Nat Geo staff member Sarah Erdman recently spent time at Tiamo Resort. Scroll through the gallery below to see photos from her experience.
On the shores of South Andros Island, one of the least developed places in the Bahamas, Tiamo is a hideaway surrounded by nothing but palms, coral reefs, and endless aquamarine sea.
To get here, I flew into the village of Congo Town, one of a few settlements on this wild island, and a lodge skipper swung by in a boat to pick me up.
Ten minutes around the coast, at the mouth of a wide bight, Tiamo is hidden behind coconut palms. You can see the main lodge at the left. The villas, most with private plunge pools, are just steps beyond the beach, camouflaged by the trees.
Some people don’t stray far from those two lounge chairs—this is the Bahamas after all, and lolling in the sun is a prerogative. But with the world’s third largest barrier reef, marine blue holes, and the potential for turtle and whale sightings, I skip the lounge chairs…
And get right into a wetsuit. (That’s my dive buddy.)
During two dives on the barrier reef, we see plenty of beautiful butterflyfish, amberjacks, rainbow parrotfish, a few barracudas, and a reef shark—to name just a few species. Photo courtesy of my dive master, Lee Munson.
There’s a little of everything for divers here: the barrier reef; underwater caves; and even a nearby shipwreck, seen in this picture. Photo: Lee Munson
Coming back to shore is always a treat, as native Bahamian Chef Keith serves up magical concoctions like this one, crab cakes with a mango-passionfruit sauce and black sesame seeds—to date the best crab cakes this Marylander has ever tasted.
If you stick around after lunch you might catch sight of one of the Andros rock iguanas that has made a home on the property. A family of these endangered creatures settled here years ago and has developed a rapport with the staff, though they’re shy around guests.
The west side of Andros is a vast protected area where bonefish, turtles, and even tiger sharks swim amid the shallows. Thick mangroves line the edges of the bight here, beckoning kayakers—though Captain DJ, our local skipper, says it’s so wild that if you paddled too far in you may never find your way out! The excursion takes all morning and we travel miles across the island by boat. We see only two other tourists, one of them a fellow Tiamo guest trying his hand at bonefishing.
With dive master Lee and Captain DJ spotting from the helm, we come across dozens of turtles in one stretch of the bight.
We see hawksbill, leatherback, and green turtles—lots of them!—and Lee says there are probably 50 or more on the sea bed below us. We don’t, however, see a coveted tiger shark, though Captain DJ had seen one earlier in the week.
Each afternoon, guests are invited to join a complimentary snorkeling excursion. The waters surrounding Tiamo are shallow, about 12 to 15 feet on average till the ocean floor drops off abruptly at the barrier reef. The shallows are filled with marine blue holes, underwater caves that attract all kinds of marine life. Brain and elkhorn corals are all over the place here, as well as conchs, a major part of the Bahamian diet. Photo: Lee Munson
In and around these blue holes, we caught sight of some bizarre-looking hogfish; lots of blue tangs; a sea turtle; and several well-disguised rays like this yellow ray. Photo: Lee Munson
National Geographic guests at Tiamo get a complimentary nature walk with Barbara, an island naturalist who can tell you all about the medicinal properties of native plants. This tree, she says, is locally called the tourist tree, since it’s red and peeling. She’ll take you on a trail that links four different inland blue holes.
And if you’re game, you can jump into a few of them. Advanced divers can also dive here—two of the holes link up through an underwater passageway. Photo: Lee Munson
In the evening, the bartender will shake up a cocktail under a shell chandelier as the sun sets, before Chef Keith’s three-course gourmet meal is served on the deck.
The sunset views couldn’t be better. But if evening is all shades of purple and pink…
…the color that stays with once you leave Tiamo is this one: an exhilarating, iridescent turquoise that fills every view and takes your breath away.
Want to plan the trip of your dreams? Create a custom trip around this lodge.
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