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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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