The closest Bahamian island to the U.S. mainland, it offers visitors white-sand beaches, mysterious attractions, and the best fishing in the Caribbean Sea.
Situated on the edge of an underwater cliff with a dropoff of 4,000 feet is the beautiful island of Bimini. As precarious as its location sounds, the combination of the nearby deep abyss with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream is actually a blessing for the small island. These waters feed the coral reefs and serve as the home to a wide array of marine life from dolphins and marlins to millions of colorful, tropical fish.
The island actually consists of two smaller islands known as North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island, which are both connected by a shallow flat. It is approximately 50 miles east of Miami, Florida, which makes it the closest of the Bahamian islands to the United States. According to Bahamas Island Tourism, it “served as a convenient offshore speakeasy and liquor store during Prohibition. Rum runners stored their hooch both ashore and on a concrete Liberty Ship called the ‘Sapona’ that still rests where it grounded during a hurricane.” This wreck now serves as one of the best shallow-water wreck dives in the Caribbean Sea.
Today, Bimini Island offers a surprising amount of activities to please everyone. For history buffs, there are the mysterious remnants of what some believe to be from legendary “lost city” of Atlantis. Divers and snorkelers can explore the coral reefs and the wrecks in the area while sportfishermen have some of the best water conditions in the region. It comes as no surprise why Ernest Hemingway fell in love with Bimini after his arrival in the 1930s and used his personal experiences for the fishing scenes in his works “Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream.”
Major Attractions on Bimini Island
Bimini Road – Discovered in 1968, this attraction is located 20 feet underwater just off the coast of North Bimini. It consists of gigantic limestone rocks that are neatly aligned that appear to form a “road” into nowhere. It has been speculated that it was once the man-made road of the “Lost City of Atlantis.” It is one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites in the area that can be explored relative ease.
The Healing Hole – Located within a saltwater mangrove swamp just south of Easter Cay, is a freshwater pool that is said to provide a mysterious calming effect on anyone who swims in its waters. The freshwater, filled with minerals such as lithium and sulfur, is naturally pumped in through a series of underground tunnels during the outgoing tides.
The Fountain of Youth – Famed explorer Ponce de León, in his search for the mysterious “Fountain of Youth”, was known to have stopped on Bimini Island in 1513 before his arrival in Florida. The fountain supposedly existed somewhere in the shallow pools and flats in South Bimini. Today, there is even a small freshwater well with a plaque commemorating the location on a road leading to the South Bimini Airport.
Beaches – Most of the best beaches are located on the western side of North Bimini with the most popular being a long stretch of white-sand beaches in Alice Town known as Radio Beach, Blister Beach and Spook Hill. Tiki Hut Beach, located on western shore of South Bimini, includes two miles of quiet, white-sand beaches backed by a long stretch of tropical vegetation. For those who prefer even more seclusion, there are plenty of beaches on the Cays of South Bimini that include Turtle and Piquet Rocks as well as Holm, North Cat, South Cat, and Ocean Cays.
Water Activities at Bimini Island
Fishing – Although the water conditions for fishing are generally good throughout the year, the best time for catching game fish is during the summer months when the waters are mostly calm. Record-setting numbers of catches have been made that include marlin, tuna, and swordfish and some of the best locations are only within 15 miles off shore. According to Bahamas Island Tourism, Moselle Shoal (off the northern tip of Bimini), Bimini Bay, and Great Isaac Rock (15 miles north) are the “hot spots” for catching your prize.
Snorkeling – No visit to Bimini is complete with a swim to Bimini Road, which is also known as the “Road to Atlantis.” In addition to the mysteriousness around the large rectangular stones, this 20-foot dive offers views of a wide array of marine life. Other great snorkeling sites include: Turtle Wreck (a 15-foot dive), and the wreck of the “Sapona” (an 18-foot dive).
Diving – Although any of the sites in the above snorkeling section can be explored with diving equipment, there are additional must-see diving spots: the Bimini Barge (a 100-foot dive to this wreck), the Rainbow and the Bull Run reefs, and Moray Alley, which is a spectacular 50-foot dive through a colorful underwater world.
Boating – The official ports of entry for visitors sailing to Bimini Island include: Alice Town, Cat Cay, Brown’s Marina, Sea Crest Marina, Bimini Blue Water Marina, Bimini Bay Marina, Bimini Sands Marina, and Weech’s Marina. There are full-service marinas available in North Bimini, South Bimini, Gun Cay and Cat Cay that provide dockage, fuel, and additional professional services.
In addition to the great fishing, spectacular diving, and mysterious attractions, the best aspect about Bimini Island is that it still offers a chance to “get away from the world” even though it is so close to the U.S. mainland.