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Small Hope Bay Lodge

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by Danica Davidson

Even the briefest glance around Andros Island, Bahamas is enough for people to realize they've found paradise. All year long the weather is warm and temperate and the entire landscape is a jewel to the eyes. Here on this mostly unused island can be found the perfect place to stay while in paradise: Small Hope Bay Lodge.

Small Hope Bay Lodge
Click to visit Small Hope Bay Lodge web site

Around since 1960, Small Hope Bay Lodge has twenty-one rooms that are located right on the beaches. Hop on a boat and a guest can soon reach the Bahamas Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest coral reef in the world, just after the Great Barrier Reef and the Barrier Reef of Roatán. This is only the beginning of what can be experienced here. There is snorkeling, scuba diving and bonefishing.

Everything is included in a guest's rate. In other words, this covers such things as all meals eaten there, drinks at the open bar, scuba or snorkeling lessons, a hot tub right on the beach, windsurfers, hikes, kayaks, sailboats and bikes. There are sixty dive sites within a mere fifteen minutes of a person's room. In the dives people can see such things as wrecks, sharks, blue holes and lovely coral gardens. Even if a person has never dived before this is easily fixed, as there is a team of professionals there to teach and aid whomever asks. As anyone can see, there are endless ways for people to entertain themselves at Small Hope Bay Lodge.

It's no wonder the hotel's website is full of testimonials from happy customers. In the almost fifty years it's been around, Small Hope Bay Lodge has worked to make everyone love their vacation and want to return. The people there are always very friendly, as the ambiance is an important part of what makes it work.

Not all of their activities are related to the ocean. If anyone prefers to stay on dry land they can take part in bird watching. More than 300 bird species can be found on the Bahamas, and the Small Hope Bay Lodge hosts birding groups throughout the year. Though Andros Island is the fifth largest land mass in the Caribbean/tropical Atlantic area, a lot of it is still unexplored. In the northern part, tropical sands make way for pine forests, while toward the middle of the island there can be found tidal flats and inland waterways. If one were to go to the eastern side, coral rocks break into underground rivers, and along the western shore it moves out into the Great Bahama Bank.

If such beautiful places haven't been thoroughly explored before, they deserve to be. Still, because of the island's lack of inhabitants the land remains pristine and mostly untouched by human hands. The land itself is built of coral limestone, layer upon layer, forming what we see today. Much of it remains underwater, and both what lies above the surface and rests below is a feast for the eyes.

As anyone can guess, this is a prime spot for people choosing to have weddings and honeymoons. The staff does everything it can to make weddings last in memory. Using local flowers, they can build the couple their own flower arch to get married under, and braid even more homegrown blooms to create anklets, head wreaths and bouquets. Delicious foods, including tropical wedding cakes, are served. The couple chooses for itself where they wish to perform the ceremony, and their choices include on the beach, in a pine grove, or even underwater! Small Hope Bay Lodge has its own honeymoon cottage for those who recently tied the knot, and the new couple can receive breakfast in bed and are gifted with either free scuba diving or snorkeling excursions.

The hotel is certainly not just for grown-ups. On the official website there is a section dedicated to family vacations, listing off all the things children can do with their parents or on their own. Rooms are available that have two bedrooms and one bath, so that families may comfortably split up and members have their own space. Children ten and over can also take part in such activities as scuba diving, so long as they are healthy enough to do so. It doesn't take much imagination for anyone to realize why children would be eager to come to Small Hope Bay Lodge with everyone else! There has even been added Young Ranger and Young Naturalist programs. Along with all the activities set up, they can learn countless things about nature, the ocean and even Andros Island itself.

"It's all about rest . . . relaxation . . . rediscovery," Small Hope Bay Lodge says about itself. It was listed in the fifth addition of The 100 Best Resorts of the Caribbean as well as in Patricia Schultz's book 1000 Places To See Before You Die. In honor of the holidays there will be grand banquets and parties for Christmas and New Years. It's an ideal place for families to go while they celebrate. "Small Hope is a great place to get the family together as there is so much to do, or [to] do nothing at all," the staff says about its hotel. Whatever the reason for going, whatever the amount of guests, those who work here and those who have vacationed know they've been to paradise on earth.

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