The Islands Of The Bahamas with their famous pink sands and turquoise sea are home to 16 main islands and thousands of cays and islets which offer a wealth of diverse experiences. Here we pick out ten of the best:
1Bahamian People-to-People afternoon tea
In Nassau have afternoon tea at the historic and imposing Government House, the official residence of The Governor of The Bahamas. On the last Friday of the month the Bahamian People-to-People programme offers complimentary afternoon tea with a fashion show, live music and shuttle transfer to your hotel, providing luxury and colonial history for no charge.
Contact: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Tel: (242) 323 1853
2Bahama Barrels: blend-your-own-wine experience
The luxurious 18th century Graycliff Hotel is a Nassau institution and has recently introduced a range of experiences including Bahama Barrels, where you learn to blend your own wine in the oldest Church in the Bahamas (across the road from the main hotel). Guided by Jason, a Californian winemaker, you learn all about wine production, grapes and tasting. The experience concludes when you blend, name and bottle your very own bottle of wine to take home.
Cost: $49.95 per person (18+ Years). Available Monday to Saturday at 11:15am
3Island Hopping – Harbour Island or Eleuthera
Take a day trip from Nassau to Harbour Island or Eleuthera with Bahamas Ferries and navigate between the islands. Harbour Island is famous for its miles of candy-floss pink sand and celebrity guests, whereas Eleuthera has sweet pineapple farms dotting the landscape and ideal conditions for surfing on the Atlantic side. And if you fancy staying on the island, try glamping at The Other Side, a collection of luxury tents overlooking the ocean.
Fares from Nassau to Harbour island from $81
4Meet the Dolphins at Blue Lagoon
Just three miles from Nassau, Blue Lagoon Island, also known as Salt Cay, has water sports including paddle boarding and water bikes, as well as dolphins and sea lions. Visitors can swim with the animals and spend the day relaxing on a tranquil beach. It’s a great family day out.
A Blue lagoon Beach day including animal encounters and lunch is from $32 for an adult.
5Dive with Hammered Sharks
The iconic hammerhead sharks can be seen in The Out Island of Bimini from December to April. The Bahamas was made a shark sanctuary in 2011, making killing sharks illegal and shark tourism has flourished. Diving with the hammerhead sharks is an unforgettable adventure as the huge creatures swim around you and come within an arm’s length.
Great Hammerhead Safari costs $299 at Neal Watson’s scuba centre based at The Bimini Big Game Resort & Marina, North Bimini
6Swim with Pigs
The swimming pigs of The Exumas have become world famous but they can also be spotted on other islands including The Abacos. It is an incongruous but fascinating thing to see entire families of pigs running along a tropical beach in the sunshine and trotting into the water for a refreshing swim. Visitors can join them in the sea for dip when the pigs swim up for any free carrots.
Half day ocean safari in The Exumas on a power boat including swimming with pigs from $150
7Sail and dive in Abaco Islands
The 120-mile–long chain of The Abacos is ideal for boating and sailing. Book a day trip with Brendal, who has run the dive centre on Green Turtle Cay for 35 years. He will regale you with tall tales while showing you how to feed rays by placing bits of fish between your toes. Stop for snorkelling before a BBQ lunch on a deserted beach with fresh fish and lobster prepared by Brendal himself.
Or sea dogs can hire a boat for the day and make their own tour around the coast stopping at uninhabited cays or the historic New Plymouth with its colourful 18th century buildings. Daily rates from $90
8Grand Bahama Island Fish Fry
Fish Fry in The Bahamas dates back to pre-Colombian times and is a regular event throughout the islands with beach shacks serving food with a party atmosphere or small stalls cooking for locals. On Grand Bahama Island Wednesday night is the time to head to Smith Point. Get there early (about 6) before the queues form. Eat at tables overlooking the lovely beach and watch the sunset, then party until the small hours with music and dancing enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
A fish dinner with fresh snapper or grouper, rice and peas and sides is about $12. Don’t miss the guava duff for pudding and wash it down with a rum punch or local Kalik beer. No need to book in advance – just take a taxi or shuttle, anyone will tell you where it is.
9Dive into The Blue Hole
Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island is the world’s second deepest blue hole at 633 feet below ground. It leads to the world’s eighth largest underwater cavern – filled with amazing marine life and fabulous colours. Perfect for shore divers, Dean’s Hole is also a mecca for free divers since the world Free Diving record was set here in 2007. Head here to snorkel and spot seahorses, rays, turtles and tarpons.
Deans Blue Hole is near Clarence Town, Long Island.
10Try Conch Fritters
Conch (or conk as it is called here) is a pretty, pink, edible mollusc eaten throughout the region but a particular favourite in The Bahamas. Don’t leave without trying Conch Fritters: just one of a myriad ways of eating, these bite size fritters are the ideal appetiser at any time of the day and go especially well with a Bahama Mama cocktail or local beer like Kalik or Sands Radler which is a light fruity beer flavoured with grapefruit. Stop off at one of the many colourful conk stalls dotted throughout the islands.
More recommended tours and activities in The Bahamas