Many vacation resorts call themselves a paradise – not always truly so. The Bahamas, or so called “Out Islands”, have a paradise to offer for those seeking recreation, relaxation, and a sunny beach vacation. For water sport enthusiasts, divers, and fishermen, it is already an established haven, but golfers will also find golf courts galore here.
The Bahamas are located approximately 80 km’s south east of Florida and 100 km’s north of Cuba.
At least 700 islands and 2,400 coral reefs, so called Cays, are said to be located here. Only 30 are inhabited though, and only 15 have been developed to suit tourism. If in past days, the Bahamas were considered a travel destination for the American money aristocracy, nowadays it offers fantastic vacation destinations for “normal” tourists as well.
The two most important cities are the capital Nassau and Freeport.
Nassau is located in the New Province and enchants visitors with its neat, picturesque city and small, colorful markets. In the Straw Market or in the shopping mile Bay Street visitors can find beautiful souvenirs.
The city library of Nassau doesn’t just contain old prints, maps, and photographs, but also valuable art treasures depicting the traditional, historic crafts of the Arawak Indians. Furthermore, the city offers beautiful historic and gorgeous buildings such as the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church or the Government House.
Particularly exclusive cuisine is offered at the legendary Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant. Built in the year 1742 by a famous and infamous pirate, it is set in the heart of Nassau, surrounded by a tropical, green garden. The historic building houses a first class restaurant, a wine cellar with approximately 170,000 bottles of fine spirits in store, as well as a cigar manufacturer.
Only a half hour flight from Nassau by the national air line Bahamasair, numerous islands can be reached. Many hotel keepers own their own, small air planes.
Also starting at Nassau, the high-speed catamaran Bo Hengy takes visitors to Harbour Island in two hours. Here, the pink sand beaches can be seen.
Freeport is a very young and modern city. Particularly young people find its exciting night life worth experiencing.
Passionate sport fishermen can make use of the excellent fishing grounds off Bimini and catch some large salt water fish (i.e. Marlin).
The unique Exuma Cays National Land and Sea Park is breathtaking. It was established in 1959 as the first national park of the country and is only reachable by water way. 15 large and smaller cliffs are found here. Snorkeling and diving around the third largest reef in the world, the Barrier Reef of Andros is a fantastic experience here. The so called “Blue Holes”, which make the entrance to the cave system, are a much liked place of exploration by divers.
The park is also home to rock iguanas up to 1,80 m in length (Bahamas Dragons) and huge land crabs.
The island Eleuthera is over 170 km’s long, but only 3 meters in its widest point. Here, visitors can see the Hatchet Bay under water caves. A diving tour into the dark depths of the grottas, which at times are scary and other times are enchanting, give divers one of a kind impressions.
The Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama contains the longest surveyed under water cave system in the world. It also offers pine forests, mangrove swamps, and sand dunes.
The fantastic sailing region around Abaco invites to play with wind and waves.
The Bahamas are home to 109 different bird species and over 120 different plant species.
The Island of Great Inagua with Inagua National Park is, thanks to its 60,000 Flamingos at Windsor Lake, also referred to as Pink Lake. It is one of the largest breeding grounds in the western hemisphere for these birds.
Rare and almost extinct bird species, such as the Bahamas Parrot or the seldom seen Sea Swallow, are home in the Bahamas.
Under water Angel Fish, Barracudas, Groupers, and many other ocean inhabitants, make their rounds, while dolphins play near the ocean surface.
Visitors wishing to see the Out Islands should do so by boat. The Bahamas offer sail boats and yachts of all sizes for hire.
Those who wish to get around a bit faster may engage the services of a 900 hp boat which will reach the Exuma Cays in only half an hour.