9 Things to Do in Grand Bahama Island

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9. Attend Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Kick-Off

A Junkanoo street parade.

Bahamians know how to throw a party, and from April 28-29, 2017, Grand Bahama will host the 2017 Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Kick-Off. The popular two-day event sees semifinalists from the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Song Competition competing on a beachside stage at night for a spot in the finals at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival in Nassau. During the daytime, an air show and beach games keep the party going.

You’ll want to book your clients well in advance, as tickets (and hotel rooms) quickly fill up. (The kick-off event alone draws tens of thousands of patrons.) For hotel accommodations, we suggest the 738-guestroom Grand Lucayan. The hotel’s 196-room Lighthouse Pointe section features spacious guestrooms and suites and exclusive access to four restaurants. Best of all, this new seaside retreat within Grand Lucayan is all-inclusive. For more information, visit grandlucayan.com.

8. Visit The Perfume Factory

At the Perfume Factory in Grand Bahama Island, guests can mix their own special fragrance, bottle it and name it.

Located in an elegant pink and white replica of an old Bahamian mansion at Freeport’s International Bazaar, The Perfume Factory is a small company offering free factory tours that take guests behind the scenes of a working fragrance production operation. Guests will also have the opportunity to mix their own special fragrance, bottle it and name it. For more information, visit perfumefactory.com.

7. Attend the Pelican Point Coconut Festival

At the Pelican Point Coconut Festival, guests can taste a variety of coconut dishes and beverages.

The Pelican Point Coconut Festival, held annually on Easter Monday, offers locals, residents and visitors alike a variety of unique coconut dishes, coconut infused treats and coconut beverages, including Gully Wash, a uniquely Bahamian drink made with coconut water, gin and sweet milk. For more information, visit bahamas.com/event/pelican-point-coconut-festival or e-mail esmith@bahamas.com.

6. Take a Scenic Drive to West End Move

Visit West End Move on a Sunday afternoon to try authentic Bahamian cuisine such as fried fish and panny cake.

Despite its austere exterior, the charming West End Move area on the western tip of Grand Bahama Island is rich in Bahamaian and American history. The best time to visit is Sunday afternoons, when the community gathers to snack on Bahamian cuisine such as grilled conch, conch salad, fried fish and panny cake (a flour-based pancake-like treat) at neighborhood spots, including Ian Neely and Chicken Nest.

5. Goombay Summer Festival

Dancers at the Goombay Summer Festival.

Every summer, visitors gather at this festival for an authentically Bahamian Experience. Expect to hear live Bahamian music, eat local cuisine, view authentically Bahamian arts and crafts and dance along with the Junkanoo street parade. For more information, visit bahamas.com/event/goombay-summer-festival or e-mail sculmer@bahamas.com.

4. Visit the Bahamian Brewery

Visitors to the Bahamian Brewery can belly up to the bar for a drink after taking a tour of the facility.

The Bahamian Brewery invites guests to take a tour and sip the sensations that have drawn in beer lovers since 2008. During the tour, guests walk through the 25-step malt to beer process, see the lab quality control, learn about the brewery’s filtration and kegging process and watch the staff bottle beer. Afterwards, guests can take a turn at playing brew master, tasting the sensation Sands brew in owner Jimmy’s personal tap room. For more information, visit bahamianbrewery.com.

3. Shop at the Port Lucaya Matketplace

A straw market at the Port Lucaya Matketplace.

Make sure to bring plenty of Bahamian dollars when going to the Port Lucaya Matketplace, the only premier shopping, dining and entertainment complex on Grand Bahamas Island. The open-air facility features over forty specialty stores and boutiques, 16 restaurants, and four bars/lounges, plus a variety of duty free stores, two straw markets, two craft centers and pushcarts filled with Bahamian crafts and souvenir items.

For an authentic taste of Bahamian cuisine, visit the market’s famous Coconut and Fruit Daiquiri Stand and Daddy Brown’s Conch and Seafood Stand. At the Count Basie Square, now called the Marketplace Square, visitors can dance to Bahamian and International music all night long. For more information, visit portlucaya.com.

2. Go On a Jeep Safari

Grand Bahama Nature Tours offers jeep safaris eco-tours.

Guests can rent their own 4×4, open top Jeep for a convoy ride hosted by Grand Bahama Nature Tours. The Freeport-based company has been leading eco-tours on Grand Bahama Island for the past twenty years, operating kayaking, biking, jeep and bird-watching tours. All tours are fully guided by professional personnel, most of whom are natives of the Bahamas and the Freeport area.

Grand Bahama Nature Tours’ jeep safari travels on less populated streets as well as off-road through a pine forest and along a scenic coastal road. Also included is a visit to Lucayan National Park where guests can walk through different ecosystems, see Lucayan caves and enjoy a light picnic lunch on Gold Rock Beach. For more information, visit grandbahamanaturetours.com.

1. Kiss a Dolphin

After hearing an educational presentation during UNEXSO’s Dolphin Program, guests can step onto a 3-ft. submerged platform where they can pet and kiss a dolphin.

For an educational and interactive dolphin encounter, guests can book UNEXSO’s 2.5-hour Dolphin Program. The experience begins with a 20-minute boat ride through Grand Bahama Island’s canal systems or along the South Shore of the island (depending on the weather) to a natural 9-acre lagoon, called Sanctuary Bay, where 14 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins live. After hearing an educational presentation, guests can step onto a 3-ft. submerged platform where they can pet and kiss a dolphin as UNEXSO’s photographers capture the moment.

Afterwards, guests can meet UNEXSO’s macaws in the Bird Patio, get up close to an African tortoise or learn more about dolphins through the educational information posted throughout the facility. For more information, visit unexso.com.