About the Bahamas
New Providence & Paradise
The Berry Islands
Turks & Caicos
The Bahamas are a tropical destination like no other offering something for every visitor. This archipelago, which begins just 60 miles of Florida's coast, contains 700 islands (with only about 20 of them inhabited) and 2,000 cays scattered over 100,000 square miles of the Atlantic. While the Bahamas has more than its share of balmy breezes, perfect stretches of white sand beaches backdropped with endless expanses of turquoise blue waters and swaying palms, it also offers much, much more.
If you seek sparkling night-life and the excitement of the casinos to top off your days on the cerulean sea, you may want to visit the favored destination for tourists since the Prohibition rumrunners squandered their fortunes, New Providence and Paradise Island--or equally popular Grand Bahama Island. There's also plenty of unique and colorful culture, with junkanoo dances, rake-and-scrape bands, goombay music, and flavorful island cooking.
Vacationers looking to escape the crowds will prefer a trip to one of the Out Islands, as all the remaining Bahamian islands are collectively known. These quiet cays and islands offer a slower-paced, unspoiled way of life rich is colonial traditions. Here you can wander the uncluttered beaches and narrow, sand-strewn streets, and delight in the abundance of natural beauty and the friendly, small-town atmosphere. Although all of the Out Islands share these common traits, there are considerable differences defined by the surprising variety of sites and activities these islands have to offer.
If you're a diving enthusiast, few places in the world offer a wider variety of diving opportunities than the Bahamas-wrecks and reefs, blue holes and drop-offs, sea gardens and shallow shoals can all be found here. The 140-mile Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Andros is a must for avid divers. But Abacos, Bimini, and the Exumas also offer spectacular underwater adventures. Want to golf a little too?--Eleuthera offers championship golf and great diving. And if you wantexcellent diving far from the beaten tourist path, you may want to check out the virgin barrier reef on Crooked and Acklins Islands or the unspoiled waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands (not technically a part of the Bahamas).
Saltwater anglers looking for trophy game fish will find the ultimate paradise at Alice Town on North Bimini or the cays of the Berry Islands.
Prefer more solitude?-- head for the secluded anchorages of the Abacos or the Exumas, or stroll the tranquil and deserted beaches of Cat Island searching for sand dollars, or take in the scenic beauty of Long Island with its contrasting coastlines of sandy beaches and spectacular rocky cliffs. Birdwatchers will marvel in the numerous species of residents found on the Exumas and Inagua. And history buffs may want to retrace the routes of Columbus and Ponce de Leon or visit historic San Salvador (which also offers terrificbeaches and diving spots).
Or maybe you will want to stop at the fishing villages of Harbour Island off Eleuthera or Hope Town off Great Abaco, where at first glance, the scenery appears to be snatched from the New England shore, but on closer inspection you can see that the homes are painted in soft pastels and surrounded with palm trees and richly colored vegetation. Regattas are held from February through August in the Bahamas.
Many travelers make New Providence Island, more specifically Nassau, the islands' capital and chief port, their principal stop in the Bahamas. Here you can bargain at the straw market, enjoy the sophisticated casino night-life, or enjoy the plentiful water-sports activities. Nassau also has more historic buildings and museums than any other town in the Bahamas.The Paradise Island Light welcome yachters to Nassau Harbor, which is open at both ends. The looming Paradise Island Bridge bisects the harbor connecting the resort island to Nassau.
Grand Bahama's twin cities, Freeport and Lucaya, offer little of historical interest, but if you love blackjack or roulette, white pristine beaches and shopping, you won't be disappointed. The International Bazaar in Freeport features imported goods at reduced prices. And visitors can swim with dolphins or learn to dive at the world-renowned scuba school in Lucaya. An extensive reef system provides for colorful diving experiences enhanced by sea gardens, caves, wrecks and blue holes also in the area.
The translucent waters of the Abacos, a chain of islands in the northeastern Bahamas, has attracted sailing and yachting vacationers for decades. Walker's Cay at the top of the Abacos is a mecca for yachtsmen and offers many high-tech facilities. South of Walker's Cay lies a clutch of tiny cays, islets and some island. Snorkeling in the shallows along the mangroves here, you can find many rewarding experiences. You may encounter graceful manta rays and eagle rays, basking sand sharks, and perhaps a school of small barracuda on the prowl.A narrow causeway joins Little Abaco and Great Abaco. On the Great Abaco's mainland is Treasure Cay, a resort complex featuring one of the longest beaches in the area and a water -sports mecca called Treasure Island. You can also explore the most photogenic lighthouse in the Bahamas atop Elbow Cay-the famous red and white candy-striped lighthouse which signals the harbor opening to Hope Town, a town with New England style ambience. For divers, there's several ocean holes staring at 100 feet and prolific reefs at 45 feet, or a Civil War wreck which lies among cannon and coral heads. A 2,000 acre underwater preserve called the Pelican Cay Land and Sea Park contains a full range of marine life and is an excellent choice for novice divers, snorkelers and photographers.
