Bahamas is one of the most popular and visited beach destinations in the world; its economy primarily relies on its hotel industry and tourism in general. It supports more than half the economy of the country and provides employment to hundreds of people in the country.
The Bahamas archipelago comprises 700 low-lying islands, mostly islets (cays or keys), rocks and atolls; it extends 970 kilometers southeastward of Florida. Its turquoise, crystal waters guest amazing underwater gardens and wildlife on the world's third longest barrier reef; it contains near 14.5% of the coral on the planet. From exotic flowers to sandy beaches and rugged shoreline to barren savannahs, Bahamas has something to offer every visitor.
The weather in Bahamas is almost constant. The lowest temperatures are recorded in September – May (around 21-24°C); the rest of the year the temperatures remain consistent (27-29°C); after dark the temperatures drop about 5°C. The rainy season starts between May and November, with the hurricane season starting in June. Nevertheless, over 300 days of sunshine are registered every year in Bahamas.
The official language in Bahamas is English, nevertheless Bahamian patois is widespread.
Jitney Minibus is the easiest and cheapest way to move around Bahamas, especially around the downtown area of Nassau. Being the most popular way of transport in Bahamas, Jitney Minibus connects the airports with hotel areas.
If you want to explore the island where you stopped, than renting a car is what you need. Note that in Bahamas you should drive on the left site of the road and that rental rates are high, this besides the fact that roads are usually in poor condition.
Opt for cabs only if you are in a hurry. Most of the cabs are in tough condition, and remembering that the roads are usually in poor condition, your journey can turn into a bumpy one.
If you want to explore the nearby islands than you must take the water taxi or plane. Both ways to island-hop are expensive. Bahamsair flies from Nassau to a number of airports in the Bahamas and surrounding areas. Water taxis provide short services between Nassau and Paradise Island, Andros, Abacos, Eleuthera and the Exumas islands.
Where to stay
It’s not very hard to find a hotel to meet your desires in Bahamas. Either you are looking for cheap prices, comfort, entertainment, facilities, cuisine, atmosphere or all together, Bahamas has them all: from family run hotels to home comforts and from simple island chic to business hotels.
A popular tourist hotel attraction is the Paradise Island located off the cost of Nassau city and hosting a number of Paradise Island Bahamas hotels among which Atlantis Paradise Hotel is the most popular. Its Bridge Suite between the two Royal Towers costs US$25,000 for one night, has become the icon of the Atlantis. It offers different resorts having different facilities, amnesties and features for different rates. The Atlantis hotel has different resort towers such as Beach Tower, Coral Tower and Royal Tower. You can book your room in one of these resorts and visit other towers and enjoy its facilities such as restaurants, water parks, water activities, recreational parks and beach resorts. You can reach the Atlantis Hotel through a number of ways among which traveling through the road is the cheapest. You can arrive at Nassau sea port through a cruise and travel to the Paradise Island thorough the Atlantis Bridge.
If the rates of Atlantis are a bit too expensive for you then you can still find an excellent Bahamas hotel Nassau such as the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant located in the Nassau city. If you are arriving to Bahamas through a cruise you can directly reach the hotel as Nassau has a cruise sea port where all major cruises dock. Bahamas has a rich, unique and historical culture formed due to its isolation from other countries because of its location. At Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant you will feel the Bahamas’ culture and style in a luxurious way. The suites and guest rooms are carefully designed to give guests the taste of Bahamas lifestyle. The hotel is also surrounded by greenery and is located at a walking distance from National Art Gallery, Pirate Museum and the Government House, and a few blocks away from Bahamas Downtown. You also have excellent comfort and leisure amenities such as spa and sauna, touring service and outdoor pools.
Another affordable Bahamas hotel Nassau located just a few streets away on the Nassau St. is the Nassau Palm Hotel from where the Junkanoo Beach is just across the street but you still get a view of the sea. It is a pleasant, charming and relaxing hotel for budget tourists. There are fewer amenities and facilities compared to other bigger hotels in Nassau but if you are on a budget and want to spend some good time in Bahamas it is a great place to stay. Nassau Palm Hotel has an outdoor pool, restaurant and bar, comfortable and cozy guestrooms, a splendid view of the sea, access to a fitness club and other in-room amenities for an affordable price.
