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Jamaican Hidden Gems: Sun, Seafood and White Sand Beach.

Jamaican Hidden Gems: Sun, Seafood and White Sand Beach.

Recently I returned home to my beautiful island of Jamaica and while there I decided to visit and highlight some of its hidden gems. This will therefore be the first in a series of posts, reserved specially for the land of my birth, that celebrate some of its unknown wonders. Lucky for me one of these hidden gems is only about 10 -15 minutes from my hometown of Lionel Town in Clarendon.

Fishing boats line the beach in Rocky Point.

 

Local fisherman with a rather large catch of the day.

Rocky Point is a fishing town located at the southernmost tip of Jamaica (that little tail of the island on the map). Fishing is indeed a staple in this town, as evidenced by the many fishing boats that line the beach in Rocky Point. It is a great place to get fresh-from-the-ocean fish, lobster, shrimp, conch and more at quite a reasonable price as compared to other areas on the island. But if you are looking to enjoy tasty, made-to-order seafood cooked Jamaican style, then White Sand Beach is where you want to be.

 

For a lot of Jamaicans there are some key places that come to mind when they think of good seafood, and in my neck of the woods at least, these places tend to include Hellshire or Little Ochi. White Sand Beach in Rocky Point definitely needs to be added to that list.

The Look

Beautiful cabanas for a relaxing meal by the sea.

 

I arrived at the restaurant with my sister Francine just in time to watch the sunset by the sea, accented by the authentic ambience of the fishing village. The restaurant is quite easy to find, with a rather large sign on its gate indicating its location on the beach at Rocky Point. There is also ample parking whether on the inside grounds of the restaurant or just outside by the beach. Upon entering I immediately fell in love with White Sand Beach, which boasts a bar and quaint thatch roofed cabanas where patrons can enjoy their meal with a gorgeous view of the sea. The restaurant also caters for events and has a volleyball net and basketball hoop on the sand for even more added fun (work retreat anyone?).

Who’s up for beach volleyball?!

The Food

Enjoying my steamed fish and bammy! Yummm!

 

As if I wasn’t already taken by the laid-back and characteristically tropical atmosphere, the food was definitely the clincher for me. I wanted to have steamed fish and, as with any worthwhile Jamaican seafood restaurant, I got to pick my fish! My sister and I decided to pick one big fish and split it, which even so we were plenty satisfied.  Our meals arrived in fine style with several slices of steamed bammy (a Jamaican flatbread made from cassava), okras, pumpkin and carrots. I absolutely loved every bite of it!

To top off a great meal, two fish dinners, two Tings (Jamaican grapefruit soda) and one Heineken later, our bill was a little over $20 USD (now that’s my kinda seafood restaurant). Now for those who aren’t familiar with other well-known seafood restaurants like Hellshire or Little Ochi, what we paid would have likely covered the fish alone minus the sides and drinks at these restaurants. Needless to say discovering White Sand Beach was for me quite a pleasant surprise and an obvious hidden gem that seafood lovers in Jamaica should give a try.

Recommendations

 

Of course, in my review, I want to give my readers the good as well as the bad. For me, the best time to visit this restaurant would be in the day time, as once night fell there were quite a few mosquitoes that surrounded us. This problem could be easily solved if they were to add tiki torches or citronella candles, which would actually complement the ambience of the restaurant. Otherwise I really had no negative critiques of the restaurant. It is definitely one I plan to return to (in the day, lol) as my other sisters and I have decided to visit with the rest of the family.

So if you are looking for a seafood experience that won’t break the bank but is sure to please the senses, give White Sand Beach a try and let me know what you think. Until then I will be looking for more Jamaican hidden gems for my fellow Roamans to enjoy when in roam.

A Travel Guide to Grand Bahama.

A Travel Guide to Grand Bahama.

