Now that you know how to plan the ultimate Bahamas beach vacation, we thought we’d give you some vacation inspiration by sharing some our favorite beach views, as captured by you!
20 Amazing Things The Bahamas Are Known For
The islands of The Bahamas are a tropical hot spot and rank among the best vacation destinations in the world. Their beauty, amazing weather, and the fact that there are so many islands (700 in total) are part of what makes this tropical archipelago special.
Sandals Royal Bahamian Ocean Hammock
Even with their popularity, there are some things you wouldn’t know about The Bahamas without having gone there yourself; like the fact that you can swim with pigs at Big Major Cay, or that the island has an intriguing pirate history. If you’re planning a trip to The Bahamas, know that you’re in for a relaxing holiday.
20 amazing things The Bahamas are known for
- Pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters
Sandals Emerald Bay White Sand Beach Couple
NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly famously called The Bahamas “the most beautiful place from space”, and it’s easy to see why. With beautiful white sand beaches, surrounded by an incredible palette of deep blue and turquoise waters, this tropical paradise sure stands out. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, you’re likely to experience beach hopping like never before. It’s the ultimate place for a beach vacation!
Insider tip: There are so many great beaches in The Bahamas, that it can be hard to choose just one. Luckily, we’ve combined a list of the best beaches in The Bahamas. Feel free to beach hop to your heart’s content!
- The swimming pigs of Exuma
Sandals Emerald Bay Bahamas Pig Island
The Bahamas has the most famous swimming with pigs’ experience in the Caribbean, and it is definitely something you won’t want to miss out on, during your vacation in the islands. You’ll need to take a boat out to Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island for this tour, and once you get close enough to the island, you’ll actually see some of the pigs swimming out to your boat to greet you. This is a family friendly tour, but couples also enjoy the experience, and getting to know the swimming pigs of The Bahamas. Big Major Cay is located about 82 miles southeast of Nassau. Apart from the pigs and their caretakers during some parts of the day, the island is uninhabited.
- The playground of the world’s rich and famous
Sandals Royal Bahamian Cars Entrance
There are a handful of islands in the Caribbean which are known to attract the rich and famous, and The Bahamas are high up on that list. Super wealthy travelers from the world over vacation in The Bahamas. The island nation even offers the uber rich opportunities to purchase their own private islands. In The Bahamas, you’ll be able to have a peek at the oceanfront villas of Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and many other celebrities.
- History of pirates
Bahamas Stamp Blackbeard Pirate
The ‘Golden Era’ or the ‘Golden Age’ is said to have been a time during the 1600s – 1700s, when pirates had a booming economy in the Caribbean, particularly in The Bahamas. They targeted merchant ships travelling through the harbor and robbed them. Their bounty included gold, salt and many other goods. Their gains attracted even more pirates, and among the famous pirates in the region at that time was Blackbeard. This chaotic state of affairs continued until 1718, when British captain Woodes Rogers was appointed Captain General, and Governor in Chief of Nassau, marking the end of the Pirate Republic.
- Fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling
Bahamas Couple Snorkel Beach
The Bahamas is a top choice for travelers with diving inspirations, desirous of witnessing underwater life at its most spectacular. There are many diving spots for both snorkelers and scuba divers, including the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the Andros blue holes, The Conception Island Wall in Long Island, The Henry Ford Wreck in the Biminis, and the many reefs that can be found in The Abacos.
- The first landing of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus First Landing Bahamas
A lot of information is available about Christopher Columbus’ journey through the Caribbean region, and The Bahamas is said to have been one of the first places where his crew made landfall. As the story goes, Columbus “discovered” the new world, beginning in either San Salvador, The Bahamas, or Samana Cay in The Bahamas. It is also said that when he got there, the native Lucayan Taino people were already present. Over the course of several years, the Taino people disappeared from the islands.
- The Bahama Mama cocktail
Bahama Mama Drink Cocktail
This tropical cocktail, with rum, coconut rum, grenadine, orange juice and pineapple juice as its main ingredients, is well-known all over the world and a must-try when visiting The Bahamas. Get yourself a good spot on the beach or swimming pool and relax, while cooling yourself down with this beverage. You won’t be disappointed. While on the islands, give some of the other local classics a try and order some Sky Juice or a Goombay Smash!
Looking for a place that offers unlimited cocktails? Guests of the Sandals resorts in The Bahamas can order unlimited cocktails (and other beverages) at the bars, on the beach and in the swimming pools – without paying a cent. It’s all included in your stay. All cocktails are mixed by the best bartenders of the island and made of premium liquors.
