Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, our tropical archipelago is an easy and convenient dream vacation destination with turquoise waters.
The Islands Of The Bahamas comprise a unique archipelago with an exceptional combination of natural wonder, cultural charm, and historical attractions. But the true gems of the islands are the friendly and intrinsically peaceful people whose very nature seems to be linked to the former inhabitants of the islands, the gentle Lucayan and Arawak Indians! Today, actor and diplomat Sir Sidney Poitier, NBA stars Mychal Thompson and Rick Fox, international supermodel Shakara Ledard, Grammy-winning artist Lenny Kravitz, as well as a number of famous Olympians, scholars and high-achievers all carry The Bahamas with them, for their global acclaim is rooted in the islands’ heritage.
No one can say for sure exactly how many islands are in The Bahamas, particularly if you factor in those tiny spits of sand that magically appear with falling tides. But best guesses put the count at about 700 islands and 2,000 cays, spread out over nearly 100,000 square miles of ocean. With so much territory to cover, most visitors tend to pinpoint one of the 16 main inhabited islands or island groups, each with its own unique character.
The most visited Bahamian island is New Providence, home to the bustling capital of Nassau. Its busy international airport and cruise ship dock welcome millions of visitors annually; many yearn for a relaxing island experience, while others clamor for a high stakes vacation, gambling in a world-class casino. The neighboring resort development of Paradise Island is home to the Atlantis Resort: The Aquaventure Water Park and aquarium together comprise the world’s largest open-air marine habitat.
Golfers know that The Bahamas’ nicest golf courses – those designed by Dick Wilson, Joe Lee, and Robert Trent Jones Jr. – are located on Grand Bahama Island. It is also home to the Lucayan National Park, a 40-acre national preserve with an underwater cave system mapped for six miles, and a vast system of mangroves that represents an important nursery for marine life.
Diving and snorkeling are first class in The Bahamas and Andros boasts the third-largest fringing barrier reef in the world. It is 190 miles long and plunges to more than 6,000 feet into the Tongue of the Ocean. It is unique in the region because of its large area, luxuriant coral growth, and low incidence of coral disease. Blue holes, both inland and in the ocean, are another draw, as well as highly acclaimed fly-fishing flats, where bonefish are abundant.
The Abacos and The Exumas are two island chains in The Bahamas known amongst the world’s top boating and sailing destinations. The Abacos have been The Bahamas’ boating capital since colonial times. It is very common for boaters to leave the ‘big island’ of Great Abaco on a day trip to explore the nearby cays – Elbow, Great Guana, Man-O-War, or Green Turtle – for seafaring excitement. The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, and you’ll want to drop anchor in the famous Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first of its kind in the world. Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave system in The Exumas with diverse marine species and breath-taking corals, is one of The Bahamas’ most notable snorkeling spots. The grotto got its name from the 1965 James Bond spy film “Thunderball,” which was shot there. It was also the site of another James Bond film, “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, also based on the Thunderball novel.
The pink sands of Eleuthera & Harbour Island, spreading over 35 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean side, have charmed travelers for decades, along with its tropical flair and New England style cottages. Long Island is home to Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest recorded blue hole in the world, with the second largest underwater chamber. It also has one of the largest ancient cave systems in The Bahamas. On Inagua, West Indian Flamingos, the National Bird of The Bahamas, far outnumber the human population. With 140 species of bird resident on the island, it is truly a bird-watcher’s paradise.
The Berry Islands border the Tongue of The Ocean and are known as the “Billfish Capital of The Bahamas,” second only to Bimini for championship fishing. Bimini is also home to the legendary spring known as the “Fountain of Youth,” made famous during a voyage by explorer Ponce de Leon. The late United States Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is another famous face of Bimini: he reportedly wrote his 1964 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize while on retreat there. Ernest Hemmingway also fell in love with Bimini. The island inspired him to write, but more notably fish, in the incredible and abundant waters.
San Salvador, reportedly the first place Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World in 1492, is home to the Gerace Research Centre, which conducts research at ancient Lucayan/Taino Amerindian sites in the southeast Bahamas.
The highest point in The Bahamas – 206 feet – is at Mount Alvernia (Como Hill) on Cat Island. A short hike to the summit will reveal The Hermitage, a stone-cut sanctuary built by a Catholic priest in 1939. Cat Island is known as the cultural capital of The Bahamas. Located on the mystical island is the childhood home of Oscar winner Sir Sidney Poitier. Many world-renowned Bahamian talents, such as acclaimed musicians Joseph Spence and Tony McKay, have deep roots in Cat Island.
