TOLL FREE USA/CANADA
Getting to Andros Island, The Bahamas is very easy!
We may be slightly off the beaten path, but that's a big
part of our appeal. Even though we're not in the center of a big tourist hub (thankfully!) we're really quite accessible.
(more info on getting to Andros)
Please feel free to E-Mail any of our guests below - Click on any of these pictures to see a larger image Trip Advisor Reports on Small Hope Bay Lodge
If you stayed with us and want to tell us what you thought we would love to hear from you. Fill in our Exit Survey and tell us how your stay with us was.
My husband and I just got back from Small Hope last week and we can't wait to go back! We went there for our 35th wedding anniversary and we had the best time, met some wonderful people, did some great diving and ate ourselves silly. First of all the people who work at Small Hope are so friendly and they make you feel very special. You get to know everyone on a first name basis and even the owner is there and will join you for a meal and make sure all is well with your stay.
The dive staff are amazing and so professional. They make you feel very comfortable and their knowledge of the dive sites is like nothing I've ever experienced. Fede, Dennis and Adam were great and Sabrina did a fantastic job of videoing the daily dives.
This brought back wonderful memories of summer camp but with an open bar! We had our romantic alone times too walking along the beach, snorkeling in the creek, and enjoying a late night cocktail on the beach.
I also have to mention that the food was always fresh, always plentiful, and always delicious! By far the best food I've had at an all inclusive resort.
Can't wait to go back!
Stan and Beverly
We came back for a second visit to SHB Lodge because we love how easy, fun, and beautiful it is. If you are looking for a laid back, unpretentious, quality place where diving is the highlight and all the un-fun stuff related to it (hauling heavy tanks, etc.) is taken care of for you, and if you love being able to dive at least 3 times per day at sites that are unbelievably beautiful, and if you like to come back to shore and eat delicious food and enjoy any beverage you can imagine served by friendly folks who want you to have a great time, and if you like meeting kindred spirits who enjoy this too, then this is THE place!
John and Heidi, Minnesota
We just returned from our second trip (in as many years) to Small Hope Bay Lodge. We came back for the relaxing, low-key, warm, healthy and friendly atmosphere. It's a remarkable place- and each year we've met memorable vacation friends with whom who we maintain contact. Unlike a large resort, the lodge has a homey and safe feel - space enough to feel open but small enough where older kids can have some freedom. We will def return! One travel note - We flew direct to Nassau this time which made the trip feel so fast.
Katherine L, Newport, Rhode Island
The staff at SHBL were REALLY great with my gluten-free diet. They came to me at each meal to tell me what was safe and not safe for me to eat. They cooked a separate batch of gluten-free conch fritters for appetizers each evening, and specified that they used separate frying oil. They brought in hard cider and gluten-free beer from Florida, especially for me. They obtained gluten-free baking mixes ahead of time, and made cookies, cake, and similar items for my dessert. I couldn't possibly ask for more to address my gluten-free diet. And it tasted good! . . . The staff were friendly, attentive, and caring. They got to know me personally, so that I usually didn't have to ask about any of the food. . . We bicycled each day to some nearby sight, such as a blue hole. I went diving each day. And we relaxed. It was just what we wanted.
Stayed February 2014
I visited Small Hope Bay by myself as a sort of work vacation, to further research the subject matter for my second novel. The resort is fantastic. The atmosphere is casual and laid back, yet the facilities are top notch and the food prepared by their on-site chef is second to none. The staff became friends in the short time I was there, and the scuba diving off Andros Island's barrier reef and an ocean blue hole was some of the best I have experienced anywhere in the world. Plus, the diving staff is one of the safest I have had the pleasure to meet.
Stayed February 2014
I have been to Small Hope a few times. Each time I am there, I feel like I have returned home rather than arrived at a vacation destination. The staff makes me feel like family. The facilities are comfortable and the food is outstanding! The diving is great, and the dive staff is extremely conscientious and helpful. I have already booked two more vacations there in the next year - I am hooked.
Stayed January 2014
My husband and I went to Small Hope for our honeymoon at the end of October. We were looking for a quiet, secluded, and natural place, and we were so happy with our choice. The view of the ocean is amazing, the lack of television and internet in the guest rooms is priceless, and the family atmosphere created by the staff is perfect for socializing and making new friends. . . Everything about this trip was perfect, and we strongly recommend Small Hope to anyone looking to forget time for a while.
Stayed November 2013, with my husband
. . . it was a perfect vacation! We felt like part of the family and felt like we'd been coming there for years. Although we try not to visit the same place twice, I have a feeling we'll be back here in the future!
Stayed October 2013
My husband and I visited Small Hope in February and loved it so much we brought our whole family (12 of us) back in August. The trip exceeded our expectations. Our grandchildren's ages went from 7 to 31 and each one had a wonderful time. Our children and grandchildren all tried scuba diving (some for the first time). The youngest 2 participated in the SASY program. All loved it. Most of the group participated in a reef fishing trip and had a blast. The staff was wonderful to us, making sure we got to do all the things we wanted to do. The laid-back, friendly atmosphere suited all of us. The food was great and plentiful. The dive staff was great and made sure we were all safe during our dives. I felt we were truly treated like "family".
Stayed with Family, August 2013
Our vacation to Small Hope Bay Lodge was awesome for the whole family and was very kid friendly. The staff were extremely helpful, caring and went above and beyond to assure that you had everything you wanted or needed. The Snorkeling and Scuba Diving was some of the best we have ever seen. We have been to other resorts, but enjoyed the Andros Island, Bahamas the most. Everyone made you feel right at home and very comfortable the whole trip. The food was very good with lots of flavor and seasoned perfect. We will definitely be back soon as this was a vacation to remember.
Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
I've been going to SHB for almost 30 years, since I was 14 years old. Now my children are growing up going to this beautiful place and all but one have become certified divers! The dives are beautiful, the staff is awesome, and the location is perfect. I love the rustic atmosphere of the place - it makes me feel more in tune with nature.
Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Just returned from a fantastic trip to Small Hope Bay Lodge. My husband and I have been enjoying trips there for the past 15 years and it just keeps getting better each year. This year we were celebrating my birthday. The staff and my wonderful husband secretly set up a marriage vows renewal - on the beach under an arch of native flowers and greens with the vows done by a sea captain. What more could a girl want! Oh, and the food was great, the room was great, the diving was great and most of all the entire staff was perfect. We cannot wait to go back again. This resort is so laid back and friendly. I hope it never changes. I have looked for other alternatives for diving in the Bahamas. Small Hope Bay Lodge is the best package anywhere for diving, lodging, food, relaxing and feeling like part of the family.
July 2013, traveled as a couple
My daughter, Stephanie, and I recently visited Small Hope Bay to celebrate the completion of her first year as a teacher. Well....that's the reason we used, but we will use any reason to visit Small Hope! This is my 4th visit in 5 years -- need I say more? Their repeat business is huge and the reasons are obvious. It truly is a place where you feel like part of the family. The staff really does care if you are having a good time and they go out of their way to take care of you! They eat with us, talk with us and remember us each time we return. The accomodations are more than adequate and on my most recent trip I was able to lie on my bed and enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean!. The food is delicious and varied. On our most recent trip we enjoyed several days of snorkeling (we are avid snorkelers, not divers) and when I say they went out of their way to take us to good snorkeling sites, I mean it! There is wonderful snorkeling on the Andros reef and there's nothing like immersing yourself in that clear, warm water! We also kayaked, bicycled to town, walked the beach and spent time on that wonderful sport called "lying in a hammock and reading!" The days at Small Hope are marked by a wonderful, relaxing rhythm -- breakfast, fun activity, lunch, fun activity, shower, conch fritters, dinner, a quiet evening and bedtime. It's not fancy, but it is delightful. There are many beautiful places in the Bahamas to visit, but we sure like going to place that feels like home and where "everybody knows your name!" See you next year Small Hope!