- Having a multitude of islands you can visit
Bahamas Island Touring
It can be hard to decide where to start first with over 700 islands just waiting to be explored. Fortunately, there’s a method to the madness. Many of the islands are uninhabited, which narrows things down significantly. The best islands in The Bahamas to visit include New Providence island, Paradise Island, The Exumas, The Abacos, Andros, Bimini, The Berry Islands, the Southern Bahamian Islands, Eleuthera and Harbour Island. The population of The Bahamas is just under 400,000 people, and 70% of that number reside on New Providence island, home of capital Nassau.
Most travelers fly into New Providence (Nassau), which makes it the most ‘happening’ place in The Bahamas. Paradise Island is great for families with kids and connected to New Providence by 2 bridges. All other islands are known as the ‘Out Islands’, where you can find a bit more peace and quiet. Exuma is known to be home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters The Bahamas has on offer.
Sandals Royal Bahamian is a lively resort in Nassau that comes with a private offshore island, it is an amazing place for scuba divers (scuba diving is included in our stay). Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma is known to be located on a beautiful long stretch of white sand beach and comes with an 18-hole Championship golf course with stunning views over Exuma’s waters.
- Delicious conch dishes & other seafood
Conch fritters conch salad punch Bahamas
Give your taste buds a new experience in The Bahamas, with fresh seafood that is as varied as it is delicious. Europe, Africa, and South American inspiration permeate the food across the islands in a way that is sure to leave you wanting more. While on any Bahamian island, try everything at least once, from conch salad (conch ceviche), johnny cakes, baked crab, rock lobster, fried fish, and more. After your vacation, you’re bound to return home with a new favorite dish, and hopefully a recipe to recreate at home!
- Sport fishing & bonefishing
Deep Sea Fishing Bahamas
If you haven’t been sport fishing or bonefishing before, The Bahamas is a good place to start. If you’re a seasoned diver however, you’ll enjoy this experience even more, knowing before you go, that the waters of The Bahamas are filled with marine life, which is sure to make your fishing expedition that much more exciting. For sport fishing, try The Biminis, which has a reputation for having the best sport fishing in the world. In fact, Ernest Hemingway’s love for The Biminis is said to have put the two islands on the map; both for fishing, and for their stunning beauty. The Biminis are located just 50 miles from the Florida coast. Andros Island is known for having the third largest reef in the world. Where bonefishing is concerned, you can try your luck at the heart of the many unspoiled mangroves and shallow trenches that can be found along the island. Long Island and New Providence (Nassau) are also great fishing spots.
- Pink sand beaches
Pink Sand Beach Bahamas Harbour island
The Bahamas is one of the only places in the world where you can find pink sand beaches, and Harbour Island, located to the northeast of Eleuthera, is one of the best places to find them. You’ll commonly hear the island being referred to as “Briland” by locals, and it’ll probably be love at first sight once you glance upon the quaint Dunmore Town, which is littered with pastel-colored cottages. While on the island indulge in a bit of sand bathing, or go diving, or on a fishing expedition. A visit to Harbour Island makes a pretty cool day trip, and you can get there via The Bahamas Fast Ferries Catamaran or by plane from Nassau. Some resorts, like Sandals Royal Bahamian, offer day trips.
- Junkanoo festival
Sandals Royal Bahamian Junkanoo Festival
Junkanoo is a real Caribbean party if there ever was one. Held on Christmas and New Year’s Day annually, Junkanoo is a big event in The Bahamas. The celebration can be described as the Bahamian version of carnival. If you’ve never experienced a Caribbean carnival, expect lots of music, costumes, live bands, traditional instruments, parties, parades, floats, and lots of excitement.
Insider tip: If you’re planning to travel to The Bahamas for Junkanoo, you’ll have to book your flight at least six months in advance, as many hotels and resorts tend to be fully booked around this time.
- The Bahamas was featured in several James Bond movies
Thunderball Grotto Bahamas
There are many famous movies which were filmed in The Bahamas, a fact that isn’t so surprising considering how beautiful the islands are. Among these are ‘Thunderball’ and ‘Never Say Never Again’, both James Bond flicks. Thunderball Grotto in the Exuma Cays is a great diving and snorkeling spot, and its name comes from the fact that it was a standout feature in the movie Thunderball, particularly during an underwater fight scene. Divers love exploring this underwater cave, which some describe as intimidating at first, but super exciting once you get into it. Excursions are available from Sandals Emerald Bay.
- The local dialect and slang – “Talkin’ Bahamian”
Bahamas Woman Market
Every destination has its unique accent or dialect, and Bahamians have a very distinct way of speaking, particularly when talkin’ Bahamian. Islanders speak a creole dialect that can be hard for foreigners to understand, but there are ways to learn more about their local creole, which has African influences. While on the islands, shop around for local books which can help you translate what you hear, and even help you throw out a phrase or two. English is widely spoken in The Bahamas, so you’re unlikely to have issues with communication whether or not you’re familiar with the local dialect. Here are a few of the common words and phrases you might hear during your visit:
This can be anyone, regardless of gender. For instance, someone may ask ‘where mah’bey go again?’, which translates to ‘where did this person go to?’ This is something you’ll hear frequently.