But if you are willing to spend a few more hundreds of dollars then Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino would be a good choice for you. Sheraton is a chain of hotels having branches all over the world including Bahamas. The hotel is located on 1 West Bay Street in Nassau with the sea located few meters away which you can clearly see from your guest room balcony and outdoor pool. The lounge, reception and interior of Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino are excellent and superbly designed with elegant and simple colors and decorations. This Bahamas hotel Nassau is ideal for tourists with a fair budget who are looking for a comfortable stay. The Cable beach resort is just meters away and you can easily reach there by walking and enjoy the white sand beach. The hotel also has excellent amnesties such as multiple outdoor pools, comfortable beds and in-room furniture, patios to enjoy the weather, free internet access and much more.
Places to see
- Christ Church Cathedral is an old superb church located in Nassau. It is considered to be the Mother Church of all of the Anglican churches in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Its delicate architecture with stone embedded memorials of previous parishioners and colorfully stained-glass windows is ready to amaze even the most demanding expert. The present edifice was erected in 1841 and is the fifth church that stands on this spot. The original church was built in 1670 by Lord Proprietors and was the first church built in The Bahamas.
- Lucayan National Park is the most picturesque and popular of the three national parks on the Grand Bahama. It is spread over an area of 40 acres and boasts a rich collection of palm and pine trees, mangrove, soft sandy beaches, the spectacular Gold Rock Creek and two underwater limestone caves one of which is among the longest on the planet. Note that you must spend at least 4-5 hours to explore the beauty of Lucayan National Park.
- Fort Fincastle is situated just several streets away from the Nassau Parliament Square. It is about 38,5 meters high and can be seen from everywhere in the town. Don't miss to climb up there and enjoy the spectacular views of the entire landscape. There are some authentic cannons, which reveal the charm of the Fort and can tell you more about its history which starts in 1793 when Lord Dunsmore ordered its building. The main purpose was to protect the island against invaders. Nevertheless, its garrison never fired a shot in anger.
- Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is located remote nearby Cistern Cay and boasts one of the richest marine lives in the whole world; thousands of sea turtles, colourful reefs and dozens of fish species create a unique ambient in water. The turquoise blue waters that feature excellent visibility (over 100 ft) are excellent for practicing diving snorkeling and swimming. There are also many miles of hiking trails best for biking in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
- Blue Lagoon Island is located nearby Nassau, just a few miles northeast of the Paradise Island Golf Course. The crystal clear waters and coconut palms on the beach create the perfect place to spend a whole day or even a whole vacation. Besides lying under a laid-back shadow, on a hammock and enjoying the serenity and peace, you can practice your favorite water sport (snorkeling, scuba diving, boating) and swim with dolphins or sea lions.
- Paradise Island is situated north of Nassau and is recognized worldwide due to its natural beauty, not in vain it is called Paradise Island. Its luxury waterfront houses, soft sandy beaches and marinas will make you enter the Paradise. As mentioned above, Paradise Island hosts one of the most expensive accommodations in the world; it is about the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Not everyone can afford to book a guest room here, but the vistas to the spectacular towers and their water park are a must see. Paradise Island is also a real paradise for golfers, as nearly one third of the island is covered by the Paradise Island Golf Course.
Things to do
- Beaches. As mentioned above, The Bahamas is one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. Its relatively small land mass belies the sheer quantity of its beachfront. All the beaches are gorgeous with soft almost white sand and shallow transparent water for hundreds of yards out to sea; each of them offers you both possibilities for lying and practicing water sports. Diving, boating, water-skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, snorkeling, fishing, sailing mixed with a number of seaside restaurants and beach clubs will keep you entertained all day long. The most popular beaches are the Cabbage beach dotted with tropical trees and Cable beach with gentle waves perfect for families with children.
