Boutique shopping. Underwater cave explorations. Bonefishing adventures. On The Islands Of The Bahamas, every day is exciting.
One thing they have plenty of is crystal-blue water. And, yes, it feels just as amazing as it looks. Averaging 80°F year-round, it’s perfect for any type of water sport. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, parasailing or even swimming excursions with wild dolphins, you’ll find it in The Bahamas.
Boating & Sailing
There is no finer journey than the one that leads you to paradise. The fish are more colorful, the coral reefs are brighter and the water clearer. Since the moment Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World, The Bahamas have been a magnet for sea vessels. Everyone from Blackbeard to Ernest Hemingway has made the voyage. Whether you’re planning a quick getaway to The Bimini Islands or a weeklong voyage to Nassau/Paradise Island, the waters of The Bahamas are waiting for you.
The Islands Of The Bahamas offer an array of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. You’ll find sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, underwater caves and forest-like coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. You can even feed and swim with reef sharks—an experience sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Explore what else makes The Bahamas the most complete diving destination in the world.
Whether you’re a first-timer casting a line from a pier or a deep-sea fanatic eager to beat one of the 50 world fishing records set in The Bahamas, you’ll find all types of fishing here. Wade through the many saltwater flats or 'marls' for some bonefish, one of the prolific species to be found in the waters. Or, charter a boat and troll the deep seas for a prized marlin. Their islands play host to so many exotic fish that there’s sure to be fewer stories about the one that got away. Local guides have been trained to provide a safe and customer friendly angling experience, based on globally accepted sustainable principles.
When the moon lights up the night sky, the entertainment world awakens in The Bahamas. Throughout the islands, you can find quaint bars serving up our traditional Goombay, Junkanoo or Rake & Scrape music, as well as New York-style nightclubs and everything in between. Enjoy a tropical Bahamian cocktail while you try your hand in a casino, or enjoy the sounds of live music in a bar or club. And, on some islands you can sit on a beach and watch a bonfire under the full moon.
Bahamians believe in taking it easy. Moving at your own pace. So it’s only fitting that one of the most relaxing places in the world offers treatments to help rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. You’ll find numerous indoor and outdoor spas in The Bahamas that offer facial and deep tissue massages, scrubs and soothing herbal baths for individuals and couples. There are also wellness activities, like Pilates and yoga, to help you unwind too. In short, it’s easy to let go of yourself and leave your worries behind in The Bahamas.
Marriage is an adventure. Your honeymoon should set the pace. Honeymoons in The Bahamas offer couples experiences found nowhere else in the world. And with 700 tropical islands to explore, you don’t have to stay in one place. Spend one day on a remote island, the next in a bustling metropolis. However you decide to escape, there’s no doubt your honeymoon will be just as memorable as your wedding day.
From breathtaking panoramic views to soft white- and pink-sand beaches to spectacular sunsets and exotic hideaways, The Bahamas is proud to say that each and every one of our islands is the perfect destination for a romantic escape. Need to relax? Stumble across a secluded beach where the only footprints you’ll see are your own. Looking for adventure? Take a swim with dolphins in the warm waters of the Atlantic. Weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements—whatever your milestone, celebrate in paradise.
Sapphire-blue skies, turquoise water, pure white- and pink-sand beaches. Your perfect day should take place in the perfect setting. With more than 700 cays, reefs, beaches, parks, botanical gardens, churches and other locations, there are endless ways to declare your love for one another when planning a destination wedding in The Bahamas.
Self-expression. It is at the core of every Bahamian. Whether through the colorful art, lively music or soulful dancing, it is a part of everyone. And it reflects the beauty of the islands. The pride they have for their home and in each other.
Music plays a big part in Bahamian culture. Throughout the islands, you’ll hear traces of African rhythms, Caribbean calypso, English folk songs and the unique Bahamian goombay traditional music, which combines African musical traditions with European colonial influences. Goombay can be traced back to slavery and is storytelling and dancing performed to a fast-tempoed “goom-bahhh” beat on a goatskin drum. African slaves had very few resources to create instruments. Rake and scrape bands had drums made out of a pork barrel and goatskin, a carpenter’s saw that was scraped with a metal file, maracas, rhythm sticks, and a bass violin made from a washtub and string. Today, rake and scrape bands use modern instruments mixed with saws and goatskin drums.
