The islands of The Bahamas are a tropical paradise and one of the top places to visit in the globe. This tropical archipelago stands out due to its breathtaking islands, pleasant climate, and large number of islands (700 in all).
Swimming with pigs at Big Major Cay or the intriguing pirate history of the islands are just two examples of the things you won’t learn about The Bahamas unless you actually go there. A vacation in The Bahamas is guaranteed to be a restful one.
Beaches with pure white sand and clear blue sea
Sandals for Two, White Sands of Emerald Bay
Scott Kelly, a NASA astronaut, famously referred to The Bahamas as “the most gorgeous spot from orbit,” and it’s simple to see why. This tropical paradise is hard to miss, what with its picture-perfect white sand beaches and stunning blue and turquoise waters. In this region, you may find some of the most stunning stretches of white sand in the world, making for some unforgettable beach hopping. It’s the best beach resort in the world!
A little-known fact: picking just one of The Bahamas’ amazing beaches might be challenging. We’ve pooled together a compilation of the top beaches in The Bahamas, so you don’t have to. You are free to go from beach to beach as often as you like!
2. Exuma’s swine can swim.
Sandals Bahamas Pig Island Emerald Bay
You won’t want to miss out on the most famous swimming with pigs experience in the Caribbean, which is located in the Bahamas. For this excursion, you’ll need to take a boat out to Big Major Cay, commonly known as Pig Island; if you get close enough, the pigs will come swimming out to you! The swimming pigs of The Bahamas are a highlight of this excursion, which is great for all ages. Around 82 miles southeast of Nassau is where you’ll find Big Major Cay. The only humans on the island are the pigs’ caretakers, and they only stay for portion of the day.
3. A hangout for the rich and famous
The Entry to Sandals Royal Bahamian for Vehicles
The Bahamas is one of a select few Caribbean islands that regularly draws Hollywood’s A-listers. The Bahamas are a popular destination for the world’s ultra-rich. The country even allows the really wealthy to own their own individual islands. In The Bahamas, you may visit the beachfront homes of famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, and many more.
4. Background on piracy
A Blackbeard the Pirate Stamp from the Bahamas
Credit for the image goes to Sergey Goryachev/Shutterstock.com.
Several historians consider the 1600s and 1700s, specifically The Bahamas, to be the “Golden Period” of piracy in the Caribbean. They robbed merchant ships that were passing through the harbor. They had a lot of stuff, and it wasn’t only gold and salt. Many pirates flocked to the area as a result of their success; infamous buccaneer Blackbeard was one such pirate. This anarchy persisted until 1718, when British captain Woodes Rogers was named Captain General and Governor in Chief of Nassau, thereby ending the reign of the Pirate Republic.
5. Excellent conditions for scuba and snorkeling
Couple Snorkeling in the Bahamas
Divers who want to see aquatic life at its most stunning often head straight for The Bahamas. Snorkelers and divers alike can choose from a wide variety of reefs and underwater parks in The Abacos, as well as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the blue holes of Andros, Long Island’s Conception Island, the Henry Ford Wreck, and the Biminis.
6. Christopher Columbus’s original landing
The Bahamas, Site of Christopher Columbus’s First Landing
The image is courtesy of Everett – Art/Shutterstock.com.
Frederick Kemmelmeyer’s First Landing of Christopher Columbus, c. 1800-05.
Christopher Columbus’s voyage through the Caribbean has been well documented, and it is believed that his crew made landing at The Bahamas. Both San Salvador and Samana Cay in The Bahamas are mentioned in accounts of Columbus’s “discovery” of the Americas. The local Lucayan Taino people may have already been there when he arrived, according to legend. Taino people gradually faded from the islands over a period of years.
7. The infamous Bahama Mama drink
Cocktail with a Bahama Mama Flavor
Illustration by JJava Designs, courtesy of Shutterstock.com
The essential ingredients of this famous tropical cocktail include rum, coconut rum, grenadine, orange juice, and pineapple juice, making it a must-try for any traveler to The Bahamas. Choose a comfortable area by the water’s edge or in the shade and enjoy this refreshing drink. There’s no way you’ll be let down. Try some of the other island staples like Sky Juice and Goombay Smash while you’re here.
