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Free in Freeport

Freeport, Bahamas

One of the great advantages of taking a vacation in the Bahamas is that it’s so close to home. At only 68 miles from the US coast, the islands can be reached by a very short boat or plane journey by vacationers who live within striking distance of Florida. Even for those who live in more northerly or western states the Bahamas represent a great opportunity for a vacation in a tropical paradise that’s not too far from home.

The islands contain several resorts of various grades for vacationers on a variety of budgets. Many of these are typical ‘all in’ resorts with their own stretch of beach and private leisure amenities – you could, if you so wished, never stray beyond the boundaries of your hotel’s grounds for the whole of your vacation.

Viva Fortuna Freeport, Bahamas One such resort is the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort. It’s a three-star complex just four miles from the center of Freeport, the capital city of the islands. The Viva Fortuna has the usual array of eating and drinking facilities in the form of three separate bars and two restaurants: Junkanoo is the resort’s main restaurant, offering buffet breakfasts, plus lunch and dinner; La Trattatoria, as the name suggests, is an Italian-themed restaurant serving a variety of pasta and pizza dishes for which you have to make advance reservations.

Viva Fortuna Pool The Viva Fortuna has a wonderful stretch of white sandy beach which rolls down to the rich blue sea – and, as it’s only open to resort guests, you can guarantee that it will never get too crowded. If, however, you like to do a little more on your vacation than simply lounge on the sand, the resort offers a variety of other activities. There’s a large pool and plenty of sports facilities, including a soccer field and tennis courts. If you want a short vacation from your kids, the resort runs a Kids’ Club that offers supervised daily activities for energetic youngsters while their moms and dads take it easy.

Viva Fortuna Room The Viva Fortuna offers two types of room – Superior and Oceanview. They are essentially very similar in size and amenities, the only real difference being that Superior rooms offer a view of the resort’s (admittedly very pleasant) gardens rather than the sea. All rooms have a balcony or terrace as standard, as well as the usual en suite facilities, phone and TV.

If you’re of a slightly more adventurous cast of mind you might like to explore a little beyond the boundaries of the Viva Fortuna. Freeport is a fascinating town. Although it has a long history, and was once a center of piracy and buccaneering during the lawless days of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it has been substantially remodeled to make the most of the tourist trade.

One of the most interesting features of Freeport from a tourist’s point of view is the ‘free’ part – there are great opportunities here for duty-free shopping. Many Floridians come here just for a day or a weekend to stock up on tax-free treats. One of the best and most rewarding shopping experiences in Freeport is the International Bazaar. It’s a huge complex in the center of town that is divided into sections, each themed around a different part of the world. So you can shop in French-style boutique one moment, then walk a few yards and find yourself in a busy middle eastern textiles market. The International Bazaar covers a ten-acre site – a dedicated shopper will want a whole day to look around it.

If retail therapy is not your preferred mode of relaxation, there are plenty of other things to do in Freeport. If you seek a little peace and quiet, the Garden of the Groves is a beautiful botanical garden, with paths winding amid trees, waterfalls and endless species of tropical plants and flowers – just the right place to relax and unwind.

If you have kids with you, you should consider the Pirates of the Bahamas Theme Park, which is conveniently located right on Freeport beach. There are all sorts of things to do here, as well as child-friendly dining facilities. If you want to leave the kids somewhere safe while you have a shopping expedition or some quiet time, the Theme Park kids’ club will entertain them for the day with organized activities, sports and games.

From an American vacationer’s point of view, the Bahamas are affordable, accessible and friendly. If you would like to spend a little time in a tropical paradise without great expense or the hassle of traveling halfway around the world they could be exactly the right vacation option for you. Being so close to the US mainland, the islands have also developed a very family-friendly tourist trade – taking the kids for a week or so in a Freeport resort is probably one of the easiest family vacation options there is.

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