Reasons Why You Should Visit the Bahamas

Atlantis Hotel  | © Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr
Atlantis Hotel | © Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr
Photo of Sarah Holt
30 July 2021

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.

There are 700 islands and cays to explore by boat

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Bahamas, Abaco Islands, Great Abaco, Beach at Treasure Cay
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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.

There’s sunset-to-sunrise nightlife

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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.
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It’s a paradise for scuba divers

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Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, looking at a scuba diver, Bahamas
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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.

It features one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world

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Path in Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Spreading over 40 acres (16ha) on the south coast of Grand Bahama, Lucayan National Park was created to protect one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world. You can visit two of the caves on foot – Ben’s Cave, with its friendly flower bats, and Burial Mound Cave, where the island’s earliest inhabitants, the Lucayan, lived. Elsewhere, the park is a patchwork of mangroves and boardwalks that drift down to Gold Rock Beach – an untamed band of brilliantly white sand.

You can retrace the steps of pirates in Nassau

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Fort Fincastle, Bennet's Hill, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas.
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The history of Nassau is saucier than a soap opera. Founded in 1670, the capital of the Bahamas was once a pirate stronghold. Delve into its pirating history at several locations: there’s Fort Fincastle, which was built to protect the island against pirates in 1793, and the Queen’s Staircase, a 102ft (31m) flight of steps that was designed to allow fast access to the fort. Families will also enjoy the interactive Pirates of Nassau Museum.

There are more than 2,000 beaches

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Caribbean, Bahamas, Nassau, Paradise Island, Cabbage beach
© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

The restaurants specialize in net-fresh seafood

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Nassau Bahamas - Fish Fray Heritage Village
© Nino Marcutti / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

You can discover Mount Alvernia Hermitage

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The Ermite small monastery at the top of Mount Alvernia on Cat island, over 63 meters, Bahamas. Mt. Alvernia Hermitage and Father Jerome's tomb atop Como Hill.
© Sergi Reboredo / Alamy Stock Photo
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.

These recommendations were updated on July 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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