Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A secluded, non-resort setting -- though active during the day
Grand Bahama is one of the largest and less populated islands in the Bahamas, and the tiny Paradise Cove is 30 minutes outside of Freeport, making this an appealing choice for those looking to get away from any sign of resort atmosphere. Guests staying overnight tend to rent a car from the airport, hit the grocery, and then relax in their near empty surroundings. Well, almost empty. The two units are set apart from the main check-in and registration area. Barry, the friendly owner, along with his parents and a small staff, keep things running during the day when the cruise ship crowd and other tourists come for snorkeling at Deadman’s Reef. Daytime visitors pay a small fee to have access to the facilities including equipment rentals, the beach, a bar and grill, shaded seating areas, and restrooms.
The beach here might become crowded, but those staying overnight can meander along the sand in either direction for complete isolation. After the daytime crowd is gone –- along with Barry and his staff -- the sun begins to set. This is when whomever is staying in to the two units can have freedom to create whatever energy they want. Some choose to have themed parties with bonfires, or simply sit out and have dinner on the screened-in porch and watch the stars.
Plenty of space to spread out, 30 minutes from Freeport
Paradise Cove's entrance is located on the southwestern shore of Grand Bahama Island along the scenic Queens Highway. This area is called Bahama Beach and Deadman's Reef (home to some of the best snorkeling on the island), and there are no resorts in sight; guests looking for peace and quiet will be happy to discover this hidden gem. A drive to the property from Grand Bahama International Airport takes about 30 minutes. Guests will want to consider renting a car to have access to a grocery store and other island attractions, otherwise a staff member can arrange transportation. Grand Bahama Island is 530 square miles and has just over 40,000 full-time residents.
Two-bedroom villas with screened-in porches facing the sea
Barry operates two separate units -- one blue and one yellow -- called Beach Front Villas, which have two bedrooms and two full bathrooms each. These are located next to Paradise Cove's parking area and directly on the beach. Guests enter through the back door, which leads to a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, and living room. In front, there is a sliding door that leads to a spacious screened-in porch with patio furniture and a pail of water to rinse sand off the feet. Another door from here leads down a set of stairs straight to the beach, which can feel completely private, especially in the evening when the daytime visitors have long gone. The villa decor is slightly outdated but it is clean and comfortable. If a couple would prefer to pay for a one-bedroom unit, the staff will lock off the other bedroom and bathroom and the price will be lower. All units have air-conditioning, TVs, and are provided with linens, towels, and beach towels.
Prime snorkeling and complete areas of seclusion on the beach (though no pool)
Paradise Cove's location on Deadman's Reef is a mecca for cruise ship excursions (and other tourists), and daytime is the only time the facilities experience any sort of crowd. The Red Bar opens for frozen drinks (Pina Coladas, Bahama Mamas), cocktails, and beer. The grill sells a selection of items such as hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, burgers (beef, veggie or conch), and other fried items. The gift shop, operated by Barry’s mother, sells a range of local handmade gifts as well as underwater cameras and essentials such as sunblock. Prices for all of the above stay reasonable, but most overnight guests choose to do their own shopping and stick to their part of the grounds for food and drink.
Deadman’s Reef provides some of the best snorkeling and kayaking on Grand Bahama island and there is a small fee to use equipment. A colorful blend of fish can be found, along with sea turtles, reef sharks, and moray eels. Some days the water might be too choppy for these activities, but if guests are staying the full week, it is safe to say there will be calm days. Guests who do not want to swim to the reef can pay to have one of the staff members drop them off via boat. Paddleboards are also available to rent, and staff can arrange excursions for scuba diving or fishing.
A unique feature to the property is the reef ball system in place off the shore. As of 2014, there are 260 artificial reef balls, which create sustainable marine reef habitat. This is a project of passion run by owner Barry who is more than happy to discuss and teach about the program.
The family-run and authentic Paradise Cove is located on the western coast of Grand Bahama, 30 minutes from Freeport and along Deadman’s Reef, one of the best snorkel spots on the island. There are just two comfortable two-bedroom villas: one blue and one yellow. Though the bar and grill can get a cruise ship crowd during the day, guests can easily find their own peace and quiet on the sand and even more so in the evening. This is ideal for couples or small groups who can transform the evening vibe into anything they want it to be: party-hearty, kid-friendly, or just plain romantic. Paddleboards (when the waves are not choppy), kayaks, and other rentals are available. A car is recommended, if only to keep the fridge stocked.