This group of 700 islands, beginning sixty miles east of the Florida coast, is dazzling in its diversity. Activities like golfing with your family, world class bone fishing, or just hanging out and relaxing at the beach. For diving and snorkeling the Bahamas boast the world’s third longest barrier reef and visibility of over 200 feet. You can also explore the world’s longest underwater cave and cavern system at Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama. Great shopping, and the resorts start at $33.00 dollars a day up to $300 a day.
The island of New Providence is divided into three main tourist areas — Nassau, Paradise Island and Cable Beach.
Hotel complexes dominate expansive Cable Beach, which underwent a recent facelift, transforming it to a mecca for visitors who prefer beach combing with options for exercise and lively entertainment nearby. Luxurious accommodations are offered in resorts of all sizes and types with gourmet food, world-class entertainment, sports facilities (including a golf course) and some large casinos never more than a few steps away.
Nassau, the capital, adds a grand British undertone to island life. Pink government buildings at Rawson Square (actually a circle) face cruise ships whose passengers are drawn to a day of duty-free shopping downtown. A new museum interpreting the colorful Junkanoo tradition is tucked at wharf side in the ships’ shadows. Tiny pubs and restaurants dot Nassau’s narrow side streets. And a bustling straw market houses hundreds of vendors ready to bargain with souvenir merchandise. You can even catch a ride on a horse drawn carriage.
Cross the bridge to Paradise Island where beaches are first- class and the resort selection is excellent — from upscale chic on stately estate grounds, to a yoga retreat, condo facilities (great for family vacations), and large luxury properties (one with a glass tunnel for viewing marine life and a low-key water park). Activity abounds at every turn. Paradise Island has an excellent golf course and its own small airport.
Grand Bahama, with resort development at both Freeport and Lucaya, has the same features on a smaller scale. Golf, tennis, water sports and duty-free shopping are popular and plentiful. And the island moves at a leisurely pace.
Kick back further and visit the Out Islands, favored by explorers who prefer their island life quaint, quiet, simple and barefoot. No rules here, just relaxation and recreation on land and sea when the spirit moves you. Interesting and excellent small and mid-sized hotels and family-run guest houses are interspersed with touches of history and hundreds of friendly faces. Out Island exploration is especially popular with eco-tourists in search of unspoiled island atmosphere, game fishermen seeking a record catch and all those who prefer to daydream in idyllic surroundings.