Divers who put equal value on bottom time and topside attractions will love Grand Bahama Island. This is a destination that combines the amenities of a vibrant international port and world-class resort district with spectacular beaches and convenient access to a range of world-class dive sites. The top choice for dive vacations on Grand Bahama is a stay at Pelican Bay and diving with UNEXSO.
Pelican Bay Hotel is a favorite with divers and vacationing families, as it provides an excellent combination of value, location and amenities. The property is located on the waterfront in Bell Channel Bay, overlooking Grand Bahama's largest yacht harbor. Pelican Bay's eclectic island-themed décor evokes a laid-back atmosphere that is enhanced by unique design accents from around the world. Each of the hotel's rooms and suites features private patios or balconies with direct water views and a full complement of in-room comforts and features. Suites include kitchenettes and rain showers, and all guests enjoy complimentary property-wide WiFi and Continental breakfast service.
The Pelican Bay property includes three waterfront pools and a hot tub, two bars, an event center, a breakfast room and a full-service restaurant. A complimentary shuttle brings guests to a nearby fitness center and water sports center, and there is also a free hourly ferry to nearby Taino Beach. The resort is just a short walk away from the shops and restaurants of Port Lucaya Marketplace and is also right next door to the UNEXSO dive center. Favorite after-dive excursions include the weekly fish fry at Smith’s Point Beach and day trips to Lucayan National Park to visit Gold Rock Beach and the Lucayan Caverns.
The Dive Center
The Underwater Explorers Society —aka UNEXSO — was founded in 1965, and is generally recognized as being the world's first dedicated dive resort. In the decades since, the company continued to innovate and expand its offerings to include a range of signature underwater experiences found nowhere else. The UNEXSO team gained international attention when they created the first shark diving experience in the Bahamas. This landmark program has brought thousands of divers face-to-face with gray reef sharks, and helped refute the image of sharks as mindless killing machines.
UNEXSO is also home to a comprehensive suite of dolphin encounter and education programs. These begin with orientation sessions that teach the basics of dolphin care. Participants are shown how to communicate with dolphins using hand signals, the enjoy in-water encounters in a controlled environment. More in-depth experiences are offered through an assistant-trainer program. UNEXO is one of the few facilities in the world where swimmers can meet with dolphins in open water, and the dive center also offers scuba diving encounters with dolphins.
The UNEXSO dive center is located in Bell Channel Bay, combining sheltered water for easy boat loading with close proximity to the open ocean, where deep water begins one mile from shore. It is a full-service dive center that offers discover scuba programs, dive training, continuing education and specialty certifications, along with a range of additional water-related activities and amenities suitable for all ages.
The center's seven-boat fleet can accommodate itineraries tailored to divers, snorkelers and free diving enthusiasts, and there are family-friendly glass-bottom boat tours that give non-divers a glimpse of the area's shallow coral reefs. On-site Sun and Sea Outfitters is a 4,500 square-foot retail center stocked fully stocked with dive gear and resort wear. Also at the dive center is the Dive in Marina Bar & Restaurant and a museum that showcases the original equipment and artifacts used for diving since UNEXSO’s founding.
When the founders of UNEXSO began their search for the ideal location for the world's first diver-themed tropical resort, they settled on Grand Bahama Island as the ideal location for a number of reasons. It's close to the US mainland, making for short flights or boat trips; waters along the island's southern shore are typically calm; there are miles of near-shore shallow coral reefs; and walls dropping to deep water begin within a mile of shore.
Snorkelers and novice divers can enjoy relaxing experiences on shallow reefs where sunlight brings out the full beauty of the corals. Mid-depth reefs provide a mix of coral heads, larger formations and sand bottoms that make for productive second dives. With long bottom times, divers are able to search out the wide range of marine life that make this diverse landscape home. High-profile coral formations that begin in 60 feet of water lead divers through canyons and grottoes to slopes and walls that plummet into the depths, and pinnacles that rise from deep water. This is the realm where bigger animals such as sharks, turtles and pelagic gamefish are often sighted.
In addition to the signature shark and dolphin dives mentioned above, divers at UNEXSO can also explore a collection of wrecks in depths ranging from 20 to 100 feet, some ideal for first-time divers, others more suitable for advanced divers with experience in wreck penetration. Highlights of the fleet include a grounded sailing schooner that has become a marine life haven, a freighter perched on the edge of the abyss, and the remains of a former gun runner. Other unique dives offered by UNEXSO include cavern diving tours in the flooded labyrinth of Ben's Cave and visits to reefs that were once used as the set for the classic series Sea Hunt.
Caradonna Adventures represents UNEXSO and Pelican Bay Hotel with a number of dive vacation packages. Contact one of our experienced agents to get all the details on creating your own Grand Bahama dive adventure. To learn more call 800-329-9989 or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.