Yes, these are the kind of pictures I was able to snap while there, and all I had to do was walk directly out of our condo (Silver Sands Condos, to be exact) on Seven Mile Beach.
Also directly outside of the condo was pretty awesome snorkeling. We saw things like schools of fish, puffer fish, a sting ray and a barracuda. I actually panicked a bit after seeing the barracuda because we were so far from shore, but apparently that's just me getting old!
We didn't load the vacation with tons of to-do's, rather we spent most of the time on the beach soaking up the sun and taking in the view.
I can't say that we didn't venture out at all, though. We took a trip to the local brewery, which included a free tour, a plethora of free samples and the cheapest beer prices on the island (which doesn't necessarily mean the beer is cheap).
We also visited Hell - an über tourist shack covered in devils, full of Hell souvenirs and not near as hot as one would expect! According to Wikipedia, "There are numerous versions of how Hell received its name, but they are generally variations on a local official exclaiming, "This is what Hell must look like," referring to Hell's black limestone formations.
My favorite excursion was hands-down swimming with the stingrays. I learned more than I thought I'd ever know about stingrays (and probably more than you want to read), and got to feed, kiss and hold them. We specifically swam with Lilly and Scar Face (each Captain names his favorites).
I can't say that I wasn't a tiny bit terrified as they charged to suck jellyfish food from my hand (felt like a weird vacuum), but they were fun and slimy nonetheless.
Our trip was chartered by the wonderful Captain Clinton, and we received an intimate local tour rather than the typical cruise ship excursion. After the stingrays, we enjoyed island beer and Caribbean music, later stopped for a snorkeling swim and then followed it all with a spontaneous dress-up dance party.
A captain with props? Now that's money well spent.
And money well spent is important on the island, because with everything imported, prices can be high. We splurged on a couple of meals, scoped the fish market and perused some shops, but for the most part we kept ourselves relaxing on the beach and away from temptation.
I could yap on and on about our trip - the super clear water, book reading time, beautiful sunsets, our poor American Airlines flight experience, packing food, my sunburn and the Caribbean sun, driving on the wrong side of road, leaving our refrigerator open while away, etc. - but instead, here's some more photos from our trip.
Oh and PS, I had a horrific experience deleting ALL of my photos the last day on the beach (absolute nightmare), but hooray, they're recovered!
If you missed my handy beach packing list, catch it here. If you have any questions, leave a comment, and I'll respond. I love traveling and sharing advice.
Until our next beach vacation!