Things to do in Bahamas

The Bahamas are the quintessence of 'holiday heaven', with things to see and do reaching far beyond sunbathing on the miles of white sandy beaches, or idly frolicking in the translucent turquoise waters.

The islands offer a number of activities and attractions, with everything from Loyalist settlement ruins and the Glass Window Bridge to Christopher Columbus' first stop in the New World. The Bahamas also boasts one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world, and scuba divers can see the mysterious stone blocks in the waters off Bimini, said to be part of the lost city of Atlantis, or visit Long Island to explore the deepest blue hole in the world.

A unique experience for tourists is the possibility of taking a walk along the ocean floor in a rig reminiscent of the days before scuba technology, courtesy of Hartley's Undersea Walk. Divers need no experience as they wear an undersea botanical helmet that allows for normal breathing and dry hair. The trips give you the time to walk slowly among the fish and the reefs without having to swim. Half-day or full-day charters are available.

There are any number of activities for visitors who want to do more than just lie around: cycling, tennis, cricket, horse riding, golf, and other activities are available on land, along with attractions such as casinos, restaurants, spas, bars, and clubs.

Offshore, visitors can enjoy exhilarating pastimes such as windsurfing, snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, and scuba diving. For those with an interest in the historical or a simple love of pirate lore, the Pirate Museum takes visitors on an interactive tour through the heart of downtown Nassau, bringing them back to 1716 where they will board a replica of the pirate ship 'Revenge' and enter the world of bloodthirsty pirates. It is a must for all who are up for a swashbuckling good time. The museum has a gift shop with all manner of pirate booty.

Friendly locals, as well as comfortable, sunny weather, and a well-established tourism industry, make these activities and sights all the more appealing and accessible. Add numerous resorts, restaurants, shops, and markets to the mix and it becomes alluringly obvious why the Bahamas are the perfect beach-holiday destination.

Bimini Islands photo

Bimini Islands

The Bimini group of islands in the Bahamas is 50 miles (80km) east of Miami and spans an area no larger than 10 square miles (26 sq km). The main island, North Bimini, is barely se…

Bimini Islands

The Bimini group of islands in the Bahamas is 50 miles (80km) east of Miami and spans an area no larger than 10 square miles (26 sq km). The main island, North Bimini, is barely seven miles long (11km) and no more than 1,200ft (366m) across at its widest point. The islands are best known for the excellent fishing opportunities, with visitors from around the world coming here to test their skills in the hunt for tuna, sailfish, mako shark, barracuda, and, above all, blue marlin. Almost all the action on the Bimini Islands happens in Alice Town, a laidback town on the main island of North Bimini where fishermen gather to swap stories.

Berry Islands photo

Berry Islands

The Berry Islands are among the least busy in the Bahamas, and the perfect destination for those looking for the ultimate escape. In part because of the difficulty involved in gett…

Berry Islands

The Berry Islands are among the least busy in the Bahamas, and the perfect destination for those looking for the ultimate escape. In part because of the difficulty involved in getting to the islands and their lack of infrastructure, the resorts in this archipelago are extremely exclusive, catering mostly to wealthy travellers, big game fishermen, and yachters. The largest island is the Great Harbour Cay, home to a multimillion-dollar resort that once hosted the likes of Cary Grant and Brigitte Bardot. The beaches in the Berry Islands are known as the best shell-collecting spots in the Bahamas, while the game fishing is some of the best in the world.

Paradise Island photo

Paradise Island

Connected to New Providence Island by a bridge, Paradise Island, formerly known as Hog Island, is one of the most popular destinations in the Bahamas. The island used to be private…

Paradise Island

Connected to New Providence Island by a bridge, Paradise Island, formerly known as Hog Island, is one of the most popular destinations in the Bahamas. The island used to be privately owned until it was bought by developers in 1959 and turned into a resort haven. Since then, Paradise Island's owners have changed several times, including a stint of ownership by Donald Trump. It offers a variety of beaches to suit almost any taste, while most of the island's hotels and resorts can be found along Cable Beach, Paradise Beach, or Cabbage Beach. The miles of white sand host outstanding watersport facilities, including swimming, snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, sailing, and more.