The Bahamas is known for its stellar beaches. With 700 breathtaking islands and more than 2,400 cays, and the clearest water on Earth, it’s no wonder visitors come from all around to sink their toes into miles of pure white, and in some places pink, sand. Many of the beaches have been voted “best in the world” by numerous publications, and it’s not uncommon to find a celebrity or two strolling along the shores. In short, the beaches you’ll find here are the very definition of paradise.
For those choosing to go the more active route, The Islands of The Bahamas are full of beaches with plenty to do. There’s usually a volleyball, beach soccer, or basketball game nearby. And many vendors set up shop right near the shore. If you’re wanting to try parasailing for example, you can walk right up to the water and sign up. Active beaches are also great for meeting new people and even hanging out with the locals. No matter what, there’s always something going on.
Many hotels and resorts offer access to private beaches that are reserved exclusively for guests. And amenities usually come with the territory. It’s not uncommon for a private beach to have servers who bring you refreshments. In some places, you can even reserve cabanas to keep you in the shade. Some cruise lines make stopovers on private island beaches as well. If you’re staying in The Islands of The Bahamas and want to spend a day on a private beach, many charter boat companies will bring you to outlying cays so you can relax in peace with your friends and family or significant other.
Family Friendly Beaches
If you’re looking for a beach that has something for everyone, family-friendly beaches are easy to come by. A few steps to the left and you’re inches from calm, crystal clear waters. A few steps to the right and you’re sitting on a restaurant patio, watching your kids on a beachside playground, or browsing through markets that offer authentic Bahamian souvenirs for the whole family. Some beaches even offer licensed day care services for little ones.
Imagine miles and miles of pristine white and pink sand beaches where the only footprints you’ll see are your own. That’s the beauty of The Islands of The Bahamas. Where all it takes is a simple stroll to get away from it all. There are hundreds of secluded beaches that are ideal for beachcombing, picnics, sunsets, and relaxation. The sand is untouched, the water is crystal clear, and the experience is unforgettable.
The Islands Of The Bahamas are much more than a tropical destination. For Bahamians, they’re a daily celebration of their rich culture, diverse heritage and way of life. It's what makes life so good here. And it's why they're proud to be Bahamians.
Bush medicine is using indigenous plants for medicinal purposes. It’s a tradition African slaves brought with them when they came here. There are almost 100 plants found here that can be used for medical treatment. Examples include aloe vera, crab bush, fig leaf, sailors' flowers and white sage.
Junkanoo is uniquely Bahamian and exists nowhere else. It’s an incredibly energetic, colorful parade made up of brightly costumed Bahamians dancing and “rushin” to the music of cowbells, drums, horns and whistles. It is widely believed that Junkanoo was created by John Canoe, an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after he was brought to the West Indies as a slave.
Celebrated since the 16th or 17th century, today Junkanoo has grown into an organized event with groups of up to 1,000 persons competing for cash prizes for best music, best costume, dancer, banner and best overall group presentation. Traditionally held on New Year’s Day, Boxing Day and Independence Day, parades are also held during the annual “Junkanoo Summer Festival” and the “Just Rush” competition. In addition, many hotels offer Junkanoo shows for their guests throughout the year.
Religion is important in the lives of the Bahamian people. Even small communities have several churches. Their religious devotion is evidence of the Eleutheran Adventurers and their Puritan influences.
Explore one of the straw markets and bring home a piece of Bahamian culture. You’ll find handmade hats, mats, baskets, woodcarvings and guava jellies. Test your bargaining skills and get a good deal on a great piece.
Beneath the waters and across the lands of The Bahamas, ecotravelers can explore natural wonders that stimulate the senses and invigorate the imagination: the world's greatest geologic oddity known as the Tongue of the Ocean or intricate underground cave systems used by indigenous Bahamians as storm shelters.
This world-famous geological site in North Andros is a hub for international researchers. They flock to The Bahamas to study the unique oolitic sand formations found in the Joulter Cays. Exceptional fly fishing flats are also located around this natural wonder, bonefish, snapper, permit and tarpon in abundance.