In search of a bar with an open bar policy? In the Sandals resorts in The Bahamas, guests don’t have to worry about the cost of drinks thanks to the all-inclusive model. Everything you need is a part of your stay. All cocktails are handcrafted using only the finest ingredients and prepared by the island’s top bartenders.
8. Possessing a plethora of island destinations
Island Hopping in the Bahamas
With over 700 islands waiting to be discovered, it might be difficult to choose where to begin. Thankfully, logic can be found within the chaos. Many of the islands are devoid of human inhabitants, greatly reducing the pool of potential locations. New Providence, Paradise, Exuma, Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Berry, Southern Bahamian, Eleuthera, and Harbour Islands are some of the nicest islands in The Bahamas. Just under 400,000 people call The Bahamas home, with the majority calling New Providence island, where the capital city of Nassau is located, home.
New Providence (Nassau) is the most “happening” place in The Bahamas because it is the main airport for visitors. Two bridges connect New Providence to family-friendly Paradise Island. The Out Islands are where you’ll go if you’re looking for some solitude. Some of the most stunning white sand beaches and turquoise waters in the entire Bahamas can be found on the island of Exuma.
Want to find a Bahamas hotel that includes everything? Scuba divers will love Sandals Royal Bahamian, a bustling resort in Nassau with its own private offshore island (scuba diving is included in our stay). The Sandals Emerald Bay resort in Exuma is famous for its location on a wide, white sand beach and its 18-hole Championship golf course with breathtaking views of the ocean.
9. Yummy seafood meals, especially the conch
Bahamian conch salad conch fritters conch punch
Image courtesy of MevZup/Shutterstock.com
The fresh seafood in The Bahamas is as variety as it is wonderful, giving your taste buds a unique experience. The cuisine of the islands is influenced by traditions from Europe, Africa, and South America, and it will leave you hungry for more. If you find yourself on a Bahamas island, don’t leave without sampling the local fare, which includes anything from conch salad (conch ceviche) to johnny cakes to baked crab to rock lobster to fried fish. When you return from a trip, you’re bound to have a new favorite meal that you’ll want to try making at home.
10. Fishing for sport and bonefishing
Bahamas Deep Sea Fishing
The Bahamas is a great area to try out sport fishing or bonefishing for the first time. Nevertheless, if you’re an experienced scuba diver, you’ll have an even better time because you’ll know that the seas of The Bahamas are teeming with marine life that will make your fishing trip more fascinating. The sport fishing in The Biminis is often considered to be among the greatest in the world. The two islands of The Biminis are supposed to have gained prominence due to Ernest Hemingway’s fondness for fishing and vacationing there. Just 50 miles separate the Bimini Islands from the Florida mainland. The reef off the coast of Andros Island is the third largest in the world. You can try your hand at bonefishing in the deepest parts of the island’s many pristine mangroves and small ditches. You may also go fishing in Nassau and New Providence on Long Island.
11. Beaches with rosy sand
Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Source: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock.com.
Harbour Island, off the northeast coast of Eleuthera, is one of the greatest spots in the Bahamas to experience the rare pink sand beaches. Locals sometimes refer to the island as “Briland,” and visitors are likely to fall in love at first sight with Dunmore Town and its charming pastel-colored houses. Relax with a beach bath, go scuba diving, or go on a fishing trip while you’re there. Harbour Island is a fun day excursion from Nassau, and you can travel there by catamaran with The Bahamas Quick Ferries or by plane. Day tours are available at several hotels, such as Sandals Royal Bahamian.
12. Celebration of Junkanoo
The Royal Bahamian Sandals Junkanoo Celebration
There has never been a more authentic Caribbean celebration than a Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a huge celebration in The Bahamas that takes place every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day. You could say that this event is the Bahamian equivalent of carnival. If you’ve never been to a Caribbean carnival before, you can look forward to parties, parades, floats, and a whole lot of music, costumes, live bands, and traditional instruments.
Travelers should plan their trips to The Bahamas for Junkanoo at least six months in advance, since many hotels and resorts get booked up well in advance of the festival.
