You won’t be in this nation of islands long before you’re affirming its well-known motto, “It’s Better in the Bahamas!” Its proximity to Florida, easy access by sea or air, wealth of recreation opportunities, world class accommodations and, of course, the postcard-worthy beaches attract a steady stream of visitors, especially during the winter months in the US and Europe.
High temperatures from November into May average in the mid-70s to low-80s, and a breeze is usually blowing to keep you cool, even on sun-drenched beaches. The summer months are the rainiest and hottest, creating a tropical feel some find a bit oppressive.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is part of the massive Lucayan Archipelago comprised of 700+ islands, cays and islets. The longtime British colony gained full independence in 1973, but the UK’s influence remains strong and recognizes the English monarch as its sovereign. A majority of Bahamians trace their ancestry to freed slaves, either from slave ships or from the United States. The white minority has varied ancestry including those who remained loyal to the British throne and left the colonies during or after the American Revolution.
Life is Leisurely in the Bahamas
The people of the Bahamas are friendly to visitors, a result of the low-stress lifestyle, an average of 340 days of sun per year and the benefits enjoyed from tourism. You’ll be warmly welcomed upon your arrival and greeted daily with smiles and cheer. Here’s a taste of the local flavor you’ll discover:
- Cuisine in the Bahamas: Fishing is an important local industry, and you’ll be offered daily fresh catches including fish, shellfish, crab, lobster and conch which is the national dish of the Bahamas. Meat recipes with chicken, pork or goat are popular too, and vegetarians will find lots to choose from too. Markets and menus include tropical fruits, rice, peas and potatoes. Locally produced rum is a favorite drink, of course.
- Bahamian Music: Junkanoo, a celebratory music with ancient roots, is popular in the Bahamas along with other Afro-Caribbean genres such as calypso, soca and rake & scrape. If you’re musically adventurous, you’ll be delighted with what you hear in local bars, parks and during festivals in the Bahamas.
- Sports in the Bahamas: The leisurely populace enjoys sports, and sloop sailing is at the top of the list for participants and spectators alike. Other sporting opportunities to watch or play include beach soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, cricket, swimming, tennis and golf.
Things to Do in The Bahamas
You won’t run short of activities in The Bahamas, even if you stay a month. That’s why it makes sense to plan in advance, so you can hit the ground running and make the most of your time.
- Decompress on a Gorgeous Beach: Gold Rock Beach in Lucayan National Park is the hottest spot on the coast, so if you enjoy the excitement that a good crowd brings, this favorite Bahama beach is for you. Other top beaches in the Bahamas are Pink Sands Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Sandy Toes and Cable Beach which a recent visitor from London called, “the cleanest beach I’ve ever set foot on.”
- Dive Into the Undersea World: The shallow, warm waters off the Bahamas are ideal for snorkeling, and there are many outfitters offering equipment and lessons. A recent reviewer to Deadman’s Reef in Paradise Cove wrote, “If you skip this awesome dive, you’ve missed the best snorkeling in the Caribbean, IMO.”PADI certified scuba outfitters are available when you want to go deeper and stay down longer.
- Depart the Dock for Adventure: There much to do on the water’s surface too. Tours on sailing vessels and motorized watercraft featuring epic sunsets are among the most popular activities in the Bahamas along with fishing, surfing and windsurfing.
- Drop Into a Variety of Shops: Browsing in the Bahamas offers a break from the beach. Upscale boutiques coexist with shops Bahamians use for their daily needs, and the eclectic mix creates a fun afternoon. Jewels and jewelry, arts and crafts, mementos, clothing, items made locally from straw, fruits and vegetables, handmade cigars and specialty coffees and teas are just the beginning. Bay Street in Nassau is a wonderful place to begin your retail adventure.
- Dance the Night Away: The nightlife is energetic at resorts and casinos and in the larger towns. Clubs, lounges and beach bars offer local rum as part of their full drink menus, and it’s worth sampling.
- Dabble at This and That: Other things to do in the Bahamas include sightseeing, food tours, motorized bike tours, gambling, golfing, amusement parks, wildlife parks, museums, zoos and aquariums, so boredom isn’t an option!
Who Should Consider Visiting The Bahamas?
The Bahamas feels like middle ground between South Florida and a truly exotic location such as Anguilla. When you want great weather and a destination that offers new experiences without venturing too far out of your comfort zone, The Bahamas makes perfect sense.
The Government of the Bahamas http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/
Official Tourism of the Bahamas http://www.bahamas.com/