The Bimini Islands, near the northwest corner of the Great Bahama Bank, are the closest Bahamian Islands to the United States. This means it is also the island group farthest from the rest of the Bahamas. This remoteness has left Bimini with a unique, laid-back, rustic, small-town feel that many visitors return to again and again. Because Bimini is just 50 miles from Miami, Florida, many people travel to Bimini on their own boats in about three hours. Charter air flights are also available from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. You can fly by seaplane into North Bimini, or by small jet into South Bimini.
Bimini consists of North Bimini, South Bimini, and several smaller islands and cays. The islands were settled by emancipated slaves from Nassau. Rum runners made frequent visits to Bimini during Prohibition. The tiny islands were made famous in the 1950s when Ernest Hemingway visited frequently after learning of the excellent gamefishing near Bimini. Hemingway hung out at The Compleat Angler in Alice Town on North Bimini. The Compleat Angler was the island hotspot on Saturday nights where a Calypso band played and the rum punch flowed freely. Unfortunately, the Compleat Angler burned down to the ground January 13th, 2006 (Friday the 13th!)
Alice Town, on North Bimini, is the commercial center of Bimini. Many hotels, bars and restaurants can be found there along the main street of King's Highway. The Chalk's seaplane lands there. The largest hotels have marina facilities. Many dive charters operate from Alice Town. If you decide to spend a day on land, there are several public beaches, an Open Air Market, and the Hemingway Museum. The island is small enough that you can walk around it in half a day. Or rent a bicycle or golf cart for exploring. Bimini follows British driving laws and there are just as many golf carts & bicycles on the road as cars, so use caution. North Bimini is connected to South Bimini by ferry. South Bimini is quieter and mostly residential, but more and more cottages, condos, and resorts are developing here each year.
Dive spots in Bimini range from shallow reefs and wrecks to deep wrecks and walls dropping into the abyss of the Gulfstream waters. The corals are healthy and vibrant. More than 20 great sites have permanent mooring buoys placed and maintained by commercial dive operators who welcome the use of the buoys by all boaters. Large schools of fish and other marine animals are attracted to the shallow waters around Bimini. The Gulf Stream is to the West of Bimini and its deep waters bring hundreds of marine animals close to the islands. It's not uncommon for visitors to see wild spotted dolphin, Loggerhead turtles, Southern stingrays, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and barracudas, along with many gamefish and tropicals.
Snorkeling is possible from the public beaches and from hotel beaches. One of the most interesting sites to dive or snorkel is the legendary "Atlantis Road". Just off shore of North Bimini are limestone blocks in about 15-20 feet of water. Many people speculate that the blocks are the remains of an underwater road to the lost continent of Atlantis. Whether you believe in the legend of Atlantis or not, this site is still a great divespot.
Many divers consider Tuna Alley and the Victory Reefs to be some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. These prolific reefs are home to thousands of colorful fish and corals. The reefs gradually slope from 40 feet to 100 feet into the Florida Straits with plenty of drop-offs, swim-throughs and caverns to explore. The Sapona is a very shallow wreck perfect for snorklers. Much of the rusted ship is above water. Another popular deep water wreck is the Bimini Barge which has structure visible in depths of 65-100 feet of water.
As the Gateway to the Bahamas, Bimini is a fantastic destination for divers eager to explore all the beauty of the Bahamas.