13. Several James Bond films were shot in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas’ Thunderball Grotto
The image is courtesy of Danita Delmont/Shutterstock.
The stunning natural scenery of The Bahamas has made it the setting for a number of well-known films. They include the James Bond films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. The Exuma Cays’ Thunderball Grotto is a popular diving and snorkeling destination that got its name from its prominent role in the film Thunderball, specifically during an underwater combat scene. Scuba divers enjoy to explore this underwater tunnel, which has been described as scary at first but thrilling once you’re inside. Sandals Emerald Beach offers excursions.
14. “Talkin’ Bahamian” is short for the native vernacular and slang.
Bahamian Women’s Market
The image is courtesy of Remanz/Shutterstock.com.
The Bahamians’ accent is easily recognizable, especially when they’re talkin’ Bahamian, and this is true of every region in the world. There are opportunities to learn more about the native creole tongue spoken by islanders, which is influenced by African languages. Look find books written in the local language while you’re there to translate what you hear and maybe even learn a sentence or two to toss into conversation. The majority of the population in The Bahamas speaks English, so you should be able to get by without knowing any of the local dialect. Some phrases and terms you could hear during your stay are listed below.
This might be either a male or a female. Someone might say something like, “Where mah’bey go again?” which means “where did this individual go?” in English. You may expect to hear this a lot.
Sick as mud, man!
This is a similar exclamation of shock or enthusiasm to its English counterparts, “you’re joking!”
or “Oh my goodness!”
Combine, or “mash up”
This expression, which means “to ruin” or “to break,” is widely used throughout the Caribbean. A common expression that means “you just ruined or damaged my book” is “you just mash up my book.” If you’re sick, out of it, or just plain exhausted, you might use this term to express how you really feel.
A “potcake” is a stray dog, and there are likely to be plenty of them in The Bahamas. The term “potcake” is derived from the common belief that traditional Bahamians cooked everything in a single pot, with the resulting conglomerate in the bottom of the pot being a crossbreed.
I’m talking to you… or ‘dem’. As a collective noun, this is a common Caribbean phrase. Catch a ride with Derek dem means “grab a lift with Derek and the others” and is an example of slang.
15. Colonial strife and the institution of slavery
Bahamas, Pompey Square
Picture by Barbara Kalbfleisch courtesy of Shutterstock.com
Slaves were unloaded from ships into Pompey Square around the turn of the nineteenth century. A slave uprising that began in 1830 and ultimately resulted in the Proclamation of Freedom for all slaves.
The history of The Bahamas, like that of the rest of the Caribbean, is rife with colonial strife. Visit the Bimini Museum, Man-O-War Heritage Museum in Abaco, The Dolphin House in Alice Town, Albert Lowe Museum in Abaco, The Bahamas Historical Society Museum in Nassau, Long Island Library and Museum, Heritage Museum of The Bahamas in Nassau, and other museums to learn more about the history of The Bahamas.
16. Armies of Pirates
At Nassau, Bahamas’ Fort Fincastle
This image was courtesy of tokar/Shutterstock.com.
Fort Charlotte, in Nassau, is the largest fort on New Providence and one of many that may be visited by tourists in The Bahamas. In 1788–1789, Lord Dunmore constructed Fort Charlotte. It honors King George III’s queen consort, Saharia Charlotte. The drawbridge leads to a fort with 42 guns, dungeons, tunnels, and breathtaking scenery.
The British captain Lord Dunmore gave his name to the fort that was constructed in 1793: Fort Fincastle. Viscount Fincastle was the second of his noble titles. According to legend, Fincastle constructed the fort to protect Nassau Harbor. It served as a good vantage point for pirates as well. Stonemasons used to construct Fort Fincastle.
Fort Montague is another famous structure in The Bahamas; it too was constructed using limestone from the area. Located at the eastern edge of Nassau Harbor, this fort is the oldest structure on New Providence. The British first utilized Fort Montague in 1741–1742, but its current form dates back to 1725. Its purpose was to deter Spanish invasions. The United States military also used the location in 1776.
The more elusive Blackbeard’s Tower is thought to have been utilized as a lookout by the notorious pirate himself in the 1700s. The tower has fallen into disrepair during the ‘Pirates Golden Age,’ yet it remains an important icon in The Bahamas.
