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Bahamas Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated May 2022

Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things to Do in Bahamas
Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things to Do in Bahamas

Welcome to The Bahamas

Swim in turquoise waters, explore historic cultural sites and colorful markets, and indulge in exotic seafood delicacies in the epic paradise that is The Bahamas! This Caribbean destination has something for everyone, whether you’re a single wanting to get away, a couple needing quality time to connect, or a family seeking adventure. With 700 islands and 2,500 cays, the opportunities are endless! Unwind, explore, and pamper yourself on your next vacation to The Bahamas!

Bahamas Map

Bahamas Map

Contents

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Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things To Do In Bahamas

A Bit Of History

Some of the earliest peoples in The Bahamas were the Lucayan people who thrived on the islands for hundreds of years until Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. Around 1700, pirates began to use the hundreds of islands as hiding places for their treasure and seized control of the lands, especially around Nassau. The Spanish and French also established a presence in the region but were eventually overpowered by the British, and The Bahamas became a Crown Colony in 1718. The British put an end to piracy as well and over the following centuries, The Bahamas flourished. American colonists arriving in Eleuthera stimulated the economy, and the islands became a hotspot for trade during the Civil War and Prohibition era. In 1973, The Bahamas became a free country, ending over 300 years of British rule.

Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things To Do In Bahamas

The Bahamas Today

The Bahamas have been a thriving tourist destination since 1898. The tourist economy began during the Prohibition era, when wealthy Americans sought out the islands as an escape from the government’s restrictions. Today, thousands of people travel from all over the world to experience the countless attractions The Bahamas has to offer.

Where are The Bahamas?

Bahamas Caribbean Map

click map to enlarge

The Bahamas are an archipelago of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets that stretch over 500 miles in the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are located north of Cuba, northwest of the Dominican Republic and the Turks & Caicos and southeast Florida.

Best Time to Visit The Bahamas

Temperatures range from the high 70s to high 80s year-round in The Bahamas. However, there are dry and wet seasons. The Atlantic hurricane season is the most disruptive and something all travelers should be aware of.

December to April

Mid-December to Mid-April is the best time to travel to The Bahamas. The weather is perfect during this time, but this also means more tourists and higher prices.

May to November

While you may be able to find a great deal during the months of May to November, you do risk having your trip canceled or cut short as this is the region’s hurricane season. The rainfall is also the highest during these months, which can make most outdoor activities difficult.

How to Get to The Bahamas & Around

There are a few ways to get to and around The Bahamas.

Arrival by Air

The main airport in The Bahamas is the Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport. Many American and Canadian airlines have direct flights to this airport from major cities. There are also transfers through Caribbean Air that can carry visitors to smaller islands.

By Cruise

There are several different cruise lines that offer stops in The Bahamas, such as Norwegian Sky, Mariner of the Seas, and Disney Dream.

Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things To Do In Bahamas

Getting Around by Car

Many people get around the larger islands by renting a car or taxi. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, then renting a car may be worth it. However, if you only plan on leaving your resort every few days, taking a taxi may save you some money.

Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things To Do In Bahamas

Getting Around by Bus

The local public transportation, known as Jitney Buses, travel to select parts of some of the islands. However, they are not known for being the most punctual, so consider another mode of transportation if you are on a tight schedule.

Bahamas Visitors Guide: The Best Things To Do In Bahamas

Water Taxis & Ferries

Water taxis can be used as transport from Nassau to Paradise Island. There is also an inter-island ferry that goes from Nassau to Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Islands, the Abacos, Long Island, Andros, and the Exumas.

Things to Do in The Bahamas

Bahamas's Top Highlights

The Bahamas really do have something for everyone in your party!  Here are just a few of the activities to enjoy in The Bahamas.

1. Visit the World-Famous Beaches

The Bahamas have some of the most amazing beaches in the world. Two of the most notable are Cable Beach in Nassau and the pink beaches of Harbour Island. The pink beaches get their pink color from an organism with a reddish-pink shell, known as foraminifera. Cable Beach, on the other hand, has white sand, turquoise waters, and an abundance of colorful fish. Many islands have incredible secluded beaches like the one in North Exuma pictured above.

  Take a look at this Oasis Ocean Rose Island Charter.

  Check out this private tour budget option!

2. Go Boating!

Sail. Catamaran. Kayak. There are so many ways to get out on the water in The Bahamas. Hire a private charter to go snorkeling at Pearl Island, private beaching at Rose Island, and take a swim with native sea turtles at Green Cay. Join a sunset dinner cruise and enjoy a Caribbean cruise ON the Caribbean! Or head out for a day of sport fishing. There are several different tours that visitors can book. Shop around once you arrive, or book in advance here

  Take a look at this highly rated sunset dinner cruise from Nassau.

  Charter a fishing boat for the day!

