The Bahamas always tops many wish lists when it comes to tropical destinations. This collection of more than 700 paradise islands seems a world away from our day-to-day life. However, it is more accessible than you might think. Travellers can sail just 80km from Florida into the port of Nassau. From there, it is easy to charter a yacht and explore all the interesting islands and cays.
This welcoming nation is blessed with great weather and lots of interesting sights and attractions. Here are 12 of the best things to do and see when visiting the Bahamas.
Nassau is the best place to start when exploring the Bahamas because it is the capital. Most cruise ships will dock here because of the array of hotels, restaurants and entertainment complexes. This vibrant port is a great place to base yourself before exploring the other attractions.
2. Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
This land and sea park is one of the many stunning natural wonders in the Bahamas. The wonderful thing about this area is that it is a no-take zone, which means that it is full of diverse marine life. This means a once-in-a-lifetime experience for divers and snorkellers.
3. Harbour Island
Many visitors will flock to the beaches in the Bahamas, and there are plenty to choose from. However, Harbour Island has the odd quirk of pink sand, rather than the typical white shores we expect. History lovers will also be interested in the site of the first Bahamian parliament.
4. Andros Island
If the Exuma sea park becomes a little crowded, visitors might prefer to head over to Andros Island to snorkel. This island is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world and has lots of species to find. Fishing is also allowed here, for those that want to catch their supper.
5. Treasure Cay
There are many cays around the islands of the Bahamas, but Treasure Cay is one of the most popular. This site lives up to its name by offering that stereotypical paradise beach and tranquil setting. The sands couldn’t be softer and white, and the sea is a stunning shade of blue.
6. Elbow Cay
Elbow Cay is pretty busy in comparison to some of the other cays around. This area is home to the working Marsh Harbour and an adorable lighthouse. There are also tourist attractions in the form of the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum and Tilloo Cay Reserve.
7. Green Turtle Cay
Green Turtle Cay is a great choice for all those that want a taste of the laid-back, old-fashioned vibe of the Bahamas. This historical port is a great site for snorkelling, bonefishing and a little shopping. It is also one of the more colourful cays with its buildings and scenery.
Bimini is famed as the ideal spot for keen fishermen. There are lots of interesting species here that offer a challenge compared to those back home. Other visitors may enjoy the chance to dive with sharks and dolphins.
9. Long Island
This Long Island is vastly different from the one on the East Coast of America. It stretches for 130km with white beaches, dramatic cliffs and plenty in between. The summertime regatta is a great time to visit and see the island at its best.
10. Paradise Island
The waters around these shores and cays are full of interesting marine life, such as sharks and rays. One of the best ways to get up close and learn more about them is via the Paradise Island Aquarium. The Atlantis resort here is also home to a luxury hotel, water park and more.
11. Blue Lagoon Island
Blue Lagoon Island makes for a popular day trip for visitors because it is so close to Nassau. Many take the trip in the hope of spotting dolphins, and few leave disappointed.
12. Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Centre
This conservation centre is a great choice for families that base themselves in Nassau. This impressive centre lies within four acres of gardens and greenery, but is still accessible from the town. The zoo showcases a series of local species that are currently endangered.
Planning your visit to the Bahamas
Wherever you decide to go as you explore these islands, you need to do so at the right time of the year. If you want to dodge the worst of the weather, avoid hurricane season from July to October. The best weather is during the high season of November to mid-April. However, you may find a bargain between late April and June. Plan wisely your trip to take advantage of all these great sites.