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  • Last Updated: 06th October 2016

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Bahamas

Located to the southeast of Florida and above Cuba, the island nation of the Bahamas consists of 700 islands and upwards of 2,400 cays. With its balmy, tropical climate, palm-fringed beaches and intensely blue waters, the islands of the Bahamas are like living postcards.

You’d be forgiven for spending at least some of your time in the Bahamas lazing on a beach and drinking cocktails. However, there’s also no shortage of things to see and do – and with so many islands to choose from, you won’t run out of places to explore.

Sea, sun and sand

The Bahamas include some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. A few of the most stunning include:

- Gold Rock Beach, with calm waters and a long stretch of white sand, in Lucayan National Park.

- On Harbour Island, Pink Sands Beach, with powder-soft sand that really is pink due to the presence of microscopic marine animals known as foraminifera.

- The pristine Lighthouse Beach on Eleuthera and, also with pink sand and well out of the way of crowds, magnificent French Leave Beach.

As well as spending time on the beaches, you can visit the magnificent, uninhabited cays of Exuma by boat or kayak, experience some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world, swim with dolphins and, on Little San Salvador Island, even swim (perfectly safely) with large numbers of wild stingrays.

Off the beach

After spending time on a beach, you can enjoy the markets and cosmopolitan pleasures of the capital city, Nassau, on the island of New Providence. A popular attraction here is the Pirates of Nassau Museum.

You can also party until dawn at a casino resort, soak up the local music and culture, visit local museums and churches or play golf at one of many attractive golf resorts.

Rich history

During a stay on the islands, you can learn about the fascinating history of the Bahamas, from before and after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. The islands’ turbulent history features tales of piracy, the slave trade, colonisation by the British and, after the American War of Independence, settlement by Loyalists.

The Bahamas is interesting in that in the 1800s, it became a known refuge for freed slaves. Today over 85% of the country’s population is of African descent.

In more recent history, the Bahamas has attracted many notable figures. Today you can visit the places where Ernest Hemingway lived and Martin Luther King wrote his acceptance speech for the Nobel peace prize.

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Bahamas highlights not to miss

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    Charter a sailboat and explore the 160 kilometre-long stretch of magnificent, uninhabited islands and cays around Exuma.

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    Swim, snorkel or dive at Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the world’s deepest marine hole; the surrounding waters are shallow and ideal for paddling, as well as encountering interesting marine animals, from stingrays to sea turtles.

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    On Paradise Island, enjoy the sprawling water park, pools, aquarium and casinos at the Atlantis mega-resort – and take time to visit the remains of the cloisters of a 14th-century French monastery.

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    If you arrive on a Disney cruise ship, as many visitors to the Bahamas do, enjoy a barbecue,pretty beaches and entertainment on Disney’s very own Bahaman island, Castaway Cay.

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    Be in Nassau for the annual Junkanoo, an extremely colourful street parade featuring traditional music and dance, on 26 December and 1 January.

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    With such stunning places of natural beauty the island has a number of national parks, with Yala National Park being particularly amazing. Filled with wildlife, you can experience crocodiles, snow leopards, peacocks, elephants and much more alongside the beautifully relaxing landscape.