Grand Bahama Island photo

Grand Bahama Island

Approximately fifty miles (80km) from Miami, Grand Bahama is an idyllic island of white beaches and aquamarine seas beneath which vivid coral reefs teem with life. Most visitors to…

Grand Bahama Island

Approximately fifty miles (80km) from Miami, Grand Bahama is an idyllic island of white beaches and aquamarine seas beneath which vivid coral reefs teem with life. Most visitors to Grand Bahama stay in Freeport, a few miles inland, or at the seaside suburb of Lucaya on the south coast of the island. Here travellers can sail, play golf or simply relax by the pool at one of the many all-inclusive resorts. In Freeport there are plenty of boutiques and bazaars to tempt shoppers, and evenings can be spent at one of the many restaurants. Following on from this, travellers with cash left in their wallets can head to one of the island's casinos.

Andros Island photo

Andros Island

Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas and is a favourite for scuba divers and fishermen. The island is largely undeveloped, so the atmosphere is very casual and hotels tend t…

Andros Island

Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas and is a favourite for scuba divers and fishermen. The island is largely undeveloped, so the atmosphere is very casual and hotels tend to be small and unpretentious. Much of the island is covered with palm savannahs, primeval forest, and huge mangrove wetlands, which make it a wildlife fanatic's paradise. However, it is the underwater life that really makes Andros unique: it has the world's third largest barrier reef running along its east coast for 167 miles (269km). Andros' most famous attractions are the Blue Holes, a network of water-filled caves, both inland and in the ocean, that draw scuba divers from all over the world.

Exumas Islands photo

Exumas Islands

The Exumas Islands include a myriad of islands and cays that stretch for hundreds of miles. Although historically the home of the Lucayan people, who were captured and sold into sl…

Exumas Islands

The Exumas Islands include a myriad of islands and cays that stretch for hundreds of miles. Although historically the home of the Lucayan people, who were captured and sold into slavery in the 16th century, the islands were uninhabited for roughly a century until the arrival of British loyalists from America in the late 1700s. Owing to the islands' long stint free from human habitation, they were often used as hideaways by pirates. The largest islands, Great Exuma and Little Exuma, are now home to a small community of several hundred island inhabitants, who farm the land and welcome tourists.

Long Island photo

Long Island

Long Island, often said to be the most scenic of all the Bahamian islands, is 80 miles (129km) long and four miles (6km) across at its widest point. Like most Bahamian islands, Lon…

Long Island

Long Island, often said to be the most scenic of all the Bahamian islands, is 80 miles (129km) long and four miles (6km) across at its widest point. Like most Bahamian islands, Long Island provides opportunities for visitors to swim, sail, snorkel, scuba dive, free dive, and engage in any number of watersports activities or seaside relaxations. One of the main events on the Bahamas yachting calendar is the Long Island Regatta, which takes place in the town of Salt Pond each May, drawing visitors from all around the world to one of the most beautiful and unspoilt islands in the Bahamas.

Abaco Islands photo

Abaco Islands

The tiny Abaco Islands cover 649 square miles (1,681 sq km) and form the most northerly part of the Bahamas. Located only 200 miles (322km) from Miami, they are a popular holiday d…

Abaco Islands

The tiny Abaco Islands cover 649 square miles (1,681 sq km) and form the most northerly part of the Bahamas. Located only 200 miles (322km) from Miami, they are a popular holiday destination, and therefore fairly well developed for tourism. The two main islands, Great Abaco and neighbouring Little Abaco, are separated from each other by a narrow strait. They are often tagged the 'Loyalist Isles' because of the English supporters who fled there to avoid persecution after the American Revolution. As for modern settlements, visitors will find themselves in quaint cottages by the sea or in beautiful guesthouses near the marinas, as opposed to the mega-resorts seen elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Eleuthera Island photo

Eleuthera Island

Only 14 of Bahama's Out Islands are inhabited, leaving the rest largely free from resorts, cruise ships, and crowds. Eleuthera, which stretches for almost 100 miles (161km) but is …

