The Bahamas is a country located on the eponymous archipelago north of Cuba and the Caribbean Sea, east of the Florida Peninsula. At the mention of the Bahamas, the imagination paints a picture of a serene vacation with its main attributes: palm trees and white sand. George Washington called the Bahamas “the island of eternal June” is well deserved – the sun shines here 320 days a year! Hotel service is rated very high and is considered one of the best in the Caribbean. Holidays in the islands are not cheap, but that does not stop the 6 million tourists who come to the Bahamas every year.
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Video: The Bahamas
The long archipelago covers an expanse of 250,000 km² and consists of 2,700 islands and coral reefs covering a total of 13,878 km². People inhabit thirty of them. The island territory is united into a state, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, with 391,232 people (2016). New Providence Island, where the capital city of Nassau is located, and Grand Bahama Island are the most populated. The population is 3/4 African American and mulatto. A small percentage of Bahamians are elderly affluent North Americans and Europeans who have settled on the islands after retirement.
Cat Island Beach The Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean Cruise liners in Nassau Harbor
Among the faithful in the Bahamas, Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, and Roman Catholics are the most Christian. Some locals, and especially the descendants of African-American slaves, adhere to African cults.
The Bahamas are popular with travelers from around the world, and the islands’ economy is heavily dependent on tourism. People come here for the beach vacations. In addition, the Bahamas attract diving, surfing and yachting enthusiasts.
In recent years the medical tourism in Bahamas is actively developing. The level of medical services here is based on the standards adopted in the USA and is highly valued. Over twenty modern medical centres with specialists working in all fields of medicine have been opened on the islands. The most popular fields are joint surgeries, heart surgery, and plastic surgeries.
History of the exploration of the Bahamas
Native Americans were the first to settle on the tropical islands, the Lukayans (Arawaks), who sailed here in the V century from the Antilles, Cuba and Española (now the territory of the Republic of Haiti). In 1492, the expedition of Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas. Three years later, Spanish colonists settled on the archipelago. For 30 years, local residents are practically extinct. The reasons for this were diseases brought by Europeans and slavery. A large number of Lucayans were taken by the colonists to Española for pearl mining and mine work.
Soon the Spanish also left the Bahamas, and for about 130 years the region remained unclaimed. Then British settlers from Bermuda came to Harbor Island. Besides them, pirate bases sprang up on several islands, where sea corsairs rested and repaired their ships. Only in 1718, thanks to the British army, were the pirates driven from the Bahamas. Since then, the islands were established as a British colony.
Pirates of the Caribbean, a shot from the TV series “Black Sails”.
The local population began to grow rapidly from the end of the 18th century. The reason for this was the deportation to the Bahamas from the United States of eight thousand Loyalists, along with whom came their slaves. The new settlers attempted to establish cotton plantations on the islands in the manner of those they had been forced to abandon in America. Because the soil was so infertile, however, the venture failed. In 1807, Britain banned the slave trade, and the Royal Navy freed slaves in the Bahamas.
A major influx of money to the islands occurred in 1920. At that time, Prohibition was enacted in the United States. Smuggling began to grow in the Bahamas, and the town of Nassau became a rum warehouse. During World War II, the U.S. military spent their vacations in the Bahamas, and in the postwar years, the tourism industry began to develop on the islands.
Since 1973 the island nation has had a democratic political regime with a functioning Constitution. According to the form of government, the Bahamas is a parliamentary monarchy, with the British Queen as head of state, and her interests on the islands are represented by the Governor General. Legislative authority is exercised by a bicameral Parliament, while executive authority is vested in the Government. Administratively, the Bahamas is divided into 31 regions.
The Bahamas. Main attractions.
If you dream of a perfect sandy beach washed by an ocean of the most incredible shades of blue, then you are definitely dreaming of the Bahamas.
It’s a tropical paradise that encompasses 700 islands and some 2,000 small reefs scattered across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. And it’s only 80 kilometers off the coast of Florida.
The islands were once a refuge for pirates and early settlers from the Old World. But now the Bahamas has become a favorite place of rest and life for the rich and famous. As well as those who enjoy fishing, boating, diving and sailing.
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas on New Providence Island, attracts the most tourists. This bustling port city has become a combination of fashionable resorts, upscale stores, upscale restaurants and entertainment venues. The second most popular island is Grand Bahama.
The rest of the Bahamas is affectionately known as the Out Islands. But they are well worthy of the closest attention, because they have their own unique character and charm.
Scattered like pearls in the shallow waters of the Bahamas, Abaco and Exuma offer some of the world’s best sailing. Sleepy fishing villages and secluded beaches dot these tranquil islands. Many are fringed by coral reefs.