17. Cave explorers
The Bahamas: Cave Diving
Picture by Rich Carey courtesy of Shutterstock
At than a hundred feet less water now surrounds The Bahamas than there was thousands of years ago. Rising sea levels have flooded several of the island’s caves, which are mostly built of limestone. As a result, The Bahamas is now widely regarded as one of the top cave diving destinations worldwide; if you’re planning a trip there, you might want to give it a shot.
18. Athletes who competed in the Olympic Track and Field
Bahamian Olympian Shaunae Miller
Denis Kuvaev/Shutterstock.com is responsible for the image.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of sprinters like Pauline Davis-Thompson, Tonique Williams-Darling, and Shaunae Miller, the Bahamas won 14 gold at the Olympics. The island’s only Olympic medals came from the sailing and track and field competitions. The 14-medal total represents a rate of 33.9% per million people (impressive considering the Bahamian population is only about 385,340). The only countries with a higher per capita striking rate than the Bahamas are Finland, Sweden, and Hungary.
19. Shopping for Expensive Items
Jewelry Shop in the Bahamas
The image is courtesy of Remanz/Shutterstock.com.
The Bahamas is one of the few islands in the region that offer high-quality retail options. You can discover something in a shop or market that fits your price range, whether you’re looking for cheap trinkets or expensive luxury goods as keepsakes. Jewelry and designer labels like Louis Vuitton and Gucci can be found in abundance on both Nassau and Paradise Island. Visit a craft center in downtown Nassau and haggle for a low price on artwork or other one-of-a-kind items.
20. Antiquated beacons
Hope Town, Bahamas’s Elbow Reef Lighthouse
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There’s something mysterious about lighthouses that you may experience firsthand at a few noteworthy structures in the Caribbean. Hope Town Lighthouse, also known as Elbow Reef Lighthouse, is a popular attraction on Elbow Cay, Bahamas. This 89-foot lighthouse adds to the already attractive atmosphere of Hope Town. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse was constructed in the 1860s, back when lighthouses were used to warn or guide ships at sea, and it is still standing today, bringing a piece of history into the present. The summit’s breathtaking vistas make the ascent’s 101 stair climb worthwhile. The Hog Island Lighthouse, located on the westernmost tip of Paradise Island, was constructed in 1817 and is the oldest and most well-known lighthouse in The Bahamas.
You can take home eight genuine pieces of Bahamian culture.
1. Gems made from pirate doubloons
Bahamas Pirate Gold
In this picture, M.R. Brennan/Shutterstock.com
It’s only logical that you’d be drawn to jewelry depicting pirates and their wares, given The Bahamas’ storied past. Located in the heart of Nassau, Coin of the Realm is a treasure trove of Bahamas gold and silver, ancient Greek and Roman coins, and more. If you’re a coin collector, you can get a proof set of Bahamian gold and silver coins, and if you’re just looking for a unique souvenir, you could find some of the jewelry like earrings, pendants, and rings to be worth your time.
2. Accessories made from conch shells
The Bahamas’ Finest Conch Shell Goods
Illustration by Anubhab Roy courtesy of Shutterstock
You may buy a wide variety of jewelry, tableware, and other unique creations in The Bahamas that are crafted from the stunning conch shell. These, and many other unique items, can be found at your neighborhood’s artisan fair.
3. Craftsmanship from the area
Nassau, Bahamas, Market
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While looking for mementos to take home with you, local works of art and craft are always safe bets. Just outside of Nassau’s central business district lies Bahama Art & Handicrafts, where you may find many unique items. Sea glass, watercolor paintings, wood sculptures, preserves, hot sauces, and more may all be found here.
4. Craft brew from the Pirate Republic
Pirate nation of the Bahamas’ Nassau
Take some Pirate Republic craft beer back to your beer-drinking friends and family. Visit the brewery and tavern in downtown Nassau, not far from the cruise terminal, and sample some of the local brews. The one and only craft beer in the Bahamas is not to be missed.
5. Crafts from the Junkanoo Festival
Festival goers in Nassau, Bahamas, dressed as junkanoos
The image is courtesy of Trae Rollins/Shutterstock.com.
