Bahamas family vacation: Part 2 – Grand Bahama and Lucayan National Park

Here is part 2 of my recent trip to the Bahamas! Our second stop on the cruise was at the island Grand Bahama, which contains the city Freeport. Now Freeport is a very unique city, because it is a privately owned city. I believe it is the only privately owned city in the world, but don’t quote me on it. However, we did not visit Freeport at all during our trip off the boat, so that is all I’ll say about it.IMG_9450

Instead, we did a kayak/beach/nature tour of Lucayan National Park. We were put in a small group with about 10 other people, and drove off to a beautiful mangrove forest. This part of the mangrove forest was full of red mangroves, which also means that it was covered with water. This is where we kayaked.


There was a very nice stream path through the forest, which took us right out to the ocean. The stream featured a light current, which sometimes helped us along the way, but sometimes caused a bit of trouble for the less experienced. Along the way, I took pictures of what wildlife I was able to see (some members of our group were quite loud). I managed to see a few birds along the way, such as red-winged blackbirds, which we have all throughout the states as well, grey kingbirds, and loggerhead kingbirds.


Red-winged blackbird, sporting some nice jewelry!


Loggerhead kingbird watching us pass

The kayak trip was awesome, because at times the mangroves completely enveloped us, and it was like traveling through a tunnel of trees.



Our guide was also very knowledgable and helped provide information on the forest and animals around us. After a roughly 2 mile kayak trip, we emerged from the forest onto a stunning beach.


This beach was particularly special, because it was where the 2nd and 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed! After a light lunch along side some raccoons,


we were able to spend a few hours at this isolated beach, swimming and enjoying the beautiful scenery.



However, a storm started heading our way, so we eventually got out of the water and did a brief nature walk, where our guide pointed out various plants and how they can be used. This part of the forest basically contained a pharmacy, with plants that helped digestive issues and even served as antidotes to certain poisons. In fact, there were a pair of tree species that grew next to each other. One was poisonous to humans, and the other was the antidote! Here are a couple pictures of various plants we saw:


Flowers of a red mangrove tree


During this walk, I was able to spot some birds, which I had never seen before, like the common ground dove (also found in some parts of the US) and the red-legged thrush, which was very cool looking!

Common ground dove enjoying some leftover bread

Common ground dove enjoying some leftover bread

A red-legged thrush staring me down

A red-legged thrush staring me down

Our walk ended up being short, which turned out for the best, because as soon as we got into the van to drive back, the sky opened up. Luckily our guide was a very good driver, because it was almost like driving through a tropical storm. As we headed back to the boat, we stopped by the shops along the dock to grab some last minute Bahama souvenirs and some more conch fritters! Then it was back on the boat for our last day at sea as we cruised back to Charleston, South Carolina!

All-in-all it was a fantastic trip, where I was able to both see the cultural and natural sides of the Bahamas, while also experiencing the beautiful Caribbean beaches!

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