The Bahamas isn't just one Caribbean holiday destination – it's 29. Officially, the Bahamas consists of 29 separate islands, along with nearly 700 hundred cays, and over 2,300 islets. Located on the edge of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, a little north of Cuba and just south and east of Florida, the Bahamas have long been one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Caribbean. Like Barbados and Antigua, the Bahamas is English-speaking, thanks to British rule until the late 1960s. The language makes visiting the Bahamas particularly easy.
Islands of the Bahamas
Of all the islands, cays, and islets of the Bahamas, only between thirty and forty are actually inhabited. The main islands are:
: Grand Bahama is the fourth largest island of the Bahamas, but it's still only 88 square miles. One of the premiere tourist destinations, Grand Bahama includes upscale accommodations (such as the Westin and the Sheraton), plenty of sight-seeing, delectable seafood, and the city of Freeport, which is one of the biggest cities in the Bahamas. Although Freeport was hit hard by hurricanes in 2004, it's bouncing back and is still a lively, enjoyable town. In the water, you can swim with the dolphins, catch some big fish, or go sailing. Back on dry land, go golfing at the Lucayan Golf Course, go shopping at the Port Lucaya Marketplace, or just relax on one of the powdery white sand beaches.
New Providence and Paradise Islands
: The capital city of the Bahamas is Nassau, located on New Providence Island. While you're in Nassau, go to the historic district and see the Balcony House Museum, or visit the enormous Fort Charlotte, which covers over 100 acres. Take the kids to the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Centre, and go take a look at the baby fish at Bonefish Pond National Park. After you finish exploring this unique Caribbean city, go see Paradise Island. Connected to Nassau by two bridges, Paradise Island is a mere 685 acres, and every square inch is devoted to pleasing its visitors.
: Ironically, Andros is the largest island of the Bahamas, but it's also the least developed. For anyone who wants to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of daily life and take a quiet trip into Mother Nature, Andros is the island to visit. Nearby is the world's third largest barrier reef and a mile-deep abyss, which scuba divers will love to explore. On the island itself, mangrove forests and wetlands cover most of the interior, while peaceful beaches line the shores. Fly fishermen, deep sea fishermen, birdwatchers, hikers, and hikers will find Andros to be the perfect island.
: The closest island to the United States, Bimini actually consists of multiple islands – North and South Bimini are the largest. North Bimini includes Alice Town, which is more like a strip of delightful restaurants, shops, and bars than a city per se. South Bimini is quieter, with a small community of homes and very few big or glitzy hotels. The main draw to the Biminis is the incredible big-game fishing – the waters surrounding the Biminis are considered one of the world's best places for deep sea fishing. Other sea adventures include scuba diving amongst the many ship wrecks and snorkeling.
: Bahamians like to boast that the Abacos Islands are “The Sailing Capital of the World”. The Abacos are a chain of 120 miles of small islands, sometimes referred to as their own mini-Bahamas. Besides the excellent sailing – including both traditional sailboats and powerboats – you might want to visit Treasure Cay. Treasure Cay is a hotel, golf, marina, and real estate development, all situated around a soft, white sand beach. Just south of Treasure Cay is Little Harbour, a protected bay that serves as an artists' colony.
These larger islands of the Bahamas barely scratch the surface of what this incredible Caribbean holiday destination has to offer. Whether you crave excitement or solitude, exclusive resorts or serene ocean panoramas, you'll find your fantasy in the Bahamas.