Travel insights from the Bahamas Tourism Board

The Travel Agent’s Ultimate Guide to The Islands of The Bahamas

Composed of 700 islands sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean, The Bahamas is an ecological oasis, boasting the clearest waters on the planet. With so many great cities and attractions to choose from, The Bahamas truly has something to offer for every type of traveler.

Bahamas Basics

  • Getting there – There are many airports within The Bahamas, but among the most popular are Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport, Marsh Harbour’s Leonard M. Thompson International Airport, the Exuma International Airport and Grand Bahama International Airport. Those traveling to the islands by sea will likely dock at Nassau’s Cruise Port Terminal.
  • Location – The Bahamas is a chain of islands in the Caribbean. The islands are located north of the Greater Antilles and southeast of Florida.
  • Climate – Thanks to constant trade winds, The Bahamas dosen’t have an “off season.” In fact, temperatures in this Caribbean paradise vary between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
  • Currency – The national currency is the Bahamian dollar, however, many vendors happily accept the U.S. dollar which is on par with the Bahamian dollar. It is also worth noting that credit cards are commonly used throughout the islands, especially in tourist-heavy regions.
  • Language – The national language is English.

Popular Destinations

  • Nassau – Capital City with colorful architecture and most popular destination for vacationers, Nassau has a variety of experiences including white sand beaches, exciting shops and restaurants.
  • Exuma Cays – A star-studded location, the Exuma Cays caught the eye of Hollywood’s Johnny Depp and David Copperfield who both have beachfront homes on this remote stretch of cays. There are 365 Cays that make up the Exumas, one for each day of the year. The area is also popular among boaters and those looking for an exclusive resort experience.
  • Harbour Island, Eleuthera - One of the oldest settlements in The Bahamas, Harbour Island is known for its pink-sand beaches and trendy resorts. A place where golf carts are more common than cars, travelers will feel like they entered a time machine while strolling the old streets of Dunmore Town.
  • Grand Bahama – A popular stop for cruise ships, Grand Bahama is situated at the northernmost point of the Bahamian Islands. Here visitors will find great shopping, dining and entertainment as they marvel at brightly colored buildings and large all-inclusive resorts.
  • Andros – Home to the third-largest barrier reef on the planet, divers will want to put a stay on Andros Island at the top of their bucket list.
  • Treasure Cay, Abaco – Treasure Cay is the place for beach lovers with its powder-soft sand and glistening waters.
  • Elbow Cay, Abaco – Colorful cottages and impressive lighthouses give Elbow Cay the vibe of a New England fishing village. Here travelers can visit Hope Town, the island’s first settlement and explore vehicle-free streets.
  • Green Turtle Cay, Abaco – Want to get away from it all? Turtle Bay’s sleepy village of New Plymouth has a laid-back reputation with its pastel homes, humble harbor and specialty shops and museums.
  • Bimini – Also known as the “Big Game Fishing Capital of The Bahamas,” Bimini Island is just 55 miles east of Miami. A destination that will make travelers’ ocean dreams come true, Bimini Island plays host to deep-sea fishing tournaments, provides opportunities for diving and snorkeling and has plenty of shark and dolphin tours.
  • Long Island – Referred to by many as one of the most beautiful islands in The Bahamas, Long Island stretches about 41 miles wide and is 81 miles in length. Famous for its varying landscapes and fabulous beaches, Long Island is most commonly visited by air or ferry service from Nassau.

Food

Take the opportunity to discover Bahamian cuisine. Spicy and uniquely flavored, these dishes are crafted with the best local ingredients including tropical fruit, seafood and spices. Down-home restaurants will feature traditional Bahamian favorites while more artisan options will combine international cuisine with island flavors.

Chocoholics won’t want to miss a stop at Graycliff Chocolatier, a specialized chocolate factory tour with locations in both Nassau and Paradise Island. Foodies will also enjoy Tru Bahamian Food Tours, a guided walking adventure where travelers will explore the streets of downtown Nassau making stops for authentic food and drinks as they go.

Fun

Between diving, sightseeing, shopping and much, much more, there are so many options for fun in The Bahamas.

  • Entertainment – From traditional music in quaint bars to the latest sounds in city-style nightclubs, the party is just getting started when the sun goes down. A few favorite spots for nightlife in the area include the Aura and Bond Night Clubs in Nassau, Teaser’s Tiki Bar in Freeport and the Hot Spot Restaurant and Karaoke Bar on Cat Island. Travelers looking for a night in will be happy to find that the outer islands offer plenty of relaxing entertainment options including moonlit bonfires and beachfront fun.
  • Adventure – Ecotourism is huge in this part of the world and for good reason, The Bahamas have some of the most intriguing, exotic and mysterious natural phenomena on the planet. Enjoy the presence of the largest colony of pink flamingos in Inagua, gaze upon the world’s second deepest blue hole at Deans Blue Hole in Long Island and swim through the third-largest fringing barrier reef in Andros. If all that wasn’t exciting enough for you, travelers can also enjoy deep sea safaris, explore subterranean caves or go on a kayaking adventure to fuel their adrenaline.
  • Shopping – From open-air markets to large retail centers, The Bahamas offer a plethora of unique authentic Bahamian products that reflect locals’ heritage, creativity and passion. For high-end shopping, travelers will want to visit John Bull and other nearby jewelry and accessory stores in Nassau’s downtown area. For local goods, the Nassau Straw Market, Festival Place and The Authentically Bahamian Marketplace in Pompey Square cannot be beat.

History and Culture

  • Nettie’s Place – For a firsthand view of The Bahamas’ yesteryear, visit Nettie’s Place, a unique attraction showcasing a time when people enjoyed the simpler things in life. Home to a number of historical artifacts and themed rooms throughout the main building, Nettie’s Place is where children go to learn about Bahamian heritage and adults reconnect with the past.
  • St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church – Built in the 1600s, Saint Mary the Virgin Anglican Church is said to be the oldest church in The Bahamas. Known as an awesome place to catch a beautiful sunset, the church’s ruins are a popular tourist attraction.
  • Elbow Reef Lighthouse – This beloved landmark in Abaco is one of the last manual standing lighthouses in the world and is a notable stop for nautical enthusiasts.

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