Best Family Vacation Ever A review of Atlantis - Harborside Resort
This by far was the best vaction ever. Expect to have a great time. We were a family of 6 with 2 adults, 4 children (one was an infant at 9 months). We stayed in a one bedroom premium villa and added a crib for $10. Although we could have added a roll-away bed for $25 we got away with the pull out sofa and placeing the two living room chairs end to end which made a great bed for our 7 year old. We must have saved more than $600 by packing a large suitcase full of non-parishable food and taking it with us. When we checked in we walked down to the Hurricane Hole Shopping Plaza where there is a food store at the far end to buy milk($3.15 1/2 gal), eggs($2) butter($1.85), bread(1.99 for local loaf of white- & $4 for imported wheat) and bottled water ($2 gal). Eating out can be VERY expensive. Dinners go for $40 (adults) and $20 for children over 4. Breakfasts and lunches are a little less but still very expensive. The one time we ate out we went to the deli below the casino, sat down and fed the entire family for $60 which already included the 15% tip. We had cereal / eggs or pancakes in the morning and packed PB&J sandwhiches and snacks for lunch. Most of the time we came back in the evening and ate in our room.
As soon as you check in ask for a "Fish & Chips" daily activity guide.
The Dig is free and at the bottom of the Coral Towers there is a navigators desk. Take the Atlantis guided tour..it is free to Harborside residents(Roxie was our guide and was super). We called water features and set up a private tour of the fish hospital. It was free and gave us a behind the sceens tour...Mario was great.
Jet skiing was fun. Go toward the end of the afternoon. They shutdown at 5:30 so if you go up to them at 4:30-4:45 you are more likley to cut a deal and may have more time to have fun.
For a unforgettable snorkling trip take the Stewart Cove's Dive. $40 adults $20 kids. (we found coupons in a tourist newspaper for $5 off the adult price so we saved another $10. It is a 45 min bus ride to the SW point of the main Island. They take you to three sites. The third was the best..they place some bottom feeders down and you can get in the water and observe 30-40 Carribeean Reef Sharks swinning on the bottom. When everyone is onboard you can see the sharks up close on the surface as the pull up the feeders. The workers are very professional and as friendly as can be.
To bargan and the local straw market - take the water taxi for $3. They drop you off one block from the straw market which is currently located adjacent to Senior Frogs (Mexican Resturant). Expect to be approached, but it is to be expected and at no time did it become overbearing (just be smart). All prices are nogatiable. Embrodered tie-dyed shirts marked for $20 each was bought for 3 for $8 ($24). Hair braiding at the beach can go as high as $120 for the full head but my wife got it done at the straw market for $48. You can get back for the same price the same way and if you miss the last boat or they do not come back for the last run because of a rain shower then you can take a taxi for $4 and you have not wasted $3 by buying a round trip ticket.
Acardia Garden & Zoo can be reached for $1 by taking the #10 bus. The admission is $12 for adults and $6 for kids (coupons also available in the paper if you look). Do not expect a zoo experience that you find in the states. Keep in mind of where you are and the addmission is probably their largest potion of funds to run the place. We went for the Flamingo show. They are the only group of "marching" flamingos known. Ok..maybe a bit of a tourist thing, but the children got a kick out of them and got some great pictures.
The local people are simply wonderful, friendly and will bent over backwards to help you. Simply show them the same kindness that they so easily display and do not ba an rude tourist and you will simply love these folks.
Save $15 per person cash to get on the flight back home.