Bahamas – Travel Guide, Tourist Attractions & Things to Do

Categories: Travel reports, Central America & the Caribbean, The Bahamas

700 small, medium and larger islands spread over 14,000 square kilometers in the Atlantic Ocean and only 80 miles from the florida coast: this is the beautiful island world of the Bahamas ❤ There are the whitest beaches and the clearest, turquoise water we’ve seen on our travels so far. Are you planning a holiday in the Bahamas? Then we have put together some helpful information for you here 🙂

Islands

Things to know about the Bahamas

The 700 Bahamas Islands, of which only 30 are inhabited, extend from the southeast coast of Florida along the northeast coast of Cuba to the northwest coast of the Turks and Caicos Islands with a north-south extent of about 650 km and a west-east extent of up to 750 km.

The island was named Bahamas by its Spanish conquerors. The waters around the islands were named Baja Mar (Spanish: “flat water”) – later it became “Bahamas”. The Bahamas have been independent of the United Kingdom since 1973, but Queen Elizabeth II is still the head of state as part of a constitutional monarchy. The Bahamas is home to about 400,000 people. Two thirds of the population (about 250,000 inhabitants) live on the island of New Providence and the capital Nassau alone.

In the Bahamas, you pay with the Bahama dollar or/and the equivalent U.S. dollar. When paying, we have often mixed both currencies – this works without any problems and is accepted everywhere.

Bahamas, Islands, Map, Caribbean

The islands of the Bahamas

Flights from Germany to the Bahamas

Unfortunately, there are currently no direct flights to the Bahamas from Germany, so you have to plan at least one stopover.

A direct flight to the Bahamas from Europe is currently only available with British Airways from London. Otherwise there are flights to Nassau (Lynden Pindling International Airport) with Air Canada from Toronto and many services from the USA (e.g. New York, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Dallas, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Newark, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Orlando, Miami, Key West). Bahamasair also flies to several destinations in the Caribbean (Cuba, Barbados, Belize or Dominican Republic).

From Miami and Fort Lauderdale there are almost daily ferries to Bimini or Freeport, which can even be booked as a day cruise.

The main islands of the Bahamas

The islands of the Bahamas are divided into the two most populated islands New Providence and Grand Bahama and the Out Islands and Family Islands respectively. Every island in the Bahamas is completely different. From magnificent nature and national parks, to secluded beaches and a bustling capital – here we have compiled the differences of the most important islands of the Bahamas:

New Providence

The 33-kilometre-long island of New Providence is home to 250,000 people. That’s about two-thirds of the bahamas’s total population. Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on the island of New Providence and is considered one of the most important cruise ports in the Caribbean. Every day 4 to 7 cruise ships dock here and bring thousands of tourists to the island world of the Bahamas. As a result, Nassau is a very lively town, which has a few other corners worth seeing besides the historic city centre.

Our travel reports to New Providence and the capital Nassau can be found here.

Grand Bahama

Grand Bahama is one of the more northern Bahamas islands and offers its visitors a lot of variety: from beautiful sandy beaches to national parks and a protected underwater cave system to the turbulent city of Freeport with an attractive shopping and sports offer.

Long Island

Long Island is located about 265 km southeast of the capital Nassau. The island is 130 km long and up to 6 km wide, and thus lives up to its name. When Christopher Columbus passed here in 1492 on his way to America, he gave the island the name Fernandina – in reference to the former Sicilian King Ferdinand II. The island was given its current name by sailors who chose Long Island because of the long-lasting redevelopment of the island.

Today, the island is home to about 3,000 people and about 3 to 4 times as many tourists visit the island every year. By comparison, Nassau has to cope with this number of visitors in one day when several large cruise ships dock. This also means that Long Island is not yet so far accessible for tourism and is therefore perfect for a relaxing holiday.

The island runs from Seymour’s in the north to Gordon’s in the south, the only main road, the Queen’s Highway, which connects about 35 settlements, often made up of only a handful of houses. The highway divides the island in two halves: the side facing the Atlantic is characterized by cliffs that fall steeply into the sea, while the Caribbean side with its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters rises. The coasts could not be more opposite.

Our travel reports to Long Island can be found here.

Eleuthera & Harbour Island

Eleuthera is a narrow, elongated island located about 80 kilometers east of Nassau. Many Hollywood stars appreciate the beauty of the island and have moved their second residence here, such as Lenny Kravitz. The neighbouring island of Harbour Island is known for its pink sandy beaches, pastel houses and numerous beach bars.

The Exumas

The Exumas are an island chain of 365 islands of different sizes. The islands are known above all for their turquoise blue crystal clear water, fine-puddles sand and the famous floating pigs. The largest Exuma island is with a length of 60 km Great Exuma. About 7,300 Bahamians live on Great Exuma and the sister island of Little Exuma, which is connected by a bridge. For some stars and asterisks (such as Johnny Depp or David Copperfield) or wealthy businessmen, the Exumas are luxurious second homes. There are many private islands here, where there are glamorous villas on palm-covered beaches.

Great Exuma is home to the largest city in the archipelago, George Town. We were able to experience for ourselves that the city is known as a regatta and sailing metropolis during our stay, because it was here that the annual Family Island Regatta took place – a tradition that has existed since 1954. This makes it the oldest regatta in the Bahamas.