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! Room Tip: There aren't any bad rooms, as it's really a matter of 100 feet or so in this lovely, small...
After almost 30 years foolishly away, I returned with my son... thank you for not changing! What a wonderful, idyllic place -- absolutely perfect for us. Small, intimate, friendly, relaxed, gorgeous, and fabulous diving. Not to mention wonderful snorkeling, kayaking, bird-watching, trail-walking, and bicycling to the batik factory! Small Hope Bay is totally focused on diving and snorkeling; no glitz, no mega-resort, and the nightlife centers on wonderful dinners together and the thatched-roof patio bar and the wonderful warm staff and fellow guests. As a new diver, my son received excellent support by the very professional dive masters, and went on tons of dives. I love the fact that you do not have to pay for any activities in advance -- you only pay at the end for what you actually participated in. WE WILL BE BACK!
So, my wife and I spent a week at Small Hope Bay Lodge for our honeymoon and let me tell you, it was absolutely fantastic. We had decided we wanted to do an all inclusive resort but we didn't want one of those big, 300 room, commercial joints. We wanted something smaller, more personal and more relaxing. Small Hope Bay Lodge was perfect. I can't imagine us ever going anywhere else in the Bahamas after staying there. There is so much to do there. Diving, biking, bush medicine tours, blue hole tours, birding, several types of fishing, hammocking, kayaking, snorkeling or just relaxing with a delicious, cold beverage! I've never had a more enjoyable or relaxing vacation. It was my first time diving and the instructors are all top notch and I am officially in love with diving. First and foremost, the thing we loved most though, was the staff. You won't find a better, more friendly staff anywhere in the world. These people are truly amazing. So big shout out to every single person on the staff. From the ones who stayed up late with us and kept the drinks coming to all the people behind the scenes that we didn't get to see as much. You are all amazing! I could honestly write a several page review on Small Hope Bay Lodge and sing the praises of it and all of it's employees. Do yourselves a favor, go there! Now! Go for the diving or the fishing or the hammocking or kayaking or snorkeling or any of the other great activities they offer! Go for it all! And especially go for the people! Because they're pretty freaking awesome. They take incredible care of you, they make incredibly strong and delicious drinks and good Lord, the food! Oh sweet baby Jesus, the delicious food. Best week of just pure, face stuffing goodness I've ever had. You definitely end up feeling like part of the family while you are there. It's not a huge place so you get a lot of great, small group interaction and personal attention during activities like the Discover Scuba Diving class for example. It's peaceful and it's beautiful. If you're wanting something different and not wanting a tourist trap type of Bahamian vacation then go to Small Hope Bay Lodge! I'm going to stop now or else I'll just keep babbling on. Thanks again Small Hope, you guys rule! Pinkies out and cheers! ;) Oh, and when you, yes YOU person reading this review and thinking about vacationing at Small Hope. When you do go, be sure and ask the bartender for a Stormageddon. You can thank me later.
I recently enjoyed my second trip to Small Hope Bay Lodge. If your looking for a safe/quiet resort to dive, snorkel, kayak, bicycle, birdwatch, fish, or simply to escape in a relaxing hammock, look no further. This destination will allow you to get away from it all and rejuvenate. It is ideal, whether your vacationing alone, with friends, family or your significant other.
Thanks to the discover scuba session offered by the resort, I now live to dive. I've learned a great deal from the experienced dive staff and have many underwater memories that will keep me going until my next visit.
Since my first trip last year, I've told everyone I meet about this exceptional vacation destination. People who know me hear it in my voice how much the staff of SHB Lodge and the residents of Andros Island have captured my heart.
If your looking for WiFi, a bar fridge and a TV in your room or you must have room service, this is NOT the destination for you.
This is an intimate resort where each guest has an equally spectacular view of sunrises/sunsets, palm and coconut trees, the beach and the water; just outside every room.
Every meal offers plenty of tasty selections, a wonderful variety of food and the dining room staff can accomodate all dietary requirements.
By the end of your stay you will likely know the names of most of the guests and staff and have formed many friendships. And yes, perhaps the quality time spent at the resort bar each evening had a great deal to do with this. The mixologists at the lodge are very experienced and always at the ready to satisfy your beverage and music requirements.
If you choose to stay at Small Hope Bay Lodge, I hope you leave feeling as I did; captivated by the people and their inviting piece of Andros Island.
Cathy Cole, Ontario, Canada
There is something for everyone at Small Hope Bay Lodge - serious scuba diving, spectacular snorkeling, hiking, biking, kayaking, and just swinging in a hammock and reading a book. I've traveled extensively and not found a place where the staff is as gracious and friendly - everyone ACTUALLY seems to be happy to meet you and interested in making sure you have a great time. The fond memories of beautiful water, delicious food, breezes through the palm trees, and fun on the beach with the dogs Sassy and Izzy kept me warm as I shoveled several feet of snow off my car when I got home. Our stay at Small Hope Bay Lodge was fantastic and I look forward to visiting again soon!
Christine Swistro, Chelsea MA
I had a terrific time at Small Hope Bay. I loved the low key atmosphere (no need to dress up, ever), great food, wonderful staff, interesting guests, fun activities. I learned to scuba dive, which was a real thrill. Snorkeling was also terrific. The reefs are gorgeous, and the diving staff were extremely patient and helpful. This was my first time at Small Hope. I'd love to return, perhaps with a larger group of friends next time.
Elaine Bresnick, Newton, MA
Second time in Small Hope, and this time I had arrived with the remains of a bad cold that had plagued me for more than a month. Months of work-related stress, tiredness, and anxiety dissipated as soon as I arrived at the lodge and was greeted by the staff. The sensation was truly like coming back home to a place that I knew well and felt comfortable with. Although this was only my second time in Small Hope -the last time having been more than four years ago, the familiar feeling was still there. I could remember where everything was and what the routine of the day went like, including the get-together in the evening before dinner and the friendly conversation around the bar. It took only three days for all symptoms of my cold to disappear. I would like to think it was the wonderful warm weather, the clean air, and the refreshing clear water, but I also have to acknowledge that being treated as family by the staff and enjoying myself in a totally relaxed setting, absent of anything remotely close to stressful, was what did the trick for me. A true oasis of peace and rest in the middle of this crazy world! And yet there was so much that I got done while there... scuba, swimming, going for nature walks, site-seeing tours around the island, and the ever-popular relaxing on one of the outdoor hammocks at the lodge; can't wait to return to Small Hope Bay Lodge and say hi to my friends there. Greetings from Canada!>
Ignacio Pinedo, Canada
I would have to say this was our favorite place to have vacationed ever!! SHBL is a very laid back, warm, inviting place to stay... we couldn't have asked for more!! Everyone @ SHBL are extremely friendly and make you feel very welcomed.. Although we did not snorkel or dive this vacation we will be back with out a doubt!
Barbara and Jason Benton, SC
In short Small Hope was simply perfect. We really felt at 'home' there, and the attention we and our girls received was second to none. The girls really felt free at Small Hope, and I was so impressed with how everyone embraced them and us.
Garrett's Birthday was a big hit. What a great evening! Gray, who is 5, had coordinated with the kitchen about a bday cake for Garrett, and boy did they come through! This will be in our memories for a long time.
Between the staff, our great 'cabin;, the freedom Small Hope Bay allowed us and our kids, I couldn't have imagined a better week. It was a treat all the way around, and I have told many about it upon our return to Kansas City. Now all I have to do is start planning our return.