‘Well mudda sick!’
This is an expression of surprise, or excitement akin to the English variations of “you’re joking!’, or “Oh my goodness!”.
This is a common Caribbean phrase which means to break or destroy something. For example, ‘you just mash up my book’, which translates to “you just destroyed or damaged my book’. This phrase is also used in scenarios where a person is tired and would use ‘mash up’ to describe just how sick, out of it or exhausted they really feel.
This term usually refers to a stray dog, and you may spot quite a few ‘potcakes’ during your vacation in The Bahamas. Potcakes are considered mixed breeds, and their nickname comes from the idea that old Bahamians used to cook everything in one pot, and the ‘potcake’ being the mix of everything stuck together at the bottom of the pot, after cooking.
You… me, ‘dem’, or them. This is a popular Caribbean term and more often refers to a group of people. For example, you may hear someone say, ‘you can catch a ride with Derek dem’, which means ‘you can get a lift with Derek and the others’.
- A history of colonial conflict and slavery
Pompey Square Bahamas
Picture: Pompey Square is site where slaves were unloaded from ships in 19th century. Named after slave who, in 1830, led a revolt which lead to Emancipation Proclamation.
Caribbean history is filled with colonial conflict, and The Bahamas is not an exception in this regard. Find out more about the history of The Bahamas while on the island by visiting places like the Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation in downtown Nassau, Bimini Museum, Man-O-War Heritage Museum in Abaco, The Dolphin House in Alice Town, Albert Lowe Museum in Abaco, The Bahamas Historical Society Museum in Nassau, Long Island Library and Museum, Heritage Museum of The Bahamas in Nassau, and others.
- Pirate Forts
Fort Fincastle Nassau Bahamas
There are several forts you can explore while in The Bahamas, including Fort Charlotte, the largest fort on the island of New Providence, located in Nassau. Fort Charlotte was built by Lord Dunmore in 1788-1789. It was named after Queen Saharia Charlotte, the wife of King George the III. The fort features a drawbridge, dungeons, underground passages, 42 cannons, and amazing views.
Fort Fincastle built in 1793 is another popular attraction, that gets its name from British captain Lord Dunmore. His second title was Viscount Fincastle. As history tells it, Fincastle built the fort to help keep the Nassau Harbor safe. It was also a useful look out point for pirates. Fort Fincastle is made of cut limestone.
Another well-known fort in The Bahamas is Fort Montague, also made of local limestone. It is the oldest fort in existence on New Providence island and is on the east end of the Nassau Harbor. Fort Montague’s history goes as far back as 1725, but its present form has been in place since 1741-1742, when it was used by the British to keep Spanish invaders away. The site also has a history of being used by the United States military in 1776.
Blackbeard’s Tower is a bit harder to find, but it is believed to have been used by Blackbeard himself, as a lookout point in the 1700s. Since the ‘Pirates Golden Era’, the tower has deteriorated, but is still a historical landmark in The Bahamas.
- Cave diving
Cave Diving bahamas
Many years ago, thousands in fact, the waters around The Bahamas were more than 100 feet lower than they are today. With rising sea levels, some caves on the island which are largely made of limestone were submerged. This has led to The Bahamas being recognized as one of the best places in the world to cave dive, something you should consider trying on your holiday in the islands!
- Track and field Olympians
Shaunae Miller Bahamas Olympics
The Bahamas has 14 Olympic medals to show for itself, much thanks to the efforts of athletes including sprinters Pauline Davis-Thompson, Tonique Williams-Darling and Shaunae Miller. All the island’s Olympic medals were secured in athletics and sailing. Notably, the 14-medal figure equates to a rate of 33.9 per million residents (impressive considering the Bahamian population is only about 385,340). Finland, Sweden and Hungary are the only countries which top Bahamas’ per capita strike rate.
- Luxury goods shopping
Bahamas Jewerly Store
You can find some great shopping opportunities in The Bahamas, which is not something many islands in the region can boast. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or high-end items, you’re likely to find a shop or local market offering something to suit your budget. Nassau and Paradise Island are both great options for jewelry shopping, as well as finding brand name fashion including Louis Vuitton and Gucci. If you want art or other unique pieces, try heading to a craft center downtown (Nassau) and bargain for a good price.
