Unique Things to Do in the Bahamas

Exuma Beach
Exuma Beach | © Matt Claiborne / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Celia Topping
14 October 2021

Beyond the pristine beaches and the Caribbean Sea, there’s a lot more to the Bahamas than first meets the eye. Among the 700 islands lie fascinating tales of pirates and rum-runners. We’ve collected a few of the best places to visit that are individual to the Lucayan Archipelago.

Visit Pig Beach on Big Major Cay

Natural Feature
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The famous swimming pigs (feral pigs) of Bahamas living in an uninhabited island located in Exuma called Big Major Cay (better known as Pig island).
© Giongi63 / Alamy Stock Photo
No one really knows how the swimming pigs got to Big Major Cay, but the 25 pigs and piglets that live here are certainly the star attraction of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Big Momma is the biggest and oldest pig around, but the piglets are the most Instagrammable. It’s a short boat trip to see the pigs from nearby Staniel Cay and around 100 miles (160km) south of the Bahamas capital Nassau. Pigs might not fly, but they do swim.

Snorkel over Bimini Road

Natural Feature
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Bimini Road or Bimini Wall is an underwater rock formation in the Bahamas
© FtLaudGirl / Getty
When this “road” was first discovered, it was thought to be from the lost city of Atlantis, which, according to Greek legends, was supposed to have sunk without a trace 11,000 years ago. Sadly, after further scientific inspection, it was found that these black rocks were not man-made after all, no matter how much we wished the tale were true. But the site is still worth a visit to let one’s imagination run wild as well as to marvel at the incredible sea life, from lobsters to lionfish, that teems here.

Explore Ocean Atlas, the largest underwater sculpture in the world

Memorial
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Move over Atlas, and make way for Ocean Atlas, the 18ft-tall (5.5m) submerged girl, holding the weight of the ocean on her 60-tonne shoulders. This colossal sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor was placed off the shore of Nassau to draw attention to ocean acidification, global warming, overfishing and water pollution. Made of sustainable, pH-neutral materials, this Bahamian girl serves a dual purpose: becoming an artificial reef for marine life while drawing divers away from over-stressed natural reefs.

Stroll across the Glass Window Bridge

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Glass window bridge on Eleuthera island, Bahamas.
© BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock Photo
The natural arch that originally formed a bridge here was washed away long ago by violent storms, but not before being immortalised in Winslow Homer’s 1885 painting Glass Window. The current concrete structure is no less striking. The skinny strip separates the north and south parts of the Bahamian island Eleuthera, with one side being pounded by the turbulent Atlantic, while the other is lazily smooched by the Bight of Eleuthera. The best place to enjoy the full two-tone panorama is from the karst hill above the bridge.

Take a yacht out to Great Isaac Cay

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Leuchtturm auf Great Isaac, erbaut 1859, 46 Meter hoch, Bahamas | Lighthouse on Great Isaac island, erected in 1859, 151 feet high, Bahamas
© SeaTops / Alamy
The 152ft-tall (46m) Great Isaac Lighthouse is no stranger to macabre legend. Although built to protect ships from disappearing into the Bermuda Triangle, on August 4th 1969, its very own keepers were found to be missing, and their bodies were never found. Learn more about the secrets of this mysterious cay on a private yacht charter from Bimini Island. Watch out though, those rocks are sharp!

Swim around SS Sapona

Architectural Landmark
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Wreck of SS Sapona off Bimini, Bahamas under summer cloudscape.
© Francisco Blanco / Alamy
President Woodrow Wilson commissioned this concrete ship when steel was in short supply in 1920. Since being grounded by a hurricane in 1926, she’s lived a colourful life, having been used as a casino, oil tanker, illegal liquor warehouse and, lastly, for military target practice. She currently cuts a haunting figure, lying 15ft (5m) underwater, 4mi (6.4km) south of Bimini Island. Although broiling seas, tumultuous weather and military bombs have stripped much of her concrete hull, the SS Sapona still makes an eerily beautiful snorkelling and diving destination.

Journey through the Primeval Forest National Park

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This small section of old-growth woodland is one of the last existing areas of evergreen tropical forests that used to cover the islands. Dramatic limestone caverns up to 50ft (15m) long are a highlight, accessed by boardwalks trailing through verdant foliage. Discover the cleverly camouflaged cuban tree frog, and don’t forget your binoculars to spot the many types of local birds that flock to this time capsule of Blackland Coppice.

Discover Bahamian history at the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

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Bahamas, Abaco Islands, Elbow Cay, Hope Town, Elbow Reef Lighthouse - The last kerosene burning manned lighthouse in the world
© Jane Sweeney / Alamy
Before the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the Elbow Reef Lighthouse was the only manned light station in the world whose lens was still hand-wound by the lighthouse keeper, rather than being electrified. The lighthouse is a valuable part of cultural history in the Bahamas and is a long-standing example of Victorian British engineering. The restoration of the lighthouse is almost complete, and the charming Gift Shoppe is once again selling its wares.

Dive down into Dean’s Blue Hole

Natural Feature
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Dean's blue hole
© Rudi Sebastian / Alamy
A blue hole is a sinkhole underneath the surface of the sea that’s filled with water. Usually, they’re around 100m (330ft) deep, but Dean’s Blue Hole is particularly exceptional as it reaches a depth of 202m (663ft). The water here is extremely clear, with visibility reaching around 36m (118ft) on a good day. It’s not surprising that Dean’s is a hotspot for scuba divers and freedivers alike. Head to the bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island for your dip into the deep.

Learn about pirates and rum-runners at the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum

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Girl looking at display, Wyannie Malone Historical Museum, Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown.
© Shane Pinder / Alamy
This delightful museum was opened by the Hope Town community on Elbow Cay in 1978 with the aim of preserving the town’s fascinating history and educating its children. The wooden clapboard building contains restored furnished rooms of yesteryear, along with stories of pirates, Lucayan Indians, rum-runners and more. Learn all about the shipwrecks, hurricanes and torpedoed freighters that have shaped the rich history of the town, through carefully curated artefacts, photos and manuscripts.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Shimon Brathwaite.

These recommendations were updated on October 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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