Unspoiled, sparsely populated, and mostly undisturbed since the days of Christopher Columbus – Acklins and Crooked Island tout seclusion as their main attribute. Mayaguana, the most easterly in the chain and the only Bahamian island with its original name, offers picturesque footprint-free beaches and an ideal getaway for travelers seeking a rustic experience.
Ragged Island, the main island and only inhabited one in the croissant-shaped Jumento chain, is sought out by yachters mainly for its great fishing. Rum Cay, “the sleeping beauty” of The Bahamas, is considered one of the best-kept secrets within the region. It is a scenic refuge with rolling hills, stunning coral reefs, miles of pure sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and exhilarating surf.
The Islands Of The Bahamas are very accessible by air and sea. Major international airlines offer direct flights to several of the major islands. Just a 45-minute flight will transport you from a hectic airport in Miami to the quiet solitude of a picturesque island full of history and charm. We are also one of the hottest destinations in the world for cruises, with more ships calling here than ever before. And, as a boater’s paradise, we cater to every type of boating imaginable, from pleasure cruising to competitive sailing, and you can navigate into one of our many ports of entry with ease.
When the sun goes down, the fun in The Bahamas doesn’t stop. When the moon lights up the night sky, casinos, clubs, live shows, restaurants and bars come alive.
Depending on your taste, and your preferred island, there is a variety of entertainment choices here. A few islands have larger than life nightclubs showcasing international performers, while many others have quaint nightspots with local bands and entertainers. For those interested in gaming, there are several sophisticated options here – the Atlantis Casino on Paradise Island is designed with brilliant glass sculptures that add to the vibrant energy in the room; the casino at Baha Mar, the largest in the Caribbean, offers a mix of high energy and luxury; and the Resorts World Bimini Casino is set in a luxurious five-star, two-story structure. And, you can enjoy water views, no matter where you decide to try your luck.
In Nassau, Bay Street and Prince George Wharf are the main places to find exciting nightlife. From Thursday nights in particular, you will find nightclubs and bars along the waterfront with live music and the best deejays. From the outdoor patio of Via Café, to the upstairs deck of Bambu, and the performing stage at Señor Frogs, the downtown Nassau harbor front is the place to find a laidback party atmosphere at night. There are several spots to enjoy Jazz, dub poetry, Karaoke, Latin dancing, and uniquely Bahamian Rake & Scrape and Junkanoo music.
For a classy evening out, stop in the Blue Note Jazz Lounge, an elevated piano bar at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Cable Beach (Nassau). And, at Atlantis on Paradise Island, Aura Nightclub has transformed nightlife in The Bahamas through its elegant sophistication and impeccable design.
A Summary of Things You Can Do at Night:
- Sunset and star gaze from a beach on any of our islands
- Drink at a local bar on any of our islands
- Dance to local Rake & Scrape music at nightspots on many of our islands
- Gamble in a Casino on Bimini, Nassau, and Paradise Island
- Visit the Fish Fry in Nassau and interact with the locals
- Enjoy live Bahamian music on Friday and Saturday nights at Lukka Kairi in Nassau
- Enjoy fine dining at one of the many elegant restaurants on several of our islands
- Join the Junkanoo rush-out at Marina Village, Paradise Island, on Saturday nights
- Go club hopping at places like Aura, Bambu, Bullion, and Via Café in Nassau
- Party with Spring Break style fun at Señor Frogs in Nassau
Scheduled/International: Air Canada. American Airlines. Bahamasair. British Airways. Copa Airlines. Caribbean Airlines. Cubana Airlines. Delta Airlines. Elite Airways. InterCaribbean Airways. Jet Blue Airways. Silver Airways. Southwest Airlines. Sunwing Airlines. United Airlines. WestJet Airlines.
Scheduled/Domestic: Bahamasair, Southern Air Charters, Sky Bahamas, Western Air, Pineapple Air
Charters/International: Air Flight Inc. American Airlines. Atlantic Blue Charter. Aztec Airways. Bahamasair. Eastern Air Express. Island Air Charters, Inc. Noble Air. Treasure Air Charters, Inc. Triton Airways LLC. Tropic Air Charters, Inc. Tropic Ocean Airways. Watermakers Air.
Charters/Domestic: Flamingo Air Ltd. Golden Wings Charter. Island Wings Ltd. LeAir Charters. Pineapple Air Ltd. Sky Bahamas. Southern Air Charter. Western Air Limited.
Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) – to Cable Beach – 10 mins. To Downtown Nassau – 20 mins. To Paradise Island – 30 mins.
Grand Bahama Int’l Airport (FPO) to downtown – 5 mins. To Port Lucaya Marketplace – 15 mins.
Cruise Lines: Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. Carnival Cruise Lines. Celebrity Cruises. Disney Cruise Lines. Holland America Line. MSC Line. Norwegian Cruise Line. Princess Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Ferries: Baleària Bahamas Express. Baleària Caribbean. FRS Caribbean.
Foreigners wishing to travel to the Bahamas for vacation or for business may require a Visa for entry into the country. Be sure to check the Visa Requirements for Foreign Visitors to The Bahamas to determine the visa requirements for your country. Click on the following link for details on Applying for a Visitor’s Visa.
From the bustling energy of Nassau and Paradise Island to the relaxed ambiance of The Family of Islands, the options in The Bahamas will suit luxurious and down-home tastes, and everything in between. Secluded white-sand and pink-sand beaches with the bluest waters in the world are always endearing to couples looking for a romantic escape. Wild flamingo colonies painting the horizon pink, playful dolphin pods offering a welcome kiss, and a drove of swimming pigs begging to be fed are just a few of the unique encounters that await families. And, who wouldn’t enjoy visiting the home of Rake & Scrape music and Junkanoo—a traditional masquerade with masterful works of color and creativity. The art is paraded through the streets to the pulsating and infectious sounds of goat-skin drums beating ancestral African rhythms on the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day holidays, plus at festivals during the summer months.
Beaches: The Bahamas is known for its stellar beaches. With over 700 breathtaking islands and 2,000 cays, and the clearest water on earth, it’s no wonder visitors come from all around to sink their toes into miles of pure white, and in some places pink, sand. Many of our beaches have been voted “best in the world” by numerous publications, and it’s not uncommon to find a celebrity or two strolling along our shores.
Boating: Since the moment Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World, The Bahamas has been a magnet for sea vessels. Everyone from Blackbeard to Ernest Hemingway, to past world Premiers and Presidents has made the voyage. Whether you’re planning a quick getaway to Bimini from Florida or a weeklong voyage to Nassau & Paradise Island, the turquoise waters of The Bahamas are waiting for you.
Dining: Hop off your vessel right into a delicious lunch at one of the many dockside restaurants scattered across the islands. Conch is the quintessential Bahamian delicacy, eaten scorched, deep-fried, stewed, and steamed. Few places in the world eat conch raw. For Bahamians, however, fresh conch salad–with diced raw conch and vegetables seasoned with salt, sour orange, pepper and lime–is the preferred choice for eating the ocean mollusk. The perfect complement to the meal is a cold Kalik or Sands beer, both homegrown brews in The Bahamas. Other Bahamian delicacies include a variety of fish and lobster dishes, cooked in our own style, peas and rice, macaroni and cheese, and for dessert you must try our Guava Duff!
Diving: You’ll find sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, underwater caves, and forest-like coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. You can even feed and swim with reef sharks–an experience sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Explore what else makes The Bahamas a complete diving destination, with its very own Barrier Reef and the deepest recorded blue hole in the world.
Ecotourism: The Bahamas is home to some of the most intriguing, exotic and mysterious natural phenomena on the planet. Here you’ll find Stromatolites, the oldest known macro-fossils on earth, the world’s deepest blue hole, the third-largest fringing barrier reef in the world, miles of pink-sand beaches, many natural caves with interesting formations, countless nature preserves, the world’s largest colony of pink flamingos, the famous Andros Iguana, endangered Abaco Parrot, and Bimini Boa, to name just a few. You’ll also find a growing number of eco-friendly hotels and resorts in The Bahamas offering vacation packages that support ecotourism and Eco travelers.
Family Fun: The Bahamas is a perfect playground for children of all ages. Throw on a saddle and trot up and down our pristine shores on horseback. Get down and dirty with a little sand volleyball. Or simply build a sand castle on the beach. Children can even attend the Kids Camp, where they’ll find a replica of a famous sunken Spanish galleon. Or, they can embark on a marine adventure and learn how to dive, fish, and snorkel to experience the wonders of our beautiful ocean. Or, try the sport of “crabbing” (catching land crabs) along with locals during the rainy season, when the crabs are said to be “walking” in the bushes. Whatever piques your interest, know that you can find fun for the whole family in The Bahamas.
