Paradise Island
Bahamas
1-800-Atlantis

Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas

 



Free Your Mind
....Free Your Spirit

 

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The Dig

The Dig is the underwater world of the ruins of Atlantis. It is where the once bustling boulevards of the ancient city now reside. There are corridors of limestone, hallways with murals and hieroglyphics, city maps and storerooms for 5,000 year old supplies. Here you'll find a laboratory showing evidence of electricity and astronomy. In the submarine room is where the Atlanteans launched their underwater vehicles to explore the ocean's depths. Divers' suits loom at the edges, accompanied by a diving bell.

The diver's suits really make you stop and stare. The suits are powerful looking but with a foreboding, almost eerie edge, as if they knew of the city's impending doom. And the suits are massive. I wondered if any Atlantean women, put them on, looked down at themselves and asked, "Do I look fat in this?"

Around every corner, from behind glass walls, we see the city's ancient ruins. Toppled statues, artifacts, underwater streets; all of them surrounded by hundreds of varying species of marine life. Piranha, eels and iridescent jellyfish and other exotic seas creatures are found in tanks at nearly every turn. The Dig is truly one of the focal points of Atlantis. It's really the base from which all else was built. When you're walking through the darkened tunnels and see all a the remnants of what was once a vibrant, bustling society you get a sense of the realness of Atlantis' existence. You can almost see the Atlanteans hurrying down the street, going about their business.

The Dig can be visited again and again. Each time, you'll see something new. The iridescent down fish (named so, because their mouths are shaped in a sad or "down" shape) were my favorites.

Dinner tonight would be at Murray's Delicatessen. Murray's is an inviting New York style deli done in a 1950's Miami decor with pastel booths and terrazzo. The food is typical deli style overstuffed sandwiches, shakes and good 'ol American cuisine that includes burgers, fries and hot dogs. After our dinner we walked around the inside and outside of the resort for a few hours, just admiring the artifacts and decor and familiarizing ourselves with Atlantis. The decor, artwork and light fixtures are all amazing and placed and positioned with great care. Nothing at Atlantis is left to chance. Every detail has been given careful attention, right down to the handrails. (See photo gallery)

Tomorrow is water day. On the agenda is snorkeling and the Mayan Temple water slide called, quite aptly, Leap of Faith. The LOF is located in a re-creation of a Mayan Temple. The slide shoots you down a 60-feet almost vertical drop at the front of the temple. But wait! There's more. You get propelled at a tremendous speed, not just down the slide, but also through an acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark filled lagoon. I mulled it over... Shot at a nerve-wracking speed through an acrylic tunnel under a shark filled lagoon? I am there! I've been dating for 20 years, this is nothing!

Day 2

Today is water day! For those of you who love marine life, this is the place to be. Today we'll spend the morning going on a tour of the lagoons and all the fabulous sea creatures that inhabit them, the afternoon will be spent on a snorkeling trip and finally, a trip down the much talked about Leap of Faith water slide at the Mayan Temple. First a quick tour of some of the lagoons.

Lagoons

Reef Lagoon - Located outside of the Reef Wing at the Coral towers, this is the home of the nurse sharks (I'll resist the temptation to say you can spot the nurse sharks by their little hats with the crosses). The nurse sharks sleep at the bottom of the lagoon during the day, and at night they forage around for food.

Hibiscus Lagoon - Here you'll see green and hawksbill turtles. This lagoon is located right outside the Beach Tower.

Estuary Lagoon - My favorite! Baby sea animals born at Atlantis live here. You'll see baby sharks and rays swimming around until they are old enough to move to the other lagoons safely. They are so CUTE! Located outside the reef wing of the Coral Towers.

Stingray Lagoon - Here guests can get an up-close look at southern stingrays. During the stingrays' feeding times, you are given the opportunity to touch and feed the rays. This sandy, shallow lagoon is right outside the Beach Tower.

Royal Stingray Lagoons - These are awesome! Here you'll see the black and white potted eagle rays (that almost have a leopard-like look to them) and the southern stingrays. These creatures just glide along as if they're flying in water. Watching them is mesmerizing. The lagoon is outside the Royal Towers on either side of the Royal Walk.