Most of the islands offer a wide variety of recreational activities for all travelers. From big-fish fishing in Bimini and the pink-sand beaches on Harbor Island to bonefish fishing (as they call the popular bonefish fishery). From bustling regattas to quiet beach vacations.
If you visit on New Year’s Eve, don’t miss the festival of pulsating drums and incredible Junkanoo costumes. It is the most famous festival in the country.
The pulsating drums and fabulous costumes of the Junkanoo Festival
Although the Bahamas is one solid attraction, we’ll still highlight the most significant spots here.
Atlantis Paradise Island Aqua Resort
This luxurious aqua resort towers over Paradise Island. It recreates the legend of Atlantis in a luxury resort complex with a hotel, entertainment center, aquarium and water park. It is one of the best resorts in the Bahamas.
It is the most famous resort in the Bahamas.
Hotel guests are entitled to free admission to the popular Aquaventure Waterpark, which covers more than 570,000 square feet. Spending a day on this whimsical seascape is one of the most popular things to do on Paradise Island. Slide down speed slides like the Leap of Faith, splash around in more than 20 pools, or just relax as you cruise the Lazy River attraction.
The Leap of Faith is not for the faint of heart and this is the “Lazy River” – a calm and slow descent suitable for almost everyone.
There are hammerhead sharks and swordfish swimming in the huge sea pools of Atlantis. You’ll also find plenty of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The fantasy sea theme continues in all the Atlantis attractions, capturing the imagination of absolutely all visitors.
One of the most popular ports for cruise ships in the Caribbean is the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau. The city still fascinates visitors despite the many tourists with cameras.
Nassau is the capital of tropical Bahamian paradise
You’ll always find something to do in Nassau. Warm up on the white sands of Cable Beach. Visit the stores, restaurants, museums, and colorful colonial buildings downtown and on Bay Street. Be sure to buy souvenirs at the Nassau Straw Market.
A short boat ride from Nassau brings you face-to-face with dolphins on a tour of Blue Lagoon Island. And the gardens, zoo, and Ardastra Conservation Center are a fun place to visit for families. Here you will see endangered and endangered tropical plants.
Paradise Island, home to the ever-popular Atlantis Center, sparkles on the horizon 5 kilometers from Nassau.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
The park has some of the most spectacular seascapes in the Bahamas. The luminous blue water blends with the white sand, creating a great backdrop for a variety of water sports. Located on the remote eastern edge of the Bahamas, the park is a gated marine protected area. The area is popular with divers and boaters.
On a good day, you can see more than 30 meters underwater.
Fans of diving are sure to find something to do here.
People usually visit this place on private boats or on board dive charters. No fishing is allowed in the park.
The reefs of Exuma are incredibly beautiful. Some are home to popular movie stars such as Johnny Depp and David Copperfield.
Great Exuma, the largest of the Exuma Archipelago islands, Little Exuma and Stanial Cay are popular with boaters.
Isle of Pigs
You’ll find the incredibly remarkable Pig Island in the Bahamas. On one of the islets of Exuma, a couple of dozen piglets took root. And pretty quickly the pigs became a famous attraction.
Water pigs are a separate attraction in the Bahamas
Naturally, tourists streamed in to feed the pigs. Now the pigs are not afraid of people and are rapidly gaining weight.
The main feature of the Isle of Pigs is that the pigs here are water pigs.
We told you a lot more about Pig Island in one of our separate articles. Learn more about the Isle of Pigs.
Cute Harbor Island is located northeast of Eluterra Island. It has long been a haven for the famous and wealthy. It is one of the oldest settlements in the Bahamas. Locals call it “Breeland.” The first Bahamian parliament was located here.
English settlers (the so-called Loyalists) settled here in the early 18th century. Their pretty, pastel-colored cottages recall a bygone era in Dunmore Town, the only settlement on the island where golf carts drive down the narrow ones.
But Harbor Island isn’t just famous for its cozy cottages and rich history. Its picturesque pink sand beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. And the chic resorts beckon discerning travelers from around the world. Popular activities include diving, snorkeling, fishing and sunbathing on the pink sand beaches.
Grand Bahama Island
It is the northernmost island in the Bahamas. It’s a great destination for package tourists and cruise ships. The island’s capital, Freeport, is the second largest city in the Bahamas. However, Port Lucaya now eclipses it as a tourist destination with many stores, restaurants and entertainment.
Grand Bahama Island has concentrated the best hotels and resort areas
Port Lucaya Market sells jewelry, straw crafts, and various souvenirs. Although there are many all-inclusive hotels, you can still avoid the crowds of tourists.
Grand Bahama has one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world. You can also stroll through the lush plantings of the Grove Garden, see many native bird species in the 3 national parks, or book a dolphin tour.