- Historic lighthouses
Elbow Reef Lighthouse Hope Town Bahamas
Lighthouses have a certain intrigue about them, and there are a few notable lighthouses that you can check out while in the Caribbean. Elbow Reef Lighthouse, also known as the Hope Town Lighthouse in Elbow Cay Bahamas, is among the most visited. Hope Town is already quite charming, and this 89-foot lighthouse adds to its appeal. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse was built in the 1860s, an era when lighthouses would be used to warn or guide ships at sea and it has survived to bring a bit of the past into the future. Amazing views are available from the top, which makes climbing the 101 steps worth it. The Hog Island Lighthouse on the western tip of Paradise Island is the oldest and best-known lighthouse in The Bahamas and was built in 1817.
Eight authentic Bahamian souvenirs to bring home with you
Pirate Doubloon jewelry
Pirate Doubloons Bahamas
Considering The Bahamas has a rich pirate history, it’s only natural that you might gravitate to jewelry inspired by this facet of the islands’ past. At Coin of the Realm in downtown Nassau, you’ll find Bahamian gold and silver, ancient Greek and Roman coins, and other treasures. Collectors can pick up proof sets of the Bahamian gold and silver coins, while shoppers just hoping to pick up something interesting may find earrings, pendants, and rings available here worth their while.
- Conch shell products/jewelry
Conch Shell Products Bahamas
Interesting items made of the beautiful conch shell are an easy find in The Bahamas, especially when it comes to jewelry, or even cutlery and bowls. You can find these and more at local craft markets, and they’ll make the perfect gift for friends or family.
- Locally made art and handicrafts
Nassau Market Bahamas
You can’t go wrong with local art and craft when selecting souvenirs to bring back home. Try Bahama Art & Handicrafts which is located just outside downtown Nassau, where you can find a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces. Items range from sea glass and watercolor paintings, to wood carvings, jams, hot sauces, and more.
- Pirate Republic craft beer
pirate republic nassau bahamas
Bring home some Pirate Republic craft beer for the beer lover back home. You can find the brewery and pub downtown Nassau near the cruise port and have a tasting of the different beers on offer. You won’t be disappointed trying out The Bahamas’ only craft beer!
- Junkanoo Art
Nassau Bahamas festival junkanoo costume
Missed out on Junkanoo? You can still take a piece of this cultural carnival home with you by picking up junkanoo inspired jewelry, paintings, ornaments and more. In a way, this makes up for missing out on the parade, and is an opportunity to bring parts of the festival home with you!
- Straw goods
Straw Market Nassau Bahamas
The Nassau Straw Market and the Port Lucaya Market Place are great choices if you’re looking for custom made straw products. Items available for purchase include hats, baskets, purses, and other trinkets. Some sellers can be quite persistent, but if you know what you want, and how much you’re willing to pay for it, you should have smooth and fun shopping experience.
- Homemade jams and jellies
Homemade jam Bahamas
As far as jams and jellies are concerned, it’s worth trying guava jelly, pineapple jam, or any of the other fruity varieties available during your visit to The Bahamas. You can even pick up a couple to take the sweet taste of The Bahamas home with you.
- Coconut sculptures
Coconut Sculptures Bahamas
Coconuts anyone? Well, if not the real kind, then a sculpture. Take one of these items made of coconut husk home with you to set in stone your amazing Bahamian vacation. You can get a variety of sculptures from most craft places on the island, in the form of animals, sea creatures, and more.
Bonus: Five interesting facts about The Bahamas
It snowed in The Bahamas… once
Not many Caribbean islands can claim this feat, but The Bahamas had a wintery experience one cold January day, on the 17th of the month, in 1977 to be precise. Cold weather from southern Florida swept right down to the islands, and for the first time ever, it snowed in The Bahamas. Though there was no actual snow pile up leading to beaches and other areas being covered in slush, there were flurries aplenty in the city of Freeport, Grand Bahamas
The world’s second deepest blue hole is in The Bahamas
Long Island Bahamas Deans Blue Hole
As far as blue holes go, you’ll find one of the deepest in the world in The Bahamas. With a drop off of 660 ft, Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island in The Bahamas is the stuff world records are made of. In fact, loads of divers choose this spot precisely for the likelihood of they themselves setting world records there. There are other more well-known underwater attractions of a similar nature, like The Great Blue Hole in Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, but Dean’s Blue Hole is a lot deeper, and the drop off is close to shore!
The highest point in The Bahamas is not so high
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Range Bahamas
With the highest point in the islands being just over 200ft, The Bahamas is not known to be a land of towering mountains. In fact, it ranks as number 5 for countries with the lowest “highest point” in the world. The Gambia, The Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and the Maldives are the countries which fall in a similar category with The Bahamas as it relates to “high points”. The low-lying state of The Bahamas has to do with the fact that almost all land in the islands is made of sandbars or raised coral reefs.
