Atlantis Paradise Island is the world-renowned Caribbean destination in the Bahamas for all ages. The resort features a variety of accommodations built around a 141-acre water park with 18 thrilling water slides, 20 swimming areas, a seven-acre snorkeling lagoon, and more. Atlantis also has the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. These are the Atlantis Resort Bahamas tips you’ll be happy you know before you go.
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The Atlantis Resort can be overwhelming even before you arrive. Making an accommodation choice alone can be a dizzying process. There’s the Cove, The Royal Towers, The Reef, The Coral, The Beach and more! No to worry, we’ve got you covered with tips, secrets, and tricks to help you navigate Atlantis like a VIP.
1. Getting There
Book your flight to Nassau (NAS), then take a taxi from the airport to Atlantis Resort Bahamas. Taxi prices are regulated so you won’t be overcharged. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the resort. Our Bahamian taxi drivers were courteous and professional. You can also book airport transfers through Atlantis, but then you may be stuck waiting for other passengers. We would not recommend renting a car. You won’t need it and you’ll pay a daily parking fee. If you want to explore more of the island, it’s cheaper and easier to hire a taxi. The locals may have some insider tips on places to go too!
2. Selecting your accommodations
For families: Nearly all accommodations at Atlantis are family-friendly. The main Royal Towers is the place to stay to be closest to the action and probably the best option if a visit is a “once in a lifetime” experience for your family. The Coral has family-friendly rooms and suites. If you want to get away from the crowds of the main resort, The Harborside has 1-3 bedroom villas with full kitchens and laundry facilities. The Reef Atlantis offers more upscale living with big studios, 1-2 bedrooms units with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. This works well for families wanting easy access to the beach. While not formally part of the resort, the adjacent Comfort Suites Paradise Island provides budget-friendly accommodations AND includes all of the Atlantis amenities. (Read our Comfort Suites Paradise Island review.)
TravelingMom Tip: When booking on-site hotels, check for resort credit deals. You’ll get more resort credit the more nights you stay. You’ll also earn more resort credit at the higher priced hotels. The resort credit is per room, not per person.
Adults Only: There are no adult-only accommodations on the resort property. Generally, thought, the higher the price, the fewer families you’ll see. Exclusive to adult guests of The Cove Atlantis is a 9,000 square-foot adults-only pool with 20 private cabanas. The Ocean Club Golf course is an adult-only activity as are the resorts casinos, bars, and nightclubs.
3. Atlantis is NOT an all-inclusive resort
Be prepared to shell out some serious cash for special experiences, meals, snacks, drinks, etc. Many TravelingMoms recommend packing snacks and water bottles to avoid extra daytime charges. You’ll likely have a large dinner, but snacks help hold everyone over during the day. Rooms have mini fridges for storing drinks and leftovers. The resort has a meal plan; kids ages 11 and under eat free on the meal plan. FoodStore2Go.com will deliver groceries to the resort as well.
4. Make Dinner Reservations
Make dinner reservations before you leave for the resort; otherwise, you’ll run into some wait times or will have to eat very early or late. Once you arrive you’ll likely have a message on your room phone asking you to confirm your reservations. Our favorites for fine dining are Nobu, Mosaic, and Dune at the Ocean Club. Our family-friendly recommendations are Carmines, Poseidon’s Table, Virgil’s Real BBQ, and Murray’s Deli.
5. Get the Lay of the Land
Atlantis Resort is HUGE! Download an electronic map to your phone or pick up a printed map to carry with you because, believe me, it’s easy to get lost.
Read More: 5 Things to Know Before Visiting Atlantis
6. Avoid Crowds
Atlantis is a very popular resort. You are likely to encounter crowds, especially if you visit during holidays and school vacations. The best way to avoid crowds is to travel in the low season when most kids are in school. If you are there during more crowded times, we have a few tips:
Avoid the Cruise Crowds: Sunday and Mondays are typically a bit lighter crowd-wise because the cruise ships are not flooding the property with extra people. You can also visit Aquaventure early in the day or after 5pm — before or after the cruise crowds that arrive mid-day.
Eat off-site: Consider having at least some of your meals off property. For breakfast, I recommend taking a stroll over to the neighboring marina village for Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. It’s also nice eating al fresco and gazing at the stunning yachts docked there.
Reserve seating: Avoid the mad dash each morning to get prime seating around the main pool by booking preferred seating for two guests at the Grotto Pool inside Aquaventure. Private cabanas can also be reserved throughout the main waterpark area. The private cabanas come with extra perks. During crowded months, the expense can be well worth it.
7. Swim with the Dolphins
Booking a special experience like those available at Dolphin Cay will help you spend time away from the crowds. Here you can swim with dolphins and frolic with sea lions. It’s not a cheap endeavor, but well worth it in my book. Make sure to book early as this very popular experience fills up months in advance. You can also purchase beach passes to spend the entire day at the Dolphin Cay beach.
TravelingMom Tip: Personal cameras are not allowed into the Dolphin Lagoon. Non-participating family members can take photos from the shoreline. The photo packages are extremely expensive so split the cost with another family if you can. All files are digital so it’s easy to pay one price and share the photos.
8. Check Your Cellular Carrier for Bahamas Coverage/Plans
There is WiFi access in guest rooms, front desk, and lobby areas, but not throughout the resort. Check with your cellular carrier regarding coverage in the Bahamas to ensure you don’t come home to an unexpectedly expensive phone bill. Wifi in the rooms serves up to four devices and is included in the daily resort fee ($59 or more per room as of early 2020). The resort fee also covers admission to the Aquaventure water park, move theater and Atlantis Resort shuttle.
9. No Tips Necessary
Atlantis charges “a mandatory gratuity of up to $10 per person per day depending on unit type for Atlantis guests, up to $9.50 per person per day depending on unit type for Harborside Resort guests, and up to $50 per person per day depending on unit type for The Cove Atlantis or The Reef Atlantis guests,” according to the website. Workers will still accept a tip on top of all that, but that’s up to you.
10. Don’t Expect a Lazy River
While there are times when you’ll want a lazy float, you’ll definitely want to head to the rapid river called The Current. It’s a mile-long river ride with high-intensity waves and rapids, guaranteed to keep you cool and laughing. It’s similar to a lazy river, but sans the lazy portion. It can take up to a half hour to float along the twisty path, but you’ll have more fun along the way riding waves and bumping over rapids. My family did this over and over again.
11. Go into Town in Nassau
No trip to Atlantis should miss a chance to venture off property for a meal or shopping. You’ll get a more authentic Bahamian experience. Hire a cab to take you to the “Fish-Fry” – the cabbie will know what you mean. It’s an area on the beach with seafood huts and cheaper drinks. During Spring Break, though, it can be a bit rowdy, so keep this in mind. Shopping in town is fun too!
12. Dress Properly for High-Speed Water Slides
One complaint I often hear from friends and family members after a trip to Atlantis is that they got some bruise or injury from the high-speed slides like the Leap of Faith, The Abyss and the Challenger. I recommend rash guards and board shorts to protect your skin. String bikinis are a no-no for sure unless you want to end your ride without your suit.
13. Day Passes
If you only want to visit Atlantis Resort Bahamas for a day, consider buying a day pass. Day passes can be purchased by the guests of some local hotels, Bahamian residents/citizens and cruise lines. You can’t try to “fake” this either. You will need to show proof of residence or show a key to your hotel room or cruise cabin.