The Bahamas vs Caribbean match has been raging for years. Both destinations are internationally renowned as among the finest luxury destinations. But which one is best for your next holidays?
This is not our intention here to stir up competition! This is about helping you choose between two paradises through some objective facts. Follow the guide!
What is the best time to visit? Caribbean vs Bahamas
Both of these tropical destinations offer an amazing warm weather all year long and during wintertime, the high season. However, there are some key differences in seasonality.
Best time to visit the Bahamas
Mid-December to April is considered the best time to visit the Bahamas. The rainy season starts in May and lasts all the way up to September/October with mainly brief tropical showers quickly replaced with blue clear skies. And, with 340 sunny days throughout the year, the Bahamas definitely wins the sunny days competition!
The best time to go to the Caribbean
The weather in the Caribbean tends to be more unpredictable than in the Bahamas. Rainier as well. The rain season lasts from May to October with a peak in June. And what a pleasant winter! In January, the so-called coldest days, temperatures only dip to 65-70 degrees (approx. 21°C). The Caribbean waters are very much appreciated by the swimmers and the divers: around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26-27° C) throughout the year.
Another important factor to keep in mind is the hurricane season. In both destinations, it takes place from June to November. Though, in the Caribbean there are a few “protected” islands that fall outside of the hurricane belt, specifically Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Trinidad, and Tobago.
WI Caribbean vs Bahamas weather pick: slight advantage for the Bahamas.
Bahamas vs Caribbean: landscapes and beaches
It’s a fact! Both Bahamas and the Caribbean have an abundance of gorgeous beaches and breathtaking landscapes.
The long white sand beaches of the Bahamas: hard to find in the Caribbean
The Bahamas is made up of more than 700 islands, islets, and cays with few inhabited. Yacht charter guests (and crews!) will particularly enjoy the constant sunshine, the stunning anchorages, the world-famous sand beaches and the clear and shallow waters that allow to better appreciate the archipelago’ natural beauty.
Its most exceptional ‘Beaches & Landscapes’ yacht charter destinations are undoubtedly: The Grand Bahama for its underwater caves, its snorkel and dive sites and the Lucayan National Park; The Abacos for the beaches, the sheltered bays and coves, the lush green forest and the superb diving spots; The Exumas for its world-famous swimming pigs, pet friendly nurse sharks, sapphire-blue waters and incredible underwater caves; Eleuthera, for its endless deserted beaches and its coral reefs which make it an awesome place to snorkel and dive; and Harbour Island best-known for its beautiful 3-mile pink sand beach consistently rated within the top ten beaches in the world.
The turquoise beaches of the Caribbean: more diverse than in the Bahamas
What about the Caribbean ? Just like the Bahamas, beautiful beaches and warm blue sea are undoubtedly two of its best assets but it has much more to offer: lush forests, green tropical jungle-covered volcanoes, endemic plants and fascinating animals, incredible seabed…The diversity of the Caribbean scenery is unique.
From the iconic pitons of St. Lucia to the tropical rainforest of Puerto Rico, long would be the list of the incredible landscapes and beaches of the 13 sovereign states and 21 overseas departments that make up the Caribbean. So here are just a sample of its best natural wonders for your consideration.
The Windward Islands and its jungle-covered volcanoes sloping down to emerald green seas; The British Virgin Islands (BVIs) and The Baths National Park with its collection of massive granite boulders as large as 40 foot in diameter, with white sand beaches and secret rock pools; Antigua and its 365 beaches, incredible sailing, as the ones of its twin island, Barbuda; Saba and its Mount Scenery for hiking and its colourful coral reefs; St Vincent and the Grenadines and its rainforest, waterfalls, deserted beaches and secluded coves. And much more!
WI Beaches & landscapes pick: advantage for the Caribbean for its great diversity.
Caribbean vs Bahamas Culture
Comparing and contrasting the culture of the Bahamas to the culture of the Caribbean is about comparing one single country to many of them. You no doubt already have an idea who wins!
Caribbean’s culture: a true melting pot
The Caribbean is a melting pot of different cultures, languages, architecture, cuisine, customs, music…The region offers no less than 22 Unesco World Heritage sites to visit! Colourful is undoubtedly the best word to describe the people. Joie de vivre would be the other one, expressed at its best during the Carnival, an important part of the culture celebrated by most islands. So many influences are rooted in the Caribbean heritage, the outcome of colonization and waves of immigration. Consequently, its culture(s) is a rich mix of colonial and native constituents adapted to the specific history of each country. It is precisely this diversity that shapes the Caribbean region a unique identity.