Fishing: Whether you’re a first-timer casting a line from a pier or a deep-sea fanatic eager to beat one of the 50 world fishing records set in The Bahamas, you’ll find all types of fishing here. Wade through the many saltwater flats for some bonefish or charter a boat and troll the deep seas for a prized marlin. Our islands play host to so many exotic fish that there’s sure to be fewer stories about the one that got away.
Honeymoons: Marriage is an adventure. Your honeymoon should set the pace. Honeymoons in The Bahamas offer couples experiences found nowhere else in the world. And with so many islands to explore, you don’t have to stay in one place. Spend one day on a remote island, the next in a bustling metropolis. However you decide to escape, there’s no doubt your honeymoon will be just as memorable and romantic as your wedding day.
Private Flying: Nearly every day, our weather is as clear as our water. The cumulus clouds dot the sky at around 2,500 feet in the morning, rising to 7,500 feet in the afternoon. These are the perfect conditions for flying. Wherever you’re headed, just about every vacation spot in The Bahamas has an airport where you can safely land. Plan a trip. File a flight plan. Take off, touch down and refuel your soul.
Romantic Getaways: From breathtaking panoramic views to soft white- and pink-sand beaches to spectacular sunsets and exotic hideaways, The Bahamas is proud to say that each and every one of our islands is the perfect destination for a romantic escape. Need to relax? Stumble across a secluded beach where the only footprints you’ll see are your own. Looking for adventure? Take a swim with dolphins in the warm waters of the Atlantic. Weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements–whatever your milestone, celebrate in paradise like nowhere else.
Shopping: During the day, Bay Street, Prince George Wharf, and Woodes Rogers Walk are the centers for duty-free and souvenir shopping in Nassau, with our famous Straw Market the main draw. In Grand Bahama Island, it’s Port Lucaya Marketplace, and in many of the other islands local crafts and other authentic Bahamian items can be found in stylish boutiques, open-air markets, and craft centers, or bought directly from the artisans. You can purchase signature straw craft indigenous to each island, one-of-a-kind craft pieces, and colorful locally made Androsia batik, a signature product of Andros.
Sightseeing: These islands are home to a variety of attractions and you’ll need to tour as many islands as possible to discover what makes The Bahamas so unique. You can walk through narrow streets in quaint little towns and fishing villages, see picket fences and colorful clapboard houses reminiscent of Loyalist architecture, explore historical landmarks and plantation ruins, and learn about a rich history that dates back centuries. Or, if you’d prefer to ride, we also offer bike, boat, jeep, and scooter tours. However you decide to explore our islands, there’s a professional Bahamian tour guide waiting to show you around.
Sports: Whatever sport you’re into, you can do it here: basketball, bowling, cricket, football, golf, gymnastics, racing, rugby, soccer, softball, squash, tennis, track & field and volleyball to name just a few. Throughout The Bahamas, it’s easy to find a friendly game to join. And we always welcome a good match. Golf in The Bahamas is absolutely breathtaking and several islands have pristine golf courses that challenge both the novice and professional golfer, some that line the clear-blue Atlantic waters. Runners and cyclers will appreciate the scenic and relatively flat terrain throughout our islands. Most hotels provide bicycles for the use of their guests. Swimming is a year-round sport, because the water never freezes. Tennis facilities are part of resorts on almost every island and surfaces include Flexipave, clay, asphalt, Plexicrome, Har-Tru or cork; most are night-lit.
Water Sports: One thing we have plenty of is crystal-blue water. And, yes, it feels just as amazing as it looks. With water temperatures averaging about 80°F year-round, water sports are naturally a popular vacation activity. Whether it’s banana boat rides, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, parasailing, surfing, or even swimming excursions with wild dolphins, you’ll find it in The Bahamas.
Weddings: Sapphire-blue skies, turquoise water, pure white- and pink-sand beaches, or even underwater. Your perfect day should take place in the perfect setting. With more than 700 islands and 2,000 cays, plus numerous reefs, beaches, parks, botanical gardens, churches and other locations, there are endless ways to declare your love for one another when planning a destination wedding in The Bahamas.
A one-day residency is required before obtaining a marriage license. For information and literature on getting married in The Bahamas, contact the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism at Phone: 305-767-4171 or 242-397-2705, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An affidavit is needed for persons wishing to be married who have never been married. This affidavit can be obtained through a Justice of the Peace, a Bahamian Licensed Marriage Officer, or a notary public, stating that the person has never been married. It must accompany the application for the marriage license.
If either party has been divorced, the original final decree or a court certified copy must be produced.
If either party is widowed, the original death certificate or a certified copy must be produced.