Many, many thanks to everyone at Small Hope Bay Lodge
Courtney Sullivan, Kansas City, USA
- How did you find out about Small Hope: Empreinte Travel Agency
- Why did you choose Small Hope: Because it seemed magnificent
- Have your expectation been met: Most definitely
- Did you expect to dive and have you enjoyed it: No we did not expect to dive, but enjoyed very much the dive we went on
- Overall did you find that Small Hope gave you the time you needed to go back to France refreshed: Most definitely.
Conclusion: It is a very nice hotel, you have very good staff, very helpful and qualified. It is very clean and relaxing. The food is excellent. A great place!
- Comment avez-vous entendu parler de Small Hope? Par Agence....Empreinte
- Pourquoi avez-vous choisi Small Hope? Parce que le cadre est magnific
- Demandez a vos attentes satisfaites? O oui!!
- Vous attendiez-vous a plonger et avez-vous apprecie? Non, on savez pas que nous allions plongez et on a beaucoup appreae
- Avez-vous trouve l'ensemble Small Hope vous a donne le temps necessaire pour revenir maintenant a la France et se sentir rafraichi? O oui!!!
Conclusion: C'est un hôtel très gentil. Vous avez le grand personnel, qui sont utile et qualifié. E'est tres propre et tres iolie et reposant. La nourriture est excellente. Tres Bon!!
Michel and Christelle, France
"When we checked into Small Hope Bay Lodge the debrief included a section on the importance of relaxing and always having a drink in your hand (hence the 24-hour beach bar we had unlimited access to). And when we asked questions about what "the plan" was or at any point you didn't appear 100% relaxed, a smiling staff member would happily reply "No worries hun. We takin a care of everyting'. Enjoy yourself... its vacation time now." Needless to say, we all very happily and quickly adapted to the island lifestyle and completely removed ourselves from work/electronics/all other responsibilities. Our cottage was oceanfront and no more than 10-15 yards from the water. You eat and drink with your dive instructors and staff, so you get to know their lives/travel stories, recap your dives and share the experience with everyone. You quickly feel like one big family. For a New Years celebration the lodge has a really fun tradition. Everyone at the lodge makes hats with construction paper, glitter, feathers, boas, and every other craft item you can think of. A huge bonfire was built on the beach and at the stoke of midnight, when the fireworks began, we all threw our hats into the blazing fire, and danced around hugging and wishing each other a happy new year.
As a beginner to diving I was pretty nervous about the whole certification process prior to visiting Small Hope Bay. Thanks to the wonderful instructors and staff, my anxiety quickly turned into excitement and awe for the sport. Throughout my certification process the instructors and staff were highly attentive, very approachable and calming, and demonstrated superior expertise. Whether on the boat after a dive or at dinner in the evenings, they were happy to discuss skills, tricks, techniques and do anything necessary to make me more comfortable and increase my diving confidence. With their expertise and guidance I was able to get Open Water certified in just a few days and spent the rest of my trip enjoying some truly incredible dives. My favorite was the Shark Feeding dive which was seriously fascinating....I actually fell in love with sharks that day ;-) I'm forever hooked on scuba now....Big thank you to the entire SHBL family!! "
"Avid travelers, my husband and I came across Small Hope Bay Lodge and found a little slice of heaven. We were searching for a small, boutique lodge with an amazing, off-the-beaten path location, comfortable accommodations, great food and incredible diving. What we found was all of the above, plus an all-inclusive, communal environment that allowed all of the guests and staff to have fun and get to know one another and some of the most competent and friendly dive staff that we've ever come across. The location is idyllic, but the main thing that sets Small Hope apart from other places we've visited is the feeling that you're being embraced by old friends the moment you land on the property. The dining and the happy hour and the layout of the lodge encourages everyone to mix and mingle and get to know each other. We left feeling as though we made a number of new friends. In addition, the time and dedication that the staff put into making your vacation so special and unique is second to none. Each night after dinner, they showcase that morning's dives - which they've expertly edited to music. It's been an incredible extension of our vacation to be able to come home and show our friends and family our awesome dives. This is such a special place. We travel quite a bit and try never to replicate destinations because there are so many places in the world we want to visit, but we're making an exception for Small Hope Bay. For this place, we'll definitely be back."
Troy and Jennifer Evans, USA
"Small Hope Bay Lodge is for you if you love being surrounded by nature, gazing at breathtaking scenery in the day and an ocean of starts at night, making new friends or reconnecting with longtime loves. The staff are the friendliest you'll ever meet and a colourful and eclectic bunch! Quiet, peaceful and down to earth - without the loud, overzealous trappings of resort hotels that distract you from the beauty of the country. Peaceful days looking out over the ocean and quiet nights listening to the surf - heaven."
Mark and Cathy, Canada
"Nov., 2012 was my fourth or fifth bone fishing trip to Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros in the past 15 years. The lodge and food are wonderful. The staff is even better. The fishing is challenging and rewarding. Thanks to the extremely knowledgeable and helpful guides, Glister and Jeff I have actually used over all these years, we have caught fish every day there. Couple these advantages with the unique all-inclusive pricing structure of Small Hope, and you have the makings for your best fishing trip ever."
Ralph, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
A Great Week Diving at Small Hope Bay Lodge.
My dive buddy and I just returned from a wonderful week of diving at SHBL. We did the full week dive package which gave us 3 dives per day. Our goal was to hit as many caverns, blue holes and swim throughs as possible. The first day, we met with Jeff Birch the owner, who worked out a dive site schedule for our entire stay. This ensured we would dive the King Kong blue hole, Cara's Caverns and Archies Caverns. If you like structure and underwater topography, these sites are a must do!
We found the dive staff to be very enthusiastic, extremely fun, and knowledgeable. They were especially helpful when entering and exiting the water. I really appreciated the "hauling up of my tank/BCD" as back problems prevent me from climbing the ladder fully geared. Dive lockers at the end of the dock were very convenient for nightly storage. A real treat was the after dive hot showers ajacent to the boats.
Laura took excellent daily videos showing them in the lodge at 8:30 each evening. We purchased the entire week's. Their cost was very modest when compared to other dive resorts I have visited.
The food was excellent. Nightly fare included king crab legs, tenderloin, grilled snapper, coconut shrimp along with varied salads and scrumptious desserts. Definitely "top hat". Sodas, wines and various liquors were readily available. The staff sat with us at meal time answering our many questions about the island and planning our next day's dives. They truly made us feel like family.
Our room had an AC I really appreciated. It was extremely quiet and had a digital temperature control. No need to cope with a rattling, inefficient unit. The shower had a plentiful supply of hot water. The maid service was excellent.
We did the island tour one afternoon. Dennis loaded the truck with cheeses, sodas, wine, and fruit before we headed to the north end of Andros. He showed us Henry Morgan's Cave, inland blue holes and the village of Red Bay. We also stopped at the homes of local wood carvers and basket weavers. Dennis showed us indigenous medicinal plants and numerous wild fruits. He commented, "If you know the plants, it is possible to survive in the wild on Andros."
Overall: The diving, service, food and accommodations were excellent. No complaints. I look forward to returning to SHBL.
Minneapolis, MN USA
I visited Small Hope again in July this year (2012).
I've been going there frequently since 1967, and continue to be amazed that it retains its unique essence through the generations.
Somehow, everybody immediately understands the informal atmosphere and starts talking to complete strangers!
I don't think there was a single guest that I did not have a chat with: at breakfast, on the dive-boat, over conch fritters, at dinner, at the late-night bar...
The property looks completely the same, yet on closer inspection everything is well-maintained and has been updated where necessary.
This is especially true of the diving, where new boats and equipment ensure swift, safe diving.