- Snorkeling at Peterson Cay is a tiny sun-drenched island located about a mile away from the Grand Bahama. It is a real paradise for snorkeling lovers who come here to enjoy this amazing water sport from around the world. You can take a day-trip to Peterson Cay where you will snorkel among the coral gardens and shallow limestone reefs. Colorful flittering tropical fish, sting rays, sea fans and barracudas will accompany you everywhere!
- Diving in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Although diving can be practiced almost everywhere in The Bahamas, there is a place that will cut your breath. This place has a name: Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. This remote paradise stretches over 35 kilometers and boasts some of the most colorful sea gardens, coral reefs and underwater caves in the Caribbean. Diving is amazing here! The underwater world with its reach marine life just waits to be discovered.
- Tour Historic Nassau. Don’t think that Bahamas is all about nature and distractions, no! This country boasts also rich history, culture, architecture and traditions. Learn about all of these and even more on a historic tour of Nassau. You will have the great opportunity to climb the 18th-century Queen’s Staircase to Fort Fincastle, walk around the largest fort in The Bahamas: Fort Charlotte and admire the government building which dates back to 18th-century. Also you will visit Nassau Public Library and Museum which were built in the late 18th-century, and the Royal Victoria Hotel. Those in love with culture must visit the Pompey Museum where will see an impressive collection of Arawak artifacts.
- Port Lucaya Marketplace is the real paradise for shoppers. It is located on Grand Bahama Island and guests more than 80 stores, restaurants and bars. The most popular purchases are jewelry and duty-free perfume. But there can be found everything from from local crafts and clothing to international designer labels. Besides shopping and wonderful places to eat, Port Lukaya Marketplace offers nighttime entertainment including music, dancing and street performers. There are also many activities for children including horse-drawn carriage rides, hair braiding, dance and music lessons, etc.
- Swimming with dolphins can be enjoyed on several Bahamian islands. But interacting with dolphins in one of the largest dive programs in the Caribbean is possible only at UNEXSO on Grand Bahama Island. The dolphin sanctuary is located about 20 minute ferry ride along the south shore of Grand Bahama Island, inside a canal from the ocean. Visitors should notice that dolphins are not prisoners, but they are actually there voluntarily. Besides observing the dolphins, participate in a swim with them, sign up for an assistant trainer program or experience scuba diving with the dolphins in open water, you are allowed to photograph the dolphins.
How to spend money
- No braids. Hair braiding is very popular in Bahamas, but if you are on budget trip, don’t try to bride your hair, because it’s very expensive. This issue concerns both women and men. You will spend no less than $2 per bride and about $100 for the whole head.
- Book packages. You will save a lot of money if you will book package tours, flights, buses and other logistical issues at one.
- Stay put. Try to visit only one or two islands when traveling to Bahamas; island hopping whether it's water taxi or sea plane, is very expensive. Choose the island that’s most interesting to you and offers many possibilities of spending your time and stay there.
When to go
- May – November. The best time of year to get great bargains and best Bahamas Hotel deals is to plan your visit between May and November when is the off-season. During this period occurs the rainy season and the hurricane season as well, but there is no cause for panic. Hurricanes are not characteristic to Bahamas, they are very rare, and when one does come, satellite forecasts give advance warning so that precautions can be taken. Save up to 60% off Bahamas hotels from July to November. Although, several islands close during this period, New Providence, Grand Bahama and Paradise Island are open year-round. We advise you to choose June, a month which offers not only decent weather but good prices and fewer crowds.
- December – February. During winter months, Bahamas is the busiest. Most hotels are booked well in advance, the prices are high for everything and you will have to wait in line for everything; the weather is superb instead! If you decided to visit Bahamas during this period, be sure to book your hotel, car, airline tickets, etc by at least three months before.
- March – April. This period of time is very-very distinct; it is the spring-break season in the whole Caribbean for vacationing pupils and students. Beach parties, sports events, and musical entertainment are everywhere, even in the streets and in hotels which host big groups of children. If this will not bother you, go ahead! The weather is fine and the prices as well.