For many people, the Tiffany-blue waters and the golden beaches are reason enough to visit the Bahamas. However, there’s even more to this place than photogenic sands and sea: the country’s 700 islands and cays are home to national parks, walking trails and some of the best diving spots in the world. Here are the top reasons why the Bahamas are unmissable.
With more than 700 islands and cays, the Bahamas are best explored by boat. If you have sailing experience, Great Abaco is one of the most rewarding places to charter a yacht. The nearby Treasure, Green Turtle, Man-O-War and Elbow Cays are dotted with sheltered anchorages and people-free beaches. Alternatively, join a day sailing tour – trips from Nassau to the uninhabited, hammock-topped Sandy Toes Rose Island are always popular.
Elegant cocktail places, craft brewpubs and nightclubs that close at dawn are all part of the Bahamas’ nightlife portfolio. To experience them all under one roof, head to the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. Sip the signature Pineapple Passion cocktail beneath the chandeliered ceiling of the Sea Glass bar, order a flight of locally produced beer at the Pirate Republic, then swap drinking for dancing at the 9,000sqft (836sqm) Aura nightclub.
There are rich pickings for divers in the Bahamas. The country is home to the Andros Barrier Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world. There are underwater shipwrecks to discover here, too, such Theo’s Wreck, a sunken 80m (262ft) freighter off the coast of Grand Bahama. Plus, the waters are teeming with wildlife such as seahorses, rays and turtles. Braver divers can also head to Tiger Beach, an hour’s boat ride from West End in Grand Bahama, for mettle-testing dives with tiger sharks.
The islands of the Bahamas are belted by more than 2,000 beaches. If you’re looking for bands of sand with all the trimmings, head to Cable, Junkanoo or Cabbage Beach on Nassau; if you prefer a lower headcount, try French Leave or Taino Beach on Eleuthera. For something a little different, go to the Love Beaches on Long Island, where coral gives the sand a tutu-pink hue.
Food plays a huge role in the lives of Bahamians. Why wouldn’t it? The waters are filled with seafood like rock lobster, snapper and grouper, while fresh tomatoes, hot peppers, mangos and avocados grow on land here. For a taste of real Bahamian cooking, head to the Fish Fry strip on Arawak Cay in Nassau. Here, you can tuck into national dishes like conch fritters alongside mountains of rice and peas.
At 207ft (63m) above sea level, Mount Alvernia is the highest hill in the Bahamas. It’s crowned by a grey stone hermitage, built by a Roman Catholic priest in 1939 as a retreat from the rest of the world. Follow a walking trail up the hillside to visit the turreted building. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views over Cat Island and the distant Atlantic Ocean.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Sheri-Kae McLeod.
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