South Andros bonefishing trip primer, part 2: The Travel, the food, the accommodations
South Andros bone fishing trip primer, part 2: Travel, food and Accommodations
A no nonsense, no fluff guide to fishing South Andros Bahamas. (mainly because I’m too lazy to type a novel)
Note: to make it easier to reference I will keep useful articles like this in the review/how to section in the menu above.
Every time I travel to different area and I always wonder what to bring with me. Where to stay, how much things cost, and how much can I expect to pay?
I know you can do your research and talk to friends. Invariably though you forget or get wrong information at times.
I’m not saying I am the expert by any means but I will do my best to help.
What to bring, where to stay, what to expect when you go fly fishing for bone fish in South Andros, Bahamas.
Since I am wanting to be thorough I will be breaking this down into sections. Otherwise it would take me forever and the length of a small novel.
Note: If you are reading the Andros Primer for the first time, this is part 2 of 3 of the S. Andros Primer. You might find the first part of the primer helpful on what gear to bring there. I got links directly to the gear I brought over for the fishing trip. I didn’t add camera gear but if you are interested shoot me over an email. I will add it to the next article.
Traveling to Andros:
I flew out of Tampa on Spirit Airlines. (which seems to be the cheapest btw) The round trip from Tampa to the Nassau Bahamas ran about $350.00. This all depends on what amount of luggage you plan to bring.(btw: max is 50lbs per bag) If you just did a carry on you would be fine. If you were like me and wanted to bring all kinds of gear, it was $40 per bag.
Since this was not a direct flight, once we got to the Bahamas you had to book another trip over to S. Andros. We flew a small local air line called Flamingo Air. This ran us about $70 per person on a 9 seater air plane.
All the regular homeland security procedures apply here, including checks with US customs on the way back. So don’t think security is easy going just because you are coming back from the Bahamas. It wasn’t quite as strict as my flight back from Thailand but it was no cake walk either.
Once you are there however and doing the Bahamian thing and flying the Bahamian air lines things chill quite a bit. Everyone is way more relaxed and people joke and laugh.
Note: You will need a US passport to enter the Bahamas. If you are not holder of a US passport you will need to bring your green card and the passport from the country of your citizen ship. Otherwise you will have to check with the Bahamian website for applicable Visa paperwork for proper entry.
The local foods:
Crab and Rice: A staple in the Bahamas as far as rice dishes are concern. Looks like a like “dirty rice” but like the name suggest it’s mixed with the local found crab. A far as a rice dish go it was good.
Conch Salad and Scorched (Bahamian word for score) Conch: This is made out of fresh conch. When you go to a “conch bar”, which is pretty much a shack for the most part. They go out and grab fresh conch out of the ocean for you.(they are stored there, tied up) Crack it open, clean it and starts to slice it up right in front of you. Onions, celery, sweet pepper & tomato are added and then the lime. This is more of ceviche type dish where the acid in the lime cooks the conch. It was excellent. The only different between the salads vs. the scorched is the size of the cuts of conch and garnish.
Conch Fritters: You all probably have had this in the states but I have to tell you the conch fritters in the states are terrible compare to the ones in the Bahamas. I don’t even order them in the states anymore. One difference is in the Bahamas they actually put some conch in them. When I get them in the states, I think they make some hush puppies and then just wave a piece of conch over it and call it “conch fritters”.
Conch Chowder: Awesome, lots of minced up conch in the soup. A must try if you are a soup lover.
Curried Conch: this was one of least favorite dish, as the conch was kind of tough. The taste is good however but the conch itself was a bit chewy.
Nassau Grouper: Nothing new here, taste good but the way we had it prepared it was good but nothing different than getting grouper in the US.
Guava Duff: A must try local desert. A Guava puree rolled inside of a cake like texture bread. It is then drizzled in slightly sweet syrup. Not too sweet very nice after a meal.
Johnny Cake: It looks like pound cake but less sweet. A local favorite, it is served with many of the soup dishes.
Sheep’s Tongue: Sliced up sheep’s tongue, boiled in spices and served in a bowl. The texture is like chicken gizzards. I had to try it but I did not care much for it. Edible, kind of like chicken gizzards, I would not go out of my way for.
Pig’s feet: Boiled with spices and serve in a bowl. A stew consistency with the pig’s feet sliced up. Not very pleasing to the eye and fatty in texture. However it was very tasty and I would definitely order it again.
Cracked Conch: Awesome dish sold in the states as well. However in the Bahamas the conch is a lot fresher and larger. Basically it’s fresh conch beaten down to make tender. Then it is breaded and fried. A must try dish in the Bahamas.
