|There are over 700
islands in The Bahamas, several of which have escaped the notice
of tourists. The islands offer sandy beaches and
clear warm water. Many are relatively large, please
see our individual descriptions for a description of some of these,
but others are tiny and uninhabited. All the larger main islands
offer a high standard of accommodation and leisure facilities.
The capital of The Bahamas is Nassau, and stands
on New Providence Island. In the capital, tourists can shop in the
busy straw market, where local vendors create unique straw goods
on the spot, or the more sophisticated shops in Bay Street. The
18th century Fort Charlotte on West Bay Street has a moat, open
battlements, dungeons and a stunning view of the harbour. The nearby
Ardastra Gardens have tropical flowers and pink flamingos.
The Queen’s Staircase, at the top of Elizabeth Avenue, is
a 40 metre (102 feet) climb up steps carved into the limestone leading
to Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower.
For Fincastle was built in 1793 and is in the shape of a ship’s
bow. The Water Tower is the highest point on the island, 85 metres
(216 feet) above sea level. An elevator takes visitors to an observation
deck for panoramic views.
Numerous bars, restaurants and
discos can be found along Cable Beach, a 2.5 mile
long stretch of golden sand, located just 3 miles outside the city.
Paradise Island boasts some beautiful beaches, a 14 acre aquarium,
34 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens, the Caribbean's largest
casino and a massive amount of resorts. Sunbathing, fishing, diving
and boating are the main daytime amusements on these islands. The
Bahamas National Trust is also based here.
Only 52 miles off the Florida coast, this island is extremely popular.
Lucayan National Park (there are 40 acres to sample
here) and Peterson Cay National Park are both worth
a visit. The major towns are Freeport / Lucaya, which has an airport,
and West End. The island offers wide white sandy beaches, 2 casinos
and good shopping facilities, entertainment and restaurants at the
International Bazaar and Port Lucaya.
Memorial Nature Centre offers a brilliant nature walk and
the Garden of the Groves has exotic flowers, waterfalls and colourful
birds. A focal point of any trip here will be to watch the semi
wild dolphins gliding and soaring in Sanctuary Bay. There are also
8 acres of pristine white sand for the traveller to relax upon and
observe the waters lapping this versatile island.
The Out Islands stretch across a huge area of clear ocean and are
fringed with 100's of kilometres of white sandy beaches, and peppered
with authentic fishing villages. This is mammoth
archipelago is twice the size of Spain. The islands have resort
facilities for groups of up to 200 people and are ideal for a relaxed
and secluded holiday. Though secluded, the islands are not isolated,
and are served by the national flag carrier, Bahamasair, from Nassau
and Freeport. The main Out Islands are described further below.
Andros is the largest but probably the least known of the bigger
islands. Laced with creeks and densely forested
inland, the interior is still largely undamaged and natural. Off
the eastern shore is the 224 kilometres (140 mile) long coral barrier
reef, the world’s 3rd longest. Beyond the reef,
the ocean floor drops away steeply to a depth of more than 1.5 kilometres
(1 mile), called the Tongue of the Ocean, deep water fishing is
a major attraction here. Captain Bill's Blue Hole
is an attraction, 180 feet deep, 440 feet wide in diameter. In Congo
Town is the popular and world famous StarGate Blue Hole where Indian
skulls were discovered in the early 1990's.
A 120 mile long, crescent shaped necklace of islands to the north
of New Providence, where several of the towns have the atmosphere
of New England fishing villages. The islands are
mainly noted for their tradition of shipbuilding, the original 200
year old practice that can still be observed in Man-O-War Cay. Treasure
Cay has an brilliant golf course and here, as in the other major
islands, there are excellent leisure facilities.
Other attractions include Green Turtle Cay, Alton
Lowe’s Museum in New Plymouth, Elbow Cay and Marsh Harbour,
the bare boat charter centre of the northern Bahamas. Scuba divers
are drawn to Pelican Cay National Park, an underwater preserve where
night dives can be organised.
A narrow island 177 kilometres (110 miles) long
but seldom more than 3 kilometres (2 miles) wide. Attractions include
the Glass Window Bridge, Ocean Hole, Harbour Island (with Dunmore
Town, 1 of the oldest settlements in The Bahamas), Spanish Wells,
off the northern tip of the island, Preacher’s Cave and the
underwater caves at Hatchet Bay.
itself is 3 miles long by a half mile wide, boasting pink sandy
beaches. It is an upscale part of Eleuthera that generally attracts
newlyweds and couples in love
seeking privacy. There are chic restaurants and good but not chaotic
nightlife, geared towards those who enjoy sipping rum cocktails
while overlooking the ocean. The scuba diving from Eleuthera is
predominantly superb. The island is characterised
by pineapple plantations and colonial villages.
The waters surrounding this 160 kilometre (100 mile) long chain
of islands have been described by yachtsmen as being the finest
cruising region in the world. There are also pristine cays
and stunning reefs protected by the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park,
accessible by boat only. It is a 176 mile park of beauty, with exceptional
marine life. Inland, many once great plantation houses
now stand ruined and deserted, although the names of their owners
still live on in many local family surnames. In April, Elizabeth
Harbour is the setting for the Family Island Regatta.
1 of the eastern bulwarks of The Bahamas, Cat Island has 60 metre
(200 feet) cliffs (a rare height for The Bahamas), dense natural
forest and pre-Columbian Arawak Indian caves. The
Hermitage (which was built by Father Jerome) stands on Mount Alvernia,
where the Cat Island Regatta takes place during the August bank
holiday. This is the destination for total seclusion, surrounded
by pink sand beaches and cerulean waters.
Lying between Florida and Andros,
with the gulf stream running either side, Bimini is widely regarded
as 1 of the best fishing centres in the world. Hemingway used to
live in Alice Town in Blue Marlin Cottage, and reminders of his
life can be seen in the local museum.
The Berry Islands are popular with fishing enthusiasts and are also
noted for serene landscapes and white sand
beaches, every visitor here probably thinks of it as their
own private paradise. Great Harbour Cay has a marina and a championship
golf course. Scuba divers can admire the underwater rock formations
and 5 metres (15 feet) staghorn coral reefs off Mamma Rhoda Rock.
Blue Lagoon Island
An exotic lagoon where visitors can enjoy close
encounters with welcoming bottle nosed dolphins. Regular 45 minute
sessions consist of an educational talk and about 30 minutes of
swimming in the water with the dolphins.
This island certainly lives up to its name, being almost 100 kilometres
(60 miles) long but rarely more than 5 kilometres (3 miles) wide.
The landscape consists of fertile pastureland, rugged headlands
dropping sharply down to the sea, rolling hills and sandy beaches
washed by surf.
At Conception Island, divers can investigate over
30 shipwrecks and tours are arranged from the Stella Maris Resort
Club at the north end of the island. The Long Island Regatta at
Salt Pond takes place in May. Attractions include
Hamilton's Cave, and the deepest blue hole around, at 600 feet into
the ocean floor, Dean's Blue Hole lies just offshore. For visitors
seeking refreshments, Max's Conch Bar & Grill has become a kind
of tourist attraction in its own right. And remember, this is the
land of that tasty drink, the Long Island Iced Tea.
This was Columbus' 1st landing place in the New
World and is truly 1 for the nature enthusiast, for those who enjoy
bird watching, a variety of birds populate this island. Cockburn
Town is the main settlement, which is not far from
the spot where Columbus is said to have landed, however other sites
also claim this distinction. Diving and game fishing and are the
most popular pastimes.