The natural beauty of the Bahamas, with tropical emerald islands dotted across turquoise waters, is unrivalled. No matter where you head in this island nation, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to glorious beaches and magnificent sunsets. Throw in the turbulent but fascinating history of the Bahamas, great food, world-class hotels and resorts, and friendly people with a unique culture, and it’s easy to see why the Bahamas is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations.
With over 700 islands and innumerable cays and islets, there's definitely no shortage of places to explore in the Bahamas. Here we provide an overview of key attractions on four of the island nation’s largest and most popular islands.
The island of New Providence is home to charming Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas and the economic and political hub of the country. Downtown Nassau combines 18th Century British colonial buildings with modern shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and bars.
A popular attraction, especially for those with children, is the Pirates of Nassau Museum, just across from the British Colonial Hilton. Here you can relive the days of piracy on the high seas, enjoying a fun and educational break from the tropical heat. Next door to the museum and well worth a visit is Christ Church Cathedral, with its beautiful wooden ceilings and stained glass.
The beaches of New Providence rival the best beaches on other islands, but with the added advantage of easy access to urban comforts. Most popular is the highly developed stretch of coastline known as Cable Beach, consisting of multiple beaches and several popular resorts, hotels and restaurants. For a more peaceful beach experience, try beautiful Old Fort Beach in western New Providence.
For something far from the madding crowds, visit Clifton Heritage National Land and Sea Park, a protected park area that features excellent nature trails, historical ruins and practically deserted beaches.
Last but not least, a major attraction on New Providence is the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino. This mega-resort features a sprawling water park with exhilarating mile-long water rides, as well as a world-class aquarium and a popular casino.
Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to the United States. Lying just 80 or so kilometres from the coast of Florida, it’s a popular gateway to the Bahamas. Bimini includes two main islands, North Bimini Island and South Bimini Island, as well as a large number of cays. During the days of prohibition, rum-runners made good use of the island’s convoluted coastline.
The warm waters of Bimini offer excellent snorkelling, especially at Sapona and Victoria Reef.
Bimini also offers several excellent opportunities for getting “up close and personal” with marine animals. The Bimini Sharklab is well worth a visit, and you can swim with dolphins at the highly rated Dolphins in the Wild or on a Wild Dolphin Excursion.
Both Ernest Hemingway and Martin Luther King spent time on Bimini, and you can visit the places they stayed.
Also on Bimini, you can take a dip in The Healing Hole, a pond with a fresh-water spring rich in lithium and sulphur, within the salt-water swamp mangroves of Bonefish Creek.
Eleuthera is famous for its pink-sand beaches, which owe their colour to microscopic marine animals known as foraminifera. Together with ancient coral reefs, these beaches make the island unique in the Bahamas.
French Leave Beach is easy to get to, while you might need a 4x4 to reach Lighthouse Beach, where you can see the contrasting waters of the Caribbean and the Atlantic. One of the most spectacular shows of nature's power can be seen at Glass Window, where massive waves crash through a hole in the rocks under a single-lane bridge.
Grand Bahama Island
A highlight of a visit to Grand Bahama Island is a visit to Gold Rock Beach, with its long stretch of white sand and glorious calm waters, at Lucayan National Park. The park also features caves and an interesting walk through the mangroves. Other key attractions include snorkelling around Peterson Cay, which is a small but pristine, uninhabited island surrounded by magnificent coral reefs, the peaceful Garden of the Groves, with well-kept tropical gardens and pools spanning 12 acres, and the bustling Port Lucaya Marketplace; with good restaurants and live music available at Count Basie Square.