The Islands of the Bahamas
Sprinkled with over 700 pristine islands and 2400 cays, the Bahamas is blessed with white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal blue waters. It’s the perfect place to retreat to during the winter months and with its bright and sunny climate you can enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking, golfing, fishing, diving or island hopping all year round. The more urban areas are filled with a wide variety of restaurants, casinos, and entertainment hotspots, contrasting colourfully with the ecological and historical attractions throughout the country.
Did we mention how friendly and accommodating Bahamians are? This explains why the country remains one of the top destinations for vacationers and retirees. Here are some of the islands and communities found in this beautiful archipelago:
Grand Bahama Island
The fourth largest island in the country, it has a commercial and tourism centre called Freeport located near the international airport. Freeport is the 2nd most populated city in the archipelago, declared a Freeport zone until the year 2054 through the Hawksbill Creek Agreement in 1955. Lucaya, a suburb of Freeport is a tourist destination popular among spring breakers and shoppers. Grand BahamaIsland has lots of golf courses, the Treasure Bay Casino and a vibrant night life for tourists to enjoy.
Nassau, New Providence Island and Paradise Island
The capital of the Bahamas, this 685-acre modern city located on the island called New Providence was built to accommodate and entertain the thousands of tourists who visit every day. With its colourful past – it was the haunt of pirates in the 18th century – Nassau is a historical treasure visitors should explore. Here you’ll find the luxurious 400-hectare luxury resort destination Baha Mar. Scheduled to be completed by December 2014; this resort destination alongside a kilometre of white sand beaches will be occupied by casinos, an enormous performance arts theatre and convention centre, and five-star hotels including Mondrian, Rosewood, and The Grand Hyatt.
Located just at the western tip of New Providence is Lyford Cay. Built in the late 1950s, this private, gated community has long been home to some of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Members enjoy golfing on the par-72 golf course and also have access to tennis courts and diving facilities via the Lyford Cay Club’s full-service marina. There is also a private international school and a mile-long beach that can only be enjoyed by a select few.
Just east of Lyford Cay lies Old Fort Bay, a modern private waterfront community with a historic heart. Serving as the community’s centre is the beautifully restored Old Fort, which dates back to the 18th century. With its architecture and iconic Poinciana trees, you can still feel and experience the spirit of the old Bahamian island living while enjoying the amenities of a luxury resort.
Very near New Providence is Paradise Island, home to the Atlantis resort. At the island’s easternmost tip, you’ll find the full-service luxury development called Ocean Club Estates which features waterfront residences and properties within close proximity to its internationally acclaimed golf course. Aside from the gorgeous beaches, this world-class development boasts pools and water slides, restaurants, shops, wellness and fitness centres and a casino.
Inagua is composed of two distinct islands called Great Inagua and Little Inagua, with the former being the third largest island in the Bahamas in terms of area. An ecotourism destination, it has no less than three national parks and preserves, one of which – the InaguaNationalLand & SeaPark – extends across almost half of Great Inagua. With over 80,000 West Indian flamingos (the country’s national bird) and over 140 species of native and migratory birds, Inagua is hailed as the bird watching capital of the country.
The largest island in the Bahamas, it is peppered with deserted white beaches and wetlands where bonefish are abundant. Hailed as the world’s bone fishing capital by the locals, AndrosIsland also has the third largest fringing barrier reef in the world. Despite being the largest island in the Bahamas, it is the least developed, making it the perfect place for people who wish to unwind with its serene atmosphere and natural charm.