Gardens, Groves and Goods at Lucaya

Lucaya Travel Blog

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Welcome to Grand Bahama Island!
Arrival at Freeport on Grand Bahama Island was again early in the morning. We'd booked a Carnival shore excursion here that would include the botanical gardens and the Lucaya marketplace. Upon arriving at the gangway at 8:00 a.m., we discovered the weather had taken a turn. Nassau had been beautiful and sunny. It was now pouring rain at Freeport!  Not to be discouraged, we grabbed jackets, disembarked, and assembled for the tour.  

Our excursion went off as planned despite the rain. (Aquatic and other excursions had been canceled.
) But, as we learned, Grand Bahama is dependent on ample rainfall for drinking water. The tour bus took us along the main Queen's Highway through the industrial and commercial parts of Freeport. (I'll describe those in the following journal entry.) Past the tourist area of Port Lucaya the country opens up into forest. Out here is the Garden of The Groves, a 12-acre botanical garden dedicated to Wallace and Georgette Groves, the founders of Freeport.

The garden has several areas with trees and flora representative of the Bahamas and imported from other tropical zones. We walked through the gardens, replete with pool and waterfalls. Several species of ducks and turtles live in the ponds. The Tree of Life is the national tree of the Bahamas. It provides a hard wood as well as several traditional medicines.
Entrance to Garden of the Groves
A stone chapel is a replica of the first church on the island. Next to the chapel is a sculpture garden. Here, casuarina trees have been sculpted into graceful figures representing the indigenous peoples of the Bahamas. The willowy figures seem to suggest the spirits of the people who did not survive the colonial period. An arts and crafts area has space for artisans who work and display their wares in pastel structures modeled after wooden houses found on Abaco Island. While we visited the gardens, the sun made an appearance!

After the Garden, we made our way back to Port Lucaya. Port Lucaya was developed beginning in the 1960s as a tourist area on Grand Bahama to compliment the industrial development at Freeport. Today, Lucaya  has a number of beaches, resorts, a yacht marina, and a casino to attract visitors for a longer stay.  Many cruise passengers will opt to spend a Grand Bahama port day at Lucaya enjoying the beach. We had an hour to spend at Port Lucaya Marketplace. There was some shopping here, though not as extensive as one finds on Bay Street in Nassau. I took photos of Lucaya while here. I liked the lighthouse, looking very tropical as it rose above the palm trees. (It is a decorative lighthouse, not an aid to navigation. But it indeed was decorative!)

Lucaya is also home to well-to-do Bahamians. The courier pointed out the castle-like home of the family that owns most of the fast-food franchises on Grand Bahama. From Lucaya, we retraced our route back though Freeport.
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Welcome to Grand Bahama Island!
Welcome to Grand Bahama Island!
Entrance to Garden of the Groves
Entrance to Garden of the Groves
Story of The Groves
Story of The Groves
Garden of the Groves map
Garden of the Groves map
Ducks at Garden of the Groves
Ducks at Garden of the Groves
Waterfalls at Garden of the Groves
Waterfalls at Garden of the Groves
Waterfalls at Garden of the Groves
Waterfalls at Garden of the Groves
Tree of Life description
Tree of Life description
Tree of Life (National tree of the…
Tree of Life (National tree of th…
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Chapel at Garden of the Groves
Sculpture Garden
Sculpture Garden
Casuarina Sculpture
Casuarina Sculpture
Turtle ladder
Turtle ladder
Cactus garden
Cactus garden
Cactus garden
Cactus garden
Mahongany description
Mahongany description
Mahogany
Mahogany
Meditative Labyrinth
Meditative Labyrinth
Tamarind
Tamarind
Healing Garden
Healing Garden
Classical garden
Classical garden
Bottlebush description
Bottlebush description
Bottlebush tree
Bottlebush tree
Horseflesh description
Horseflesh description
Horseflesh tree
Horseflesh tree
Palms
Palms
Arts and Crafts Abaco cottages
Arts and Crafts Abaco cottages
Fern Gully trail
Fern Gully trail
Unbrella Tree description
Unbrella Tree description
Umbrella tree
Umbrella tree
Umbrella tree roots
Umbrella tree roots
Ferns in Fern Gully
Ferns in Fern Gully
Fern Gully trail
Fern Gully trail
Garden Cafe
Garden Cafe
New housing
New housing
Port Lucaya Marketplace sign
Port Lucaya Marketplace sign
Port Lucaya Marketplace entrance
Port Lucaya Marketplace entrance
Entertainer at Lucaya Marketplace
Entertainer at Lucaya Marketplace
Port Lucaya Marketplace
Port Lucaya Marketplace
Telephone box
Telephone box
Grand Bahama tour bus
Grand Bahama tour bus
Port Lucaya Marketplace portal
Port Lucaya Marketplace portal
Port Lucaya Resort
Port Lucaya Resort
Port Lucaya Marina
Port Lucaya Marina
Treasure Bay Casino
Treasure Bay Casino
Decorative Lucaya lighthouse
Decorative Lucaya lighthouse
Fountain at Sea Horse Road roundab…
Fountain at Sea Horse Road rounda…
Fast food moguls castle
Fast food mogul's castle
Lucaya
photo by: Andy99