We wanted to get away from the crowds and experience a more natural part of the islands. We found the cheapest way to do what we wanted was to rent a car and drive out. The drive is an hour from the cruise ship. We had to have the car back by three, but had plenty of time to see the caves, swim and walk the beach and had the advantage of getting to see some of the island beyond the populated areas in town.
There were two places where we could go into cave entrances and get a little glimpse of them. They were really cool looking, though we didn't see any of the bats that sleep there-deeper in, I guess. You can change into bathing suits in the bathrooms there. They are pit toilets, but are composting and there was no odor i could detect. The trail to the beach goes through the mangrove swamps and have a great spot where you can look into a pool of clear moving water and see a variety of tropical fish. I also saw a tour guide hand feeding red-winged blackbirds at that spot. See my travel page for more descriptions of our time there.
The beach was pristine, the water warm, and the lack of crowds made it a peaceful, idyllic setting for our Bahamas beach experience!
Make sure you go one path to the beach and use the other on the way back because they are both very different. The one photo is of the, let's say "falling part looking walk" is rather sturdy to our joy, but made for some interesting steps. All in all this was well worth the time and made for some nice photos too.
After you have finished walking through the jungle and caves, take a walk across the street to the Gold Rock Beach walk which gives you 2 paths the choose, 1) via the creek trail or 2) the Mangrove Swamp Trail which is longer. Go in one way and walk out the other, it gives you a real feel of the ecosystems that exist there. Did I mention bring you camera and pleny of batteries. The beaches here are have perfect white sand and beautiful clear water, just perfect!
While on the island you may want to check out the Lucayan National Park. It cost $3 to go through and is worth the donation to the park. The park has plenty to keep you busy for several hours like caves, beaches, mangrove trees, birds, fish, lizards all can be found a long a really nice nature walk. Bring you camera and plenty of batteries. The caves here at the park are the largest underwater system in the world and you can dive in them only in certain spots and you need special permission.