This was our second trip to Small Hope and it brought back all of the wonderful feeling of our first. It was the perfect antidote to a crazy, hectic spring and is becoming an anniversary tradition. We were there primarily to dive and found a whole mix of other divers, snorkelers, and a bunch of folks fishing. The latter were kind enough to share some of their catch, which added to the great dinners on a few nights.
But that's what we've come to see is part of Small Hope. It's a friendly, welcoming community with a wild assortment of people. On this trip we reconnected with some folks from South Georgia we'd dived with last year and couple from Atlanta that we got to know. There were a group of Germans doing some serious Bone fishing. It's the friendly, informal atmosphere that encourages these things to happen between people who've just walked in and those that have been coming for years.
Part of this is generated by the meals, served buffet style (except for the hot breakfast, cooked to order - try the Bahamanian specials!) where there's a natural mix and mingle as everyone "oohs" and "ahhs" over the food. Part of this is the staff, who are making an effort not just to serve, but to get to know the guests. The other part is the size, this is a small community by design, given that there are just 18 (I think...) cabins.
Small Hope is not Sandals and certainly not Atlantis and that's why we came. There is no infinity pool with swim up bar. There is no pool (although there is a hot tub that is really nice after a day of diving). There are two pristine stretches of beach on both sides of the dock. There are chaises scattered under the palm trees for those times that you want to be alone in sun or shade. There is both an indoor and outdoor bar, well stocked and tended, but you're also encouraged to try your hand, if you want to. There are hammocks both near the bar (for those wanting a Jimmy Buffet moment) and far away (if more privacy or a nap is in order).
There are all sorts of water activities, too. There are a bunch of kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and a small Hobie catamaran. Bikes are available, but we've yet to feel the need to head out around the island (maybe next time!). Tours of the island, to Androsia Batik, or up to the indigenous village in Red Bay are on offer. We've heard good things about them, but have yet to experience them ourselves. We've had way too much fun just hanging out.
The diving is great. It wasn't until another guest pointed it out that I realized that I hadn't seen any other dive operations on any of our dives. I contrast this with Little Cayman or Roatan, where there were almost always others and times when I felt overrun by an onslaught of live-aboard groups. They run three dives a day (two morning, one afternoon and, weather permitting, the occasional night dive), which suits my needs. It leaves time to do other things in the afternoon (which for me was mostly to grab a beer and read). There are wall dives, lots of swim throughs, wrecks, and some great shallow dives. My favorite is Brad's Mountain, a 50 foot ridge with all sorts of fish, a moray, grouper, and some sharks who passed by. If the conditions are right, do Backside of Blue Hole, where the outflow of fresh water from one of the blue holes on the island creates an amazing mixing zone. This is a National Geographic-class experience.
The low key environment is exactly what we love about Small Hope is what will keep us coming back. Although never often enough!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We have been catering to scuba divers, snorkelers, fishermen, eco-tourists, and relaxers since 1960. Third largest barrier reef in the world and bonefish heaven. There are 21 all-inclusive rooms in cottages right on the beach. Come experience our unique ambience, friendly staff, and natural safe environment. Our dock and dive shop are right on property and fishing trips are easily arranged. Of course, if grabbing a drink, a book, and a hammock are more your style, go right ahead. We have 2 beaches and plenty of hammocks. Rest, Relaxation, and Rediscovery ... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Small Hope Bay Hotel Andros
- Small Hope Bay Resort
- Small Hope Bay Lodge Andros, Bahamas