Eleuthera Island

Only 14 of Bahama's Out Islands are inhabited, leaving the rest largely free from resorts, cruise ships, and crowds. Eleuthera, which stretches for almost 100 miles (161km) but is at most two miles (3km) wide, is the most popular of the group. Eleuthera (and nearby Harbour Island, which is just a short water-taxi ride from the main island) has long been the holiday haunts of the fashionable set, sporting luxury hotels and fine restaurants that cater for trendy and wealthy visitors. Some of the more famous visitors in the past have included Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Robert de Niro, and the industrialists Arthur Vining Davis, Henry J. Kaiser, and Juan Trippe.

Half Moon Cay photo

Half Moon Cay

This island is a private paradise reserved for passengers who are tendered ashore by cruise ships. Those who have paid for the pleasure will not be disappointed. Half Moon Cay (pro…

Half Moon Cay

This island is a private paradise reserved for passengers who are tendered ashore by cruise ships. Those who have paid for the pleasure will not be disappointed. Half Moon Cay (pronounced kee) is an island, about 100 miles (161km) south of Nassau, which has been sensitively developed to preserve its natural assets and ecosystem, while ensuring it provides a fantastic day ashore for cruise passengers. The main attraction is a surreal two-mile (3km) crescent of beach that gives the island its name. Visitors wanting to cure their 'sea legs' can take one of the peaceful walks along marked trails with descriptive signs pointing out the local vegetation, plants and birds.

Aquaventure at Atlantis Paradise Island photo

Aquaventure at Atlantis Paradise Island

Aquaventure, in the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, is one of the Caribbean's largest waterparks, featuring dozens of thrilling water slides and a mile-long river ride with rap…

Aquaventure at Atlantis Paradise Island

Aquaventure, in the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, is one of the Caribbean's largest waterparks, featuring dozens of thrilling water slides and a mile-long river ride with rapids and special effects. The 141-acre park has a network of interconnected rides, which means guests can go from one attraction to the next on rivers and water escalators without ever leaving their inner-tubes. Some of the rides include the Leap of Faith, a nearly vertical 60-foot drop through a clear tube that runs under a shark-filled lagoon; the Abyss, a 58-foot near-vertical drop through darkness followed by many twists and turns; and the Surge, an inner-tube ride that mimics a flash flood.

Website www.atlantisbahamas.com/things-to-do/aquaventure-water-park

Dolphin Encounters photo

Dolphin Encounters

Dolphin Encounters affords visitors to Salt Cay a particularly special experience: a chance to swim with the local bottlenose dolphins, get a kiss, or just watch from the side. The…

Dolphin Encounters

Dolphin Encounters affords visitors to Salt Cay a particularly special experience: a chance to swim with the local bottlenose dolphins, get a kiss, or just watch from the side. There are also opportunities to interact with sea lions, who were brought to the island from Louisiana after their previous home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dolphin Encounters is based on Blue Lagoon Island (Salt Cay), roughly three miles (4.8km) northeast of Paradise Island. To start off a visit to Dolphin Encounters, visitors are taken on a 20-minute ride on a catamaran from Paradise Island to Blue Lagoon Island, and while on the catamaran visitors are given the chance to see the dolphins' natural habitat.

Website www.dolphinencounters.com

Mayaguana Island photo

Mayaguana Island

As one of the most isolated islands in the Bahamas, Mayaguana is also among the least developed (relying on a weekly mail boat for outside communication) and least visited by touri…

Mayaguana Island

As one of the most isolated islands in the Bahamas, Mayaguana is also among the least developed (relying on a weekly mail boat for outside communication) and least visited by tourists. With modern amenities few and far between, the island appeals to adventure travellers looking to experience the pristine wildlife of the area, including iguanas and bright pink flocks of flamingos. Scuba diving in Mayaguana is world-class, especially in Abraham's Bay, and bonefishing is another popular activity. Some go to Mayaguana for duck hunting season, while others may visit for the challenging mountain biking routes on Mayaguana.

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