 

Water's Edge Lagoon - Ever see a bonehead shark? You will, along with bonefish and cownose rays. Located outside the Coral Towers.

Mayan Temple Lagoon - This is the lagoon you'll zip through going down the Leap of Faith water slide. The water is filled with silky sharks, nurse sharks, and Caribbean reef sharks. The decks around the temple give you a clear view of all of them. If you're skilled enough to be able to open your eyes in the tunnel as you're shot through, you can see them that way, too. The deck is probably a more leisurely setting. (smile)

Ah, now it's our turn to swim with the fishes...

Snorkeling and Sliding

Seahorse Sailing Adventures, at 1-800-821-4505, offer morning and afternoon snorkeling trips that leave from the Atlantis Marina on a big catamaran. We opted for the afternoon trip. It takes about an hour to get to the reef, and you're given a couple of hours to snorkel. So plan on about four hours or so from start to finish.

The crew provides all the snorkeling gear and briefs guests as to safety rules and precautions, and how to don your equipment, so even if you're a novice, you'll feel comfortable. One word of caution: wear sunscreen! You get more sun than you may think and you don't want to spend the rest of your trip on ice.

Snorkeling in the reef was nothing short of euphoric. The gorgeous tropical fish, apparently used to having humans around, swim uninhibited all around us, and at times, it even felt like they were posing for pictures. (Take an underwater camera, it's worth it! Disposable ones can be purchased at the Atlantis gift shops if you don't have one.)

After the snorkeling, on the way back, beer, wine and other beverages can be purchased. We opted for water, since we had yet another adventure in front of us, that we wanted to experience with a clear head.

The Leap of Faith at The Mayan Temple and Other Water Wonders

The Leap of Faith water slide cannot be accurately described; it really must be experienced. But I'll try. First you must physically climb the steps up the temple. You become religious as the steps continue: "Please God, let me make it to the top without passing out." No elevators here. So get ready for a little bit of aerobics. Once you get to the top, attendants will instruct you as to the proper way to go down the slide. From watching other "sliders" you might think the proper way to go down is "screaming, with eyes tightly clenched". Well, that's one way.

Don't Peek and Freak

As you prepare for the plunge, don't look down. I mean it. The top of the slide where you initially get on, doesn't readily show the plunge. It's kinda covered at the top. You sort of have to lean forward and peek to appreciate the vertical-ness of it all; that long, long drop. Don't peek. I peeked. I peeked and freaked. Don't. Or you may never go down. Just fold your arms, lay down and go with the flow like they tell you. Forget that the flow is going warp speed. Just do it grasshopper, and you will have faced your fear. I did. Four times.

The first time all I could think of was: Omigod! Omigod! Omigod!
The second time: I'm still ALIVE!!!
The third time: I'm gonna try opening my eyes this time!
The fourth time: I wish these little kids would stop trying to cut in front of me!

This is an exhilarating ride folks and not for the faint of heart. But so is life. I wish I had one of these things in my back yard. What a way to start the day—WAKES YOU RIGHT UP!

The next water ride we tried was The Challengers, two high-speed dueling slides, right behind the Leap of Faith. Although fun, not as awesome as the Leap and it ends in a plain pool of water.

So if you miss the sharks, grab an inner tube and hop on The Serpent Slide. As you sit in a rubber tube, this slide spins you into the darkness of the temple's core before you are deposited into a tunnel that lets you enjoy a "leisurely shark viewing pace". I never thought, in my whole life, I would use the phrase "a leisurely shark viewing pace" let alone experience it, but Atlantis is full of surprises.

If slides aren't your thing, or if you prefer a gentler aquatic atmosphere, you can also enjoy a half-mile lazy river ride, a formal pool, a zero-entry pool, a children's pool and of course the ever-inviting Atlantic ocean.

After our waterfilled day, we decided to dine at Water's Edge and enjoy a seafood buffet. We found everything from fresh steamed mussels to shrimp to lobster tails. Again, everything was ultra-fresh and plentiful. After dinner we decided to go to Jimmies, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor serving up all your favorites; shakes, cones and sundaes. We indulged in a couple of good old fashioned hot fudge sundaes while letting the wonderful events of the day soak into our minds. more>>


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