Tongue of the Ocean
One of the top wall diving sites in the world, the Tongue of the Ocean is a 6,000-foot-deep submarine canyon, flanked dramatically by shallow Bahamian waters. Beneath the blue lies beautiful coral formations, sponges and big game fish, an ideal spot for deep sea fishing.
An ancient underwater road leading to the mythical lost city of Atlantis is what Bahamian folklore says about the Bimini Road, a dive site with mysterious underwater rock formations. Unique to The Bahamas, the large rectangular rocks stretch about half a mile, resembling an ancient road.
Great Barrier Reef
One mile off the shores of Andros is the world's third-largest fringing barrier reef, home to almost every variety of exotic fish species. Measuring 190 miles long, the Great Barrier Reef is the third largest living organism on the planet.
Dean's Blue Hole
Plunging down over 600 feet Dean’s Blue Hole in Long island is the deepest known sea water blue hole in the world. Surrounded by towering cliffs, Dean’s Blue Hole is a great site for cliff jumping and deep sea free diving. Free divers from around the world train and compete at this natural wonder.
Traditional storm shelters in The Bahamas were inland caves, scattered across the islands; Bahamians inherited the tradition from indigenous Arawak Indians who also used the inland caves. These natural wonders, which contain fully formed stalactites, stalagmites, are ideal attractions for off-the-beaten-track experiences.
The longest-known underwater limestone cave system in the world—charted for up to six miles—is found in The Bahamas. Many of these natural wonders can be described as underwater aquariums, overstocked with marine life—sponges, lobsters, crabs and shrimp—while some are merely fossilized black holes.
One of Eleuthera’s geological wonders, the limestone wall cliffs in Rainbow Bay have been cut by the sea, creating a network of trenches, caves and coves. Pristine tidal pools form in the low lying rock formations. Stratas of black and red stone and embedded pockets of sand are visible in the rock walls.
The Islands Of The Bahamas contain many salt ponds, which are fascinating natural reservoirs of sea salt. When water evaporates from these shallow ponds during the dry harvesting season, salt forms in large deposits. In Inagua alone, there are 80 salt ponds used for commercial manufacturing.
This small tropical broadleaf forest is remarkably undisturbed, representative of the early tropical hardwood forests of The Bahamas. It features deep sinkholes, which in other parts of The Bahamas have provided produced and subfossil remains of Bahamian fauna and Lucayan and Bahamian artifacts.
The Bahamas is a perfect playground for kids of all ages. Throw on a saddle and trot up and down the pristine shores on horseback. Get down and dirty with a little sand volleyball. Go bowling at one of the many resorts. Or simply build a sand castle on the beach. Kids can even attend Kids Camp, where they’ll find a replica of a famous sunken Spanish galleon. Whatever piques their interest, know that you can find fun for the whole family in The Bahamas.
There are many fun-filled activities for the entire family that also offer learning opportunities. Visit the candy-striped lighthouse of Hope Town on Elbow Cay. Enjoy a stroll through the pastel-shaded gingerbread houses of picturesque New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. Or, visit with the historic shipbuilders of Man O’ War Cay.
The Exumas have a number of cultural, heritage and historical attractions for families to explore. Natural reserves such as The Exuma Land & Sea Park—including Pasture and O’Brien’s Cay—Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, and Allan's Cay offer numerous educational opportunities.
Eleuthera & Harbour Island
Eleuthera & Harbour Island offer a variety of family-friendly aqua-ventures including swimming in shallow waters, drift snorkeling, tubing, camping safaris, picnics on secluded beaches and even surfing lessons.
Grand Bahama Island
Nature-based activities, the wide open spaces, a recreation center and a kid-friendly marketplace make Grand Bahama Island an ideal family vacation spot. There are interesting kids’ programs available at Grand Lucayan Resort and Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort (which also features a nightly stage show that kids love). You may also wish to spend your family vacation exploring the beautiful waters and fascinating marine life in waters surrounding the island.
Nassau & Paradise Island
Nassau & Paradise Island offers fun on the water for kids of all ages. There are beautiful beaches to explore, numerous underwater delights to discover while snorkeling, boating excursions to Blackbeard's Cay, catamaran cruises and glass-bottom boat rides around the harbor, day sailing trips and a powerboat adventure to the beautiful Exuma Cays, plus interactions with dolphins at Atlantis and Blue Lagoon Island.