Our travel reports about the Exumas can be found here.

Bimini

Bimini is located just 80 kilometers off Florida’s coast and is the Bahamian island closest to the United States. The archipelago is mainly known as an angler’s paradise, with its shipwrecks and shark encounters but also for divers and snorkelers a charming environment. Bimini is known as the favourite retreat of the famous writer Ernest Hemingway.

Andros

On the largest island in the Bahamas, there is pure nature. With more than 300 km of length, the third largest barrier reef in the world is located off the island of Andros and offers a fantastic underwater world for divers and snorkelers. In addition, there are countless blue holes, dense mangrove forests and five national parks. Those who like to kayak, love hiking, like to watch birds and find the world impressive even under water – for you is Andros THE Bahamas Island.

The Abacos

Quiet waters, picturesque coves and fine-puddy sandy beaches make the 195 km long island chain of Abacos a paradise for boaters and sailors. But there is also a lot to see by country: championship golf courses, idyllic villages as well as countless hotels and restaurants.

Inaguas

Inagua is home to more than 80,000 flamingos,the national bird of the Bahamas, and a paradise for birdwatchers. Along with the flamingos, bird lovers will find over 140 species of native and migratory birds, making Inagua the capital of bird watching in the Bahamas. But it is not only bird lovers who get their money’s worth in Inagua: the island is said to be home to more than 5,000 wild donkeys, which were formerly used as cargo and transport animals. These are a remnant of the time when the English colonial masters wanted to grow cotton here, but had to give it up due to pests. Salt extraction is Inagua’s main industry. More than 1.3 million tonnes of sea salt are produced here every year. This is the second largest salt production in North America on Inagua.

The best connections between the islands

“Island Hopping” can be done wonderfully in the Bahamas. From Nassau, the islands are served by normal airliners (e.g. with Bahamasair)or by smaller charter aircraft (e.g. Southern Air Charter). Ferries (Bahamas Ferries) also operate between some islands, which are usually cheap, but also sometimes take a very long time to cross.

The floating pigs in the Bahamas

They are one of the most famous and popular attractions in the Bahamas: the floating pigs ????

Why the pigs are in the Bahamas is not so clear. The floating pigs of the Exumas island Big Major Cay are not native there. Some say they were abandoned here by a group of sailors who had planned to come back and cook them. Others say the pigs swam from a shipwreck nearby to the island. The floating pigs of Big Major Cay have become a huge tourist attraction in recent years. The demand for the excursions is now so great that one has simply “exposed” pigs on other islands of the Bahamas in order to profit from the flow of visitors and thus also to grab a piece of the cake.

For example, the floating pigs in the Bahamas can also be found on

Ship Channel Cay in the northern Exumas
Dove Cay on Long Island
Sandy Cay on Long Island

But if you want to see the “Original Pigs”, you have to go to Pig Beach on Big Major Cay! We were at the pigs on the Exumas as well as on Long Island. Our travel reports can be found here.

Bahamas Swimming with Piglet

Car rental on the individual islands

There are various car rental companies on most of the major islands. There are not always the well-known big providers, such as Hertz, Europcar, Avis etc., but smaller, local providers. Since the cars on smaller islands are not available in large quantities, you should reserve a car a few days in advance to be sure that you will also get one. With us it was on Great Exuma, for example, that we could not get a single car due to a big sailing regatta on site. On Long Island we had booked our car directly through the hotel – the advantage here was that it was right in the hotel parking lot the next day and we could park it there again in the evening. This saves you the trip to the airport or the pick-up station. It should be remembered that there is left-hand traffic in the Bahamas, so we had reserved an automatic car on Long Island. For example, a gallon of gasoline (3.8 liters) on Long Island cost about 5 dollars.

In Nassau and the surrounding area (New Providence) we were only on the so-called Jitneys (small buses), which cost just USD 1.50 per person per way/trip.

Our Starbucks Cup from the Bahamas

We are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series

There are currently several Starbucks stores in the Bahamas, e.g. in Freeport on the Grand Bahamas or in Nassau on the island of New Providence. And this is the cup of the Global Icon series.

Bahamas, Starbucks Cup, Global Icon Series, City Mugs, Collection, Travelreport

Starbucks Gloab Icon Island Mup from the Bahamas

All travelogues from the Bahamas

The Bahamas have been on our bucket list for a really long time. And this year we had found a relatively good and cheap flight offer to combine the Bahamas with a few days in Florida afterwards. On our trip we visited different islands on the Bahamas in 9 days and these are our travel reports:
Route Bahamas
Things to know: Travel Guide for the Bahamas, Tourist Attractions & Things to do
Travel Planing: The Bahamas and Florida & our flight to Nassau
New Providence: Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots in Nassau
New Providence: Hotel Atlantis & Paradise Island
Exumas: Flight to Great Exuma Island & Hotel in George Town
Exumas: Beaches & Sting Rays feeding on Stocking Island
Exumas: The swimming Pigs of Big Major Cay
Exumas: Swimming with the nurse sharks of Compass Cay
Long Island: The Stella Maris Resort & our Kayak Tour
Long Island: Self guided tour around the island by car
Long Island: The swimming Pigs at Dove Cay
Long Island: Diving in the underwater world of the Caribbean
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