The Bahamas are a byword for beach-vacation bliss. Scattered like emeralds between Florida and the Caribbean, this Atlantic archipelago includes greater than 3000 subtropical islands and cays, most uninhabited.

Lushly subtropical, they’re fringed with teeming coral reefs and world-famous seashores, providing as a lot to divers and hikers as they do to sunseekers searching for banging beachside bars.

Listed here are the perfect eight locations to go to within the Bahamas.

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1. Nassau

Finest place for nightlife

Nassau is the unchallenged nightlife capital of the Bahamas. Traditionally a haven for pirates and smugglers, the town’s treasures now entice vacationers.

Floor zero for any Nassau evening out is the Fish Fry on Arawak Cay, simply west of the middle of city. Shacks slinging fried fish, freshly lower conch salad and sky juice (a neighborhood favourite drink of gin, inexperienced coconut water and condensed milk) mingle with bars booming out reggae and rake-and-scrape (the native sound) from 7pm each night.

As soon as your evening’s began, head again downtown for rum punch and sandy toes on the clapboard bars of Junkanoo Beach, a Black Beer’d Stout at Pirate Republic microbrewery or perhaps a dress-up-nice cocktail at Sky Bar.

Planning Tip: If you’d like an early kick-off, John Watling’s Distillery – a working rum manufacturing unit in a beautiful 18th-century property – opens at 10am.

2. The Biminis

Finest place for sport fishing

Considered one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite fishing grounds, the tiny Biminis are solely 80km (50 miles) from Florida. Sitting on the sting of the Gulf Stream, they’re magnets for sport fishers searching for the marlin, sailfish and swordfish that swarm these waters.

Head for Alice City, North Bimini, and base your self among the many finest choice of resorts and eating places. Keep on the Bimini Big Game Club for a style of Nineteen Fifties luxurious and guided sport fishing jaunts and ensure to go to the gloriously eccentric Dolphin House, half museum and half loving tribute to the wild dolphins of the Bahamas.

Hungry? Stuart’s Conch Stand in Bailey City does a number of the finest conch and lobster salads within the islands.

Planning Tip: The billfish these waters are famed for are most plentiful in summer time.

Boats in the turquoise water at Valentine's Marina on Harbour Island, Bahamas
Harbour Island is a favourite of celebrities and fashionistas © Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Pictures

3. Harbour Island

Finest place for superstar recognizing

Generally known as “Briland” to locals and common guests, pretty little Harbour Island is a favourite hang-out of celebrities corresponding to George Glooney and Jessica Alba. A brief water-taxi experience from parent-island Eleuthera, it’s well-known for colonial structure and beautiful sandscapes corresponding to Pink Sands Beach, rose-tinted with crushed coral.

Briland is blessed with boutique lodging like Pink Sands Resort and Runaway Hill, previously a grand personal seafront property that was constructed within the Nineteen Forties. You’re all the time only a serene stroll away from effective eating places like Malcolm 51 and Rock House Restaurant or the sandy flooring and sunsets at Gusty’s Bar.

Planning Tip: Bahamas Ferries‘ quick boats get you from Nassau to Harbour Island in two hours and in better consolation than a flight to Eleuthera.

4. Elbow Cay

Finest place for historic structure

The British historical past of the Bahamas is most evident in Elbow Cay. The prettiest of the beautiful Abacos islands, its epicenter is Hope City, based by British loyalists in 1785 and distinguished by bougainvillea, brightly painted cottages and the long-lasting Elbow Reef Lighthouse.

Its sheltered bay bristling with masts, Hope City can also be a yachting haven. Fortunately, its car-free streets are blessed with winsome resorts just like the Abaco Inn, each exemplars of the pastel clapboard structure that’s strictly maintained right here. Educated native operators like Sundried T’s and Froggies Out Island Adventures hire surfboards and information diving and snorkeling expeditions on surrounding reefs and seashores.

People kayaking in the blue ocean waters lined with mangroves at Lucayan National Park, Bahamas
Get onto the water in a kayak at Lucayan Nationwide Park © Alamy

5. Lucayan Nationwide Park

Finest place for underwater caves

Mangroves meet underwater caves in one of many Bahama’s biggest pure points of interest: Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama. Named for the unique inhabitants of the Bahamas and populated by raccoons and native birds just like the Bahama woodstar hummingbird, this 16-hectare (40-acre) swath of protected wilderness encompasses all six naturally occurring Bahamian vegetation zones. Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave are simply two of essentially the most simply accessed of its underwater cave system, one of many world’s longest.

Bahamas EcoVentures is our choose for strolling excursions with professional guides, whereas Grand Bahama Nature Tours leads implausible kayaking expeditions across the park’s mangrove-fringed coast.

Planning Tip: Grand Bahama Worldwide Airport flies direct to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and a number of other different North American cities.

Pig swimming in the ocean in the Exumas, Bahamas
Pigs may not fly, however you possibly can see them swim on the Exumas © shalamov / Getty Pictures

6. The Exumas

Finest place for diving and seeing swimming pigs

The Exumas, a central-Bahamian archipelago, is thought for secluded resort luxurious and unbelievable diving. At its coronary heart lies the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the Bahamas’ richest reef ecosystem. The 283 sq km (109 sq mile) expanse encompasses greater than 300 islands and cays, pristine fringing reefs and idyllic crusing waters.

Dive Exuma, the one PADI-certified dive store in Nice Exuma’s capital George City, is the skilled, skilled outfit we suggest to discover this undersea fantasia.

If you wish to see Exuma’s well-known swimming pigs, you possibly can’t go previous Staniel Cay Yacht Club, a beachside haven of bungalows, kayaking and stress-free consolation that’s as shut as you may get to Massive Main Cay’s Pig Seaside.

7. Blue Holes Nationwide Park

Finest place for swimming in karst sinkholes

Andros, the “Massive Yard,” is the biggest island within the Bahamas, and one of many wildest. Its 5960 sq km (2301 sq miles) of mangrove, pine forest and reef are dotted with “blue holes,” deep karst sinkholes that maintain distinctive ecosystems and supply maybe the island’s biggest spectacle.

Extra considerable right here than wherever else on earth, they’re the main target of the 16,1870-hectare (40,000-acre) Blue Holes National Park. Trails and knowledge boards lead vacationers to the park’s extra accessible websites, corresponding to Captain Invoice’s Gap, the place you’ll discover each a swimming deck and bogs.

Others, together with Cousteau’s Gap (named for the well-known undersea explorer), are much less accessible however equally inviting to hikers and swimmers. Small Hope Bay Lodge, set in opposition to the mangroves in close by Andros City, affords 21 luxurious items and actions together with blue-hole dives and snorkeling “safaris.”

Planning Tip: There’s no public transport on the Bahamas’ largest island. Lease a automobile at Andros City Airport.

8. Conception Island

Finest place for getting away from all of it

Conception Island is a secluded pocket of paradise that appears nearly totally untouched by people. It’s the centerpiece of Conception Island Nationwide Park, an oasis of thriving mangroves, vivid coral gardens and considerable wildlife. Conception Island Wall, a beautiful playground of coral heads, sponges and colourful critters, begins at 14m (46ft) in waters of remarkable readability.

These waters and the seashores they wash are dwelling to considerable inexperienced turtles, fish nurseries, conch and crawfish. Conception’s unpeopled forests are additionally an necessary sanctuary for migratory birds.

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