All the main dive sites can now be reached in less than 30 mins (not like the old days!), and we always returned for lunch.
The waters are calm, and they still use very comfortable, flat-decked, pontoon-boats.
As in the past, the dive-staff were all friendly and personable, all this making the whole experience what I call "soft diving"!
Water clarity and marine life have definitely deteriorated over the past 4 decades, but the physical thrill remains exceptional, and the newer Blue Hole and shark dives are first class.
The summer weather ranged from blissful to baking to dramatic tropical storms, all received with a shrug from the good-natured staff.
Wi-Fi is now (reluctantly!) available in the lounge, as is a-c in the cottages.
The food remains simple, and exactly what you need after diving.
Meanwhile, a few peculiar but tasty local dishes have been added: boiled pigs' feet for breakfast, anyone? (Try it!).
Or try the prehistoric-looking land crabs that are captured on their way down to the sea at night.
The batik fabric made on-site ("Androsia") still defines the place.
So everyone buys some resort-wear, adding a riot of colour in the evenings.
Already planning next summer's visit: maybe 3 weeks this time?!
Small Hope Bay Lodge is a fantastic place to visit. It has some of the best scuba diving/snorkeling anywhere. It is not a very ritzy place, but it has a gentle and friendly atmosphere. Besides the snorkeling and scuba diving, there is so much to enjoy. We went on a bike ride to a local blue hole, went kayaking, birding, fishing, hammock snoozing, and enjoyed some quiet time on the beach. The food is excellent with a local flare. You get treated like one of the family and are taken care of by everyone, as if you were the center of the universe. My family has been going to Small Hope Bay since 1967 and I look forward to many more visits over the years!
It was fitting we were at Small Hope on Father’s Day this year as I reflected on how grateful I am that my father Ed brought my mother Flavia and me to Small Hope in 1968 when I was 11. I grew up in New Mexico and my parents always sought out ocean vacations due to my parents’ love of the sea and my dad being an avid saltwater fisherman. We came to Small Hope for the bonefish and the snorkeling and it was magical.
I also reflected on the enduring vision of Jeff’s father Dick Birch in founding Small Hope as my son Sam, daughter Caroline and I enjoyed a wonderful morning of diving followed by an excellent afternoon on the Fresh Creek flats with Sam fly fishing for bonefish.
We lost Ed in December 2002 and my wife Julie, Sam, Caroline and I wanted Flavia to join us for our next spring-break vacation. Flavia suggested a popular island destination where she and my father had last vacationed. Beachfront hotel, restaurants, and it was… fine. While there, Sam expressed a desire to learn to scuba dive (something I had always wanted to do), and so with that and a week of waiting for taxis and seating in restaurants, Flavia said what we should do is go back to Small Hope Bay Lodge.
And so it was next year that along with my family my mother and I found ourselves back at Small Hope to find it wonderfully unchanged after all those years. Small Hope had remained the antithesis of the high-rise beach resort, and my family fell under its spell immediately as I had as a boy.
Twelve-year-old Sam and I completed our open water scuba referrals and a new world was opened up to us. Seven-year-old Caroline immersed herself in the natural surroundings and put together a guide to nature-exploration outings that’s still a reference in the Lodge to this day, while Julie and Flavia reveled in Small Hope’s serenity.
I suppose the best testimonial I can give is that we have come back every year since.
“Part of the family” couldn’t be more true – if it can be imagined, the incredible natural tropical setting, the focus on the environment, the superb diving and bone-fishing, the communing with kindred spirits from around the world, and the excellent cuisine are all eclipsed by the professionalism, dedication and most of all warmth, caring and friendliness of Jeff and the Small Hope staff.
Small Hope has become like a second home for our family and Julie’s mother Jeanne has joined us several times along the way so that the kids have had some visits with both of their grandmothers there. Sam is now 19 and interning at the Lodge. Caroline is now 14 and has been diving for three years. The shark dive and the night dive are her favorites, and as a WWF member, she always enjoys a visit from a sea turtle. And this last trip I logged my 100th dive at Small Hope (the only place in my dive log).
We truly treasure our times at Small Hope and have made great friends there both with the staff and other guests who share our appreciation of its in some ways simple yet extraordinary pleasures. The day we leave we begin counting the days until we can come back.
I wanted to share my thoughts on my stay at Small Hope Bay Lodge.
I was there on May 2012. This is my second trip at Small Hope my first was in May 1995.
Since Small hope is located on Andros Island and Andros island is well off the establish tourists path, the island is still as it was 60 years ago.
Small Hope is a small and secluded resort. On your arrival, you feel like if you went back in time. The lodge is part of nature and instead of obliterating it nature is part of the Small Hope. You are lodge in a single floor cottage. The room are clean, simple, and spacious with a simple but efficient bathroom. The room have no television or phone.
The main building is where you will eat and meet other vacationers. There is also WIFI in the main building. The bar is in main building. You can serve yourself or an employee can play the role of the bartender since at Small Hope is all inclusive. You can try different house cocktails without any worries. The meals are plentiful, very yummy and so healthy. On a sunny day, the lunch and dinner will be set outside on the veranda. The veranda is facing the ocean. There is also a bar outside. At Small Hope 6:30 PM is happy hour time. The WIFI turns off so everybody, vacationers and the staff, can mingle, have drink and share on the moments of the day. At that time they serve conch fritter and others goodies before dinner.
The magic ingredient that makes Small Hope such a wonderful place is the staff. The moment you arrive until you leave, all of them will make you feel welcome and do their best to accommodate your needs. The welcome can take many forms like the ground keeper with a cheerful good morning up to the owner manager, Jeffry, playing bongo to celebrate a birthday. At Small Hope you don't feel like a guest you feel like a friend.
My main interest is scuba diving. The island is almost unchanged and there are little commercial activities thus the coral reefs are very healthy and the fish life is abundant. The dive sites are all very close about 15 to 20 minutes by the boat ride. The barrier reef is boarding a deep trench, the tongue of the ocean, which drops to about 6000 feet’s. I have made some very beautiful wall diving’s. The type of dives available can suit any level of diver. I also took 2 specialty dives, where there is only one or two diver with the dive master. Those dives will let you live some fantastic experience. It was a long time since I felt so happy after each dive and this due to many factors but the main one is due to the staff.
I will come back to Small Hope and will not 17 years to do it.
John Jenny and Jack Bollinger
Thank you for a wonderful week on Andros Island. You have created a sanctuary where like minded adventurous souls can explore and discover a spectacular marine environment.
We cam for a dive vacation and were privileged to join a community of diverse individuals bound by the love of the Bahamian lifestyle.
The dive staff were always a "make it happen" bunch. Kudos to Joe, Mel, Dennis, Fede, Laura, Chad and Erin for their contribution towards our Extreme Caution and Bravado. We all had the opportunity to successfully expand our dive experience.
An adventure of this type is greatly enhanced by quality food and drink. Renauldo and Irene kept us fueled and smiling and eagerly awaiting the ring of the dinner bell.
A special thanks to Jeff for his personal attention towards introducing Jack to the wonders of ocean diving.
Our memories of SHBL will last long after the sand cleans our toes and our tans have faded.
April 2012 Easter
The Maurer Family
We choose Small Hope from reviews on the internet. My husband and I were both doing separate searches, based on our criteria (family oriental, snorkeling, fishing, beach access and good food). And we both came up with Small Hope as our number one choice.
It has been an awesome vacation!!
We were able to introduce our kids to snorkeling and they love it!! With a lot of help from Dennis, who was great with them. We took them to the Blue Holes, out on a boat to a Cay to snorkel and fish and took them kayaking. We (parents) were even able to get in and have a half day fishing trip. The kids (aged 7 and 5 years)loved staying with the babysitters!!! Awesome trip!!