Looking for a destination teeming with exciting parties and nights that never end? Well sorry, but heading to Grand Bahama is not that kind of trip. But if relaxing on beautiful quiet beaches, interacting with exotic wildlife and indulging in delicious food is what stokes your travel fire, then this little out-island paradise may be just what you’re looking for.
Grand Bahama is the northernmost of all the islands of the Bahamas and is the 4th largest in the archipelago. Although it is not the most energetic of all the Bahamian islands, it does offer the typical tropical charm of the other islands and is only a 3 hour boat ride or a 40 minute flight from Florida. Having been here for an extended period of time I will admit that the island does not offer the daily upbeat rhythm one might find in other more lively Caribbean cities; however I believe it is a good option for a quick trip to get away from it all. The island attracts a fair amount of tourists, most of who arrive via cruise ship, but does offer a more intimate alternative to Nassau since it is less crowded. So if you plan to give Grand Bahama a try on your next visit to the Bahamas here are a few tips to consider.

 

Things to do:

Port Lucaya Marketplace– This marketplace is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in Grand Bahama. It offers a central place where visitors can enjoy duty free shopping as well as restaurants of varied cuisines including Bahamian, Japanese, Latin fusion, Greek and more. It also features colourful and quaint craft shops where tourists can stock up on Bahamian souvenirs. The Port Lucaya Marketplace also offers a little bit of nightlife as the bars and restaurants attract a mix of tourists and the locals who come out to listen to local bands play music, on occasion, or to enjoy karaoke and tapas.

Port Lucaya Marketplace entrance.

 

The picturesque boat dock inside the marketplace.

 

Craft shops to stock up on souvenirs.

 

The Beaches– The best part of getting away from it all is being able to relax on a quiet beach. That is definitely one of the charms of Grand Bahama. I have never seen what one would call a crowded beach since I’ve been here and if you’re lucky you may just have an entire stretch of white sand beach all to yourself. The best part is the beaches are free! Beaches to try include Paradise Cove Beach, Taino Beach, Barbary Beach, Fortune Beach and Lucayan Beach among others. Some of these beaches provide opportunities for water sports or boat rides.

Lucayan Beach is one of the many beaches which offer water sports. Jet Skis anyone?

 

Fortune Beach.

 

Gorgeous pathway into Fortune Beach. Had to take this shot!

 

Nature Tours– Another highlight of Grand Bahama are the wonderful experiences it offers through Eco-tourism. There are many nature tour companies that will offer activities such as kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, bird watching and excursions via bike or jeep.

Snorkeling with the sting rays out by Sandy Cay.

 

Boat dock out by Old Bahama Bay. Let’s set sail!

 

Money:

The Bahamas uses Bahamian Dollars (BSD), however it is the equivalent of the United States Dollar (USD) so US dollars are accepted everywhere. When making any purchases tourists can ask to have their change given in US dollars as most businesses are happy to oblige if they have it available.

 

Getting around:

Unfortunately Grand Bahama does not have the most reliable public transportation, and almost everyone on the island gets around via personal vehicle. If you are visiting as a tourist, there are jeep and car rental companies to provide you with transportation if you want to discover the island on your own.

 

Where to stay:

There are a few hotel choices on the island including Paradise Cove Beach Resort, Pelican Bay Hotel and The Grand Lucayan. It is worth mentioning however that the Grand Lucayan is conveniently positioned as it is just by Lucayan Beach and directly across from the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

 

Food:

If you are not familiar with Bahamian cuisine then I should let you know that the one thing you must try while in the Bahamas is conch. Bahamian cuisine features conch in so many forms; cracked conch, steamed conch, conch fritters, conch salad and the list goes on. I also highly recommend their fried fish as well as their crab rice. Some good spots to try local food include Pepperpot, Sire’s, Silk Café, and Smith’s Point Fish Fry.

Delicious Bahamian conch fritters!

 

Climate:

The weather in Grand Bahama is mostly warm, however it does get quite chilly around the winter months. I was quite surprised when I experienced temperatures as low as 12 degrees Celsius.