The Bahamas is technically not part of the Caribbean
Emerald Bay Bahamas
Geographically speaking, The Bahamas which are located to the north of the Caribbean, are not considered in all spheres to be part of that region. A notable point frequently made is that the islands unlike many of the Caribbean islands were not formed through a volcanic process, and their positioning takes them even further away from the Caribbean grouping. Nevertheless, The Bahamas owns the Caribbean identity, much due to similarities in climate, history, and other aspects as compared to the other islands of the region. Additionally, the nation of The Bahamas is closely tied to many Caribbean associations and nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The first Inhabitants of The Bahamas were Taino Indians
Taino Indian Bahamas
The Taino Indians, indigenous people who settled in islands including Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola, and the Northern Lesser Antilles were the first known people to inhabit the islands of The Bahamas. More specifically, the Lucayan people of Taino descent had a solid presence in the islands long before voyages and other famed discoveries, including those of Christopher Columbus. The Lucayans were taken into captivity the years after Columbus’ arrival, changing the face of the island forever. By 1520, there were no Taino Indians left in The Bahamas.
Like any other destination, there’s much to learn about The Bahamas as a visitor. Whether you choose to spend as much time as possible relaxing on a white sand beach or you want to explore the pirate history of The Bahamas firsthand, you’ll find many things to do in the islands, as you get better acquainted with all the things The Bahamas is known for.
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ISLANDS, WEST INDIES
The Bahamas, archipelago and country on the northwestern edge of the West Indies. Formerly a British colony, The Bahamas became an independent country within the Commonwealth in 1973.
ISLANDS, WEST INDIES
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas
FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses (Senate ; House of Assembly )
HEAD OF STATE:
British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General: Cornelius A. Smith
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT:
Prime Minister: Hubert Minnis
Bahamian dollar (B$)
(2019 est.) 379,100
TOTAL AREA (SQ KM):
DENSITY: PERSONS PER SQ KM
Urban: (2018) 83%
Rural: (2018) 17%
LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH
Male: (2017) 70.2 years
Female: (2017) 75.1 years
LITERACY: PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION AGE 15 AND OVER LITERATE
Male: (2005) 95%
Female: (2005) 96.7%
The name Bahamas is of Lucayan Taino (Arawakan) derivation, although some historians believe it is from the Spanish bajamar, meaning “shallow water.” The islands occupy a position commanding the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the entire Central American region. Their strategic location has given the history of The Bahamas a unique and often striking character. It was there that Christopher Columbus made his original landfall in the Americas. The subsequent fate of the peaceful original inhabitants remains one of the more tragic episodes in the development of the entire region, while the early attempts at European-dominated settlement were marked by intense national rivalries, interspersed with long periods of lawlessness and piracy. As a result, the society and culture that has evolved in The Bahamas is a distinctive blend of European and African heritages, the latter a legacy of the slave trade and the introduction of the plantation system using African slaves. The islands, lacking natural resources other than their agreeable climate and picturesque beaches, have become heavily dependent on the income generated by the extensive tourist facilities and the financial sector that have been developed, often as a result of the injection of foreign capital. The continued popularity of the islands with tourists, largely from North America, has helped to maintain a relatively high standard of living among the population, most of whom are of African descent. The capital, Nassau, is located on small but important New Providence Island.
Lying to the north of Cuba and Hispaniola, the archipelago comprises nearly 700 islands and cays, only about 30 of which are inhabited, and more than 2,000 low, barren rock formations. It stretches more than 500 miles (800 km) southeast-northwest between Grand Bahama Island, which has an area of 530 square miles (1,373 square km) and lies about 60 miles (100 km) off the southeastern coast of the U.S. state of Florida, and Great Inagua Island, some 50 miles (80 km) from the eastern tip of Cuba. The islands other than New Providence are known collectively as the Out (Family) Islands. They include Grand Bahama, which contains the major settlements of Freeport and West End; Andros (6,000 square km]), the largest island of The Bahamas; Abaco, or Great Abaco, (372 square miles [963 square km]); and Eleuthera (187 square miles [484 square km]), the site of one of the early attempts at colonization.
Relief and soils
The Bahamas occupies an irregular submarine tableland that rises out of the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and is separated from nearby lands to the south and west by deepwater channels. Extensive areas of flatland, generally a few feet in elevation, are the dominant topographic features of the major islands; the Bimini group (9 square miles [23 square km]), for example, has a maximum elevation of only 20 feet (6 metres). A number of islands fronting the Atlantic have a range or series of ranges of hills on the northeastern side that parallel the longer axes of the islands. These ranges are formed of sand washed ashore and blown inland by the trade winds. The newer hills adjacent to the seashore are normally sand dunes. Solidity increases toward the interior, where the particles become cemented to form Bahama limestone. Eleuthera and Long Island (230 square miles [596 square km]) have the greatest number of hills exceeding 100 feet (30 metres). The highest point in The Bahamas, Mount Alvernia, at 206 feet (63 metres), is on Cat Island (150 square miles [388 square km]). Beneath the soil, the islands are composed of limestone rock and skeletal remains of coral fossils and other marine organisms. There are no rivers, but several islands—particularly New Providence, San Salvador (63 square miles [163 square km]), and Great Inagua—have large lakes. There is abundant fresh water on Andros Island.
