Sailing Our Way Through the Bahamas
The Caribbean is my happy place. I think because I grew up in Colorado and have lived in a landlocked state my entire life. So when island life is at my footsteps, I’m happy as can be. Everywhere you turn in the Caribbean you’ll find crystal blue water, white sand beaches, turtles, dolphins, and more fish than I feel comfortable being around. It’s just stunning. And since I’ve been to a ton of different Caribbean islands along the way, I’ve been able to find the perfect way to see parts of the Caribbean I never would if I was at one resort. And that answer is TradeWinds!
This trip to Abacos, Bahamas was my third trip with TradeWinds. For my first trip, we went to St Matin, St Barths & Anguilla which was INSANE. It’s still one of my favorite trips to date. And for my second trip we went to Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island filled with history and culture, to celebrate my 30th birthday! This third TradeWinds trip to the Bahamas was just as beautiful as the previous two. When I think of the Bahamas, I think of touristy spots, tons of cruises, and packed with people. But the island of Abacos is incredibly shallow, which means no cruises come through it, and it’s very remote. So every island and cay that we went to only had a couple other small boats, or none at all!
If you look the Bahamas on a map, I think you’ll be quite surprised how many little islands make up the Bahamas. About 700 islands and cays, to be exact (kind of). Which means you get to travel to A LOT of different spots while you’re on your TradeWinds boat for the week. This is why I love traveling with TradeWinds so much. Instead of sticking to one touristy spot or one hotel room, you’re constantly moving to new areas, seeing different islands, and even hanging out on completely uninhabited islands. It’s just such an amazing way to travel that’s unlike anything else I’ve done! While we were on this 7-day trip, we stopped at 11 different spots to explore and take in the beauty of the Bahamas.
- Mermaid Reef
- Treasure Cay
- Sandy Cay
- Tahiti Beach in Elbow Cay
- Fowls Cay
- Scotland Cay – FAVORITE SPOT
- Munjack Cay
- Great Guana Cay
- Crab Cay
- No Name Cay – aka Piggy Island
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If you’ve never heard of TradeWinds, I’m going to give you the breakdown of what to expect on your 7-day trip through Abacos, Bahamas. Once you get on your boat and set sail that first night to find the perfect spot to anchor for the night and to enjoy dinner, you’ll start getting to know the other people on your boat. Most boats contain 4 or 5 cabins, which fit 2 people per cabin. So you’ll have a handful of other people to get to know, including the two crew members. The crew members make all your meals, clean the boat, and sail it wherever you go. They work their asses off through the week to make sure you have the best time. Our two crew members through the Bahamas were AMAZING!! Their names are Manu and Ollie, and they truly made the trip so much more enjoyable. Manu was so easy to talk to and to get along with. And Ollie had so many fun stories and would spearfish each day to grab us some extra lunch. We got really lucky with this crew and I hope I someday get to see them again, I loved them that much!
Each day is a little different when you’re on a TradeWinds boat. Depending where you are and what kind of group you have on your boat, you’ll enjoy LOTS of snorkeling, scuba diving (if you’re certified), fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, floating, hiking, exploring different islands, and more. Both my sister-in-law and I weren’t really interested in snorkeling or diving and we were still pretty entertained the entire time. There is always something to do, insane ocean life to see, and delicious cocktails to enjoy. While we were sailing through Abacos, we saw turtles, dolphins, stingrays, nurse sharks, and about a million different kinds of fish. And the water was so crystal clear that you could see the little creatures from the boat. It was so damn cool!
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When you’re on your TradeWinds boat for the week, midweek you’ll hop off the boat for a few hours to have dinner somewhere while they clean the boat. We ended up exploring the adorable Hopetown area and looking at all the brightly painted homes along the way. Do I now want to paint the main door of our house pink now? Yes, yes I do. Everything is bright, colorful, and beautiful in Hopetown. But it is HELLA hot, so I highly recommend getting a cocktail in hand while you’re there. Or at least a bike or golf cart, since it seems like that’s how everyone gets around the island. It’s so freaking cute! I even had someone recognize me while I was on that island!!! Holy crap that world is a small place. The internet is so damn cool.
For our dinner off the boat, we enjoyed a meal at Firefly, which was amazing! We were able to sit outside to enjoy the sunset while chowing down on the local catch of the day and some delicious cocktails. The views were pretty epic from our dinner table.
Out of all the different islands and cays that we stopped at, Great Guana Cay and Scotland Cay were my two favorites. I would really like to know all these people do for a living that own these 30 million dollar homes. I just pulled that number out of my ass, but the real estate is pretty bananas there. Multimillion dollar homes are everywhere but we rarely ever saw people in them or around them. And since beaches are protected by Kings Law (I think that’s what it’s called), anyone can walk on any of the beaches, they can’t be private. So we fully enjoyed every beach we stopped by!
But Scotland Cay was my ABSOLUTE favorite. It was the most stunning beach that disappeared each night with the tide. Our crew put together a boat load of snacks and cocktails and we put all the floats together to have a little afternoon cocktail hour in the water. The sand was so soft that it almost felt like flour! Having a house in that cay would be a dream, especially if you had your own private jet to fly into it with. Ughhhhh this spot was amazing!!
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Now if you’re wondering what kind of food you’ll enjoy while you’re on the boat, trust me, it’s BOMB!! Mornings are usually pretty simple – cereals, granola, baked goods, meats and cheeses, eggs, and sometimes something fancy like eggs benedict. But lunches and dinner are where the meals really shine. The food is fresh, clean, and super tasty. Most lunches are light like refreshing salads with light dressing. And all meals are paired with bread (gluten free bread for us!) and tasty wines. Then dinners are a full show! They always start with some sort of appetizer like soup or salad, then the main course is something elaborate like a pasta or grilled fish, then it always ends with a divine dessert. We had meals like nicoise salad, shrimp tagliatelle, flourless chocolate cake, bananas foster, melon & prosciutto salad, taco salad, grilled pork loin, and more. Every meal was fantastic. And they also have afternoon snacks paired with a specialty cocktail every day!