Grits and Tuna: A local breakfast dish. This is canned tuna mixed with spices. Not bad but then again it’s canned tuna.
Grits and Lobster: Excellent breakfast alternative. Chunks of lobster with grits can’t go wrong with that.
Conch Penis: Basically when the clean the conch there is a slender object about 4 inches that looks like a clear noodle. It’s kind of tasteless honestly. But some of the locals believe they are an aphrodisiac. Here’s the
YouTube video we shot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP-ut9Z3gcY
The local beers:
Kalik and Kalik gold( GOLD the stronger version of the beer is not available in the South Andros) was the drink of choice for most visitors over there. I know that was pretty much the only adult beverage I drank. This was because I didn’t want to get too crazy considering I was taking photos and fly fishing the next day.
Not strangely enough, all the locals drank were Heinekens and Guinness beers.
Since this was my first trip I can only tell you about one place I stayed. However I was there with guys that has visited the area in the past 6 years.
There are a few resorts on the Island but guys chose a place called “Swain’s Cay” (btw: Cay is pronounced key over there).
It was a 5-7 minute leisurely drive from the airport. Since it was pretty much only one road it was tough to get lost. We passed many scenic typical rustic Bahamian buildings. You will not find a CVS nearby. Though they have a small general store with basic items, don’t expect to find any Grey Poupon mustard there. What is cool though everything you “Really” need in life IS there.
The cab/fishing guide/bar owner/lobster (yes they have a lot of jobs there) dropped us off at Swain’s Cay and it was much cooler than I expected. The guys told me it was very basic. I don’t know what they are use to but to me it was pretty darn nice. There were 4-5 buildings on about 5 acres of land right on a bone fish flats. I mean you could literally on low tide, go wading and catch bonefish from the resort’s door. The grounds were well kept, the buildings looks like it was only a year or two old.
The small resort was very quiet which was awesome. No kids running around making all kinds of noise ruining my tranquil time. All you hear are birds, the ocean and while we were there lots of wind. It’s one of those places you could just stretch out in hammock and be undisturbed for a while.
Upon entering the rooms I was again surprised. It was air conditioned, tile floors, big bathroom, super comfortable bed and a view of the ocean though out double screen window. There was even your own private fenced in Jacuzzi in the back. Honestly this is better than most of the hotel rooms I’ve stayed at in the states.
The place to my surprised again even has free wi-fi. The signal in the ocean front rooms were not strong but I could walk over to the office and log right in and use my laptop or ipad no problem. James was using his ipad to skype with his family. Cell phone services is expensive over there so I left my cell off. I communicated via emails which worked out great!
Since there not much in local dining, all of our meals were at the resort. Every day we would get back from the fishing, we would clean up, tell them what time we would be back for dinner and leave for the conch bar for a few beers with the locals. By the time we get back dinner was ready.
That’s another thing, the dining room, bar area, kitchen, lanai hang out area was super clean and decorated nicely. You’re definite not going to get any complaints from me. Sanitary conditions never even crossed my mind here. It was impeccably cleaned daily and it was quite impressive. Again, it was more clean than most of the hotels I’ve stayed at in the states.
When we got back we would get 3-4 course meals of the local dishes. Most of the dishes were based on locally available seafood. We ate a variety of Conch, fish, crab, and lobsters. I know, it don’t sound too shabby does it?
In the morning we would tell them what time we would be getting up. We would join at the dining area and have breakfast. It wasn’t a “continental” breakfast. It was a “to ordered”. You could have the regular breakfast like many of the guys did(eggs, French toast, etc) but me I had to try the local dishes.
I tried the coconut pancakes, the tuna and grits and even the lobster and grits for breakfast. Yeah lobster and grits for breakfast awesome! Of course coffee, juices and off we go for a day of fishing.
Lunch was just your standard sandwich. They would pack our cooler full of waters and beers. I know it sounds pretty rough, but we did have to carry the cooler from the kitchen to the car.
All this time, I’m thinking good lord how much is all this going to cost? I didn’t expect to be catered to and ate so damn good in South Andros Bahamas. I mean I’m eating lobster for breakfast and 3 course meals for dinner. Not to mention all the Kalik beers we drank.
The ocean front resort stay in the South Andros Bahamas with breakfast, lunch and dinner was surprisingly affordable. When I saw the bill I was very happy to see it average about $200.00 us/day.
Unless you ate 70 cent cheeseburgers and peanut butter and jelly every day, Heck that’s what you would pay going to the keys or even Miami area.
There you have it, pretty much all you need to know for your first trip to S. Andros Bahamas Bonfishing trip.
I will start working on the 3rd installment of the primer: “The fishing” soon. I hope you guys find this helpful.