With over 2,000 islands and cays peppering the clearest water on the planet (we’re not kidding, the waters here are so clear you can see as deep as 200 feet), the Bahamas have something for everyone. If you're a water-lover, then look no further. You've got the world’s third largest barrier reef, the Andros Barrier Reef, right off the coast of the Bahamas. It's perfect for snorkeling and diving. But if you’re not the outdoorsy type, don't worry. The islands’ beauty goes way beyond nature. For the history buff, you have 18th-century sugar plantations, old pirate forts and even a wild horse preserve with the descendants of Christopher Columbus’ horses. For the casual traveler, there are plenty of straw markets to shop and pink-sand beaches to stroll. The great hotels and food you can find here are just an added bonus. Once you arrive, hop the islands, explore the water, or just do nothing at all but take in the Caribbean sunset.
Other Destinations in Bahamas
Start Planning Your The Bahamas Vacation
Mapping Out the Bahamas
With over 700 islands sprinkled across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas can be kind of confusing without a guide. Lucky for you, we've got you covered.
The most popular islands you've probably heard of are New Providence, home to Nassau and Paradise Island, and Grand Bahama Island.
However, there are numerous other small islands that make up the Bahamas, and they're typically known as the Out Islands. These beautiful, more pristine islands are true gems in the Caribbean. The most popular tourist region in the Out Islands is the Abacos. But whether you stay on the mainlands or adventure to the Out Islands, you'll love every minute in the Bahamas.
All Aboard for the Andros Barrier Reef
Want to get more than just your feet wet? Well, dive right in at the third-largest barrier reef in the world, the Andros Barrier Reef.
Jump into the cool, blue waters and snorkel alongside colorful fish. You can choose to snorkel shallow reefs around ten feet deep. Or, if you're a more seasoned pro, you can opt to dive deeper and explore canyons of coral, glowing blue holes and fault line caves.
Also, a good thing to know is that the ocean here drops as deep as 6,000 feet in the Tongue of the Ocean, so you'll have plenty to see, including schools of red snappers and deep water sponges.
Jump into Junkanoo
What's Junkanoo? Simply put, it's like a Mardi Gras on steroids. You've got brass bands, cow bells, whistles and drums storming through the streets as dancers whirl in brightly-colored costumes.
If you want to check out this parade, here are the details. It's a country-wide tradition held on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and during the Junkanoo Summer Festival. If you decide to show up, dress up in bright colors and get ready to let loose and enjoy the music!
If you don’t happen to be there during one of the traditional Junkanoo holidays, don't fret - many hotels offers shows throughout the year for guests and it's a great way to learn about the culture.
Get Back to Nature with Lucayan National Park
There’s more to the Bahamas than just the beach. Try, for example, this 40-acre park where you can find the largest underwater limestone cave in the world!
Not only that, but you'll also see acres of towering pine forests, colorful wild orchids, pigeon plum trees and green ferns, along with a ton of exotic birds and saltwater fish.
You can choose to snorkel through the turquoise waters of the underground cave system or just hike through lush greenery. Or, if you absolutely can’t get away from the beach, this park is also home to some of the most spectacular and secluded white-sand beaches in the Bahamas.
Mighty Fine Fish Frys
Smell the sweet, tangy smoke of fresh fish being fried to a golden crisp as you stroll by waterside shacks painted in pastel colors.
With music playing in the background and vendors lining the streets offering ice-cold Kaliks (Bahamian beer) and made-to-order conch fritters, fried snapper, conch salad and other Bahamian dishes, you’ll feel just like a local.
Arawak Cay is one of the best places to take in a fish fry, but they are held throughout the Bahamas, so you have no excuse to miss out on this!
The Price is Right at Port Lucaya
What’s a vacation without a little shopping? Stroll through one of the Caribbean’s largest straw markets, get your hair braided, and try your hand at bargaining with street vendors to find a special treasure to take home.
Browse over 80 specialty stores housed in the pastel-colored buildings of this 12-acre shopping complex, along with outdoor and indoor bars, cafes, boutiques and restaurants.
Take home some hand-crafted Bahamian-made jewelry, woodcarvings, or native handicrafts. Or just take home the memories of a great day by the water.
Bahamas Quick Facts
120 volts AC; American appliances are fully compatible
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from the Abacos.
Drink only bottled water
Eastern Standard Time
November to May