Did you skip Junkanoo? Pick purchase some junkanoo-inspired jewelry, paintings, ornaments, and more to remember this traditional celebration forever. This is a great way to take a piece of the festival with you and make up for missing the procession.
6. Empty Promises
Nassau, Bahamas, Straw Market
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If you’re on the hunt for unique straw goods, you can’t go wrong with either the Nassau Straw Market or the Port Lucaya Market Place. Accessories including hats, baskets, and handbags are for sale. Even though some vendors can be persistent, shopping can be enjoyable and stress-free if you go in with a clear plan and an idea of what you’re ready to spend.
7. Jellies & jams prepared from scratch
Bahamian homemade jam
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If you’re a fan of preserves, don’t leave The Bahamas without sampling the guava jelly, pineapple jam, or any of the other delicious fruit-based spreads on offer. You can buy a couple to remind you of the sugary treats you found in The Bahamas.
8. Carvings in coconuts
Bahamian Coconut Carved Sculptures
In this image, OlegD/Shutterstock.com is credited.
Who wants some coconuts? If not a live one, at least a statue will do. Get something handcrafted from coconut husk to remember your fantastic trip to the Bahamas forever. Sculptures in the shapes of animals, sea creatures, and other things can be purchased at most of the island’s craft shops.
Plus: five fascinating nuggets about the Bahamas
1. One time, it even snowed in the Bahamas.
This image was courtesy of Lenach/Shutterstock.com.
There aren’t many Caribbean islands that can say they experienced winter, but on January 17th, 1977, The Bahamas did. It snowed in The Bahamas for the first time ever as cold air from southern Florida rushed right down to the islands. There were lots of flurries at Freeport, Grand Bahama, but no significant snowfall that would have covered the beaches and other areas in slush.
2. The Bahamas is home to the second-deepest blue hole on the planet.
Blue Hole in the Bahamas, Found on a Long Island
Picture by Lora B / Shutterstock
The Bahamas are home to one of the world’s deepest blue holes. The 660-foot depth of Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island in The Bahamas is the stuff of diving legend. A lot of divers come here specifically because they know they have a good shot at breaking records. While the Great Blue Hole in Belize’s Great Barrier Reef and other comparable sites are better known, Dean’s Blue Hole is deeper and has a more gradual drop off from the coast.
3. The Bahamas don’t have an especially lofty peak.
Golfing at Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas
The Bahamas are not typically thought of as a place of towering mountains due to the fact that its highest point is only slightly higher than 200 feet. In reality, it’s the fifth-lowest “highest point” country in the world. The Bahamas is in the same “high points” category as The Gambia, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and the Maldives. Because nearly all of the land in the islands consists of sandbars or high coral reefs, The Bahamas are very flat.
4. The Bahamas are not properly classified as a Caribbean island.
The Bahamas’ Emerald Bay
Despite their proximity to the Caribbean, The Bahamas are generally not included in discussions about the region. The islands’ position further separates them from the Caribbean cluster, and it is often noted that, unlike many of the Caribbean islands, they were not produced through a volcanic process. Despite this, The Bahamas has a distinct Caribbean character, in large part because of shared characteristics with other Caribbean islands in terms of climate, history, and other areas. In addition, The Bahamas has strong ties to the other member states of the Caribbean Community and to the many Caribbean organizations with which it is affiliated (CARICOM).
5. Taino Indians were the islands’ original inhabitants.
Bahamian Taino Indians
Soul Ray/Shutterstock.com is credited with this image.
Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola, and the northern Lesser Antilles all had indigenous Taino populations, and it is believed that these people were the first to occupy The Bahamas. The Lucayan people, who are descended from the Taino, settled the islands long before Christopher Columbus or any other famous explorers arrived. Years after Columbus’s arrival, the Lucayans were brought into captivity, altering the island permanently. There were no Taino Indians still living in The Bahamas by the year 1520.
The Bahamas, like any other travel location, has a lot to teach tourists. You can spend as much time as you like lounging on a white-sand beach, or you can get deep into the islands’ pirate past; either way, you’ll come to know the islands and everything for which they’re famous.