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Any time spent in the Bahamas is time spent in a tropical paradise. The Caribbean islands that make up this country offer amazing tourist attractions, luxurious places to stay and delicious cuisine. To make the most of your visit, follow our guide to the best hotels, restaurants and things to do – from a boutique resort on Eleuthera to must-try seafood in Dunmore Town to a culinary tour in Nassau.
A sprawling resort, SLS at Baha Mar lends a glamorous edge to laid-back island living. Monochrome murals and Bahamian-designed furniture combine with luxuries like walk-in rainfall showers in the rooms, while the resort’s 11 bars and restaurants cover everything from steak to sushi. Indulge yourself at the ESPA Spa, unwind by the adults-only pool and party into the small hours at Bond nightclub.
For a more secluded island escape away from the Bahamas’ busy capital, head to the Cove, a boutique resort on the quiet island of Eleuthera. The rooms and villas are simple, with white wooden walls, warm wood furniture and white linens. The pared-back decor allows the beauty of this unspoiled Caribbean island to shine, though 50in (127cm) flatscreen TVs, Nespresso machines and 500-thread count linens mean the amenities are far from basic. The menus at the on-site restaurants are all about sustainable, local produce – much of which is grown in the hotel’s garden – and the Point Bar is a romantic spot for a cocktail, set on a bluff between two of the island’s beaches.
Snorkel tours are a dime a dozen in the Bahamas, so if you’ve got the budget, it’s worth spending a little extra for a private charter that gives you more control over the itinerary. Take your pick from the best snorkel spots around the islands and avoid the crowds with this three-hour cruise, which includes the options to stop at sites like Athol Island and Spruce Cay, where you can swim with tropical fish and even a turtle or two if you’re lucky. Back on board your luxury catamaran, refreshments including rum punch will be served as the sun dries you off during the sail back to shore.
Explore historic downtown Nassau by bike on this relaxed, guided cultural tour. Pedal past vibrant murals and colonial architecture as you visit everything from the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to a distillery and a chocolatier. There’s also time to stop at the largest open-air market in the Bahamas, Nassau Straw Market, where you can pick up Bahamian souvenirs like hand-made straw hats, jewelry and bags.
This weekend-only tour allows you to experience a traditional Bahamian Sunday lunch and learn about the history of rum on the island while sipping refreshing cocktails. After a leisurely one-hour stroll through the colourful streets of Nassau’s old town – with three food and drink stops along the way – you’ll round off the afternoon at the island’s only winery for an artisan chocolate-and-wine pairing.
Known locally as “the Fish Fry”, Arawak Cay may be the best place in the Bahamas to try authentic island fare. This small area of Nassau is full of no-frills vendors and restaurants pedalling fresh seafood like fried snapper or grilled lobster alongside traditional sides like mac and cheese (the Bahamian version has a bit of a kick) or cornbread. For an unusual and memorable meal, try conch; the mollusks that live in the shells are prepared cracked (battered and fried) or scorched (with spices and lime), and it’s one of the most popular meals in the Bahamas.
With an emphasis on seafood and local cuisine, the Landing Restaurant consistently remains one of the best restaurants in the Bahamas thanks to chef Madelene Pedican’s impeccable contemporary food. The Stone Crab Stack appetizer is a must-try, as are some of the breakfast dishes, such as the toasted coconut bread with lime curd.