The Bahamas culture: a unique blend
The Bahamas has a distinct culture which has evolved over time, from mainly African, mixed with British and American influences. The islands remained a British colony until its independence in 1973. The main British cultural contributions are the English language and Protestantism. With a nation predominately comprised of the descendants of Africans the influence of African culture is, not surprisingly, quite important. Its main input is the music (Goombay, Rake ‘n’ Scrape, Junkanoo), dances, folktales, myths, and stories of all kinds that have been passed down through the generations by word of mouth.
Creole and Bahamian cuisine: to each their own
The cuisine is the best expression of the diversity of people and cultures of the Caribbean. Long is the list of traditional dishes ! The famous Jamaican Jerk Chicken, the Goat Water from Montserrat, the Oil Down of Grenada, the Cou cou and flying fish of Barbados, the pigeon peas and rice of Anguilla, the Keshi Yena of Aruba, the Fungi and Pepperpot of Antigua and Barbuda, the turtle of Cayman Islands, the Fish and Fungi of BVI etc. All these flavourful traditional dishes reflect the country heritage and have been handed down from generation to generation.
Seafood, rice, tropical fruits, potatoes, pork, and peas are an integral part of Bahamian cuisine while onions, garlic, coconut, cinnamon, chili peppers and lime are the common seasonings. However,(talking about cuisine) la crème de la crème, the ultimate Bahamian food is the conch, the country’s national dish, served everywhere from the beach to high-end restaurants.
WI Caribbean vs Bahamas cuisine pick: clear win for the Caribbean for its diversity.
Caribbean vs Bahamas Languages
In the Bahamas, English is the official language with a local dialect.
In the Caribbean, there are six official languages: Spanish, English, French, Dutch, and native creoles (Haitian creole, Papiamento, and creole from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia and all the Windward Islands). As you have already guessed, the official language is usually determined by whichever colonial power (England, Spain, France, or the Netherlands) held sway over the island first or longest.
Therefore, if you want to take advantage of your holidays in the Caribbean to practice or improve your English, you may want to select an English-speaking island. On the other hand, if you are French and only speak French you may want to pick up one of the French-speaking destinations like Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominique, Haiti, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin (French side).
Let’s also keep in mind that travelling is an excellent opportunity to take you outside our own personal comfort zones!
WI Culture pick: big and clear win for the Caribbean.
Activities in the Bahamas vs in the Caribbean
It is no easy matter to compare the activities proposed by the Caribbean to the Bahamas ones as they share many similarities starting with breathtaking beaches. Here is an overview of what these two beautiful destinations offer, above and below the surface, and what could make the difference.
Diving: Bahamas and Caribbean are two worldclass destinations
With its 700 islands, the world’s third largest barrier reef, countless blue holes and coral reefs, the Bahamas is undoubtedly an amazing diving destination. The great thing about diving in the Caribbean is the range of options available: reef dives, wall dives, shipwrecks, drifts, cenotes, you name it!
In conclusion, the Bahamas and the Caribbean are two world-class diving destinations to be included in all diver’s bucket list.
Read also : Top 8 Carribean diving destination
WI Caribbean vs Bahamas Diving pick: slight advantage for the Tobago Cays in the Caribbean and for the Bahamas for the variety of dives that can be done in areas of close proximity.
Water activities: Both Bahamas and Caribbean have a lot to offer
Water here, water there, water everywhere! The Bahamas and the Caribbean are, naturally, ideal destinations for water activities. And we are talking here about warm and crystal-blue water. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, kiteboarding, parasailing, , you’ll find it in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
However, in the Caribbean windsurfing and surfing are at the top! The region is blessed with the wonderful Trade winds that blow across the Caribbean islands.
WI water activities pick: slight advantage for the Caribbean, thanks to the Trade winds!
Hiking in protected areas: a clear advantage for the Caribbean
Whereas the islands of The Bahamas are largely flat, with around 80% of the land being less than 1.5 m (5 feet) above sea level, the Caribbean’s lush and mountainous topography is a paradise for hikers. Among the major summits, we have the Pico Duarte in the Dominican Republic (the highest with 3000 meters /9843 feet), six peaks exceed 2000 meters (6562 feet), and 15 peaks exceed 1000 meters (3281 feet) elevation.
There are hundreds of options and there is something for everyone whether you are looking for an easy trail, an intermediate one or a challenging hike! Here are some examples of the best Caribbean islands for hiking: Dominica (Trois Pitons National Parks), Jamaica (Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park), Martinique (one of the best volcano hikes in the Caribbean), Grenada (amazing waterfall hikes), Saint Lucia ( the iconic Pitons), St Kitts & Nevis ( Mount Liamuiga Volcano), St Vincent (La Soufrière) etc. Long is the list!
Hiking in the Caribbean is much more than just “hiking”. Imagine yourself making your way through a lush rainforest, reaching the top of a volcano and enjoying the breathtaking view on the Caribbean sea.
WI Hiking pick: have a guess…big win for the Caribbean.
