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Bahamas

Secluded white-sand and pink-sand beaches with the bluest waters in the world are always endearing to couples looking for a romantic escape. Wild flamingo colonies painting the horizon pink and playful dolphin pods offering a welcome kiss are just a few of the unique encounters that await families.

Airlines now offer direct flights to many of the islands in The Bahamas. Just a 45-minute flight will transport you from a hectic airport in Miami to the home of Rake & Scrape music and Junkanoo, a traditional masquerade in which paper and cardboard – are transformed into masterful works of color and creativity. The art is paraded through the streets to the pulsating and infectious sounds of goat-skin drums beating ancestral African rhythms on the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day holidays. Information on airlines flying to The Bahamas can be found their website.

You can also sail into one of our 32 ports of entry. As a boater’s paradise, we cater to every type of boating imaginable, from pleasure cruising to competitive sailing. The Abacos and The Exumas are two island chains in The Bahamas known amongst the best. It is very common for boaters to leave the 'big island' of Great Abaco on a day trip to explore the nearby cays – Elbow, Great Guana, Man-O-War or Green Turtle – for seafaring excitement, or anchor in the famous Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first of its kind in the world. Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave system in The Exumas with diverse marine species and breath-taking corals, is one of The Bahamas' most notable snorkeling spots.

Hop off your vessel right into a delicious lunch at one of the many dockside restaurants scattered across the islands. Conch is the quintessential Bahamian delicacy, eaten scorched, deep-fried, stewed and steamed. Few places in the world eat conch raw. For Bahamians, however, fresh conch salad – with diced raw conch and vegetables seasoned with salt, sour orange, pepper and lime – is the preferred choice for eating the ocean mollusk. The perfect complement to the meal is a cold Kalik or Sands beer, both homegrown brews in The Bahamas. Other Bahamian delicacies include a variety of fish and lobster dishes, cooked in our own style, peas and rice, macaroni and cheese, and for dessert you must try our Guava Duff!

There are also other charming qualities that make the on-land experience memorable in many of the islands: narrow streets, picket fences, colorful clapboard houses reminiscent of the architecture of the time in New England, plantation remains and a rich history that dates back centuries.

Diving and snorkeling are first class in The Bahamas and it is said that The Bahamas has the largest marine mammals found anywhere in the world. Andros boasts the third-largest barrier reef in the world. It is 190 miles long and plunges to more than 6,000 feet in the Tongue of the Ocean. It is unique in the region because of its large area, luxuriant coral growth and low incidence of coral disease. Blue holes, both inland and in the ocean, are another draw, as well as highly acclaimed fly-fishing flats, where bonefish are abundant.

No one can say for sure exactly how many islands are in The Islands Of The Bahamas, particularly if you factor in those tiny spits of sand that magically appear with falling tides. But best guesses put the count at about 700 islands spread out over nearly 100,000 square miles of ocean. With so much territory to cover, most visitors tend to pinpoint one of the 16 main inhabited islands or island groups, each with its own unique character.

Long Island is home to Dean's Blue Hole, the deepest recorded blue hole in the world. The pink sands of Eleuthera & Harbour Island, spreading over 35 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean side, have charmed travelers for decades. On Inagua, West Indian Flamingos, the National Bird of The Bahamas, far outnumber the human population. With 140 species of bird resident on the island, it is truly a bird-watcher’s paradise.

New Providence, the most visited Bahamian island, is home to the bustling capital of Nassau. Its busy international airport and cruise ship dock welcome millions of visitors annually; many yearn for a relaxing island experience, while others clamor for a high stakes vacation, gambling in one of our world-class casinos. The neighboring resort development of Paradise Island is home to the Atlantis Resort: The Aquaventure Water Park and aquarium together comprise the world's largest open-air marine habitat.

Golfers know that The Bahamas' nicest golf courses – those designed by Dick Wilson, Joe Lee and Robert Trent Jones Jr. – are located in Grand Bahama Island, also home of the Lucayan National Park, a 40-acre national preserve with an underwater cave system mapped for six miles, and a vast system of mangroves that represents an important nursery for marine life.

The Berry Islands are known as the "Billfish Capital of The Bahamas," and are second only to Bimini for championship fishing. Bimini is also home to the legendary spring known as the “Fountain of Youth,” made famous during a voyage by explorer Ponce de Leon. The late United States Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is another famous face of Bimini: he wrote his 1964 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize while on retreat there. Ernest Hemmingway also fell in love with Bimini. The island inspired him to write, but more notably fish, in the incredible and abundant waters.

The highest point in The Bahamas – 206 feet – is at Mount Alvernia (Como Hill) onCat Island. A short hike to the summit will reveal The Hermitage, a stone-cut sanctuary built by a Catholic priest in the 1940s. Cat Island is the cultural capital of the Bahamas. Located on the mystical island is the childhood home of Oscar winner Sir Sidney Poitier. Many world-renowned Bahamian talents, such as acclaimed musician Joseph Spence, have deep roots in Cat Island.

San Salvador, reportedly the first place Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World, is home to the Gerace Research Centre, which conducts research at ancient Lucayan/Taino Amerindian sites in the southeast.

Acklins and Crooked Island – unspoiled, sparsely populated and mostly undisturbed since the days of Christopher Columbus – touts seclusion as its main attribute. Mayaguana, the most easterly in the chain and the only Bahamian island with its original name, offers picturesque footprint-free beaches and an ideal getaway for travelers seeking a rustic experience.

Ragged Island, the main island in the croissant-shaped Jumento chain, is sought out mainly for its great fishing. Rum Cay, “the sleeping beauty,” is considered one of the best-kept secrets within the region, a scenic refuge with rolling hills, stunning coral reefs, miles of pure sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and exhilarating surf.

The Bahamas is a unique archipelago with an exceptional combination of natural wonder, cultural charm and historical attractions. But the true gems of the islands are the friendly and intrinsically peaceful people whose very nature seems to be linked to the former inhabitants of the islands, the gentle Lucayan and Arawak Indians! Today, actor and diplomat Sir Sidney Poitier, NBA star Rick Fox, international supermodel Shakara Ledard, Grammy-winning artist Lenny Kravitz, as well as a number of famous Olympians, scholars and high-achievers all carry The Bahamas with them, for their global acclaim is rooted in the islands’ heritage

 

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