Being an international destination, you can rest assured that you can find any type of food here. But while you’re here, give your taste buds a chance to discover Bahamian cuisine. It’s spicy and uniquely flavored.
Seafood is the staple of the diet. Fresh conch scored with a knife and sprinkled with lime juice and spices is delicious. Other delicacies you’ll enjoy are land crabs and the Bahamian “rock lobster.” They also love fresh fish, especially boiled fish served with grits. Many dishes here are served with pigeon peas and rice mixed with spices, tomatoes and onions.
Wash down the cuisine with a cold beverage like a Kalik or Sands (beers of The Islands Of The Bahamas), a Bahama Mama, or Goombay Smash. There’s also a Bahamian favorite that they call “Sky Juice,” coconut water blended with sweet milk and gin. And don’t forget to try Switcher, a refreshing drink made from native limes.
The national parks of The Bahamas are treasure troves of biodiversity and areas of pure aesthetic beauty. Within the park system you will find one of the world's longest underwater cave systems, a critically important sea turtle research facility, a large collection of rare palms, and a 250 acre wetland that is home to more than 100 birds species.
Walker’s Cay National Park
The northernmost island in The Bahamas, Walker’s Cay is renowned for its underwater coral cathedrals teeming with schools of pompano and amberjack, large marine predators and multitudes of colorful tropical fish, turtles and eagle rays. With visibility that reaches 100 feet and an endless variety of marine life, this underwater paradise is a Mecca for divers.
Black Sound Cay National Reserve
Located off Green Turtle Cay in The Abacos, this miniature park comprises a thick stand of mangrove vegetation and is an important habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
Tilloo Cay Reserve
Tropical seabirds gather in The Abacos to nest in the Tilloo Cay Reserve. Eleven acres of wild and pristine natural environment make the Reserve the perfect destination for nature lovers and their airborne friends.
Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park
Located eight miles north of Cherokee Sound, Great Abaco, the park’s 2,100-acre land and sea area contains beautiful undersea caves and extensive coral reefs, and abounds with terrestrial plant and animal life.
Abaco National Park
The Abaco National Park is an important sanctuary for the endangered Bahama Parrot, a must-see for ecotravelers. Across its 20,500 acres, the park contains substantive acreage of Caribbean pine forest and broadleaf coppice, the major habitats required by the parrot for foraging.
Fowl Cays National Park
With a variety of tunnels and towers to explore, the sea life is abundant in the Fowl Cays National Park. Steadily growing as a diver’s haven, the park is conveniently reached from most central Abaco cays and settlements. The reefs are spectacular for snorkelers and divers. At the right tide, a natural whirlpool inside the park will treat you to a unique and memorable natural spa experience.
North & South Marine Parks
Andros has the third longest barrier reef in the world. These two parks were established to help preserve significant parts of this valuable reef ecosystem.
Blue Holes National Park
Andros has the highest concentration of blue holes in the world. Exposed to the elements over thousands of years, the island’s limestone bedrock eroded creating a vast expanse of underwater systems. The caves and blue holes of Andros have been found to house many unusual and unique cave fish and invertebrates, some not found anywhere else in the world.
Crab Replenishment Reserve
Identified as the best land crab habitat in central Andros, this area was set aside to ensure a sustainable crab population for future generations.
West Side National Park
The endangered Andros Rock Iguana and many bird species, including the West Indian Flamingo, utilize this treasured park on the west coast of Andros. It encompasses a vast area of coastal mangrove habitat that is an important nursery area for conch, lobster and fish. It is also a prime bone-fishing area.
Conception Island National Park
Conception Island is an unspoiled sanctuary for migratory birds and a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. The island was designated an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. Experts believe it has the largest concentration of nesting tropicbirds in The Bahamas. Historically it is known as one of the three islands where Columbus landed in the New World.
Acklins & Crooked Island
Hope Great House and Marine Farm
Located on the west coast of Crooked Island, these two Loyalist compounds include an artillery battery and plantation house with kitchen. These well preserved historic properties provide a unique glimpse into the country’s colonial past.