Diving and fishing on the island of Andros
Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas. It is a paradise for fishermen and divers.
In addition, there are many blue holes and underwater caves, creating a real underwater wonderland for lovers of exploring the underwater world.
The island of Andros is a great place for diving.
Fly fishing is also popular here. Andros is often referred to as the bonefishing capital of the world (we mentioned it just above).
Thanks to the ideal habitat for this valuable breed of fish, fishing takes on its own unique qualities. Extensive wetlands form canals on the island, which have become ideal places for fishing and boating. Remarkably, the vast majority of fish are released. Fishing involves catching fish, not eating them. Though bonefish are quite edible.
This is what the famous bonefish looks like.
Andros is home to the largest protected area in the Bahamas with five national parks. Travelers will appreciate the biodiversity in the mudflats, mangroves and forests, as well as the island’s eco-resorts.
Stop by the Androsia Hand Made batik factory. Here you can buy fabrics with vivid Bahamian motifs.
Treasure Cay Beach, Great Abaco
This beach wraps around the eastern shore of Great Abaco Island. It is often called one of the best beaches in the world. A large stretch of soft sand and sea water amazes tourists who come here to bask on its creamy, crescent-shaped shore.
Treasure Cay Beach – the epitome of perfection
The beach is located in the upscale resort village of Treasure Cay. It is also home to one of the most famous fishing tournaments in the Bahamas.
Elbow Cay is the epitome of a New England style fishing village. Bright cottages line the main streets of Hopetoun, the island’s main village. The center is closed to vehicles, creating a relaxed, rustic atmosphere.
The town of Hopetown, famous for its striped lighthouse, has become home to an expat community that appreciates the charming local beaches.
Hopetoun’s striped lighthouse
Be sure to visit the Waiani Malone Historical Museum and the Tilloo Key Preserve. Get to Elbow Cay by ferry, which departs regularly from Marsh Harbor (the third-largest town in the Bahamas).
Green Turtle Cay
Walking through the streets of Green Turtle Cay in the Abaco area is like stepping back in time to the old Bahamas. Just east of Great Abaco, this quiet five-kilometer island is the perfect place for those seeking peace and quiet.
The colorful homes of Green Turtle Cay.
Golf carts are a staple of transportation in the small village of New Plymouth, a cozy village with cute cottages, several stores and museums.
Fishing boats ply the harbor, and tourists can watch locals harvest seafood. Bone fishing is one of the popular activities here. The island’s beautiful beaches, fringed by reefs, and crystal clear waters make for great diving, snorkeling, and just boating.
Big Fish Hunting in Bimini
The Bimini Islands aren’t called the “big game fishing capital of the Bahamas” for nothing. From March to September, the island hosts popular fishing tournaments. Its proximity to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream attracts a dazzling variety of marine life, including marlin, mahi-mahi and giant manta rays.
And that’s not even the biggest specimen.
And these fish are much larger. These are the famous marlins.
An interesting fact is that the legendary writer Ernest Hemingway spent several years on Bimini. He fished and drew inspiration for his works.
The fishhook-shaped group of islands includes North Bimini, South Bimini, and many reefs extending south from Pigeon Cay to South Cat Cay.
Bimini is the closest island to the United States, located 80 km east of Florida.
The ancient underwater road of Bimini
We should separately tell about a very interesting artifact found on the ocean floor near the island of Bimini. This is an unknown ancient structure resembling a road or an airstrip.
The Bimini Road – another mystery for scientists
Who, when and why built this road is not known.
For more information about this landmark and the theory of its origin, we reviewed the article about the Bimini Road.
One of the most beautiful islands in the Bahamas, Long Island is a little off in the southern part of the archipelago. If you like unspoiled nature, you will definitely like Long Island.
Almost 130 km long and no more than 7 km wide, this island is a corner of contrasts: gorgeous sandy beaches on the west and steep rocky cliffs on the east.
Long Island looks like this on the west and this is Long Island on the east
Long Island is a paradise for fishing, diving and boating. Beach lovers can enjoy many beautiful unspoiled beaches with pink and white sand. The island is home to the famous Blue Hole of Dean. It is the deepest known marine blue hole in the world.
Blue Lagoon Island
Dolphin encounters, sea lions, inflatable amusement parks, a beautiful white sand beach – you’ll find all this and more on Blue Lagoon Island.
A visit to this beautiful private island, better known as Salt Cay, is one of the most popular cruises in the Bahamas. The island is located just 5 kilometers east of Nassau.
Salt Cay aka Blue Lagoon Island
This is a great vacation spot for the whole family. Kids will love swimming in the turquoise water, playing in the inflatable water park, and kayaking around the lagoon.
Parents can relax in a double hammock, and animal lovers will enjoy interacting with sea lions and dolphins.