The Caplan family
We love Small Hope Bay Lodge!!
We are second timers as we have fallen in love with the scenery, relaxation and of course the staff. This has become a home away from home for us.
What makes this place so very special?
Firstly of all, for us the kids can run and play with other kids, as they please without worry about whether or not they are safe. This area is completely safe. Secondly, the kids can learn to SCUBA Dive! The staff gives so much personal attention to all of the new divers that it allows the kids to feel comfortable, giving them an unbelievable SCUBA experience.
The Robbins Family
We have had a delightful time, diving, fishing, wonderful open bar and mostly a friendly relaxed environment that was just what we were looking for. And oh yes the food!!!
The week was too short (and fast) on the lovely Island of Andros and Small Hope Bay Lodge.
Of the many enjoyable things I’ll mention three:
Captain Bill’s Inland Blue Hole
The Shark dive
And last but certainly not least
The Extraordinary Friendliness and Competence of ALL staff of the lodge
Best wished of success
1st March 2012
Shawn and Ed
To Small Hope Bay
WOW! I can’t say enough wonderful things about this friendly beautiful resort. My husband and I discovered this gem a number of years ago and are convinced there is nothing like it anywhere!
The setting is picture perfect, the food is great and the diving and snorkeling are fantastic. Perhaps the most unique and significant feature of Small Hope Bay is the warmth, knowledge and helpfulness of their staff. They are people you will always valve and remember. For me the beauty and abundance of the reef and all its life has been a special treasure. For my husband a bonefisherman, his experiences likewise were exciting and rewarding. We brought our children here ages 12 thru 16 years ago- and grandparents and aunts and uncles later. There was something for everyone to enjoy. My husband reminds me we must eventually go home. I wish this experience could go on and on.
Thank you for enriching our lives and giving us the very best memories!!
Warmest regards forever!!
Our best recommendation for Small Hope Bay Lodge is the willingness of the staff, to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Not being divers we found comfortable lounges with pads to use for watching the surf. Also we had airline connection difficulty, the Lodge was most helpful in arranging a charter. Good food, good relaxation good times!
Miriam and Elizabeth
Around New Year’s 1980 at the age of 14, I found myself at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Due to travel delays, our family’s plans to the Bahamas had to be change and somehow Dad found SHBL. I have had great memories ever since. It was the kind of place where you felt a part of the family right away. After supper in the lodge we would all hang out and visit, read or play games. I learned to play backgammon there and still enjoy the game. One afternoon my mother went sailing with the dive master and the catamaran tipped over. We could all only watch from shore as they tried in vain to right it. Finally Topher went out on the windsurfer to help them. I can’t remember the dive master’s name, but he and Mom laughed about it over a chess game that night. We were not divers but had wonderful experiences snorkeling the reef. There was a family there from Minneapolis who were divers and in the afternoons we would all sit in the hot tub to warm up. Listening to them talk about their daily dives; I knew someday I had to try SCUBA diving.
Two years ago, at age 44 my wife gave me SCUBA lessons for our anniversary. That August, a 30 year dream came true and I became a certified open water diver. My kids quickly became interested in what I was doing and expressed interest in learning too. My son became certified this August and my daughter and wife (who couldn’t be left out) completed their confined water course this winter.
With a whole family of SCUBA divers we needed someplace to go. People suggested Bonaire or the Virgin Islands but I was curious. I did a internet search and found Small Hope Bay Lodge not only still existed, but was still in the same family. I showed my family info for dive resorts at all these places and my daughter said lets go to SHBL, so we did.
After 32 years, it hadn’t change a bit. Sure they had added an outside dining area and bar and rebuilt the dive pier, but it felt the same. Within minutes of arriving we were on the patio, Kalik in hand, listening to the surf roll up on the beach. They even gave me a t-shirt for repeat guests that said “I’m part of the family”. What followed was a week I don’t think we will ever forget. There are a lot of things that make SHBL special. The setting, of the lodge and cabins on the bay surrounded by coconut palms and pines. The exceptional meals, from made to order breakfast to suppers of steak and lobster or pork loin and grouper. The staff, including dive masters from all corners of the world and wait staff ready to help with anything. Cocktail hour, including virgin smoothies for our kids, where we all recounted the day’s activities and compared notes. But for me, the best part was simple, being able to share something with my family that has meant so much to me for so long. The diving was everything I hoped it would be and more, especially the Shark Emporium. Thanks to Fede, my wife and daughter actually got certified on our wedding anniversary. I guarantee, it won’t take another 32 years to come back. Oh, and my daughter, she’s 14.
Joe Greig & Jodie
I would like to thank everyone at Small Hope for making our stay absolutely amazing. I know that the other six members of the group are planning another trip back...even my uncle. If he does make it back, later this year he'll be 90 years old. When I have a few moments I'll post a review on trip advisor telling the world about what an amazing place it is. I believe that it's the staff that makes it a special place to visit. To them your not a number, you're a name.
We all had a great time.
Life is good at Small Hope Bay! What a wonderful place to celebrate our birthdays!
Joanie: This has been a delightful experience in every way. The serenity and beauty, the family atmosphere. It is easily one of my favorite vacations.
Beth: You had me at the swinging hammocks, but with the snorkeling, batik lessons, island tours , massage and the seaside dining, you’ll have to keep me!! What a great family to be part of!
Kait: One of my most memorable times have had, learning to dive here in the Bahamas. I couldn’t imagine doing it with more amazing instructors or in a more serene location. From swinging into a blue hole to swim, to diving into one, it has been a truly unforgettable experience.
Small Hope Bay Lodge
The lodge at Small Hope Bay is just that in every way!
We loved it all…………the big, the small
The Hammocks swinging from the trees, the waves rolling in from the blue green sea.
Seaside dining was absolutely delicious, with a scrumptious variety of cocktails and dishes.
The dive staff are incredibly friendly and skilled. To dive and to snorkel with them was a thrill.
Wooden lounges beneath the palms made for sunning and moments of calm.
Colourful, creative batik lessons in town, then over to the store to poke around.
A trip to the blue holes and the caves made for another fabulous day.
What a great way to celebrate our time together Small Hope Bay Lodge is an amazing treasure.
A fabulous week spent at Small Hope Bay Lodge!
We loved it all……….
>the swaying palms
>the green blue sea
>the delicious food
>the wagging tales
>the friendly staff
>the diving and snorkeling
>the island tour
It was everything a vacation could be!!
What a great way to celebrate a 25th, 50th and 80th birthday!!
Joanie Beth and Kait Canada Feb 2012
After a week of diving at Small Hope Bay Lodge, it is easy to see why so many guest return year after year. We came to SHBL for 10 days in Februray as a couple of tired, pasty, artic sun seekers with a decades-lapsed SCUBA skills. We’re departing with a burn free glow made up of equal parts sunshine, good friendships and new skills.
SHBL is a very special place. We knew we were looking for a simple all inclusive beach vacation WITHOUT high rise, casinos or crazy nightlife. SHBL has beachfront cabins, natural landscapes and the peaceful darkness required for really good stargazing!
As you would expect from any good resort, the beds are comfortable, the cabins well serviced, the grounds clean, the food varied and delicious. However, SHBL is all these things and a lot more. We felt like we had come to an uncle’s cottage: free to help ourselves at the bar, poke our heads into the kitchen, or dive shack, play with the dogs, lounge with a book, or take part in the great selection of daily activities.