Marsh Harbour, the third largest city in the country, has numerous restaurants and shops.
Andros, the largest of the Bahamian islands, offers sensational dives off the Great Barrier Reef At 140 miles long, the giant reef is the third largest coral reef in the world (preceded by those in Australia and Belize). Uncounted blue holes have formed in the area, and in some places constitute vast subterranean networks shooting off of their cathedral-like interior chambers lined with stalactites and stalagmites. Blue holes are named for their inky-blue aura when viewed from above and for the light-blue filtered sunlight still visible from 180-200 feet down. Other diving spots include a sunken landing craft encrusted with coral, now a home for groups and tiny silverfish, and a split-level wall covered with black coral and a wide variety of tube sponges.This little-explored island of forests and swamps doesn't offer the dry-land attractions of the more touristed stops. It does have fabric factory which makes Androsia fabric, a Bahamian version of batik.
The tiny cays of the Berry Islands, close to the Tongue of the Ocean, are virtually uninhabited except for sea birds and big game fishermen. Here, where the water is seldom more than 20feet deep, you can truly appreciate the clarity of the Bahamian waters. The light sand bottom is dotted with grass patches and occasional coral head patches from which you can dive down and retrieve a conch or two. While starfish abound in this area, you may also see gliding stingray or eagle ray, or an odd turtle. In the upper Berry Islands, Great Harbour Cay offers one of the most pristine beaches in the Bahamas.
Deep-sea fishermen flock to Bimini to fight the great warriors of the Bahamian waters: marlin, swordfish, giant tuna, wahoo, sailfish and dolphin. And the bonefishing on the flats along the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream is unsurpassed. The Native Fishing Tournament held in August is a nonstop party, so if you come during this blowout, be prepared to lose some sleep.
Bimini also offers some great diving opportunities at 20 feet or less. You can swim among what may be the remains of an ancient civilization in the shallow waters of North Bimini, dig through the debris from a Spanish galleon, or dive the landmark wreck of Sapona, now home to hundreds of tiny tropical fish. In addition, North Bimini was the beloved getaway spot for Ernest Heminway in the 1930's and his favorite bar and one of his homes are still accessible to visitors.
Divers, snokelers and bone-fisherman are never idol on these adjoining and principally undeveloped islands. Miles of virgin barrier reef are still a well-kept secret.
Eleuthera, one of the best-known of the Out Islands, is noted for its championship golf and superior diving and surfing. Vacationers who prefer to relax in a quiet seaside setting will enjoy the charms of Harbour Island, off the coast of Eleuthera, featuring its renowned and intriguing 3-mile rose-tinted beach and home of the New England style village of Dunmore Town.
Hundreds of little cays make the Exumas prime cruising ground for yachters. A nature wonderland lies in the Upper Exumas where bird calls resonate in the night and you will likely share the beach with iguanas up to three feet long. The Exuma Cays National Land and Sea Park is a favorite with snorkelers and bird-watchers alike. On Little Wax Cay dwells the Bahamas' only indigenous mammal, the hutia, a nocturnal animal about the size of a rabbit.Every conceivable sort of diving, virtually all little-explored, is available in the Exumas. Besides the many dives sites on in the National Park, a cave, which has been explored over 300 feet back into the island, offers an unforgettable adventure for experienced divers. A natural grotto inside a rock provides the novice diver with an opportunity to view the eerie shafts of light from holes in the roof of the partially submerged cave and the stalactites creeping down the limestone walls. The Exumas are also known for the charm and friendliness of their towns and an exquisite 7-mile beach scattered with seashells.
Inagua, the southernmost of the Bahamian islands, if a bird-watcher's paradise. More than 50,000 flamingos reside at the national park on Inagua and hundreds of other species make their home in the island's salt flats. These flats also provide a considerable portion of the product for the Morton Salt company.
Its two contrasting coastlines make Long Island one of the most scenic Out Island destinations. The western coast offers soft, sandy beaches, while the eastern side (not more than four miles away) drops down to the ocean from dramatic rocky cliffs.
San Salvador is historically known as the reputed first landfall of Christopher Columbus. Visitors to this island today can see the maker commemorating the event, or dive, snorkel or fish in the azure waters surrounding the island.
The Turks and Caicos, two groups of islands that lie to the southeast of the Bahamas, are nearly unknown to all but avid diversa nd seekers of unspoiled beached. Here you will find all of the beauty of Bahamas, but none of the glitz.Call: 561-748-5889