3. Enjoy the Epic Diving and Snorkeling

There are numerous islands that offer fantastic diving and snorkeling in The Bahamas. Grand Bahama Island is one of the best, with glassy blue waters and up to 200 feet of unique coral reef. Paradise Cove is a great option if you are looking to snorkel directly off the beach. The small and secluded Rose Island is also renowned for its bustling reef abundant with tropical fish and shipwrecks. This island has no formal infrastructure, but can be easily accessed from Nassau or Paradise Island. There are also several guided snorkeling tours available throughout the islands, such as Pear Island Beach Full-day Snorkeling with Lunch tour.

  Snorkeling options abound in the Bahamas. Book one of these amazing snorkeling tours to swim with turtles, sharks, or the famous Bahamian swimming pigs!

  Take a look at these great scuba diving tours in the Bahamas.

  Check out this Snorkeling The Spanish Well tour or this Swimming With Turtles on Rose Island tour.

4. Explore the National Parks

There are over 30 national parks in The Bahamas. Abaco National Park is a birdwatcher’s delight, known to be an ideal location to spot the Bahama parrot or white-crowned pigeon (pictured above). One of the most frequented and unique national parks is the Lucayan, where visitors can explore six miles of underwater caves and tunnels. Another popular location is the Clifton Heritage National Park, which features hiking trails, caves, old plantations, and beaches for snorkeling. For the true nature-lover seeking a rustic outdoor adventure, Primeval Forest National Park offers an undisturbed forest featuring caverns and sinkholes that are accessed by boardwalks, steps, and bridges.

  Take a look at this amazing Clifton Heritage National Park tour or this awesome Bonefish National Park Kayaking tour.

5. Visit the Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera Island

The Glass Window Bridge is known as the “narrowest place on earth”. This man-made bridge got its name from a 1895 painting by the artist Winslow Homer. Here, visitors can see the deep Atlantic Ocean meet the calm turquoise waters of the Bahamas.

6. Dine at Arawak Cay for a Foodie’s Delight

Arawak Cay, located on West Bay Street in Nassau, and is one of the most popular Bahamian restaurants in the region. The establishment has been nicknamed “The Fish Fry” and offers many seafood delicacies such as shrimp, lobster, fried snapper (pictured above), and conch. Make sure to wash your food down with some Kalik, “the beer of The Bahamas.”

  There are several great food tour options in the Bahamas. Check out this Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural walking tour.

  Take a look at this great Nassau Rum and Food walking tour perfect for those wanting to taste their way around Nassau.

7. Island Hop to Blue Lagoon Island or Harbour Island

Make sure you enjoy all that The Bahamas have to offer by island hopping! Some great locales outside of Nassau are Blue Lagoon and Harbour Island. Blue Lagoon Island is famous for its playful dolphins that often interact with their visitors by pushing them through the water with their snouts. Harbour Island, on the other hand, is famous for its pink sand beach (pictured above), which many say is one of the best beaches in the world.

  Check out this amazing Private Half-Day Island Hopping Getaway.

  Take a look at these great Blue Lagoon Segway tour or this Blue Lagoon Island Beach Day tour.

8. Browse the Farmers' Markets and John Waltings Distillery

A great place to meet some locals is at the farmer’s market! A popular option is Nassau’s Straw Market which has been around since the 1940s and offer food, woven straw goods, and souvenirs. The Doongalik Farmer’s Market is also highly recommended, offering local fruits, veggies, and even sorbets. After enjoying the farmers markets, you can walk over to John Watling’s Distillery which produces small-batch rum and is located in an 18th century estate.

  Check out this fun Rum Reggae and Rhythm Tour that takes you to John Watling’s Distillery.

9. Tour the Art Galleries

There are many highly acclaimed art galleries throughout The Bahamas for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular are Leo’s Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (pictured above), and Sandpiper Arts and Crafts. Window shop and enjoy the craftsmanship, or purchase a one-of-a-kind piece as a keepsake!

10. Eat Conch!

You can’t visit The Bahamas without trying the national food: conch. This shellfish has a texture similar to squid and can be steamed, fried, or served raw. Visitors can enjoy this tropical delicacy in a conch salad (pictured above), fritter, chowder, and even a sandwich. If you’re interested in sampling the best foods The Bahamas has to offer, consider booking Nassau Bites and Sites Food and Cultural Tour or Nassau’s Island Food Tour.

  Take a look at this amazing Conch Cooking Lesson and Tasting.

  ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

When going on vacation in the time of Covid, Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Most of the current policies cover Covid medical issues as well as vacation delays due to Covid. They typically even cover your hotel if you test positive while on vacation and have to extend your trip a few days until you get a negative test. Our visitors almost unanimously choose a Trawick International Safe Travels plan which was a Forbes top-rated travel insurance plan of 2021. Easily compare the different Trawick, Generali and other top travel insurance plans here.

Where to Stay in The Bahamas

There are all types of accommodations in The Bahamas. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to hostels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our Bahamas Hotel Guide or our Bahamas All Inclusive Resort Guide.

The Best Bahamas Hotels: Ocean West Boutique Hotel, Nassau

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our Bahamas Hotel Guide

What to Eat in The Bahamas

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat in the Bahamas. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our Bahamas Restaurant Guide.

The Best Bahamas Restaurants: Brigadier’s Restaurant, Andros

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our Bahamas Restaurant Guide

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