Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri February 12 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | February 12, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Bimini’s Fountain of Youth: The Secluded Vibe of Young Age

    Bimini’s Fountain of Youth: The Secluded Vibe of Young Age

    Photo by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

    Before facelifts and Botox, there was the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain’s legend and Ponce De Leon's search for it covers many lands and eras.

    It was actually the Arawak Indians who first described a mythical land with curative waters, enticing De Leon, who was the ousted governor of Puerto Rico, to search for it in 1513. Spain's King Ferdinand actually offered the verdant land of "Beniny" to Ponce, sending him off on an expedition to find it.  But like the European explorers before him, Ponce got it wrong. He landed in St. Augustine, Florida and never made it to Bimini, as we now call it.

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    Although Florida boasts a Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, where visitors can actually buy bottles of the supposed youth-granting liquid, Florida was simply where the conquistador landed. There was no mention of him locating the fountain.

    But deep in the forest of South Bimini, the fountain that the Arawaks were referencing still supplies healing water. Actually, it's a well and the water is located way, way, down in it. I peeked in and saw a glimpse of the water, but the bucket couldn't reach it. I was surprised to see the well or even an association with the Fountain of Youth because I always considered it a myth. There are no accounts of Ponce’s expedition written by the explorer himself and all the other accounts were written decades after his death in 1521.

    So what is fact and what is fiction? The freshwater well is supposed to deliver healing minerals and locals who splash it on their face and body report feeling rejuvenated.  There are actually several shallow pools on the island noted for curative powers, especially The Healing Hole in North Bimini, located in a mangrove swamp.

    And if you just want plain old water and a shoreline, Tiki Hut Beach supplies a pretty white sand beach surrounded by palm trees and flowers on the Western shore of South Bimini. The southern Bimini isle is tiny, only 8.8 miles long, so it only requires an afternoon to explore the fountain and beach. You can take a local taxi to both.

    Strolling through the lush wilderness that surrounds the fountain, I couldn’t help but feel light-hearted and yes, youthful. Looking around and the locals that I spotted, it appeared to me that they too had a youthful air, despite their chronological age. Perhaps the myth refers to the feeling, rather than the look of youth.

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    Still, the legend lives on and locals insist that the water from the well is healing and rejuvenating. I can't attest to that but I think the Bimini Fountain of Youth is worth a visit. If this water was sending people all over the world to find it, there must be something to it...

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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