Scuba diving among sharks in open water isn’t for everybody. (Cue the “Jaws” theme music). But thanks to an incredible new pool in the Bahamas, you can safely get up-close-and-personal with nurse sharks and other sea creatures when you swim beside them in a poolside aquarium. That way, you can still say you swam with sharks, but do it with a secure glass wall in between!
Located on Nassau’s northern shore, the newly opened Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort boasts seven pools, which include swim-up bars, cabanas and a pool with a mini-island you can lounge on inside a cocoon.
Seven pools. Seven days in the week. You see what we’re getting at here? Yeah, it’s time for a week-long Caribbean vacation.
The swim-up aquarium is located inside a marine cavern and houses stingrays, tropical fish and turtles. You can swim through the cavern alongside the sea creatures with a waterfall in the background. There’s also a built-in bench running along the glass windows, so there’s no need to tread water while you’re getting a glimpse.
It’s worth mentioning that nurse sharks—the type that are in the aquarium—are pretty harmless to humans. Sure, they’ve got a mouth full of serrated teeth, but even if you were in open water, these bottom dwellers won’t likely bite unless they do so defensively after being poked or stepped on by divers.
If you want to see nurse sharks in their natural habitat, you can go on a snorkeling or scuba adventure with Stuart’s Cove in Nassau. You’ll also get to see locations where “Jaws: The Revenge,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Casino Royale” were shot.
As for the sea life experience at Baha Mar, it’s more than just entertainment. The sea creatures that guests see from the pool are part of the Baha Mar Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary includes endangered green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, nurse sharks, southern stingrays and more than 50 species of fish. Hotel guests can also feed sea turtles, swim among the stingrays and watch the nurse sharks feed.
In spring, 2017, the $4.2 billion resort announced Vanessa Haley-Benjamin as its Chief Scientist. She comes from an education and conservation background, with roles at the Perry Institute for Marine Science in Nassau and Save the Bays, a non-profit protecting the Bahamian environment.
Hotel guests will have the chance to learn about coral restoration and witness environmental research that’s happening at the resort.
The same pool that houses the swim-up aquarium also has a replica of one of the world’s deepest salt water sinkholes, “Dean’s Blue Hole.” After you snap your #sharkselfie, you can take a plunge into the blue hole.
The resort also has a food truck on the beach, and nearby the pools you’ll find a daiquiri bar and a conch shack. And inside the hotel, there’s a massive 100,000-square-foot casino for you all you cardsharks. (LOL!)
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to plan your Caribbean vacation now!