Bimini Island is a beautiful island located just 50 miles off the coast of Miami. It is a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the natural beauty of the island and enjoy all sorts of fun water activities.
Here, we’ll look at how to get to Bimini and go over everything you need to know for a great trip, including where to stay, how to get around, immigration requirements, and more.
Bimini is made up of two main islands: North Bimini and East Bimini, with Alice Town situated on North Bimini. The island is steeped in history, with the first inhabitants believed to have been the Lucayan People. Later, Spanish explorers visited the island, followed by pirates who used it as a base of operations.
The island has a population of around 2,000 people, with the majority of the population being descended from African slaves brought to the island by the British during the colonial period. The island’s economy is primarily based on fishing and tourism.
One of the most famous visitors to Bimini was Ernest Hemingway, who spent time on the island in the 1930s and wrote about it in his novel Islands in the Stream. Hemingway was known to have a fondness for the island’s turquoise waters and its laid-back atmosphere.
Today, Bimini Island is a popular destination for tourists, who come to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches, clear waters, and abundant marine life. It’s especially popular for American tourists, considering how close it is to the US.
How to Get There
To get to Bimini, you can go by air, ferry, or cruise. Of course, if you have a private boat, it’s also an option to go by private boat.
The fastest and most convenient way to get to Bimini from Miami is by taking a direct flight. Silver Airways offers direct flights to South Bimini Airport from either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Both are major airports that connect to other hubs in the US, including Atlanta.
You may find information on other airline websites, including United, about flying to Bimini. But even United partners with Silver Airlines to connect you to Bimini.
It’s also possible to fly into another island in the Bahamas and then go to Bimini. Flamingo Air offers daily flights from the Grand Bahama International Airport to Bimini.
The cheapest way to get to Bimini from Miami is by taking the ferry. Balearia Caribbean operates regular routes between Ft. Lauderdale and both Bimini as well as Grand Bahama. This route takes approximately 2 hours.
You may see things online about the FRS Caribbean. This is an old route and is not running any longer. You may also see information about the Bimini Shuttle Boat, but this is in fact run by Balearia. So the best way to go is to head straight over to Balearia’s website for booking.
Bimini Island offers a unique experience for cruise passengers, with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and limited shopping, with mostly just the basic necessities available. The Resorts World Bimini Cruise Port is a new addition to Bahamian itineraries that can accommodate the largest cruise ships. Bimini is a big cruise ship destination, so there are quite a few companies that port in Bimini.
All these major cruise lines offer shore excursions on Bimini Island, which include water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing.
Docking in Bimini on the Carnival Elation (c) SoutheastTravelGuide.com
Virgin Voyages‘ private island resort, Bimini Beach Club, is also located on North Bimini Island, and it has various amenities such as food and drink services, VIP beach cabanas, and water sport activities.
Carnival Cruise Line sails to Bimini from Port Canaveral, Miami, Charleston, Jacksonville, Norfolk, and even Mobile. Numerous ships of theirs sail here, including the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze.
Royal Caribbean sails from Port Canaveral, Tampa, and even as far as Baltimore.
Celebrity Cruises leaves out of Miami for a 4-day cruise to both Bimini and Nassau onboard the Celebrity Summit.
US citizens planning to visit Bimini Island will need to have a valid passport. Visitors arriving by air or boat must also comply with customs and immigration regulations. If you’re on a cruise, though, an alternative is that you can present an original birth certificate or a government-issued picture ID.
The cruise lines typically handle this for you as part of your pre-departure preparations. The US State Department recommends getting a passport, even if you don’t need one, in case there is an emergency while you’re there.
As of September 2022, you no longer need to provide any COVID vaccine or testing documentation to enter the Bahamas.
Where to Stay
Bimini Island has a wide range of accommodation options, including Resorts World Bimini, Bimini Big Game Club, Bimini Cove Resort, and various private villas and apartments. If you’re planning a day trip, it’s a good idea to book a day pass at one of the beach clubs on the island, such as Radio Beach or Bimini Beach Club.
Let’s look a little more at each option.
The Hilton World Resort in Bimini is a super luxurious retreat right on the main strip. Like other Hilton brands, it is pricey but the resort is beautiful.
You can choose from standard rooms with either 1 King or 2 Queen beds, and many of the rooms come with views of the water. There are also 2-room suites available.
Amenities are pretty standard include free wifi, a fitness center, an onsite restaurant, and an onsite spa. There is also a casino onsite.
Pet friendly rooms are available, so feel free to bring your best friend with you!
The Bimini Big Game Club is known for its luxury accommodations and world-class fishing experiences.
Bimini Big Game offers a few different room types, including rooms that give you some extra space. The Deluxe Rooms are the standard hotel room with balconies or patios. But they’ve also got Cottage Waterfront Rooms, which are little bungalows with private patios, and Penthouse Suites, complete with a mini bar.
One of the main attractions of the Bimini Big Game Club is its reputation as a premier fishing destination. The resort works closely with local operators to offer bonefishing guides and their onsite fishing charter with Adrenaline Adventures.