The diving here is well organized with options galore. You’ll be empowered to set up your own dive gear and help plan your dives. The staff are extremely capable and serious about safety. They present fun opportunities to meet your personal goals while respecting your personal limits. Having been a new diver 10 years ago with not much diving since, I have quadruples my lifetime diving experience with a variety of dives I had not thought possible! I suspect we’ve been spoiled.
Our 15 dives included wall dives, wreck dives, diving with sharks in their natural environment, beautiful coral grottoes and gardens, healthy fish families, exciting contortionist coral caverns and of course the incredible blue hole! I know we’ve only touched the surface of the dives SHBL offers we will definitely be back for more.
If you’re looking to unplug (or even if you’re not) get ready to enjoy! The SHBL formula enables guest to come together and *socialize face to face* Remarkable! Cocktail hour and social time are keynote of SHBL’s unique charm. Put away your iphone, (or at least try to limit your wifi use to some quiet moments in a hammock or in the beach) and take advantage of the most genuine offering at SHBL: Laughter, stories and real connections with real people staff and guest alike.
Michelle and Tim 29 February 2012
We got married at Small Hope in (February 2011) and loved every minute of this wonderful place! For an entire year, friend and family remarked on the exceptional, once-in-a lifetime experience they had right here at Small Hope. The staffs have truly become our friends and we couldn’t have asked for a more loving, memorable and personable wedding ceremony and reception. We will come back for many years to come...
Small Hope Bay Lodge is a tranquil oasis in the Bahamas. It may be less easily accessed than other islands, but it is absolutely worth the extra effort. All the staff is very friendly and helpful with every aspect of you r vacation from reservation to sending you off in style. The dive staff is particularly professional and attentive, taking time to understand your prior experience and expectations. This place is fabulous!
Toronto Canada Feb 2012 The good feelings started when I phoned to make a reservation and lovely person in the office made me feel immediately welcome. Now I have some sad feelings because tomorrow I leave. I have been well cared for, well fed, and made to feel at home by everyone. Lots to do, or nothing, interesting people to talk with, as a non diver I have watched and enjoyed those who thrive on the dive. This is a place of history and friendship- place for everyone.
Toronto Ontario Feb 2012 What a wonderful time we have had with you at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Expectations surpassed the place is so relaxed and efficient in a fabulous setting. The staff is spectacularly friendly, hospitable and well formed. The food is great and varied and the conch fritters with an evening get together and the rum punches set everyone to enjoy each other’s company. Then there is the Diving, Snorkeling, Fishing, Kayaking, Birding, Trailing, Hiking and just collapsing in the hammock and reading- What more could one want.
After a 17-year hiatus to SHB I was incredibly glad that upon my return the place retained it's rustic luxury, friendly staff, amazing food, and excellent diving. Not much had changed over the years, and that's what I had hoped. The grounds are meticulous, the lodging is spotlessly clean, the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, and there are tons of activities to keep you happy, even if you aren't diving. I cannot recommend Small Hope Bay enough and I will continue to come back again and again. You get what you pay for, so spend the money! Josh Jan 2012
Chris C. From Toronto, Canada Jan 2012 To Jeff and the SHBL family: As I sit here reflecting upon the last (8) eight days of my stay at SHBL, a big smile comes to my face. The smile I was hoping to rediscover and primary reason for coming back after 14 years. Yes, I wanted to come back to get reacquainted with diving, I was looking for something that was smaller and more intimate than those “big” resorts. I was so happy that Jeff has kept Small Hope true to itself; rustic, simple and pure. What you can’t see in a brochure or on a webpage are the intangibles it offers: the true friendships that are formed for a lifetime; a staff that genuinely passionate and have what they do; and warmth that this place fills you with from the inside out. I came here to rediscover my smile but I ended up rediscovering myself. Thank you! I owe you one!
If you're looking for somewhere to enjoy the sun and sea that is a little off the beaten track (ie. nowhere near any modern mega-resorts), you've found it. Small Hope Bay Lodge has enough visitors to be sociable and fun (but not rowdy), but few enough that there are many opportunities and locations to find peace and quiet.
If you're looking for somewhere to SCUBA dive, whether you are new to the sport or a well seasoned pro, you've found that too. They have some incredibly varied sites (blue holes, caverns through which you can surface, reefs, walls, wrecks, sharks, dolphins) and the dive crew are fantastic.
This place keeps visitors coming back, and keeps the staff there. We met people who have been going regularly for 30 odd years and most of the dive crew, who are from all over the world, have been there for many years. Everyone is extremely laid back and unpretentious.
Jeff, the owner, is always around and knows everybody. Mike, the general manager, has been there forever and makes the most amazing margaritas. The food is great, the rooms clean and comfortable, the showers hot and the lodge has different sitting areas for chilling, chatting or playing board games.
We could have gone to Atlantis in Nassau and stayed on the 20th floor, with a huge choice of restaurants, casino, nightclub and water park ... but WHY ?? At Small Hope Bay Lodge, we lived on the beach and had the entire Atlantic to play in !! Of course we're going back. We booked our next visit before we left :)
Our experience at Small Hope Bay Lodge was so relaxing. We loved the understated laid back environment that facilitated great social energy and camaraderie with other guests. The facility was well maintained and the grounds were beautiful. We would highly recommend it!
Un endroit de rêve. Un séjour rempli d'aventures et de sérénité sous les palmiers....Un second chez-soi...Un chalet sur la plage...Plongez avec les requins ou dans un bouquin! Tout y est. La beauté dans la simplicité; Small Hope Bay.
Thank You, Erin & Fede, Jeff Mike, Joe, Mel, Davis, Dennis and everyone else I missed, for being so friendly patient, flexable and most of all putting up with us. And always having a great attitude.
I had such a great time. Everything from the staff, food, diving, accommodations was more than I would have ever expected. Hot water alone would be good enough for me.
I had so much fun diving day after day. It is hard for me to wrap head around the fact that I am back in a place that could never give you the attitude or state of mind like being there and doing the things I did while there. Thank all of you for the adjustment. P.S. I can't laugh at the parkas no more I'm in a coat everyday now. I miss everyrone and everything about Small Hope,
I have travelled around the world to fly fish for over 20 years and Small Hope Bay Lodge is a wonderful fly fishing destination. The guides are expert and the Andros fishery is world-class. The staff handled all of my arrangements with meticulous care; I only had to show up and cast my rod. At the end of the day, I got to return to a wonderful environment and great people with a sore arm from all the fish I caught. I have fished at other lodges on Andros, but Small Hope Bay will always be my first choice.
Hope to see you soon!
Our snorkel experience was FANTASTIC! Not crowded. There are crystal clear waters. The corals are healthy, colorful and there is a wide variety. There is courteous, helpful staff. There is an easy entry into the boat from very safe and substantial dock. Also easy in and out of boat at snorkel sites (good strong ladders on boat). Enjoy a different site location each day with a wide variety of bottom structures and fish. This is a most relaxing place. No news of what’s going on in the world. We enjoyed our fellow guests and all their stories. We have to come back.
Small Hope Bay is a very beautiful, laid back, rustic, quintessential place. At Small Hope Bay Lodge you immediately feel like family. This is a place where you can truly relax to the depths of your soul! Once you start visiting you will automatically plot you return. We’ll be back- it’s a promise!
