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Bahamas: what to see and do. White sandy beaches, island boat trips and world-class hotels
December 4, 2015 | By: High50

Bahamas. Travel Bahamas 620 Why go

The Bahamas is a series of around 700 islands in the Caribbean. With direct flights from the UK, long sandy beaches and a ton of activities to choose from, couples and families will be spoilt for choice.

Most people visit and stay in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, located on the 21-mile-long New Providence Island. It’s a bustling metropolitan hub of world-class hotels and resorts, gorgeous sandy beaches spilling into the brightest, bluest sea imaginable, diving, boating and year-round cricket. Some may find it quite built up, but for sun and sand and boundless activities you’ll be set.

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Another place popular with holidaymakers is the Grand Bahama island, which boasts the town of Freeport, famous for duty-free shopping, beaches, bars and restaurants.

What to do

Bahamas. Ocean. Unsplash Clem Onojeghuo

Water activities include hiring a boat, taking a guided boat trip, diving and snorkelling

There really is something for every age group in the Bahamas. White sandy beaches line the coast, visitors can hire boats or head out on guided tours and fishing trips, and there are beautiful diving areas where you can scuba or snorkel.

In Nassau, there are casinos for the grown-ups to take a flutter, historic sightseeing tours, food-tasting tours and beer and rum tastings.

Where to stay

Kamalane Cay is a chic boutique hideaway with airy, open bungalows set right on the ocean

Kamalane Cay is a chic boutique hideaway with airy, open bungalows set right on the ocean

There is a huge variety of hotels. One of the best known is the grand Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, a gigantic American-style luxury resort with a 14-acre marine habitat with resident dolphins, a 141-acre water park, golf, rock climbing, entertainment and pottery classes.

Bahamas. Atlantis Paradise Island hotel

The gigantic, American-style Atlantis Paradise Island Resort has a marine habitat and water park

Most, though, are smaller, mid-priced hotels. Try Kamalame Cay, a ‘barefoot chic’ retreat on a laidback private island. Accommodation is in chic and airy Balinese-style bungalows set among palm trees right on the sea, just off Andros Island.

If you’re on a budget, try the cheaper hotels that are more basic but close to the tourist areas. Beware, though: the Bahamas is an expensive place to visit so definitely shop around for best prices at different times of the year.

Where to eat

Bahamas. Architecture. Flickr

The colourful Caribbean is heaven for food lovers

The Bahamas is a food lovers’ paradise with a huge Caribbean influence. Popular foods are conch fritters, lobster and poached grouper and the famous peas and rice that accompany most dishes.

In Nassau, it’s worth visiting Senor Frogs which, although usually packed with tourists, does have great cocktails, beers and American cuisine. Try Billy Joe’s on the Beach on Grand Bahama Island for a local experience with live music.

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Getting around

Most of the major resorts are close to the shops and beaches, so you don’t really need to hire a car. Public taxis are pretty cheap if you need to get somewhere fast, otherwise a nice walk is great to really see what the Bahama culture is all about.

Bahamas. Andros Island Flickr

At Andros Island, hundreds of small islets and cays are connected by mangrove estuaries

If you’re planning to visit the outer islands for a half-day or day excursion, you can hire a boat and captain to island hop if you’re feeling really adventurous, or hitch a ride for a fraction of the price on a public boat.

When to go

The Bahamas is a year-round holiday destination as the trade winds make for hot and sunny weather. In the summer expect temperatures to stay in the 30-32°C range with high humidity and in the winter expect a wonderfully comfortable 21°C plus, which makes the islands the perfect destination to escape the English winter.

Three things we like

  1. Duty-free shopping in Nassau means your money goes further and the bargains are everywhere. Find great savings on perfumes, booze and jewellery.
  2. Try something different – go kite boarding, explore the ocean and learn to scuba dive, or try the locally made rums and beers that you can take home with you
  3. Enjoy local, home-grown live music in a variety of bars and restaurants where you can get an authentic taste of the real Bahamas and the incredible people who live there.

Something we don’t like

Although in general the people on the islands are gracious, friendly and hospitable people, it really does get annoying when you are heckled to go into a shop or a restaurant, or to buy someone’s crafts in the street. The tourist industry is the islands’ main source of income, which means that everyone wants a piece of your spending money.

Bahamas. Sunset in Nassau. Flickr CC Barry Peters

Sunset in Nassau, where the Straw Market is a must-visit for local crafts

Don’t miss

Straw Market in Nassau – one of the area’s oldest markets, selling hand-crafted bags, purses, hats and other crafts. You can pick up cheap souvenirs but you have to haggle the price, which is all part of the fun.

There are many places to swim and interact with dolphins, including The Dolphin Experience on Grand Bahama island. A sure highlight of anyone’s holiday.

The traditional food of the islands is the Conch – pronounced Konk – a seafood that is usually served fried as a snack or as part of a main meal. Deliciously different.

High50 insider tips

  • Tired of walking everywhere or hiring taxis? Then rent a scooter and tour the islands with the breeze in your face and that sense of freedom you can only get when travelling on motorbikes.
  • Don’t pack a ton of clothes – T-shirts, shorts and flip flops are the norm as most places are casual. If you’re planning on visiting the casinos or fine dining restaurants, pack more formal clothes to comply with dress codes.
  • If you want to see the real Bahamas jump on a coach tour or a horse and carriage tour and visit the islands’ historical districts.

Travelling with family

There is a wealth of stuff to do for kids, from the sandy beaches, to dolphin experiences and snorkeling. You can get day passes to the Atlantic Paradise Island Resort where you can use all the amenities of the water parks and try rock climbing and even pottery classes.

Need to know

  • Flying time is nine hours to Miami, then another 50 minutes to the Bahamas.
  • Currency is the Bahamian dollar and the US dollar.
  • Time difference is five hours behind the UK (GMT -5).
  • There are two main airports – one is Nassau International Airport and the other is The Grand Bahama International Airport.