In addition to fishing, the resort offers a bunch of other activity packages, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. There is a dive shop onsite, you can rent bikes, there’s a game area with ping pong, pool, etc., and a whole lot more.
This is the top choice for families especially, with the huge variety of activities to keep the kids entertained and the parents happy.
Bimini Cove Resort is a stunning vacation destination offering a range of luxurious accommodations, including spacious villas and apartment-style rentals. Each unit comes with standard amenities, including air conditioning, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi.
Enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean from your private balcony or patio, and get easy access to the beach and nearby attractions.
In addition to its comfortable accommodations, Bimini Cove Resort also features a variety of on-site amenities. There is a beautiful swimming pool, complete with poolside loungers and umbrellas BBQ facilities, and outdoor dining areas.
Private Villas and Apartments
If you’re planning to stay in Bimini for an extended period, renting a private villa or apartment can be a great option. There are several ways to find available rentals, including online vacation rental websites like AirBnB or VRBO and local real estate agencies.
Before finalizing your booking, make sure to carefully review the rental agreement and any associated fees, such as cleaning or security deposits.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to research the neighborhood where the rental is located to ensure it meets your preferences and needs. With a bit of planning and research, renting a private villa or apartment in Bimini can be a comfortable and enjoyable way to experience this beautiful island.
How to get around
Getting around Bimini is relatively easy with a few transportation options available.
There is a free tram service that runs around the island throughout the day. That is the best way to get around the island – there’s no real reason to rent a car here unless you just want the extra convenience.
Visitors arriving at South Bimini Airport can also take a $5 taxi and ferry ride to Alice Town on North Bimini. Most places on the island are within walking distance, but hotels may offer minibus tours or bike and golf cart rentals.
What to do in Bimini
The water is the big attraction here, but Bimini Island has plenty to keep you entertained throughout the day. Let’s look a little more at some of the best things to do on this beautiful island.
Snorkeling and diving
Headed out for a dive on the Sapona
Snorkeling Sites: Some of the popular snorkeling sites include the Bimini Road, Turtle Rocks, and Rainbow Reef. These sites offer an opportunity to see a variety of marine species such as colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. The Bimini Road is especially popular for its unique underwater rock formation.
Bimini Barge: The Bimini Barge, a sunken cargo vessel, is one of the most popular dive sites in the area. The wreck lies in 100 feet of water and is home to a variety of marine life including barracudas, groupers, and moray eels.
Tuna Alley: Another popular dive site is Tuna Alley, which is known for its sloping drop-offs and swim-throughs. Visitors can expect to see a variety of pelagic species such as tuna, sailfish, and even hammerhead sharks.
SS Sapona: The SS Sapona, a concrete-hulled shipwreck, is another popular dive site in Bimini. The wreck, which is over 270 feet long, is home to a variety of marine life including stingrays, groupers, and snappers. You can explore the ship’s interior and see the remnants of its cargo holds.
This site is only accessible by boat. I booked a tour through Carnival when I went on a Jacksonville to Bahamas cruise, and went out to the Sapona with Bimini Blue Adventures. I had a great experience. The staff were really personable and we had a good time talking about diving and freediving on the way out (the guy I was talking to was really into spearfishing).
Rainbow Reef, located on the south side of Bimini, is another popular dive site known for its colorful coral formations and abundance of marine life. Visitors can expect to see a variety of species including angelfish, butterflyfish, and even reef sharks.
The island has several beaches that are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing.
One of the most popular beaches in Bimini is Radio Beach, in Alice Town. It’s known for its soft sand and calm waters, making it a great spot for families with children. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and there are several bars and restaurants nearby to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink to cool off.
Another must-visit beach in Bimini is Blister Beach, located on the eastern side of the island. This secluded beach is known for its powdery sand and crystal-clear waters, making it a top choice for snorkeling and swimming.
Bimini has a number of bars, restaurants, clubs, and places to see live music in Alice Town, the main town on the island. One of the most popular spots is the End of the World Bar. Other places include Bimini Big John’s, Small’s Takeaway on South Bimini, and Nate’s Bimini Breads.
No article about Bimini nightlife would be complete without talking about Resorts World Bimini. This is the resort that includes the Hilton. They have by far the most nightlife, with a casino, great food, and pools for a night swim.
They are also the company operating the free shuttle around the island.
Hiking and Walking
The Bimini Nature Trail is located in Alice Town and takes you through a mangrove forest, showcasing the island’s unique ecosystem. The trail is well-marked and is an easy walk for most people. It is a 1.3 kilometer (0.8 mile) loop.
The Bottom Line
With its crystal clear waters, stunning beaches, and luxurious resorts, Bimini offers a perfect vacation destination for relaxation and adventure. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to get there from Florida!
You’ll find the most stunning water I’ve seen anywhere (and I lived in Hawaii for 5 years), great resorts, sandy beaches, and plenty of things for the whole family to enjoy.