This trip to Abacos, Bahamas was absolutely beautiful. I swam with stingrays, I watched our captain spearfish and catch our lunch, and I met some really cool people on our boat that I hope to see again someday. TradeWinds is unlike any other kind of travel I’ve done and it’s still my favorite way to travel. Out of all three TradeWinds trips I’ve been on, the St Matin, St Barths & Anguilla sail is still my favorite, but this was a close second. I can’t thank our crew enough for such an amazing experience! And stay turned on my IGTV this week because I’m putting together a short video of our entire trip there!
And if you still have some questions, I rounded up a bunch from instagram stories a couple weeks back to answer them all in one spot. Hopefully all these FAQs answer your questions but if I missed anything, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll answer it right away!
- How does TradeWinds work? Do you have to be a member to sail with them?
- You don’t have to be a member to sail with TradeWinds, but being a member has tons of perks and will save you in the long run! You can easily book a trip with TradeWinds without being a member. To become a TradeWinds member, you purchase as many points as you’d like. Each boat and location ranges in points and your points are valid for 10 years. Then once you finally decide on the trip, all you need to do is get yourself there and pay the all-inclusive fee for the week!
- What are the perks of being a TradeWinds member?
- When you’re a member, you can book your boat whenever, wherever you want, and you can book a single cabin or entire boat.
- You get to choose from locations like Fiji, French Polynesia, Belize, Greece, and many other beautiful places.
- TradeWinds now offers Land & Sea options where you sail for part of the trip then stay in a luxury five-star villa!
- They also offer lifestyle cruises to help you create a two week or longer vacations custom to your needs and wants, instead of following the normal itinerary.
- TradeWinds has also purchased unique land-based spots such as the Tribe Villas in the Grenadines that is only accessible by boat. And the 17th century Château Alizés in France with elegant suites and wine tastings.
- How long is the trip and how do you coordinate flight times?
- Most excursions are Saturday-Saturday, unless you are booking a longer, custom cruise. Depending on where you are coming from, you can book your flight for the same day BUT that can be chancing it since many flights get delayed or cancelled. We flew in the same day with no issues, but the other people on our boat flew in a day or two before and stayed in a hotel before the trip.
- Do you tip the crew?
- Absolutely! The crew works SO incredibly hard throughout the week. From sunrise to way past sunset, they are cooking, cleaning, sailing, and making sure you are happy and as comfortable as possible throughout the week. So they definitely deserve a great tip at the end! You get to choose what the tip looks like. We tend to tip on the higher end because the crew really does work their asses off the entire week.
- Do you need to bring cash with you?
- I always bring cash with me to tip at the end. But I definitely recommend bringing some extra money with you for any drinks, food, and gifts you may find along the way. You’ll end up eating out for at least two meals – one of the nights when they clean the boat and the very last night when you dock at the marina.
- Was it weird being with strangers on the boat?
- Surprisingly no. Yes, the first day is just a little weird as you’re getting to know all brand new people in a new space, but it gets easier after that. We had an 80 year old couple, 70 year old couple, and 50 year old couple on our boat and we never felt weird. We had fun with all of them, especially the 80 year old couple. They were THE BEST!
- How many cabins are on the boat?
- It depends on the boat. It is usually 4 or 5 cabins. Our Luxury Class boat had 4 cabins on it which meant there were 8 guests and 2 crew members on the boat the entire time.
- But what if I don’t want to be on a boat with strangers…can I book the entire boat?
- Yes, you can absolutely book the entire boat! That’s what my friends did on the first TradeWinds trip I went on and it was so much fun!!
- What is the food like?
- Like I mentioned above, it’s AWESOME! There wasn’t a meal I didn’t like on the trip. And everything is pretty damn healthy, which I love. You’ll receive an email before your trip where you can specify any food allergies or preferences.
- What are the cabins like?
- They are actually quite comfortable! All the cabins are a little different and the size also depends on the boat that you are on. We were in one of the smallest rooms and even though it’s a tight space, it’s not nearly as tight as other boats I’ve been on, like a houseboat in Lake Powell. Once you get on the boat, you unpack your suitcase and they take it so you can have a good amount of space in your room. And yes, the cabins do have AC!
- What are the bathrooms like on the boat?
- Just a smaller version of your own bathroom. Yes, you can do ALL of your business on the boat.
- Is there fresh water on the boat?
- Yes! All the faucets have fresh running water and bottled water is available, as well!
- Anything special I should bring?
- Water bottle
- A good book, or two
- A TON of sunscreen
- Swimsuits & cover-ups
- Comfortable clothing – no need to overpack, you don’t wear much there
- Extra snacks, if you like to eat between meals
- An extra float if you like to lounge like me – this one is my favorite for these kinds of trips
- Did you get sea sick?
- I’ve never experienced sea sickness myself. In Abacos, Bahamas, it’s a super easy sail (compared to the St Martin trip I’ve been on) and it’s pretty shallow everywhere, so no one on our boat had issues with sea sickness. But you can always bring Dramamine or you can get a seasickness patch which you place behind your ear.
I hope all this information helps!! Let me know if I can answer anything else and I would love to hear if you’ve sailed with TradeWinds in the past or have a trip planned for the future! Can’t wait to hear about your own experiences on the water!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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