Bahamas Travel Guide
Why Go To Bahamas?
The roughly 700 islands that make up the Bahamas lure millions of visitors to their white-washed shores, duty-free shops, fishing and scuba diving excursions and luxurious accommodations each year. Families that flock here tend to indulge in the diversions of Atlantis, Paradise Island and other mega resorts, but this diverse island chain also offers a range of activities away from the hotel zone. Nature enthusiasts can explore pristine protected areas like the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (on Eleuthera) and Lucayan National Park (on Grand Bahama Island) or take it easy at one of the country’s many beaches or private islands. Bargain hunters, meanwhile, can patrol the marketplaces in Nassau (the country’s capital), in Freeport and on Paradise Island for the best duty-free deals. And for history buffs, ruins and artifacts from the colonial era and indigenous peoples like the Lucayan and Arawak Indians can be found on San Salvador, Cat Island and other Bahamian islands. It’s no wonder why the Bahamas has become a popular vacation destination.
Sandals Royal Bahamian
Best Things to Do in Bahamas
Bahamas Boat Tours
Diving & Snorkeling
SEE FULL RANKING LIST
Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours
Full-Day Small-Group Tour to Pig Beach by Powerboat
Full-Day Small-Group Tour to Pig Beach by Powerboat
Bahamas Travel Tips:
The best time to visit the Bahamas is from mid-December to mid-April, the country’s peak season. Though temperatures here are great year-round (they rarely dip below 60 degrees), the islands fall within the hurricane belt, so hurricanes may be a factor between June 1 and Nov. 30 (the Atlantic hurricane season). Most of these months (plus May) also fall within the region’s rainy season, which can leave you with fewer days spent enjoying the islands’ outdoor activities. But keep in mind that mid-December to mid-April’s sublime weather attracts hordes of tourists, so prices will be at their highest and crowds at their thickest during these months.
What You Need to Know
Eat Bahamian food
Skip the expensive resort restaurants and head to local eateries for a more authentic experience. Don’t miss out on the johnnycakes, deep-fried conch fritters and Bahamian rock lobster.
Enjoy the simple life
Bahamians are very laid-back and friendly, and they rarely rush. So follow their lead and relax – you’re on island time.
Bring your beach cover-up
Bahamians are modest, especially older generations, so be sure to cover up as you head off the beach.
How to Save Money in Bahamas
Book packages Booking package tours – flights, hotels, taxis and other travel details all at once – will get you great discounts overall.
Stay put Island-hopping via seaplanes and water taxis is very expensive, so choose the island that’s most interesting to you and stay there.
Ladies, skip the braids Hair braiding is popular, but if you’re worried about money, you should pass. It can put a real dent in your wallet.
Culture & Customs:
Bahamians are friendly and humorous people. They’re usually very humble, and many maintain simple lifestyles that revolve around fishing or farming. Residents speak English, although visitors might come across a few Bahamians who speak a Creole dialect.
Festivals are big in the Bahamas, but its most popular is undoubtedly Junkanoo. Believed by many to have originated in the late 18th century when slaves were given three days off around Christmas, the carnival has since grown to include elaborate dance routines, lively music and colorful costumes. The main event takes place between Christmas and New Year’s Day each year, but an additional celebration occurs every summer. To find out more about both Junkanoo festivals.
The Bahamian dollar’s value is equal to the U.S. dollar, and both currencies are widely accepted throughout the country. If you do decide to use the local currency, keep in mind that vendors will give you change in Bahamian dollars, not U.S. dollars. It is customary to tip waiters and taxi drivers 15 percent, but some restaurants automatically include gratuities on bills. Bartenders are commonly given $1 or $2 for each drink served. Meanwhile, bellhops are generally tipped $1 to $2 per bag, while hotel housekeepers are often given $1 to $3 per day.
What to Eat?
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Sandals Emerald Bay and other upscale Bahamian hotels and resorts offer a number of gourmet restaurants, but these fine dining establishments rarely serve Bahamian fare, and their dishes are often pricey. To eat well – and like a resident – you’ll have to venture outside the hotel district. The islands are renowned for their johnnycakes (which is similar to cornbread) and peas n’ rice (a side dish that combines rice with pigeon peas), but seafood is prominent on most restaurant menus. Local staples include grilled and fried grouper; conch served in chowder, as a raw salad and in deep-fried fritters; and broiled and steamed rock lobster. Sweet treats like guava duff (a guava-filled pastry topped with rum or brandy butter sauce) and rum cake (a cake that features rum in its batter and a rum butter sauce) are also available at many eateries.
