Bahamas: Holidays

29 islands against a backdrop of blue

Backpacking

Backpacking in Bahamas

The Bahamas is much more of a luxury vacation spot than a backpacker's destination with cheap lodging or food and just about anything inexpensive is hard to come by. Some of the more remote areas do have comparatively low priced guesthouses catering to surfers, fishermen on a budget, students or even backpackers. Such lodging includes Hoopers Bay Villas on Great Exuma, Surfer’s Manor and the inexpensive Surfer's Haven Guesthouse (both in Gregory Town on Eleuthera). The Towne Hotel in Nassau provides urban backpacker digs for 20€ per person in a triple room, which is not exactly the price of a typical hostel, but by Bahamian standards is pretty cheap.

City Breaks

City Breaks in Bahamas

Nassau is far and away the main destination for a city break in the Bahamas and is also home to some fabulous beaches. The nightlife of Nassau is particularly lively during the peak season and especially around spring break. Freeport on Grand Bahama is the second largest city in the Bahamas, but is only a fraction of the size of Nassau and comparatively very quiet. The capital, Nassau, has many historic attractions such as an interesting Old Town as well as an art gallery, zoo and the Pirate Museum. Across two bridges is nearby Paradise Island and the Atlantis Resort and Casino for Las Vegas style glitz, luxury resorts and private island tourism. Nassau’s nightlife is famous and offers a large number of clubs, bars and restaurants of various tastes and styles, and mostly caters to the tourist crowd. Shopping is divided between high priced boutiques, tourist souvenirs and local crafts. Though far from a bustling metropolis, Nassau is a great option for a combination beach holiday and city break.

Beach

Beach in Bahamas

The Bahamas are synonymous with gorgeous beaches and fantastic beach holidays. White and pink sand beaches lapped by warm, clear, aquamarine water welcome beach holiday travelers year round. Peak season for a Bahamas beach vacation is mid-December to mid-April, when there is the most sun, but the off season, as well as being less crowded and cheaper, still offers plenty of sunny days if you’re also willing to put up with a bit of rain. Cooling breezes make weather in Bahamas particularly enjoyable, even on the hottest of days. Top beaches in the Bahamas include Cable Beach on New Providence Island, Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island, Xanadu on Grand Bahama, Tahiti Beach in the Abacos, Pink Sands on Harbour Island, and the pristine beaches of Saddle Cay and Cat Island.

Camping

Camping in Bahamas

Camping is generally prohibited for tourists in the Bahamas, though locals often camp out on the beaches. A camping holiday in the Bahamas is therefore not recommended.

Cruises

Cruises in Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of the world’s most popular and highly regarded cruise holiday destinations. Several cruise lines even own their own islands, which are for the exclusive use of their passengers, such as Castaway Cay, owned by Disney. Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Discovery are just a few of the well known holiday cruise lines that operate in the Bahamas. Cruise holidays with a family theme are available and include excursions featuring snorkeling, nature hikes, deep sea fishing and diving. Celebration and Disney both offer short 2 and 3 night Bahamian cruises for a welcome cruise holiday break.

Cycling Activity Holiday

Cycling Activity Holiday in Bahamas

Grand Bahama and Eleuthera are great locations for cycling holidays in the Bahamas. Eleuthera’s rough natural terrain is suited for mountain bikes or at least hybrids, while the flat terrain, and long, straight stretches of highway in Grand Bahama are perfect for road cycling. Some resorts in the Bahamas offer inexpensive bike rentals or even provide free cycles, so enquire before you book your Bahamas cycling holiday. Also ask about cycling tours, especially on Grand Bahama.

Culture and Arts

Culture and Arts in Bahamas

Most people come to the Bahamas to enjoy the beaches, weather, resorts, party atmosphere and water based activities, so the Bahamas are not a major culture and arts destination. Even so, the islands do have an interesting culture and history, which can be seen and experienced through festivals such as Junkanoo, a lively carnival of art, music and dance and the Bahamian folk religion of Obeah, both of which highlight the African heritage of the Bahamas. The historic Old Town of Nassau has an interesting mix of colonial Caribbean architecture, as does Harbour Island, with its charming pastel-colored clapboard houses. The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas in Nassau is worth visiting if you’re interested in checking out local artists during your holiday in the Bahamas, and the Pirate Museum is a fun, if corny, tribute to the islands’ romanticized lawless past.

Disabled Needs

Disabled Needs in Bahamas

The Bahamas are flat, tourist oriented and with quite good facilities for disabled tourists, as can be expected from a first class holiday destination. Flying Wheels Travel, Access-Able Travel Source and Accessible Journeys are examples of firms which offer holidays for disabled people in the Bahamas, while the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled can assist in finding holiday accommodation in the Bahamas for disabled tourists as well as provide airport pick up and ramps if needed.

