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Paradise? You’ll truly find it in the Bahamas

By Mark VanekBy Mark Vanek

There’s a swift tropical escape where you can get away from the everyday – and bring it down a couple of notches: Nassau and Paradise Island, in the Bahamas.

Hop, skip and jump: Nassau, the Bahamas’ largest city and capital, on New Providence Island, is an easy commute from Charlotte. At Lynden Pindling International Airport, you can slide right through customs – incoming flights are staggered so well that you’ll rarely get bogged down in long lines and delays. An excellent option for ground transportation to book before your arrival is Majestic Tours ( www.majestictoursbahamas.com). Once at your resort, you won’t need a rental car; most attractions will be within walking distance.

Kicking back: Bask in affordable accommodations – as well as have access to all amenities at Atlantis Resort – by booking your stay at The Comfort Suites/Paradise Island ( www.comfortsuitespi.com). Their suites aren’t outfitted with full kitchens, but they’re spacious and a pull-out couch helps accommodate a family of four.

Its central location on Paradise Island – across a causeway from central Nassau – is within walking distance of Atlantis Water Park and Casino, the shops at opulent Marina Village and water taxis.

At Atlantis: Now that you’re checked in at the only island hotel offering a full-access pass to Atlantis, head over to the Atlantis Water Park. Your family can enjoy the insane number of pools and bodacious waterslides and be whisked along its lazy river.

Sandy Toes: Take an affordable charter to the tiny and remote hideaway of Rose Island ( www.sandytoesroseisland.com). Great music and an awesome crew will meet you at the dock to usher you to an uninhabited island escape. Spend the day at Sandy Toes, lounging on an isolated strip of sand as you soak in the majestic sky, or venture out on a private snorkeling experience.

Dining in Nassau: For years, a combination of a freshly prepared menu and authentic Tuscany recipes has endeared Luciano’s of Chicago ( www.lucianosnassau.com) to locals and tourists alike.

Straw Market: Since the early 18th century, vendors from all over the Bahamas archipelago have converged on a little plot of land to sell their wares. At the Straw Market, T-shirts, trinkets, colorful knickknacks and unique souvenirs can all be found at discounted prices. Of course, never pay the original asking price. Everything is up for negotiation – and it’s all in good fun.

Vanek lives at Lake Norman and has unlimited standby flight privileges. http://flying-standby.blogspot.com.
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