with the longest par-5 hole in the Bahamas.
The People-to-People Program brings tourists together with Bahamian residents who have similar interests and/or are involved in parallel industries to learn about the island’s history, folklore and culture.
Head over to Port Lucaya Marketplace, which offers more than 50 duty-free shops, and 30 restaurants and bars. Shoppers will find substantially discounted jewelry, watches, perfumes, cameras, china, crystal, local handicrafts and more.