Spotlight on: the Bahamas
Updated: Jan 24, 2019
From the colonial buildings of Nassau to endless pink sand beaches to coral reefs where rainbow-hued fishes teem, The Bahamas is truly a tropical paradise. It’s hard to believe this unspoiled sun-soaked nation is only a one hour flight from Miami.
The Bahamas are a string of islands stretched between the North Atlantic and the eastern coast of Florida. Mostly uninhabited, they are surrounded by enormous coral reef formations and endlessly deep ocean trenches. Take your time island hopping from one untouched bay to the next, it’s a delight to explore. (And with over 700 islands to visit, you could spend a lifetime and still not see it all!)
Best Time to Go
The ideal time of the year to visit the Bahamas is between December and mid-April, as this is when the weather will be at its best. If you visit between May and November, this is the rainy season and sometimes the wet weather can spoil your plans to enjoy outdoor activities.
However, there will be fewer crowds during the wet season so if you don’t mind relaxing indoors for some of your stay, this can be a great time to visit.
Top Bahamas Attractions
The Andros Great Barrier Reef
The third largest barrier reef in the world, this natural wonder stretches for over 190 miles. It begins only around eight feet off the east coast of Andros, which makes it a convenient snorkeling spot. Peer beneath the surface of the water and you’ll see a wide range of turtles, sharks, fish, eels and more.
If swimming with dolphins is on your bucket list, you can fulfil that dream here. The water in Dolphin Cay is warm and shallow and the dolphins are calm and friendly. You’ll be with a guide, who will give you some insight into the marine life of these islands.
The Bahamas has a fascinating system of underwater caves, which are filled with lobsters, crabs, sponges, shrimps and other diverse sea life. Some of the caves and blue holes can be incredibly deep and they are exciting to explore - but make sure you go with an experienced diving professional!
Pink Sand Beach
Harbour Island is known for its famous Pink Sand Beach. The sand has the pale pink hue of cotton candy and it stretches for more than three miles. Why it is pink? The color is due to microscopic creatures called Foraminifera that live on the seafloor. When these insects die, their bright pink shells are washed ashore to mix with the sand.
Things to Do in the Bahamas
Swimming With Pigs
Pigs? Yes, you heard right. They might seem like a strange animal to find on a tropical island, but the Exuma Pigs have become a famous Bahamas attraction. Some say they were left on the island by sailors many decades ago as a source of food, and these days they live a dream life on a white sand beach with crystal clear water. You can visit these adorable pigs on a boat excursion from Staniel Cay.
The name “Bahamas” is old Spanish for “Shallow Water” and it refers to the calm, shallow coastal areas. This means that these islands are ideal for water based activities such as parasailing, snorkeling and swimming.
Horseback riding is a great way to explore the Bahamas. There are several horseback riding tour companies that will take you on excursions through the lush forests, open countryside and along the white sand beaches.
Many people island hop in the Bahamas by boat or ferry, but you can also explore them via plane. Flying above the glittering ocean and seeing the islands stretching out below is an unforgettable experience. Not only is an air tour of the islands exciting, it will also save you a lot of time.
What to Eat and Drink in the Bahamas
The most celebrated local dish in the Bahamas is made from the meat of the conch - a sea mollusc that lives within a large, beautifully shaped spiral shell. The meat is mixed with seasonings and vegetables and is a light and refreshing side dish.
Visit John Watling’s Distillery on New Providence Island and learn all about how rum is made. The distillery offers a tour that includes a free sample of piña colada. If you are in the mood for more rum after that, you can head to the Red Turtle Tavern and try a flight.
Halfway between a soup and a stew, this classic Bahamian dish has large chunks of tender meat such as chicken (and sometimes other cuts like sheep’s tongue and pig’s feet.) It’s simmered for a while in a rich, flavorful medley of celery, potatoes, carrots, peppers and plenty of lime juice.
An irresistible side-dish, Johnny Cakes are a much-loved Bahamian recipe. They are made from cornbread, baked in a cast iron pan. They are warm, crumbly and satisfying and are delicious with coffee or tea.
More Tips for Visiting The Bahamas
If you’re coming from North America there’s no need to bring adaptors for your electronics - the outlets are the same.
The best way to get around is to use the public buses, known as “jitneys.”
To get between the islands you can take boat tours, use the water taxis, or use the inter-island air service, BahamasAir.
For a great taste of the local street food, look for “lunch vans” that park near beaches or shopping areas and offer tasty plates of home-cooked cuisine.
Tipping in the Bahamas is similar to that of the USA. Standard practice is to tip around 15-20%. (Sometimes this is included in the bill already, so check first!)
The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar, and both are accepted throughout the islands.
Here at Partbnb we are in love with the beautiful Bahamas and we are in the process of preparing our first property at Palmetto Place in Exuma. It’s expected to be listed on the platform in February 2019, so join the waiting list to be notified as soon as it’s ready!