Eleuthera & Harbour Island
Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
The Preserve features over 171 species of indigenous plants and more than 34 species of birds. Over 100 varieties of medicinal plants and more than 25 different economic plants are among the 2,000 native trees, shrubs and herbs maintained on the site. A mile-long trail leads you through the tropical sanctuary, over a waterfall, through a mangrove swamp, and to a lookout tower that reveals breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Quality diving is available inside the Park with water temperatures holding around 80 degrees and visibility beyond 100 feet. Large schools of reef fish will meet you at practically any dive site. Created in 1958 this 176 square mile park was the first of its kind in the world and is famous for its stunning beauty, outstanding anchorages and breathtaking marine environment. It is the first marine fishery reserve established in the Caribbean.
Moriah Harbour Cay National Park
Moriah Harbour Cay and its marine environs are a vital part of the ecosystem between Great and Little Exuma. A variety of birdlife nests there, including gull-billed and least terns. The mangroves serve as an important nursery habitat for juvenile stocks of fish, crawfish, conch, and the like. Landward, palmettos, buttonwoods, bay cedar, and sea oats work in concert, providing stability, nutrients, and beauty to the ecosystem.
Grand Bahama Island
Rand Nature Centre
Known for its foot trails winding through natural coppice and pine barrens, the Rand Nature Centre is a well known birding hot spot, especially from October to May when the resident bird population is joined by wintering songbirds. The Rand Nature Centre is the headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust on Grand Bahama island. The Glory Banks Art Gallery at the centre provides a venue for Grand Bahama artists.
Peterson Cay National Park
This low-lying limestone cay is located about 15 miles east of Freeport and a mile offshore. It offers a spectacular snorkeling experience and is popular picnic spot. It is often an important seabird nesting site in the summer months.
Lucayan National Park
The park features an underwater cave system that has been charted for up to six miles. Other attractions include elevated walkways through the mangrove wetland, a magnificent beach, and one of the highest coastal dunes on the island. Lucayan skeletons were discovered in one of the caverns and other pre-Columbian artifacts have been found. Only certified cave divers are permitted to explore the cavern system.
Union Creek Reserve
Seven square miles of enclosed tidal creeks on Great Inagua’s northwest shore provide perfect harbor for young Green Turtles, which grow to about 25 cm in length and remain at that size for decades. This shallow creek has been a critically important research site for sea turtles since 1974, and has provided some of the most important scientific data on the endangered turtle species.
Inagua National Park
Internationally renowned for having the largest breeding colony of West Indian flamingos, Inagua remains a popular destination for ecotravelers. Although there are approximately 50,000 flamingos in the native colony, many other bird species abound in the park’s interior: the native Bahama Parrot, the endemic Bahama woodstar hummingbird, Bahama pintails, Brown pelicans, Tri-colored herons and others.
Little Inagua National Park
Little Inagua is by far the largest uninhabited island in the Caribbean. In its undisturbed state, Little Inagua’s biodiversity is enormous. Critically endangered sea turtle species are found in the Park, along with White-tailed Tropicbirds and West Indian Whistling Ducks. Unique ocean currents in its surrounding waters contribute to the supply of fisheries, eggs, larvae and sub adults that are swept into The Bahamas’ marine territory.
Nassau & Paradise Island
The 11-acre garden of rare and exotic palms and native coppice known as The Retreat, houses one of the largest private collections of palms in the world. It is an important green space for resident and migratory birds on the island. The Retreat serves as the administrative headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust responsible for managing the national park system.
Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park
A stone’s throw from the nation’s capital and tourism hub, Harrold and Wilson Ponds host the island’s highest concentration of herons, egrets, ibises and cormorants as well as the endemic Bahama Swallow. As an Important Bird Area, the Park is considered to be an indispensable habitat.
A 600-foot boardwalk and viewing platform provides ample access to the Bonefish Pond on the south central coast of New Providence. It is an important marine nursery area for the island, providing a protective, nutrient rich habitat for juvenile stocks of fish, crawfish, and conch. This area supports a wide variety of waterfowl and Bahamian flora. The wetland also provides critical protection from storm surges for the island’s southern shore.
Primeval Forest National Park
Located in the southwest portion of New Providence, the forest features unique limestone caverns up to 50 feet long, 30 feet wide, and in some cases 30 feet deep. Similar features elsewhere in The Bahamas have provided fossil and subfossil remains of Bahamian fauna as well as Lucayan and Bahamian artifacts. This small tropical forest is remarkably undisturbed, representative of the early tropical hardwood forests of The Bahamas.
