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Starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, it comprises 700 breathtaking islands, over 2,000 rocks and cays, and boasts the clearest water on the planet—with a visibility of over 200 feet. You can see your toes as easily as you can the world’s third largest fringing barrier reef.
The Bahamas’ close proximity to Florida means regular, relatively inexpensive flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, as well as other East Coast airports. A few airlines fly directly to airports on the larger Out Islands, but the majority of flights arrive in Nassau or Freeport where passengers will connect to another flight before continuing to the Out Islands.
Nassau/Paradise island is the tourism hub of the Bahamas, booming with luxury resorts, casinos, restaurants and shopping. It’s the ideal vacation base, with easy access to the Out Islands and Grand Bahama Island.
Located 35 miles southeast of Nassau, The Exumas are the epitome of Bahamian paradise with stretches of secluded beaches, turquoise waters and enough wildlife for an Instagram Safari. This exotic destination is divided into three major areas — Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. Each area offers its own unique experience for travelers, from picturesque shorelines to the beloved swimming pigs to boutique hotels and villas. There are actually 365 cays in The Exumas, washed by swirls of multi- hued water. The effect is so striking that astronaut Scott Kelly considers it the most beautiful place on earth.
Long Island is one of the most scenic hideaways in The Islands Of The Bahamas, offering excellent fishing, diving, boating and natural beauty. The island is divided by the Tropic Of Cancer and is bordered on each side by two contrasting coasts. The western shoreline is composed of soft, white sandy beaches, while the island’s east coast consists of rocky bluffs that descend into the sea. Long Island is perhaps most known for Dean’s Blue Hole, which draws free divers from around the globe to test themselves in what may be the deepest blue hole in the world.
Home to three national parks, including one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems and a Bahamian pine forest, Freeport offers visitors much more than secluded white-sand beaches. With nature centers that feel like rainforests, national parks that attract close to 30 Bahamian birds (not found in the U.S.) and a cavernous underwater world, there is no shortage of adventure in Freeport. As the fourth largest island of The Bahamas, Freeport is divided into three districts: West End, East End and Freeport.
Andros is one of the best places in the world for bonefishing and diving. The island sits alongside the world’s third largest barrier reef, which creates a healthy environment teeming with opportunity for sports enthusiasts. This island is the largest and least developed in The Bahamas, making it the perfect home to several nature preserves, bird watching destinations and blue holes. Andros is cut through by three bights making it three islands – North Andros, Mangrove Cay, South Andros – connected by bridges.
Cat Island is perhaps the most serene island in The Bahamas with its sandy beaches, nature preserves and historical ruins. Birthplace of The Bahamas’ indigenous Rake ‘n’ Scrape music and much of the country’s folklore, Cat Island exudes Bahamian tradition and rustic charm. From soaking in the natural beauty, to diving into the island’s many water activities, visitors can do everything or nothing at all.
Rum Cay is one the best kept secrets in The Bahamas. This authentic Out Island gem is prominent for its historical ruins, lush landscape, pink sand beaches and thrilling surf on the island’s north coast.
Located just 35 miles away from Rum Cay you’ll find San Salvador, a premier scuba diving destination and well-known historic island where Christopher Columbus may or may not have first made landfall in 1492. This off-the-beaten-path island offers diverse terrain including rolling hills, secluded beaches, salt-water lakes and lively reefs, which make for ideal diving sites.
The Abacos includes a chain of islands surrounded by calm seas, and reigns as one of the top sailing and boating destinations in the world. The quaint colonial capital city of Marsh Harbour is home to a wide selection of hotels and resorts, exceptional restaurants and a spirited nightlife. From championship golf courses and miles of picturesque beaches, to historic English loyalist settlements ideal for history buffs, The Abacos are truly a unique Out Island experience.
The Berry Islands are composed of a cluster of 30 mostly uninhabited cays, so it’s not uncommon to stumble across a footprint-free beach or peaceful cove. With the abundance of privacy, these serene islands are a long known hideaway for the rich and famous. The Berry Islands are home to a number of spectacular dive sites, a 600-foot-wide blue hole and some of the most remarkable billfishing, making it the perfect destination for anglers and underwater adventurers. From pristine beaches and historical sites to renowned fishing and diving, visitors can expect to find tranquility and natural beauty around every corner.
Acklins & Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Inagua and Ragged Island are all situated in the southernmost part of The Bahamas. These islands are smaller, less developed and populated by communities of only a few hundred people, making them a window into the truly authentic island life. These are the “deep out” islands of The Bahamas and appeal to travelers who appreciate fishing, bird watching, hiking, kayaking and of course, unspoiled beaches. Across these islands, travelers can get a glimpse of Caribbean history from the archeological sites of Lucayan villages and sweet-water wells to the coastal armaments of the pirate era and one of the few remaining kerosene powered lighthouses in the world. These rustic islands are home to over 140 species of birds, majestic sea turtles and roughly 80,000 American flamingos – outnumbering Inagua’s human residents by more than 80 to 1. The abundance of wildlife and nature reserves makes this the ultimate destination for an island-style safari.
From the pink coastline to the rocky shores, The Bahamas has an array of beautiful beaches offering picturesque views and silky soft sand. To make your vacation planning easier, we’ve selected our top beaches in the Bahamas to visit.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream’s clear warm waters on the Bahamas western shores, and balmy southeastern trade winds, at night the temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit/16 degrees Celsius or rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit/32 degrees Celsius. There are occasional rainfalls during the summer and brief, refreshing showers, that usually end soon after they begin. The Bahamas crystal waters can be enjoyed all year round. Temperatures generally reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius in summer and are around 77 degrees Fahrenheit/25 degrees Celsius in winter.
For departures, arrivals, reservations and other information, contact:
American Airlines 1 800 433 7300
All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of departure from the Bahamas as well as a return ticket.
Car hire is available on most of the islands: please note that driving is on the LEFT and the speed limit is 30 mph in settlements and 45 mph in highways. Motor scooters (for which helmets are compulsory) and bicycles are also available for hire. Taxis are available throughout the Bahamas. You can travel to the Out islands on regularly scheduled flights with Bahamasair or on one of the many local airlines.
Visitors will find that telecommunication services in The Bahamas are comparable to the services found in most developed countries. The Bahamas Telephone Company (BTC) provides a variety of services beyond the telephone: fax, telex, Internet, cellular service, private line service, satellite and radio leasing, and an enhanced VHF-FM radiotelephone service that allows you to contact vessels at sea.
There are numerous free Wi-Fi zones available throughout the Bahamas and can be mainly found in the main tourist areas on the larger islands.
There are several churches on the Bahamas, including Anglican, Baptist, Protestant, Adventist and Methodist churches.
For porters, the expected tip is $1-$2 per bag. Most restaurants include a service charge of 15%. If not, it’s customary to tip this amount.
The Bahamian dollar is the legal tender and is the equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are accepted throughout the islands. Please note that if you pay in Bahamian or U.S. dollars, you will receive change in the same currency you paid with.
Banks in Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island are open from 09.30 to 15.00 Monday to Thursday and on Fridays until 17.00. In the Out Islands service is often very limited. Major credit cards are accepted throughout the islands. ATMs offer Bahamian dollars but there are some ATMs in the tourist areas on the larger islands, that dispense U.S. dollars. Please note that there aren’t many ATMs available in the out-islands.
There are two main hospitals in the Bahamas — the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, and the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Community clinics and satellite clinics provide medical care to people living or staying on the Out Islands.