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 waterscape called Aquaventure. This water park contains 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 bringing 50,000 marine animals from reef sharks to sea turtles within your reach. We’ve put together this list to help your trip to Atlantis be the best it can be. These are the Atlantis Bahamas tips you’ll be happy you know before you go.
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.
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13 Atlantis Bahamas Tips for a VIP experience
1. Getting There
When booking your trip to Atlantis, you will want to book your flight to Nassau (NAS) and then take a taxi from the airport to the resort. 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. If you want to explore more of the island, 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 newly renovated 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 is perfect 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, but often 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 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 too for storing drinks and leftovers. The resort has a meal plan, which can be helpful if your kids are 11 and under (then they eat free). FoodStore2Go.com will deliver groceries to the resort as well. I’ve heard that Dominos will deliver too, but give them a call to make sure.
4. Make Dinner Reservations
Make dinner reservations before you even 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! Before you leave, download the free resort app available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. It includes a map and a list of events. You can use it to make your dinner reservations on the fly or before you leave. If you don’t want to carry your phone, pick up a printed map because, believe me, it’s easy to get lost.
6. Crowd Avoidance
Since Atlantis is a very popular resort, you are likely to encounter crowds, especially if you travel during the high seasons like holiday 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 or after 5pm when the cruise crowds are not there. There is a website called CruiseTT.com where you can see what ships will be in port on any given 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: to avoid the mad dash each morning to get prime seating around the main pool, you can book preferred seating for two guests at the Grotto Pool inside Aquaventure. Private cabanas can also be reserved throughout the main waterpark area. During crowded months, they can really be well worth the extra cost and provide many added amenities.
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 where you can 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 they are easy to pay one price and then share.
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 rest of the resort. Check with your cellular carrier regarding coverage in the Bahamas.
9. No Tips Necessary
No need to tip, since tips are already included on everything you purchase. For example, a $6.25 self-serve cheese slice of pizza came to $7.40 with VAT (value added tax) and tip added in. We were told by the front desk that even the daily fee per person at the hotel covers bellhop services. They will still accept a tip, but that’s up to you.
10. Skip the 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” – they 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. String bikinis are a no-no for sure unless you want to end your ride without your suit. I recommend rash guards and board shorts to protect your skin.
13. Day Passes
If you only want to visit Atlantis for a day, you might consider a day pass. Day passes can be purchased by the guest of resort’s partners and Bahamian residents/citizens. Some local hotels and cruise lines are considered established partners. 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.
Want more Atlantis Bahamas Tips? Check out these posts:
Do you have any tips for a trip to Atlantis or visiting The Bahamas, Paradise Island or Nassau in general? Let us know in a comment.