Grand Bahama Island
There’s something for everyone on Grand Bahama Island. With a distinct mix of historic appeal, modern attractions and ecological wonders, your visit is sure to be memorable. On Grand Bahama Island, you can combine a glamorous vacation at an upscale resort with the charming allure of a small town. Boasting one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems, three national parks, endless beaches and crisp blue water, Grand Bahama Island has it all.
Nassau and Paradise Island
With the lure of a big city and the ease of tropical utopia, Nassau & Paradise Island are considered by many as, well, paradise. Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is a bustling metropolitan hub full of culture and modern amenities. To the north lies Paradise Island. Its name tells you everything. It’s 685 acres of pure euphoria, developed almost exclusively to delight and accommodate visitors. The island boasts resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, nightlife, a golf course, an aquarium and a casino.
Known as a “sleeping beauty” because it’s considered one of the best-kept secrets in The Bahamas southern region, Rum Cay is recognized for its historical ruins, vivid coral reefs, miles of pure sand beaches and thrilling surf. Just offshore in the crystal-clear turquoise waters is an abundance of vibrant marine life that attracts fishermen, divers and snorkelers from all around. Rum Cay truly is an authentic Bahamian experience.
Eleuthera & Harbour Island
From endless pineapple fields to white- and pink-sand beaches to secluded coves and miles of coastlines, Eleuthera & Harbour Island define The Bahamas. Much of the architecture and way of life was influenced by British Loyalists who settled here in the 1700s. This style has since been adopted by the other Bahamian islands, making Eleuthera & Harbour Island the birthplace of the entire country. In addition, the islands continue to charm visitors with tropical flair, as Harbour Island is known as one of the best islands in the Caribbean. If you’re visiting The Bahamas, Eleuthera & Harbour Island are not to be missed.
Pristine is the perfect word to describe Cat Island. From the weather to the water to the sand, every inch is breathtaking. Its untouched landscape is perfect for those looking to explore the island’s natural beauty, while its laid-back environment provides a unique destination to relax and unwind. And with 50 miles of rolling hills, endless nature trails and the eight-mile Pink Sand Beach, visitors can choose to do everything or absolutely nothing at all.
Located just 50 miles off Florida’s coast, Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to the United States, boasting miles of pristine beaches. Known as Ernest Hemingway’s favorite escape, Bimini is historically significant. Visitors from around the world enjoy its historical complexity and renowned past, including Bimini Road, which some believe is a remnant of the legendary Lost City of Atlantis.
Welcome to The Abacos. Calm waters, warm breezes and panoramic beauty make this 120-mile–long chain of islands a boating and sailing paradise. But it’s not just the sea that attracts travelers from around the world. Those who prefer to explore by land will find championship golf courses on Treasure Cay, charming colonial towns on Green Turtle and Elbow Cays, and countless hotels, restaurants and bars throughout The Abacos.
Breathtaking cliffs, brilliant coral reefs, serene beaches. Long Island is home to it all. Featuring dramatic cliffs that tower over its eastern shore, the island is a haven for fishers, divers and boaters, boasting world-class bonefishing and thrilling encounters with sea life. The island’s western shore is a bit more tranquil. Visitors will find soft pink- and white-sand beaches that gradually slip into peaceful turquoise waters. Long Island is also home to Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest blue hole in the world.
All the Bahamian islands boast abundant natural attractions. But Andros—the largest, yet most sparsely developed of all The Bahamas—is king when it comes to exceptional natural surroundings. Here, you’ll find the world’s third-largest fringing barrier reef, mesmerizing blue holes that some say are home to the mythical creature Lusca, the Tongue of the Ocean (a mile-deep abyss teeming with vibrant marine life) and numerous species of flora and fauna. If you’re an ecotraveler, kayaker, bird watcher, hiker, snorkeler, diver or fisher, Andros should be your first stop when visiting The Bahamas.
Home to over 80,000 flamingos, the national bird of The Bahamas, Inagua is a haven for birdwatchers. Along with the flamingos, birding enthusiasts will find over 140 species of native and migratory birds, making Inagua the Birdwatching Capital of The Bahamas. The island is also home to three national parks/reserves, as well as one of three remaining kerosene-burning, hand-cranked lighthouses in The Bahamas. If ecotourism is your forte, Inagua is your destination.
