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LUCAYA, BAHAMAS (5 days, 4 night)

Proof of Citizenship: No one will be permitted to land in The Bahamas or back in the U.S. without it. A passport is required of all but U.S. citizens, though this is still the best proof you can have. For U.S. Citizens without a passport, a proper birth certificate will do if you also have a photo ID such as a driver license. Proof of citizenship must be presented to your Captain and approved prior to departure.

U.S.Immigration: The U.S. government currently requires that ALL occupants of returning vessels appear in person at the nearest Immigration Office as soon as possible after again setting foot in the U.S. Depending on the day and time of return, this may require waiting until the next morning, which will add to the total length of time involved, since the entire party must remain together on the boat until this trip to Immigration has been completed.

We bring up these technicalities right at the start simply to avoid any disappointment or surprises later on. But the truth is that in the whole scope of things, none of them is but a minor detail, which will be totally insignificant when compared to the overall enjoyment of the experience. So let’s explore the possibilities.

If you have a bit more time, going on to Lucaya adds another, quite different taste of The Bahamas. We still recommend starting with a visit to Bimini. For one thing, clearing Bahamian Customs and Immigration is faster here. And since no one but the Captain can leave the boat until this necessary chore has been completed, getting it over with quickly is to your advantage – you get to spend more time doing what you came here for. But it also would be a shame to go to The Bahamas and not see Bimini.

The experience is too delightful to miss. Lucaya, which is just 5 miles east of Freeport, offers a different view of this island nation. Freeport is a major commercial port and the city, though still small, presents quite a contrast to the tiny community on Bimini. We go to a marina in Lucaya because the harbor in Freeport itself is geared more to handling ships than yachts. There is an even greater variety of shoreside attractions in Freeport/Lucaya than we saw in Bimini, many of them immediately adjacent to the Port Lucaya Marina. About 80 shops, crafts stalls and restuarants are but a few short steps from the piers; the beach, several more restaurants and a gambling casino are not much farther – definitely within walking distance.

Downtown Freeport with the many shops of its International Bazaar and the Princess Hotel and Casino are but a short cab ride from the marina. Freeport also boasts a number of outstanding restaurants of many ethnic origins, and the Princess Casino presents fine dining and a Las Vegas style revue each evening. The return trip can be straight from Lucaya, but since we’ll be heading more directly into the Gulf Stream current, and thus making slightly slower forward progress, it will occupy the better part of our 5th day, so an early departure is best.

Original Content: Boat Write