Highly-regarded restaurants can be found on many Bahamian islands, but travelers say some of the country’s best cuisine is offered at casual pubs and bars on New Providence Island, Grand Bahama Island and Eleuthera. A few local favorites include Pirate Republic Brewing and The Bearded Clam Sports Bar in Nassau; Rum Runner’s Bar and Da Conch Man in Freeport; and Budda Snack Shack and Sandbar Bar & Grill in Spanish Wells. For nicer meals, diners suggest checking out Nassau’s Matisse, Freeport’s Flying Fish and Governor’s Harbour’s 1648 Bar & Grille.
Various beers, wines and spirits are served throughout the Bahamas, but no visit would be complete without trying some of the country’s rum. New Providence Island’s John Watling’s Distillery is considered one of the country’s best places to sample the liquor . And unlike the U.S., the drinking age here is 18.
The crime rate is high on many Bahamian islands, especially on New Providence, Paradise and Grand Bahama islands. Several sexual assaults and robberies at gunpoint and knifepoint have been reported in tourist areas on these islands. To keep yourself and your belongings safe, leave valuables in your hotel room and stay alert at all times. If you plan on traveling to more remote islands via your own boat or plane, be on the lookout for smugglers, who occasionally make stops here. For more information about security concerns and safety tips for the Bahamas, visit the U.S. State Department’s website.
Getting Around Bahamas:
The best way to get around the Bahamas is by jitneys (or public buses). They are the most common form of transport from the country’s many airports – Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) and Freeport’s Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO). However, jitneys are not available on other islands (including New Providence Island’s adjacent Paradise Island), so to get around elsewhere, you’ll need to hail a taxi or rent a car. Traveling between Bahamian islands, meanwhile, requires flying from Nassau’s airport using the inter-island air service, Bahamasair, or hailing pricey water taxis. Some cruises and boat tours also make stops at multiple islands.
Entry & Exit Requirements:
A valid passport and proof of your departure date are required for all citizens of the United States traveling to the Bahamas by air or sea. If you travel on a cruise that departs from and returns to a U.S. port, any Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document (such as a passport card or a U.S. military identification card) is accepted as proof of identity. However, bringing a passport is strongly advised in case of an unforeseen emergency. You won’t need a visa for stays lasting less than 90 days. To learn more about entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Colorful, colonial-style structures are on display throughout the Bahamas.
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One of the more well-known beaches on Paradise Island, Cabbage beach is an idyllic place for a stroll or day of restorative relaxation.
A wave of turquoise water washes ashore at Cabbage Beach.
The white sand and turquoise water of Cabbage Beach in The Bahamas.
A staircase leads to a beautiful Bahamas beach
Cable Beach is one of the most popular in Nassau, and it’s always brimming with Bahamian charm and beach fun.
Clear turquoise water and a beautiful blue sky at Cable Beach in The Bahamas.
A white beach chair sits between palm trees on a beach in The Bahamas.
A visitor’s bare feet enjoy the warm waves on Cable beach.
A wharf extends into the turquoise waters at Cable Beach.
Waves of warm Bahamas water wash ashore on Cable Beach.
COVE BEACH AND PARADISE BEACH
Beautiful beaches are just one of the perks of staying at Atlantis! The palm tree makes for the perfect photo-op at Cove Beach, and we think you’ll agree that Paradise Beach lives up to its name.
Landscape photo of Cove Beach at Atlantis
A beautiful, tropical beach in Paradise Island, Bahamas
Palm tree at Cove Beach in The Bahamas.
Waves wash on shore at Paradise Beach in The Bahamas.
There’s always something fun happening at Junkanoo beach!
A beach in the distance at Junkanoo Beach.
A wave washes ashore at Junkanoo Beach in Nassau.
Visitors wade in the clear, turquoise water at Junkanoo Beach.
A sign for Junkanoo Beach.
A lookout chair on Junkanoo Beach in Nassau.
Tropical palm trees on the beach in The Bahamas.
Clear turquoise water and a bright blue sky in The Bahamas.
This local spot is the perfect place to get away from it all.
Sea birds, turquoise water, and white sand at Saunders Beach in The Bahamas.
A sunset at Saunders Beach in The Bahamas.
For more photo inspiration, check out our #InstaParadise Gallery, and follow us on Instagram and Pinterest. If these photos have you yearning for a sunny beach getaway, check out our travel deals and start planning your Nassau Paradise Island beach escape! After all, beach days are better in The Bahamas.
People dressed in intricate costumes walk down a sunny street.