Quiet and serene, Ragged Island isn’t as rough as its name suggests. The island is a haven for avid fishermen, with its unparalleled flats ideal for bonefishing. It’s not uncommon to snag an abundance of grouper, snapper, barracuda, tuna and king fish during just one day on the water. The beaches of Ragged Island are mostly unexplored, and the coves are perfect for picnicking, relaxing and combing for shells. Those looking to explore by land will find several historical landmarks, quaint towns and authentic handmade Bahamian crafts. It’s an adventure unlike any other.
Acklins & Crooked Island
Known as two of the more remote islands, Acklins & Crooked Island are almost as natural as they were when The Bahamas was first discovered. Separated by a 500-square-mile lagoon known as the Bight of Acklins, both islands are a haven for bonefishing, snorkeling and diving. You’ll also find miles of undisturbed sandy beaches, coral gardens, limestone caves, magnificent cliffs and even remnants of slave and cotton plantations. It’s the perfect way to forget about the complexities of life. In short, Acklins & Crooked Island are The Bahamas’ definition of seclusion.
The Berry Islands
Miles of secluded swim-ashore beaches, invigorating dive sites, and championship sport fishing are just a few of the highlights that make The Berry Islands a desired destination. Composed of a cluster of 30 cays, a majority of these islands are uninhabited. It's not uncommon to stumble across a footprint-free beach or private cove. You could spend an entire day without seeing a single soul. The Berry Islands are also home to a number of cavern, reef, wall and wreck dive sites, as well as a 600-foot-wide blue hole, wonderful billfishing, and ancient churches.
San Salvador is home to many monuments, ruins and shipwrecks that directly reflect its rich history, including five memorials that commemorate Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1492. One of them, an underwater monument, is said to mark the spot where the Pinta dropped anchor. In addition to its profound past, the island showcases miles of secluded beaches, crystal-clear seas and sparkling inland lakes. Visitors looking to embark on an adventure full of history and culture will find that San Salvador Island is the perfect place to begin their journey. It’s no wonder that Columbus dubbed it “The New World.”
Take the opportunity to discover Bahamian cuisine while you’re here. It’s spicy and uniquely flavored, indicative of the diversity of the islands and people. Fresh seafood is the staple of their diet. Fresh conch sprinkled with lime juice and spices is delicious. Other delicacies you’ll enjoy are land crabs and the Bahamian “rock lobster.” Beginning with local ingredients—tropical fruit, seafood and spices—the eateries run the gamut. Down-home restaurants will feature traditional Bahamian favorites, while more artisan options will combine international cuisine with island flavor. And, to wash it all down, try some Bahamian-style lemonade, unleaded or leaded coconut water (which locals call “sky juice”), or one of the local beers—Kalik or Sands.
For a truly local experience, dine at one of the many casual dining restaurants. In Bahamian vernacular, a chicken or conch snack refers to fried chicken or conch with a side of French fries: a typical dish served at the local fast-food eateries. To eat like a Bahamian, you can also order the local version of a hamburger, which substitutes the beef with conch or fish.
Several culinary tours exist to turn your vacation into an exquisite food adventure. In Nassau & Paradise Island, a specialized chocolate factory tour is available, while other tours feed the palate and the mind with samplings of food from various restaurants with a side of Bahamian history. Even if there is no formal tour, you can visit different eateries and create your own “dine-around” on whatever island you visit.
You can enjoy a unique fine dining experience in many of the islands. International cuisine is often infused with distinctive island flavors. Local vegetables and Bahamian lobster tail (in season), or the fresh catch of the day, accompany traditional gourmet fare on restaurant menus. And, you'll also find a great selection of superb wines and spirits. The setting can also add some spice to your meal: a warm colonial style home on the beach, a beach club terrace overlooking the water, or an elegant candlelit atmosphere at a steakhouse or bistro. Whatever you choose, it'll certainly be memorable!
