The Bahamas can almost seem too touristy for a lot of world travellers and adventurers. It’s an understandable perception, because the island nation is often promoted alongside places like Jamaica and Cozumel as a cruise stop or a family destination. But there’s a lot to see and do in the Bahamas that makes it a worthwhile place to visit no matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for and no matter who’s with you. It’s just a beautiful country, and nothing takes that away.
It’s actually easier to get to the Bahamas than just about anywhere else in the Caribbean. That’s partly because it’s toward the “top” of the region of islands, and also because there are three international airports (at Nassau/Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island, and the Exumas). Naturally you can also get to the Bahamas via cruise line, but that’s a whole different sort of trip that we’re not discussing here.
Another option is to take a private boat to the Bahamas, though this can be expensive and complicated. There are numerous marinas where you can dock a boat your rent for the trip (perhaps setting out from Miami if you really know what you’re doing), but you’ll still have to clear customs and immigration upon arrival. If you really want to get there by boat, you’re probably best off doing some research as to how to hitch a ride.
Enjoying The Islands
The main attraction in the Bahamas – the one you almost literally can’t miss, because it represents the entire skyline – is the Atlantis Resort. This is about as commercial as it gets, but we’ll get to it first because it is something you’ll want to check out while you’re there.
Aside from being a hotel, Atlantis is first and foremost a casino. It’s as good a counter as there is to the narrative being pushed at online gaming platforms around the world that it’s online casinos’ time to step into the limelight, because gaming here is all about atmosphere. The convenience of online gaming is undeniable, but the joys of playing games at an establishment this big, bright, and fun is also hard to ignore. Atlantis isn’t just a casino however. Among the other attractions and amenities is a gigantic water park that can be surprisingly enjoyable (though crowded).
The beaches are of course among the main attractions as well. Diving and snorkeling is good pretty much all over the island if you want a bit of activity (we might recommend renting some time on a boat to get out to sea a little ways), and several of the beaches represent the ideal Caribbean appeal. If you’re looking for a place to lounge in paradise, the Bahamas are actually one of the most convenient choices.
It’s not all resorts and relaxation though. There’s a more authentic side to the islands that’s perfect for travellers who really like to get out and experience the world. For those who like a dose of history, the Queen’s Staircase is a must-see: an 18th century stone stairway directly commissioned by Queen Victoria. And if you like to get out into nature, you can hike through the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, the Lucayan National Park, or along the Glass Window Bridge. The bridge gives you one of the most unique views in the Bahamas, on a narrow stretch of land and bridge between the Atlantic and the Exuma Sound.
If You Have Time
Getting around the islands can take time (the Bahamas aren’t as small as you might assume), and we listed quite a few things to do up above. But if you have some extra time or you’re looking for a slightly more unusual experience, here are some quick hitters:
- The Hermitage Estate – The ruins of an 18th century home on the Exumas, associated with the brief but active Bahamas slave trade; also, the remains of several tombs from the period.
- Swimming With Pigs – At the Big Major Cay, in beautiful and shallow waters
- Dean’s Blue Hole – An incredible blue hole, over 600 feet in the midst of an otherwise shallow cove
- The Mile-Long Sandbar – Another Exumas attraction, known officially as Big Farmer’s Cay Sandbar; one of the loveliest walks in the Caribbean