Bimini is surrounded by shallow reefs near shore - but the depth then increases to 80 to 100 feet before dropping into the abyss of the Gulf Stream. To the west, the Gulf Stream current flows north through the deep water between Miami and Bimini, where the ocean is over 6,000 feet deep. The Gulf Stream brings hundreds of marine animals near to the shores of Bimini.
Bimini is only 50 miles east of Miami Beach, Florida.
Bimini has three main islands: North Bimini, East Bimini and South Bimini. These coral islands are small, only 7 miles long and only 200 yards wide at their narrowest. Perched at the west end of the Bahamas Bank, Bimini is surrounded by shallow water (only 20 to 30 feet deep) to the north, south, and east.
Bimini district of the Bahamas is a chain of three major islands: North, South and East Bimini.
- North Bimini is an island of only 1600 residents. North Bimini is long, flat, and narrow.
- South Bimini houses an airstrip, and offers a quiet alternative to the slow bustle of North Bimini. There is a small community of homes on South Bimini known as Port Royale. For many years, South Bimini tourists were limited to boaters because there was little accommodation other than private homes.
- Alice Town, on North Bimini, is the main commercial center for the islands - the equivalent to a "downtown" district.
Bimini is home to several landmarks said to contain mystical properties of obscure origins. Much of the historical data about these places is speculative in nature, and experts in various fields have opined across the full spectrum of explanation. Also, during the period of Prohibition in the United States, Bimini was a favourite haven and supply point for the rum-running trade. Some claim that the term "the real McCoy" was applied to the rum provided by William S. McCoy, who used Bimini to transport whiskey to America during the Prohibition.
Another interesting fact is that Bimini was a common travel destination for Hemingway. In fact, it is said that his love of Bimini inspired him to write The Old Man and The Sea, as well as Islands in The Stream.
In the 1920s Bimini shipped tons of liquor to a "dry" America during the prohibition against strong drink.
Bimini has remained relatively unchanged over the years and is a very quiet and peaceful place to live or stay. Its population is a bit over 1,600 and Biminites are friendly and welcome you to join them for conversation.
It is rumoured that the Fountain of Youth, which was searched for by Juan Ponce de León, exists within the shallow pools of South Bimini, and that the Lost City of Atlantis is in the shallow waters off of Bimini where divers can observe the Bimini Stones. In keeping with this legend, the Bimini Stones are claimed to have been a road into Atlantis.
Bimini is a tropical destination with pleasant temperatures around the year. The summer months are warmer with calm seas, while winters on Bimini are a bit cooler with some ocean breeze. Mid-winter temperatures on Bimini can be cool at times. There is a rainy season on Bimini with occasional rainfall and rare hurricanes from July to October.
Located only 40 miles from Florida, the closest to the United States, it is an easy tropical destination for Americans and Canadians.
If you land at the airport you take a "taxi" to the ferry which take five minutes to North Bimini and costs $5 total for both. United Airlines serve Bimini, flying in to the airport on South Bimini.
As of January 2020, the mail boat running between Nassau and Bimini is the M/V Captain Emmett, operated by Munson Shipping. They are accepting passengers, and the fare from Bimini to Nassau is $96 one-way. For more information, contact them through the "Send Message" button on their Facebook page.
North Bimini is crossed by two small paved roads which run the length of the 7-mile long island. A bicycle or golf cart is all you need to get around if you really need to go anywhere. The main road is the Kings Highway where most shops, hotels and restaurants are located. The smaller Queen's Highway follows the east coast and is where the beaches are located.
The North and South islands are connected by a small ferry that runs frequently, takes about 5 minutes to cross, and costs $2 each way.
Bimini's fame comes from Hemingway and fishing. Hemingway spent a few seasons in Bimini fishing and writing 'To Have and To Have Not' and later based his novel 'Islands in the Stream' here. A small Hemingway museum and sign marking his time on the island were destroyed by fire in 2006 along with the Compleat Angler Hotel where he once stayed.