Fish Fry Experience
Across The Bahamas, locals and visitors alike gather for a down-home experience at the local Fish Fry, which is a lively hangout spot. Apart from fried fish, the Fish Fry is the best place to enjoy fresh-made conch salad. Chefs show off their knife handling skills with the live preparation of this uniquely Bahamian salad, best enjoyed with a cold Kalik or Sands beer, the local brews.
Throughout the year, The Bahamas is buzzing with food festivals, where you can learn the many ways they boil, bake, crack, stew, fry and “souse up” foods. From the annual Crab Fest in Andros to the Pineapple Festival in Eleuthera to the International Cultural Festival, come join one of the many celebrations of indigenous offerings throughout the islands.
Shopping in The Bahamas is a unique experience. Throughout the islands, shoppers will find a variety of jewelry, local crafts and other authentic Bahamian items. From stylish boutiques to open-air markets to straw vendors and even large retail centers, The Bahamas offers a plethora of unique products that reflect the heritage, creativity and passion.
Andros is known for its signature straw craft available in most settlements, particularly Red Bay and the Fresh Creek area. You can also take home freshly harvested sponges, wood carvings of miniature racing sloops and other distinctive collectibles created by local artisans. But the island’s signature product is Androsia—a colorful, locally made batik.
Grand Bahama Island
The main shopping areas on the island are: the Port Lucaya Marketplace, and the International Bazaar. The downtown shopping area is also a fun place to find great deals. You’ll discover local artists and crafts, and taste some authentic Bahamian cuisine as you stroll through the markets.
Long Island is well known for the straw creations of the late Miss Ivy Simms, who established a small straw work factory in the Simms settlement. There, she and her staff produced finely made bags, baskets, hats and other articles. Today, there are still many people specializing in the art of straw plaiting. You can purchase one-of-a-kind straw pieces, such as dolls and Christmas ornaments.
Nassau & Paradise Island
Bahamians continue the tradition of the early Lucayan and Taino Indians by producing distinctive arts and crafts that reflect the skill and artistry of the heritage. From international boutiques to the famous Straw Market, all offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
Shopping in The Exumas is generally limited to hotel boutiques, but you’ll find individual artisans and small craft centers throughout the islands. The Straw Market, a group of individual vendors along the main road into George Town, offers a variety of beautiful baskets, purses and other straw goods that come in unique Exumian designs and colors, plus other handcrafts.
Whatever sport you’re into, you can do it here: basketball, bowling, cricket, football, golfing, gymnastics, racing, rugby, soccer, softball, squash, tennis, track & field and volleyball to name just a few. Throughout The Bahamas, it’s easy to find a friendly game to join. And they always welcome a good match.
Golf in The Bahamas is absolutely breathtaking. With courses that line the clear-blue Atlantic waters, golfers from all over the world yearn for the chance to play in The Bahamas—even the pros. Take Great Exuma for example. It features an 18-hole championship golf course designed by golf legend Greg Norman. It’s set to become one of the world’s greatest oceanside clubs. Numerous islands in The Bahamas boast pristine golf courses that challenge both the novice and professional golfer. Click here to view a listing of the golf courses.
Running & Cycling
With perfect year-round weather, The Bahamas is the ideal destination for the active traveler. Runners and cyclers will appreciate the scenic and relatively flat terrain throughout the islands. But those who want more of a challenge will also find higher elevations to test their abilities. There are many popular racing events throughout the islands. They include Grand Bahama Island's Conchman Triathlon, the Pineapple Fest Triathlon on Eleuthera & Harbour Island and Marathon Bahamas, which began in 2010 on Nassau & Paradise Island.
Swimming is a year-round sport in The Bahamas, because the weather conditions are ideal with average temperature at 70 degrees. The water never freezes, so you can hold your swimming tournament here, in addition to practicing for the upcoming season, in the middle of January. The Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex has Olympic, international and CARIFTA certification, and has hosted swimming events at the CARIFTA Games. It also serves as the winter training site for several international universities and club teams.
You’ll find that the islands are the ideal location for tennis. There’s no season to limit play, just year-round blue skies and warm weather. Nassau/Paradise Island averages seven hours of completely sunny skies per day, even during the rainy season. Most playing facilities are part of resorts and courts and are available on almost every island that has reasonably sized guest accommodations. Surfaces include Flexipave, clay, asphalt, Plexicrome, Har-Tru or cork, and most are night-lit.