Caribbean vs Bahamas Kid-friendly activities
Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task. The good news is that both the Bahamas and the Caribbean are kid-friendly destinations. Obviously, the beach and the numerous water activities are the masters although the nature and wildlife ones are very rich and highly appreciated too.
The other strong point of these destinations is the extensive range of family-friendly resorts with lots of organised activities for kids. The Bahamas is the number one in this field. The family-resorts are designed for families with kids, featuring a playful universe of waterslides and swimming pools, theme parks, digging for a buried treasure on the beach, zip lines etc.
WI kid-friendly activities pick: slight advantage for the Bahamas for its incredible family-resorts.
Partying: Bahamas or Caribbean?
The Caribbean and the Bahamas are both synonymous with parties and fun. Good! Many travelers want a dose of partying on their vacation and the two destinations are a fascinating combination of seclusion (privacy!) and connectedness (bubbling social life!). Although the Bahamas is well known to be THE Spring Breaks best destination, bars, up-all-night nightlife, beachside clubs, open-air parties are at the top in both destinations.
WI Partying pick: draw, tie !
Location & access to the Bahamas vs the Caribbean
Many nonstop and connecting commercial flights touch down in The Bahamas every day from major gateways in the U.S. and Canada, not to mention the regularly scheduled non-stop flights from Panama, London, and seasonal arrivals from cities across Europe. In terms of access the Bahamas is definitely easy to reach and, for Americans, a next-door destination.
There are numerous international direct flights to the Caribbean from Europe, North America, and South America. Many airlines operate daily non-stop flights to the region and for the islands which do not have airports or runways too short there is always a connecting flight with a small Caribbean airline.
In a word, both destinations are equal in terms of access with a “plus” for the Bahamas, when travelers are Americans. Florida is just 50 miles west (80,5 km) of the closest islands in the Bahamas!
Yachting in the Bahamas vs Yachting in the Caribbean
With a pleasant temperature and adequate yachting infrastructure, The Bahamas and The Caribbean are really meant to be the islands of sailors.
Sailing in the Caribbean vs sailing in the Bahamas
The Bahamas is an ideal place for sailing as it offers steady trade winds and anchorages that are the perfect combination for sailing charter holidays. In addition, since the islands are relatively close together, there is no need to plan long stages of navigation if you do not wish.
In terms of sailing conditions, the Caribbean islands offer a large variety of topographical features. Consequently, the sailing conditions can be slightly different from one island to another.
The Easterly Trade wind is the most prominent and consistent wind in the Caribbean and is particularly strong in December and January. Though, the winter months are definitely the best time to go on a sailing holiday in the Caribbean because from June to November, the trade wind is often less predictable and stable.
In a word, for those looking for simple, stable, and predictable sailing, The Bahamas could be the best option. Plus, with appropriate conditions all year around the sailing season is much longer than in the Caribbean Sea.
Costs of living in the Bahamas vs the Caribbean
When it comes to cost of living, The Bahamas is, according to a survey by Numbeo, the third most expensive country in the world. However, this does not mean that The Caribbean is cheaper. It all depends on the island. Here are the top most expensive Caribbean destinations: Antigua & Barbuda – British Virgin Islands – St Barth – The Cayman Islands.
As a conclusion: costs Bahamas vs Caribbean: it varies widely from island to island!
Read also : Luxury Yacht Charter FAQ
The Bahamas is easier to reach than the Caribbean for the Americans and its facilities are more adapted for holidays with kids. But, the Caribbean trumps the convenience of the Bahamas for its huge variety of cultures, landscapes, activities.
It’s your choice !
The Bahamas and Caribbean are both stunning destinations. Bahamas probably has the most impressive beaches, but Caribbean has a lot more diversity in its landscapes : remote beaches, volcanoes or jungle.
No, the Bahamas are not technically in the Caribbean. However, they are sometimes considered as being part of the Caribbean as they are a member of the Caribbean Community.
No, the Bahamas are not a part of the US. They are an independant country that is part of the Commonwealth.
The Bahamas is an archipelago belonging to one country with a similar culture within the country. The Caribbean are several islands, some are independant countries, other are oversea territories, which give them a much broader and more diverse culture compared to the Bahamas. Bahamas are also geographically above the Caribbean islands.
Bahamas is usually preferred by the ones liking family holidays in convenient resorts, as well as cruises. The US and British Virgin islands are more renowned for being yachting hotspots. The best of the two depends therefore a lot about what you intend on doing, as well as the kind of landscapes you are looking for.
Antigua is more authentic than the Bahamas, and tends to be quieter. Antigua is in the Caribbean and has therefore a true Caribbean culture. If you prefer to go to a Caribbean destination, then you would love Antigua. If you just want convenience and beaches during your holiday, you might prefer Bahamas.