We discovered SHBL in a catalogue of tours in France, in which we were looking for a place to satisfy our passion for scuba diving. We found here a welcoming spot, the team is particularly friendly, and took us under their wing. Especially Melanie, who came immediately and put us at home chatting with us (which was not easy with our evolved little English). The atmosphere is very family, and everyone loves to meet in the late afternoon, around 6.30pm for a chat about the day's events and what the plan is for the next day. But what we found most enthusiastic are the dive sites, through which we could see many species of fish, fields of magnificent COARL , and even sharks! We also regales us with good food 'house prepared', which allowed us to improve our `positive buoyancy' For those who do not dive, the site is very quiet, it allows you to recharge. So if you are looking for a place to mingle, quietude, diving, and relaxation, look no further, and come to SHBL
After several hectic months of wedding planning, we scrapped our more elaborate honeymoon plans and decided, "Let's just find a secluded tropical island and RELAX!" We picked the Bahamas because they're relatively close, and we picked SHB because of their activities (snorkeling, diving and bonefishing), their nicely priced honeymoon package, their very positive reviews on tripadvisor.com, and the fact that they seemed more authentic and less "touristy" than most places. How you've enjoyed your time here at Small Hope? It was a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. We usually did two really interesting things every day, with just the right amount of time to unwind in between. Neither of us had ever SCUBA dived before, but we had a wonderful time learning the basics here and will definitely be continuing to certification in the future. We also had fun bonefishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and taking romantic walks along the breezy, moonlit beach. How have you been treated by the staff and instructors here? They made the experience. It's incredibly cliche to say this, but you really do kind of feel like family after a few days here, and know the other staff and guests on a first-name basis. There's great personal service for everything we needed, from everyone up to and including the owner, Jeff. Being a first time diver, I did not feel comfortable going under the water, the instructors were VERY patient and gave me the confidence to try and keep trying until I finally succeeded and got to enjoy a beautiful coral reef for the first time. Also, Chef Renaldo is a culinary god! How did you like the facilities? They're perfect for the atmosphere here: rustic in a good way, and very comfortable.
SHBL is a way of life more than a place. I had a very nice time there, even as a single traveler. At first I was concerned the setting might be too oriented toward families and couples - but I was wrong. The friendliness of the staff, plus the unpretentious style of the lodge and cabins, makes everyone feel welcome. This is one of those rare settings where everyone can simply be who they are. The dive guides were great. Thanks Aidan, Dennis, and Joe! The office and lodge staff were also great. What the facilities (thankfully) lack in glitz, it makes up for in the relaxed daily schedules, good food, nice beaches and low-key evening socials. Yes, the chair in my room broke, yes the bike died, yes I got seasick, but yes...I'd go back in a heartbeat! I say that after having seen many lodges and live boards. It is no wonder there are so many repeat customers. Thanks for a wonderful stay. See you next time when hopefully my wife or brother will also be along!
~ Matt, up north in Montana
Small Hope Bay Lodge is that rare find, a place where you are instantly at home, chatting to people as if you have known them forever and setting off on adventures together. Not being a diver I was unsure about staying at a 'diving resort', but there are plenty of places to snorkel or walk or just laze in the sun. Beware of the cocktails they are just too delicious as is the food, breakfast is an endless feast.
Julian & Carolyn
We have found a little piece of paradise here at Small Hope Bay Lodge. We have found all the staff very gracious and helpful. It felt like one big family. Small Hope Bay Lodge feels like a home away from home. We have spent two weeks here and words can not fully describe the feeling of Small Hope, from the peacefulness of the bay, to the relaxing and in formalness of the whole place. Small Hope is very different to big resorts in Nassau in a good way. I (Myriam) really enjoyed the diving especially the Blue Hole dive and the Shark Emporium dive, as it was a lovely display of seeing these magical creatures in there natural enviromnet and the gracefulness of watching them feed. Eric was is a keen fisherman, and enjoyed bone fishing in the mangroves, along the beach , and with one of Small Hopes fishing guides. Eric also met Giles a return guess and they many hours talking fishing and fishing. Giles was kind enough to give Eric some pointers on bone fishing.
We both had a great time at Small Hope Bay Lodge! The place itself is amazing but what adds even more is THE STAFF!!! I can't begin to say enough about them. They are all so friendly and multi-talented, extremely nice young people to help you enjoy your stay at Small Hope. We mostly snorkeled, relaxed, ate very well, went to Captain Bills Blue Hole and played cribbage!! Did a lot of hammocking as well! Fantastic reefs, with great visibility, teeming with fish of all colors. From the divers we talked to they all said the dives were fantastic! You must do the Shark Emporium Dive or snorkel as I did a memorable experience to be sure! Kudos to Jeff for offering the opportunity you enjoy Small Hope Bay Lodge, for being such a friendly, gracious host!! Thanks to all Jeff, Nicky, Mel, Loren, Aidan, Leyna, Antonio, Joe, Bhurna, Austin, Abba, Dennis And thanks to Renaundo and ALL of his kichen staff for the great meals! I know I've left some out by mistake but you get the idea! Come to Small Hope Bay Lodge
This is our first visit to the Bahamas. When researching before planning the trip. We soon found out that we should go to the Out Islands to see the real Bahamas (had a couple of days in Nassau on the way here and saw that was not what we came for). Which Out Island to visit? We used trip advisor forums for initial research and found Andros and Small Hope Bay Lodge was one of the highly recommend destinations, so after checking it out further via number of other internet resources decided to come here. Has it lived up to our expectations? Absolutely at no other place we have visited in Europe, Africa, Asia or America have we seen such focus on giving the guest exactly what they want with such friendliness and dedication. The accommodation is everything you need (not fancy but perfect for the location) The food is exceptional not one single meal was a disappointment. During our stay we have received excellent snorkeling instruction including bits like how to clear your mask and how a woman should put her mask on without getting her hair under it. The snorkeling from the boat is excellent with sites less than 20 minutes out on the boat big difference compared to the Red Sea. We are not divers but our daughter is and we have already promised her a trip here with us when she graduates from university. We would recommend Small Hope Bay to everybody!
