- Bimini Islands, Bahamas1 of 6
- Freeport, Bahamas2 of 6
- Blue Island Lagoon, Bahamas3 of 6
- Nassau, Bahamas4 of 6
- Nassau, Bahamas5 of 6
- Nassau, Bahamas6 of 6
There’s a hyperbolic gloss to everything written about and in reference to the some 700 islands which make up the Bahamas, but in the case of this superlative set of archipelagos; do believe the hype. These islands, as so many visitors are keen to tell friends and family upon return to ‘real life’, are paradise on earth. There is the ideal, almost perfect climate, the truly relaxed attitude to life, the expanses of pristine sandy beaches and the opportunity to explore the warm, crystalline waters surrounding the islands; water which is known as the clearest in the world with a visibility of over 200 feet. It is no surprise then, that with such crystal clear waters, snorkelling and scuba diving are immensely popular, especially when it comes to exploring the underwater playground that is the world’s third largest barrier reef.
Of the sixteen main islands in the archipelago, New Providence Island home to capital city Nassau is certainly one of the most visited. Despite its compact size, there is a cosmopolitan feel to the city, but with the ever present laid-back Caribbean slant that has people coming back to the area time after time. From here you can set off on a dolphin encounter adventure, an opportunity many visitors take up, sitting as it does at the top of so many people’s bucket lists. Blue Lagoon Island is one of the most popular destinations for a chance to encounter dolphins and sits just off the coast of Salt Cay, in a very manageable position for a day trip from Nassau. Here, thousands of people’s dreams have come true as they’ve succumbed to the delight, and playful nature of the dolphins who call this area home. There are hundreds of thousands of opportunities to explore and encounter the natural wonders of the Bahamas at pretty much every corner, and at every turn. The history of the islands is also on display however, and it is a rich and exciting history indeed, one which is sure to enchant and educate. One of the best spots to begin an educative exploration of the area is at Fort Charlotte in Nassau, where the pirates who populated, and often perpetrated crimes in the area where held in dungeons, whilst their captors roamed the underground tunnels that you too can wander down. Later, in downtown Nassau, get the Pirate’s side of the story at the Pirates of Nassau Museum, a brilliantly interactive museum which outlines the life of a pirate, and even has a replica of the infamous pirate ship ‘Revenge’.
Away from Nassau and its streets lined with duty free shopping opportunities, are the pure shores and azure waters of hundreds of other islands just waiting for you to explore them, and in turn be enchanted by them. Grand Bahama, as the name suggests, is a good place to start such an exploration, and as with Nassau on New Providence, is one of the busier, and more inhabited islands in the Bahamas. There’s a special feel to Grand Bahama, however, what with the large resorts which can be found there, combined with unspoilt beaches, and charming small fishing towns. The two main cities of Freeport and Lacaya are surely not to be missed, but neither are the smaller towns of West End, Eight Mile Rock, High Rock or McLean's Town where the streets are lined with the sunny brightly painted wooden houses that the Caribbean is famed for.
If it’s fishing you’re after, then there is no finer spot than that of the Bimini islands, a sentiment agreed with by none other than Ernest Hemingway who wrote both Islands in the Stream and To Have and Have Not here, both of which serve as literary odes to the islands and the sport of big game fishing. The chance of catching a marlin, wahoo, or sailfish are very high in the waters off the Bimini islands, and if the perfect catch of the day is your idea of a perfect day then these are the islands, and this is the sport for you. The area is a beacon for divers of all ability as well, drawn to the lost city of Atlantis which lies just off the shore of the Biminis, beginners and experienced divers alike often take this opportunity to explore one of the world’s most beguiling underwater wonders. San Salvador and Rum Cay are also two islands eagerly sought out by those seeking rest and relaxation, with perhaps the added thrill of a dive or snorkel or two in some of the world’s clearest waters. San Salvador has retained much of its history, and not only at the island’s fine museum, but also in the atmosphere, pace of life, and attitude of the island. Many of the historical plantations still exist, which you are able to explore and where you can learn about the often troubled past of such houses, albeit in deceptively idyllic surroundings. There is the picturesque lighthouse to climb to the top of, from where you are treated to miles of unspoilt views, and the archaeological site of the Lucayan Indians is also a fascinating and worthwhile visit. There is no denying, however, that the majority of visitors to the paradisiacal islands of the Bahamas are in large part there to soak up the sun, stretch out on the pristine white sand, splash around in the crystalline surf and sip on a sublimely refreshing cocktail and if is what you’re here for, then you’re sure to find it in spades.
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