Home to dolphins and sea lions, Bahamas’ Blue Lagoon Island is a bucket-list cruising destination with its iconic blue, crystal clear waters. From swimming with dolphins to enjoying the relaxing and stunning scenery, a Blue Lagoon Bahamas excursion is a unique and unforgettable island experience popular among cruisers.
Experiencing Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas
Located just a few scenic miles off the northwestern shores of Nassau is Blue Lagoon Island, a popular draw for many travelers visiting the Bahamas. This island, also known as Salt Cay, Bahamas, is actually privately owned by a local family; it is only open to those who have booked tours there — and you get special access to it from the mainland when you book your Blue Lagoon, Bahamas excursion.
This secluded tropical paradise has it all, from countless palm trees and lush vegetation to a hidden lagoon and white sandy beaches. Although just minutes from the mainland, you will feel like you are a million serene miles away from buzzy Nassau. Blue Lagoon’s safe, family friendly environment makes it the perfect family excursion as well.
About Blue Lagoon Island
Many investors recognized the value of this little slice of heaven as early as 1875 when the island was purchased from the British Crown by Charles King-Harman, the Brit-turned-Governor of Cyprus. It changed hands many times, first with a Bahamian and later between Americans. The island has had many incarnations including being a farm, a paradise garden with imported wildlife, a training base, and now a tourist mecca with a world class marine mammal facility.
- The island got the name Salt Cay from the area being a salt marsh before it was dredged in 1902
- Pirates and merchants used the island’s salt to preserve their food while waiting for permission to sail into nearby Nassau Harbor
- British and American forces used the island for secret training exercises during WWII
- Some of the island’s dolphins are literal movie stars, starring in the 1996 film Flipper as well as the movie Holiday in the Sun
- There are three rescued raccoons on the island — they are named Left Foot, Right Foot, and Barefoot!
- Two authors — Anne Morrow Lindbergh and William Styron — wrote part of their books while vacationing on the island (Gifts from the Sea, and Sophie’s Choice, respectively)
- Besides Charles and Anne Lindbergh, other notable visitors throughout the years included Drew Pearson, Caspar Weinberger, and countless royalty, socialites, and celebrities
Blue Lagoon boasts a subtropical climate with mild, dry winters and hot, wet summers. Temperatures average around 72 degrees Fahrenheit in January to about 84 degrees by August. The rainy season typically lasts from May to December, overlapping hurricane season (June to November). No matter the weather, Blue Lagoon Island is open and accessible almost year round.
Blue Lagoon’s Webcam
Whether you want an idea of the weather or see what’s going on in the lagoon, there is a webcam on Blue Lagoon Island to do just that! It is also a great way to get a feel for the area before you go.
How to Get to Blue Lagoon from Paradise Island
There is only one way to get to Blue Lagoon Island, and that is from the water; fortunately there is an easy, 25-minute ferry ride to and from Paradise Island’s Ferry Terminal.
What to Expect at Blue Lagoon
From island tours to beach bumming and exciting animal encounters, there are many things to enjoy while at Blue Lagoon!
This remarkable island offers its guests many amenities: full restroom facilities including freshwater showers and changing rooms, lockers, an inflatable bounce park, inner tubes, beach lounge chairs, picnic tables, and board games. Lifeguard and first aid stations are positioned around the island, and wheelchair access is available in many places.
If you’ve ever dreamed of petting dolphins or sea lions, you’ve come to the right place!
Established as a dolphin rescue facility in 1989, Blue Lagoon’s Dolphin Encounters expanded in 2006 to include sea lions rescued from an oceanarium in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Today the facility hosts many educational and interactive programs, and was reaccredited for Excellence in Mammal Care by the international Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums in 2009.
In addition to their popular dolphin and sea lion encounters, Dolphin Encounters also offers interactive experiences for stingrays and sharks. When you book your excursion here, your admission will also include use of the beach and facilities while you are on the island.
Below is a quick overview of what to expect during one of these animal encounters. Most of them involve stepping onto a shallow floating platform in the water, so you do not need to be a strong swimmer to participate; you WILL need to be able to climb up and down a ladder onto the platform, however. Adult supervision requirements apply, and pregnant women are restricted from participating in the Sea Lion and Shark encounters. Guests with wheelchairs or other special needs can also participate with advance notice.
During the encounter you will also be learning all about these magnificent creatures and their habitats; photographers will be on hand to capture your magical moments with these animals.
Dolphins — A crowd pleaser open to all ages! Get up close and personal with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins on the floating platform as they dance for you and give you a hug!
Sea Lions — This encounter has both a dry portion with photo ops, and a wet portion on a floating platform where you can play with them in the water. Available to guests 8 years of age or older
Stingrays — Enter the platform and feel their silky fins as they glide all around you and check you out! You can strap on a snorkel and swim with them as well. Open to guests 4 years and up
Sharks — Here’s your chance to swim with the sharks — in a good way! Snorkel in the shark habitat to pet and even cradle a nurse shark in your arms! Guests must be at least 10 years or older to participate
The lagoon’s clear, shallow waters are protected and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding to your heart’s content. While here you can stretch out on the sand, swim in the lagoon, doze in a hammock under a palm tree, or gather some friends — and newfound friends — for a lively water volleyball or beach soccer game. Kids of all ages will have a blast at the inflatable Aqua Park with its floating platform, water trampoline, and large free fall water slide.
Love kids but want to enjoy some quiet time at the beach? Done! There is an adults-only beach area where you can sip on cocktails and watch the waves without interruption.
Quick note: the minerals found in sea water can dry out your hair, so make sure to take a few minutes to rinse it, at a minimum, as soon as you can.
The Roads and Trails
The island offers a Segway Safari tour that is a fun way to canvass the island, see the wildlife, learn about the area’s history, and visit areas not accessible to other guests on the island.
Help yourself to some fresh Bahamian conch salad at the Conch Shack, or visit the Shifting Tides restaurant for authentic Bahamian fare including conch fritters, peas and rice and fried plantains. Barbecue chicken, burgers, and scrumptious seafood dishes are also available. During July you can expect an unlikely Bahamian favorite — macaroni and cheese!
Once you’ve had your fill, kick back with a refreshing cocktail at one of the island’s bars while you enjoy live music and soak up the ocean views. Don’t forget to pop into one of the island’s two well-stocked gift shops to grab a memento or two of your time at Blue Lagoon Island.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Day at Blue Lagoon
Best Time to Visit
The Blue Lagoon, Bahamas is a great place to visit any time of the year — but the best times to go weather-wise are December through April; be aware that this is also peak tourist season as people visit for the holidays or to escape their cold climes.
Aim for August or September if you want more of the beach to yourself without all the hassle of dealing with crowds and other tourists. Otherwise, try to visit on a weekday or as early in the day as possible.
What to Bring
Here are a few things we recommend packing to make sure you enjoy your excursion:
- A swimsuit or swim trunks and a towel
- A change of clothes for after your water activity (you’ll want light colored, lightweight clothing; layers are good for the cooler months)
- Water shoes
- Reef-safe sunscreen
- Sunglasses and hat
- Cash or credit card for food, incidentals, and souvenirs
Blue Lagoon Island is a must-do for animal lovers, nature lovers, and for those who simply love playing in the outdoors! The Dolphin Encounters interactive tours are small in size and fill up fast— contact us today to lock in your spot so you don’t miss engaging with your favorite animal while on the island.