Our first diving experience was at Small Hope Bay Lodge in 2003 on a family vacation. We did the Discover SCUBA course and were immediately taken with diving. Soon after that trip my brothers and I received our Open Water SCUBA certification and have since taken trips to the Florida Keys and Mexico; however we have yet to find an experience that could compete with the one we had at Small Hope. When we were putting together a diving trip for the youngest brother Nick's graduation in 2010 we knew that we wanted to be back at SHBL. In the six years since our last visit, not much has changed, but everything we loved when we were kids is still here, the cabins tucked right next to the beach, the extreme variety of diving (wall, reef, Blue Holes, wreck dives), great conversations with the other guests at the communal dinner every night and an attitude among the enthusiastic staff of making sure every guest feels at home. As you fall asleep at night listening to the waves on the beach you can't help but feel like you aren't at a resort but rather a good friends place in the Bahamas, and of course you always wish you could stay for one more night. -- Alex, Bryant & Nick Boucher
We originally came to Small Hope Bay Lodge only to snorkel, because Nick had seen the resort in "1000 Places to see before you die!" To begin with we were not sure if the children would enjoy it, but as it turned out we have all had a wonderful time. The adults in particular liked the snorkeling, the food and the company. Lizzie (12) loved snorkeling, diving, Captain Bills Blue Hole and Rex Small Hope's dog. John (16) thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn to dive and the company in the evenings. -- Nick, John, Lizzie & Tory
I had just gotten finished with leading a one week dive vacation on Nassau for 20 incoming MBA students, and was looking to find a place to relax and do some more challenging diving than the "cattle car" shops on Nassau could offer. I had recently read about the Blue Holes of the Bahamas in National Geographic, and was looking for a dive operation that could take me to some of these sites. I was delighted to find that Small Hope Bay offered inland Blue Hole diving experiences, and after doing some research on the ScubaBoard forums and finding overwhelmingly positive reviews, I decided to book a 4 night stay. I was travelling alone, so I was a little concerned that I would be pretty bored when not on the dive boat. However, I was welcomed in by the staff and guests and made to feel right at home. After looking through the specialty dives offered, I decided that I wanted to try for a deep dive to 225 feet. The staff planned out a series of dives that would allow me to test my limits and get to the point where I could execute that dive safely and with confidence. Small Hope Bay allowed me to grow as a diver by reaching new depths (literally) and introducing me to the world of technical diving. This is also a great place to relax, enjoy some good food and booze, and take in the beauty of Andros Island. Overall a great vacation, and I will definitely be back in the future. -- Jonathan Rosen:
We arrived at Small Hope Bay Lodge as novice divers and after one week, we feel like seasoned veterans, from the professionalism and expertise of the dive staff, to the friendliness and attentive service of the entire Small Hope Bay family. Our first stay was wonderful and it won't be our last!! Until next time, thank you for a relaxing and exhilarating vacation. We came away from Andros with irreplaceable memories and a new passion for diving!!!! -- The Mitchell Family (Jeff, Lisa, Katie & Abby)
"Small Hope Bay Lodge is a very Friendly, accommodating, and inviting resort to enjoy a relaxing time off with an unforgettable wonderful setting the whole family can enjoy" - Grace Barrett, age 11
"The Magic that sets Small Hope Bay Lodge a part is a tranquility that comes about from different angles. First, and at the core of everything, is the owner/operator, Jeff Birch, who both genuinely cares that every person who visits feels at home and that everyone has the best experience possible diving (extra thanks to Ashley and Danielle). This accomplished though an ideal setting and a great crew of people (extra thanks to Mike). Every meal was delicious, the rooms are very comfortable and the maid service was very good. The beach is beautiful and the dock is a great spot to just enjoy" -- The Barrett Family
I was a solo diver with limited experience, looking for a nurturing dive environment where I could gain the practical knowledge and confidence I lacked. I decided on SHBL as part 2 of my dive vacation but did not sensibly plan how I would get there from my first destination, Aware of my dilemma, Jeff Birch, Very Graciously offered to pick me up as my best other option would have been taking 2 planes approximately 8 hours apart. Instead of showing my appreciation my first words to him were "where is the rest of the plane", when he showed up in the single engine cessna 182 pictured on the website. Wondering if it would be safer to swim to the lodge, I eventually boarded the plane and there began my relationship with the soothsayers of SHBL. Sometime after takeoff Jeff convinced me to open my eyes and something shifted at that moment. I don't know whether it was his calm demeanor or the the beautiful scene spread out below me, probably a bit of both, but my fear of flying in that "pint sized plane" was replaced by my gratitude for the sublime experience. One by one, my fears were challenged. While diving, Ashley calmly and unhurriedly coaxed me through caverns that I had initially refused to enter. I set my depth goal at 90 feet and achieved 185. WOW!!! I dove with sharks, and the Back of the Blue Hole is an under water experience that I doubt I will ever surpass. But that's OK, as long as I get the chance to do it again. I had a personal underwater guardian angel in Alex, always there when I needed him. And Danielle was the angel on land. I began my underwater photographic experience with the advice and guidance of Loren. "Thanks so much, Loren." Chef Renauldo went beyond expectations to accommodate the special requests of his guests. My inability to tolerate those weight belts was no problem for Amanda whose technological prowess had her whipping up an alternative in no time. Tonya is fun and spirited and Moose exhibits such calm and competence that I basically stuck to him like glue during my 185' dive. I hear Mike is "the man", but I didn't have the pleasure of diving with him. Looking forward to it in the future. Congrats to dive master Dennis, who I also look forward to diving with. The guests are at least as lovely as the staff and interns. The British Padmores and the Mississippi McCalls really went out of their way to embrace a solo traveler and I look forward to seeing them again in the future. What great luck that there was another solo diver, Wes, that became my dive buddy for the rest of the trip. When I compare my dive competence and level of comfort pre SHBL to post SHBL I can hardly believe it. These people are nothing less than bonafide Dive Whisperers! I highly recommend Small Hope for a fantastic dive vacation and don't forget to bring your "extra baggage", I am sure you will leave a lot lighter. I did. Thank you Jeff and the entire Small Hope Staff! Sonya Preudhomme @SHBL July 2009
"My husband and 2 daughters first visited Small Hope Bay 3 years ago. At the time my husband and oldest daughter were both scuba certified. Our youngest daughter was 11. She did her scuba certification classroom work before arriving at Small Hope Bay and completed her certification open water dives with the professional dive staff at Small Hope Bay. My family had such an incredible time with the Small Hope family and guests that when asked where they wanted to go for vacation this year, they stated “Small Hope Bay"!!!!! "I was able to join them this year and we had an incredible time. We spent the majority of the time scuba diving the amazing sites. In a week, doing an average of 3 dives a day, we did not go to the same site twice. The dive staff is very professional and we felt comfortable letting our daughters go diving without us a couple of times. We spent 2 days bone fishing as well and had a wonderful experience. Andros has some of the best bone fishing in the world. If you want a relaxing, comfortable, enjoyable vacation, Small Hope Bay is the place. We plan on returning in the next 2 years!" - The Bayless family
Each year, our group of four divers has visited a new dive location for 25 years. We have been just about everywhere in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Hands down, the week at Small Hope Bay Lodge was the most fun , the best diving, and the most professional and friendly staff we have ever encountered. Congrats to you all for being part of, and running such a great operation. - Ted Staley, John Marlow, Dan Schettler, John Schaumburg
Dear Jeff Birch, We enjoyed the "Plunge Into The Past" tour, with the information given along the way. The well-marked nature trails were a real pleasure as were the lovely beaches. The peaceful and friendly environment gave us a very relaxing and refreshing wedding occasion. Sincerely, Geoffrey and Elizabeth
Merci à toute l`équipe de SMALL HOPE BAY LODGE qui nous a permis de vivre une semaine de vacances inoubliable. Ce que nous avons particulièrement apprécié ici ? la formule sans télévision ni téléphone qui invite à la détente et encourage la socialisation autour du bar à la fin de la journée, la formule 'all inclusive' même si notre foie en a un peu souffert, l`hospitalité et l`accueil particulièrement chaleureux de l`ensemble du personnel local ou international, les plongées spéciales parmi lesquelles 'stargate blue hole (ma plongée favorite), shark emporium et Over the wall', la limpidité et la température de l`eau même à cette période de l`année (24 degré jusqu`a 60m !)', la diversité de la faune sous-marine et la beauté des coraux KARINE et PATRICK
We loved the beach and the proximity of the cottages to the ocean. We loved just walking out the door and having the beach and ocean right in front of us. The grounds were very well kept up. We loved the family style dining. We met and had wonderful conversations with people from all over the world. What a plus! That would never happen at a big hotel. We would definately visit Small Hope again. Stayed Late January 2008
It was great to return to SHBL after 30 years. I made my first dive here on that trip in 1974 and have been diving ever since. This year I introduced my 10 year old son to diving through the Discover Scuba program. We had a wonderful trip with special memories for the whole family. Stayed March 2004
"After spending 4 years searching for a destination that we felt we could revisit, we found Small Hope. It is somewhere that we feel comfortable, can kick back, and feel 100% relaxed! After visiting for over 11 years -we will still be coming here all our lives! The Small Hope families really know about the hospitality industry so that when guests arrive they feel as if they are at home-but without all the work! Small Hope has a culture, an ambience, which allows you as a guest to have a unique experience whilst enjoying the land and the marine environment. When you leave, you have a sense of ownership as during your stay you been welcomed into the family.
"Before we left Small Hope, we were already planning and lookingforward to our next visit... We believe that your Specialty dives and the quality of your dive operation make Small Hope Bay Lodge a premier diving resort and in the top 1% in the world! We are very happy to have found your little paradise." Visited 1999