Family Holiday

Family Holiday in Bahamas

The Bahamas are a fantastic family holiday destination with some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the world. Family oriented cruise holidays in the Bahamas include excursions featuring snorkeling, nature hikes, deep sea fishing and diving. Many resorts also cater to families, for example the Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island (near Nassau) features a large water park and an amazing aquarium with an underwater tunnel. Kids might also enjoy Nassau’s Pirate Museum, a recreation of an old Bahamian pirate village. Other family holiday options in the Bahamas include quieter more remote islands such as the Abacos and Eleuthera, where nice family villas can be rented, or the beautiful island of Harbor Bay. All in all there are many choices for a great family holiday in the Bahamas.

Gay and Lesbian

Gay and Lesbian in Bahamas

Bahamian society is generally not very tolerant of gay and lesbian lifestyles and openly gay and lesbian behavior is widely frowned upon. Homosexual relationships have been legal in the Bahamas since 1991 and no longer carry prison terms and resorts like Sandals have been lobbied and eventually forced to not discriminate in their practices against gay and lesbian tourists. Despite this, there are no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Bahamas and homophobia continues to be widespread. Though there are gay tourists and even gay and lesbian cruises which come to the Bahamas, it is generally not a recommended destination for same sex partners or gay and lesbian tourists.

Hen Destination

Hen Destination in Bahamas

The Bahamas, like other Caribbean holiday destinations, offer a variety of hen party or hen holiday options for bride to be's looking for a longer hen holiday. The 12 hour travel time from London would definitely be worth it, although you may want to save such extravagance for after the wedding!

Activity-based hen celebrations such as scuba, horse riding or cruise holidays are all worthy choices. Alternatively, jitneys (small buses) can be hired to take your hen party group on a Nassau pub crawl. The Bahamas have a huge selection of resorts and hotels in a variety of locations to suit a wide range of hen celebrations. The combination of party atmosphere an gorgeous beaches make the Bahamas a choice hen destination.

Stag Destination

Stag Destination in Bahamas

The Bahamas, like other Caribbean holiday destinations, offer a variety of stag party or stag holiday options. Activity-based bachelor celebrations such as scuba, golf or sailing themed holidays are popular choices. Alternatively, jitneys (small buses) can be hired to take your stag party on a Nassau pub crawl. Or how about a relaxing stag evening in a Cuban style smoking club? The Bahamas have a huge selection of resorts and hotels in a variety of locations to suit a wide range of stag celebrations. The combination of party atmosphere an gorgeous beaches make the Bahamas a choice stag destination if you don't mind the lengthy travel time.

Naturism

Naturism in Bahamas

The Bahamas has no official naturist or nude beaches. A private clothing optional club on Cat Island has now closed permanently. Some naturists choose to hire private chartered boats and enjoy a naturist holiday in the Bahamas in a secluded location or patch of sea. Others may pursue naturism in the Bahamas and have a nice holiday without problems, but sufficient research should done before heading to the Bahamas with a naturist holiday in mind.

Honeymoon

Honeymoon in Bahamas

The Bahamas were made for honeymoon holidays. Miles of white sand beaches, warm, clear turquoise waters and a wide choice of lively or secluded tranquil locations help make the Bahamas one of the world’s favorite honeymoon destinations. The weather and natural tropical island beauty cannot be beat and the service on the islands’ many resorts is first rate. Caribbean cruises, glitzy resorts and luxury desert island retreats with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, are all choice options for a memorable honeymoon holiday in the Ba-hamas. Honeymoon packages are widely available on resorts around Nassau and on more quiet or remote islands such as Exuma, Harbour Island or one of the many private cays.

Party Holiday - Singles Life

Party Holiday - Singles Life in Bahamas

The Bahamas is a lively party holiday destination, especially on the resorts and above all in Nassau and nearby Cable Beach. The singles scene is much more active in the winter months, when throngs of tourists come to escape the cold. Bars and nightclubs featuring American and local tropical music are quite popular, as is the local rum. Spring break tends to be especially popular with American and Canadian teenagers, so keep that in mind when planning your singles or party holiday in the Bahamas. During the off season things quiet down and the party atmosphere may only surface on weekend nights. The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, just a quick trip over the bridge from Nassau, also has a Casino and plenty of nightlife and singles activities. And of course there are the beaches of the Bahamas, which can be great for meeting other single holiday makers. Keep in mind that the Bahamas has a relatively high HIV/AIDS infection rate (3%) so it is very important to take precautions.

