We took a ferry ride over to Paradise Island. It wasn't far at all. We didn't go in the Atlantis or anything, we did the public beach. You can also take a cab over to the island and I don't think it was very expensive either.
We went there, rented a taxi cab (if you rent a van it will cost more) and we were charged $12.00. It is just a short ride between 9-12 minutes to get there.
Do you to the Atlantis, you must see that gorgeous hotel and its grounds. Make sure you go inside and somewhere in the center is the huge huge aquarium filled with all kinds of colorful tropical fish, sharks, etc. It is so beautiful and its open to the public. Anybody can get in as they are hoping you will buy food, drink and spend money at the casino, just to to the front entrance. You won't regret it, we also go out to the beach and use their beach facilities (many times) and nobody asked if we were staying in the hotel or not, they even have banana boat rides there.
If youre talking about the Dig, then you will need to pay $25 or $29 pp to tour this. I havent stayed there in a few years, (will be in 3 weeks-husband won the trip at work), but from other posts people did have to pay. Also, unless you are a guest there or Comfort Suites, you cant use the beach, pools, or waterslides. When we stayed there, they had staff posted outside every door to the pools. They were checking for wristbands (rotate colors every few days) or a room key and if you didn have one, back inside you went. You can walk around the casino, shops, etc without paying. I will say the food, and service is not too great, and everything is very $$$$. The grounds and aquariums are really nice though, and have some marine animals Ive have never seen in other aquariums or while scuba diving.
Yep, walking around the aquarium, lobby, shop, and casino is "Free". The dig is extra charge. You can gain access to beach from hotel, they can't stop you.....but they do have guards marking and they won't let you walk around to see the waterfall section. If you want to use their "Caribbean beach" in the resort, which is lovely and better than the public beach ocean/water on offer (and the waterslides) then you have to pay approx ŁUK 150.00 for two adults and two kids, for the day pass which gives you the towel and wrist bands.
We took the water taxi over to Paradise Island from the docks for $6 pp roundtrip...but if you don't want to make about a mile hike to get to the Atlantis, or the public beach you may want to stick with the more expensive reg. taxi. If you're just looking for a nice day at the beach...no problem mon...as they say. Have the taxi driver drop you at the "public" beach access and it's only a short hike over the dunes to a very nice beach.
There were EIGHT ships in port when we were there, but still didn't feel crowded...IF you don't plant yourself right at the first spot you see! Walk down to the right a ways and you'll have a lot of sand to yourself, without the everpresent "vendors" working you. To be fair, even the most persistant vendor took a "Sorry, I'm not interested" at face value and moved along so it was "no problem mon". And there was no shortage of taxis waiting to pick you up for the return...they know what time the ships leave and are eager to get your fare.