8 CARIBBEAN BEACH BOOKS FOR YOUR BAHAMAS VACATION
8 Caribbean Beach Books For Your Bahamas Vacation
Posted by: Nassau Paradise Island on
Vacation is a time for rest and relaxation – and what better way to unwind than poolside or on the beach with your favorite reading material? Whether you’re in the mood for romance, adventure or a true-life tale, there’s absolutely nothing better than putting your feet up, sipping a cocktail, and getting lost in a good book! With miles upon miles of beautiful beaches in Nassau Paradise Island, there’s plenty of room to stretch out on the powder-white sand and dive into your next read.
Grab your sunscreen, your sunglasses, and one of these eight beach books. Since each one has a Caribbean twist, they’re perfect for bringing on your Bahamas vacation.
Don’t Stop the Carnival, by Herman Wouk
Who doesn’t dream about leaving behind the everyday working world to start life over again amidst palm trees and warm ocean breezes in Paradise? Don’t Stop the Carnival is a hilarious tale about a New York City press agent who heads to the Caribbean to become a hotelkeeper. While the island in the book is fictional, it’s believed to be based on The Bahamas, and with a Pulitzer-winning author penning the semiautobiographical novel, it’s guaranteed to be a good read.
Caribbean, by James A. Michener
This historical fiction sweeps readers off to the Caribbean, packing 700 years into a tale of romance, revolution, superstition and slavery. While this critically acclaimed classic isn’t your typical light beach book, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s definitely worth a read.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom by Ann C. Crispin
Nassau Paradise Island’s long stretches of white sand and warm waters have appeared as the backdrop of the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean films, which inspired this complimentary adventure fiction. Take a journey back in time and find out how Jack Sparrow became the pirate captain we know and love today. A light read, this book is perfect for a day of lounging on the beach.
An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof
If you dream of sailing off into the sunset, this is the book for you. You’ll lose yourself in a story of two driven professionals who leave their type-A lifestyles behind for the seductive secrets of life in the Caribbean. Warning: After this read, you may never want to leave Paradise!
A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda and Robert Blanchard
Fall into the immersive memoir of Bob and Melinda Blanchard, a couple who sell their successful Vermont food business to build a small restaurant on an island paradise. Along the way they face the maddening, exhausting, and outlandish complications of finding their way in a new home – and the joy that comes with life in the Caribbean.
Out From Nassau by Fia B. Scheyer
Set in the Bahamas in the 1920s, this novel depicts life in Nassau during the US Prohibition when illegal booze was commonly being smuggled into the United States from the Bahamas. Fact and fiction are woven into an engaging and provocative story that takes the reader back in time to one of the most notorious periods in Bahamian history. This is a page-turner that you won’t want to put down!
Bahamas Blue by David Poyer
This thrilling tale looks at the exciting world of diving in The Caribbean. It takes the world’s most daring diver to recover the most dangerous cargo at the bottom of the sea. Bahamas Blue is the sequel to Hatteras Blue, and provides a fascinating inside look at a salvage dive. If you love action, intrigue, and mystery, make sure to pack Bahamas Blue in your beach bag.
The James Bond Series by Ian Fleming
A Caribbean book list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. This 12-part collection follows British Secret Service Agent, 007, as he is faced with deadly assassins, femmes fatales, and non-stop action. Get a taste of the Bahamas in Quantum of Solace, Thunderball, and High Time To Kill.
With your book list complete, all that’s left to do is kick back, relax, and get lost in another world on your Nassau Paradise Island vacation. Happy reading!
HomeThings To DoWater Activities
On Nassau Paradise Island, you can board a 45-foot catamaran for a coral reef excursion, explore a shipwreck on a half-day scuba diving trip, stroll the bottom of a shark exhibit for a little face-to-nose time, or even try Snuba, which pairs the simplicity of snorkeling with the wonders of underwater breathing. Add in the Caribbean’s largest marine habitat and waterscape at Atlantis, and you’ll soon discover a world of wonderful water activities awaits you on Nassau Paradise Island.
On the Ocean
Discover our stunning beaches, spectacularly clear water, and stunning marine life.
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In the Pool
Slide through water parks and splash into family fun.
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On The Beach
Miles upon miles of powdery white sand as soft as fine sugar.
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Join us to discover miles of white sand beaches and bright turquoise waters.
Have a Beach Day at Atlantis
ATLANTIS, PARADISE ISLAND
Play and stroll along five miles of white-sand beaches.
Beach Vacation Inspiration: Our Favorite Guest Photos
If there’s one thing that’s true about the beaches of Nassau Paradise Island, it’s that they are pretty as a picture! Get inspired for your next beach vacation with this collection of user-generated beach photos.
March 25, 2017
8 Caribbean Beach Books For Your Bahamas Vacation
Nassau Paradise Island Day Passes
Nassau Paradise Island day passes make it easy to explore some of The Bahamas’ best attractions and add a little extra excitement and adventure to your vacation in Paradise.