The Bimini Museum has a very interesting collection of artifacts and exhibits on the island's history. The museum is located in Alice Town on the southern end of main road (the Kings Highway).
The economic fuel of Bimini comes from deep sea fishing and the island is known as the "Deep Sea Fishing Capital of the World." The storied past can be seen in the many black and white photos of record catches around the island, but commercial overfishing has greatly reduced the big game. The seasons in Bimini are opposite the normal Bahamas with tourists flocking from April - July to take advantage of the calm seas for fishing and diving. Wealthy Floridians make the short trip to the island in their yachts creating a fairly lively party scene.
Since Bimini is close to Miami, many American travellers go to the island by boat to fish or to enjoy the local nightlife. Scuba diving and snorkelling are also popular activities, as there are many shipwrecks in the area, such as the wreck of the SS Sapona, which ran aground in 1926 during a hurricane.
Bars outnumber restaurants in Bimini two to one and a large liquor store occupies a choice location in the harbour. The weather is hot in the summer with afternoon thunder showers and warm and windy in the winter months. If you are not there to fish other activities include bone fishing, scuba diving, boating and relaxing. Bimini has several small beaches, but it is not a 'beach island'
Neil Watson's Bimini Scuba Center, located at Big Game Marina, offers highly-recommended shark encounters and other diving tours. This is one of the only places in the world where you can be virtually guaranteed to see hammerhead sharks (the season runs approximately from December to March; tour $300). If you're not scuba-certified, you can still descend into the shark cage, located right at the marina, to get up close and personal with the resident bull sharks ($60 for 20 minutes).
There is a nice interpretive trail through a protected dry forest on South Bimini, known as the Bimini Nature Trail. Signs provide information about the local plants and animals. The birding here is a bit challenging, but rewarding. Other wildlife include giant hermit crabs and, if you're very lucky, the endemic Bimini boa, a large but harmless snake that lives nowhere else in the world. The trail also connects to Shell Beach, one of the prettier and more secluded beaches in Bimini.
- Bimini Big Game Resort & Marina, Kings Highway. Claimed to be the best on the island
- CJ's Deli, Alice Town. Inexpensive and quick.
- Stuart's Conch Stand, Bailey Town. Recommended spot for conch dishes (a Bahamian specialty). Eat on the deck overlooking the Bimini lagoon, with close-up views of stingrays and water birds.
- Bimini Beach Club Restaurant, South Bimini. Great view and good sushi
- Captain Bob's Restaurant, King's Highway (next to Royal Bank). Breakfast and lunch only and accepts VISA & MasterCard.
- Edith's Pizza Bailey Town serves pizza and regular dinner meals cash only
- Bimini Beach Club and Bimini Sands Marina on South Bimini.
- Smalls Takeout, South Bimini. Simple and affordable burger shack a short walk from the Sands marina.
- Sheries on the Beach Alicetown. Simple bar/shack on the beach
- Big Johns Alicetown. Has taken over as the crowded spot now that the Compleat Angler is gone.
- End of the World Bar. Long time favourite spot - panties, bras, business cards and such line every square inch of the walls and ceiling! Make sure to try the goobay smasher! The most amazing bar ever!
Bimini is much safer than Nassau as far as crime, but still be a little careful.
Bimini is a shark hotspot: NEVER swim at Big Game Marina, which is home to a large group of hungry bull sharks which are known to take bites out of people who get in the way of their search for fish scraps. Swimming at other marinas is also probably a bad idea, unless you have local advice otherwise. Swimming with sharks that are being fed also risky, unless you're on a tour with the dive shop, whose staff are very experienced at safe shark encounters. Shark attacks outside of marinas and feeding situations are very rare, but it's still worth being aware of your surroundings. Consider using a snorkel mask or googles whenever you swim in the ocean, so you'll at least know if there are sharks in the water with you.