Couples Holiday

Couples Holiday in Bahamas

The Bahamas is a perfect destination for couples who wish to spend their holiday on gorgeous beaches and swimming, snorkeling or diving in the crystal clear, warm waters which surround the islands. There is a wealth of first class hotels, resorts, romantic views and stunning natural beauty in the Bahamas; a fitting atmosphere for couples holidays. In fact, the Bahamas is one of the world’s premier couples holiday destinations. From the lively hustle and bustle of Nassau and Paradise Island to the more remote and pristine outer islands, the Bahamas has enough beauty, excitement and romance for a fantastic couples holiday that will not be forgotten.

Golf Activity Holiday in Bahamas

A golf holiday in the Bahamas benefits greatly from the warm weather, cool breezes and consistent sunshine of these beautiful islands. May through October are considerably wetter than the high season, though the Bahamas don’t normally experience heavy rains. Discounts are available and courses are less crowded for those willing to take the risk during this time. Grand Bahama Island, New Providence Island near Nassau, Great Exuma, and Treasure Cay in the Abacos are the main golf holiday locations in the Bahamas. Freeport on Grand Bahama has two courses, as does Great Exuma, while New Providence is home to three golf resorts, and the Abacos have two. The Bahamas are a great golf destination for those who wish to sample the beautiful nature, stunning white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters while enjoying some high quality courses and first class accommodation.

Sailing Activity Holiday

Sailing Activity Holiday in Bahamas

Sailing holidays are extremely popular in the Bahamas, especially around the many cays of the Abaco Islands and off Long island. Chartered Bahamian sailing holidays may combine sailing with scuba, snorkeling or swimming with dolphins and include large, small, first tier and second tier boats. Sailing enthusiasts might like to attend some of the several exciting regattas which take place throughout the year in the Bahamas and plan their holiday accordingly. Experienced holiday sailors may wish to journey around the many islands of the Bahamas or make their way to or from other Caribbean spots or Florida.

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Bahamas

The Bahamas are one of the top scuba diving holiday destinations on the planet and offer a variety of reef, wreck, wall, drift, night and shark dives for beginner and advanced divers alike. Popular scuba holiday spots in the Bahamas are located in the Biminis, on Grand Bahama, Andros Island, Long Island, and the Exumas, with convenient departures from Nassau. Diving can also be combined with a beach, cruise or sailing holiday. Stewart’s Coves on Paradise Island offers a variety of options including SUB (Scenic Underwater Bubbles) and underwater scooters. Blackbeard’s cruises offer weekly holiday diving packages departing from Freeport for under 650€ (plus additional fees).

Shopping Holiday

Shopping Holiday in Bahamas

In the Bahamas, a shopping holiday is generally divided between high priced boutiques, tourist souvenir shops and local craft markets. A Bahamas shopping holiday should include Bay Street in Nassau, the major center for upscale shopping, with its high price boutiques featuring names like Gucci and Fendi amongst tourist shops and nice restaurants. Bahamian straw markets are where you find local crafts such as hats, bags and woodwork, as well as treats like guava jelly. Be prepared to bargain on your Bahamas shopping holiday when you visit a straw market. The Atlantis Resort on Paradise island offers larger stores with wide selections, while the International Bazaar in Freeport on Grand Bahama is an exciting maze of shops, cafes and vendors in the center of town. One advantage for holiday shoppers in the Bahamas is that there is no sales tax, just a flat $15 (11€) departure tax.

Well-being and Spa

Well-being and Spa in Bahamas

As might be expected for a top beach resort destination, the Bahamas has a wealth of luxurious spa holiday options to enjoy. Top spa holidays in the Bahamas are offered at prestigious resorts and resort hotels like the Atlantis Resort’s Mandara Spa on Paradise Island, which features 14 treatment suites and a Thalassotherapy pool. Oceanfront Azure Spa & Beauty Salon at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau provides several kinds of massage, Vichy showers, facials and body treatments. Other recommended spa holiday locals include the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay and Senses Spa on Grand Bahama.

Winter Sun

Winter Sun in Bahamas

Sunny days during winter months are one of the main reasons so many people visit the Bahamas when the days are warm, bright and dry. Peak season in the Bahamas for a winter sun holiday (and in general) is mid-December to mid-April. Nassau and the resorts tend to get very lively and even crowded during these times so booking 2-4 months ahead is strongly advised and may be absolutely necessary for a Bahamas winter sun holiday. Whether its a lively holiday party scene or a peaceful exclusive resort which suites your tastes, lovely sunny warm weather and cool breezes on countless beaches of sparkling white sand with warm, clear turquoise waters await in the many islands of the Bahamas. Perfect to soothe away those winter blues.