Destinations: Bahamas

Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, our tropical archipelago is an easy and convenient dream vacation destination with turquoise waters. From the bustling energy of Nassau and Paradise Island to the relaxed ambiance of the Out Islands, the options in The Islands Of 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 and playful dolphin pods offering a welcome kiss are just a few of the unique encounters that await families. Airlines now offer direct flights to many of the islands in The Bahamas. Just a 45-minute flight will transport you from a hectic airport in Miami to the home of Rake & Scrape music and Junkanoo, a traditional masquerade in which paper and cardboard – are transformed into 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. Information on airlines flying to The Bahamas can be found their website. You can also sail into one of our 32 ports of entry. As a boater’s paradise, we cater to every type of boating imaginable, from pleasure cruising to competitive sailing. The Abacos and The Exumas are two island chains in The Bahamas known amongst the best. 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, or 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. 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! There are also other charming qualities that make the on-land experience memorable in many of the islands: narrow streets, picket fences, colorful clapboard houses reminiscent of the architecture of the time in New England, plantation remains and a rich history that dates back centuries. Diving and snorkeling are first class in The Bahamas and it is said that The Bahamas has the largest marine mammals found anywhere in the world. Andros boasts the third-largest barrier reef in the world. It is 190 miles long and plunges to more than 6,000 feet in 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. No one can say for sure exactly how many islands are in The Islands Of 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 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. Long Island is home to Dean's Blue Hole, the deepest recorded blue hole in the world. The pink sands of Eleuthera & Harbour Island, spreading over 35 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean side, have charmed travelers for decades. 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. New Providence, the most visited Bahamian island, is 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 one of our world-class casinos. 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 in Grand Bahama Island, also home of 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. The Berry Islands are known as the "Billfish Capital of The Bahamas," and are 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 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. 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 the 1940s. Cat Island is 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 musician Joseph Spence, have deep roots in Cat Island. San Salvador, reportedly the first place Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World, is home to the Gerace Research Centre, which conducts research at ancient Lucayan/Taino Amerindian sites in the southeast. Acklins and Crooked Island – unspoiled, sparsely populated and mostly undisturbed since the days of Christopher Columbus – touts seclusion as its 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 in the croissant-shaped Jumento chain, is sought out mainly for its great fishing. Rum Cay, “the sleeping beauty,” is considered one of the best-kept secrets within the region, a scenic refuge with rolling hills, stunning coral reefs, miles of pure sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and exhilarating surf. The Bahamas is 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 star 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. Nightlive When the sun goes down, the fun in The Islands Of The Bahamas doesn’t stop. When the moon lights up the night sky in The Bahamas, clubs, live shows, casinos, restaurants and bars come alive. Some islands have larger than life nightclubs and casinos, while others have quaint nightspots with local bands and entertainers. Nassau & Paradise Island has two of the largest casinos in the English-speaking Caribbean: one at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island and the other at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino on Nassau. During the day, Bay Street and Prince George Wharf are the center for duty-free and souvenir shopping in Nassau. At night, they are the main places for those looking for vibrant 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, the upstairs deck of Bambu, to the performing stage at Señor Frogs, the downtown Nassau harbor front is the place for a party atmosphere at night. There are spots to enjoy live Jazz, dub poetry, Karaoke, Latin dancing and uniquely Bahamian Rake & Scrape and Junkanoo music. Some Things to Do at Night: 1. Drinks at a local bar on any of our islands 2. Sunset and star gazing from the beach on any of our islands 3. Saturday night Junkanoo rush at Marina Village on Paradise Island 4. Live music and dinner at the Fish Fry in Nassau 5. Live Bahamian music on Saturday night at Via Café in Nassau 6. Club Hopping at Aura, Waterloo, and Bambu in Nassau 7. Gambling in a Casino in Nassau, Grand Bahama, Exuma and Bimini 8. Spring Break style fun at Señor Frogs in Nassau 9. Jazz at the Bullion Bar in Nassau 10. Fine dining at one of the many restaurants on several of our Islands 11. Dance to Rake & Scrape music on many of our islands Depending on your taste, and your preferred island, there is a variety of entertainment choices in The Islands Of The Bahamas. Airlines Nassau & Paradise Island: Air Canada. Air Jamaica. Air Tran. American Eagle. Bahamasair. British Airways. Copa Airlines. Cubana Airlines. Delta Airlines. Jet Blue Airways. Spirit Airlines. U.S. Airways. WestJet Airlines. Charters: Air Turks & Caicos. B & H Charters. Flamingo Air. LeAir Charter. Pineapple Air. Silver Airlines. Sky Bahamas. Southern Air. Tortug’air. Western Air. Grand Bahama Island: American Eagle. Bahamasair. Delta Airlines. Flamingo Air. Regional Air. SkyBahamas. United Express. US Airways. Western Air. Charters: WestJet seasonally Fall/Winter from Toronto. Airports: 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. Entry Requirements With a goal to strengthen border security and facilitate entry to the United States for all legitimate travelers, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires all persons entering or re-entering the US from the Islands of the The Bahamas to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer's identity and nationality. Therefore American nationals will not be re-admitted into the United States with a birth certificate and government issued photo I.D. Activities Beaches: The Bahamas is known for its stellar beaches. With over 2,000 breathtaking islands and 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. 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 the world's deepest blue hole, the world's largest colony of pink flamingos, miles of pink-sand beaches, the third-largest barrier reef in the world, countless nature preserves, the famous Andros Iguana and endangered Abaco Parrot 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 ecotravelers. 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. 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. 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 700 tropical 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. Sports: Whatever sport you’re into, you can do it here: basketball, bowling, cricket, football, golfing, 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. Water Sports: One thing we have plenty of is crystal-blue water. And, yes, it feels just as amazing as it looks. Averaging 80°F year-round, it’s perfect for any type of water sport. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, parasailing 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. Your perfect day should take place in the perfect setting. With more than 700 cays, 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. Marriage Requirements A 1 day residency is required before obtaining license. For information and literature on getting married in The Bahamas contact 1-888-NUPTIAL (from US & Canada) or the Ministry of Tourism at 242-328-7810. Fax: 242-326-0166. Email: athompson@bahamas.com. Affidavit is needed for persons wishing to be married who have never been married. This affidavit can be obtained from a notary public stating that the person has never been married. For divorcees, the original or court certified copy of final decree is required.

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