Imagine Caribbean holidays and it’s almost always the Bahamas that springs to mind first.
A gorgeous archipelago of 700 islands and over 2000 scattered sand cays they evoke paradise perfectly. And the reality seldom disappoints.
Beaches are whitest sand, washed by green-blue transparent seas under cloudless, sunny skies. Warm almost all year round, occasionally wild and stormy, always easy going and friendly, the Bahamas are a wonderful introduction to the Caribbean.
Direct flights from UK to Nassau take 9 hours and 40 minutes, Grand Bahama is a 40 minute flight from Nassau.
Direct flights from UK to Miami take 9 hours 50 minutes and Grand Bahama is under an hour flying time from Miami.
Average temperatures in December 27˚C rising to 32˚C in July and August.
June to September is rainy season with the highest chance of hurricanes.
Grand Bahama, Nassau and Paradise Island are the most active islands for kids.
There are 23 National Parks across the islands including heavily protected Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Abaco National Park and Nassau’s Primeval Forest, Bonefish Pond and Harold & Wilson Ponds National Park.
Christmas and New Year are great times to visit. There are celebrations on every island and the annual Junkanoo Festival is spectacular.
The eleven Lighthouses of the Bahamas built by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service between 1836 and 1887 are on UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage list. The famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse on Elbow Cay is still operational today.
Just off the north east coast of Nassau, Paradise Island is dominated by the Atlantis resort. With everything from its own shopping malls to beaches, waterparks, vast aquariums, dolphin reserves, golf courses and every type of water sport imaginable, this is the zenith of all-inclusive Caribbean family holidays. In terms of heritage, culture and character, all the Bahamas adds here is gorgeous weather. But the island’s only 5km from lively Downtown Nassau and there’s plenty of local colour to be had there.
The Bahamas’ capital and biggest city, Nassau’s perennially charming. Pretty ice-cream coloured colonial buildings, cute Bay Street, the general fun of Downtown, cute street markets and lush gardens more than make up for a cruise ship packed harbour and hordes of tourists. The beaches here are big, broad and beautiful – not quiet coves, but good for activities, luxurious sun-loungers and on-tap service. And if you want a little easy, barefoot peace, catching a boat to Blue Lagoon from Nassau, at least once, is almost compulsory.
Grand Bahama is popular for family holidays. It’s also the closest island to Florida’s coast with fast, frequent flights from Miami, so a favourite for short breaks from the US too. The capital, Freeport, is the second largest city in the Bahamas famous for beaches, super-yachts in the marina and enormous resort hotels. Stick with the crowds round Freeport’s bustling Port Lucaya district and you’d be forgiven for dismissing the island as a little soulless. But visit any one of the three national parks, sail around for the day or delve deep into its amazing underwater caves and Grand Bahama will quickly change your mind.