Looking for an unforgettable island vacation? Here are our top Bahamas travel tips.
From the moment you start flying around the Bahamas, you’re already start falling in love. I have looked out of the airplane window many times, but the play of shapes and colors, shades and light effects when you travel to this group of islands is a work of art of nature and truly breathtaking.
The 700 islands of varying sizes and population, made up of coral reefs, nestle naturally in the brilliant turquoise-blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
Also check out: Best Beach Bars in The Abacos, Bahamas
Exploring the capital of the Bahamas: Nassau
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is located on New Providence Island. Almost every Bahamas trip starts here, as the main airport Nassau Lynden Pindling is also located here.
What is there to discover in Nassau?
Wonderful colorful houses adorn the streets of the city.
Very close to the Bahamas Historical Society Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Bahamas, on Elisabeth Avenue is The Queen’s Staircase, an important landmark of the city.
The 66 steps carved in limestone lead up to the water tower on Bennett`s Hill. Especially in the morning you can walk up here in peace and in the midday heat the walls surrounding the staircase provide some shade. A really special place and very idyllic because of the waterfall that flows right next to the stairs. Once at the top, there is also a viewpoint nearby with great views over the city.
At the beach of Nassau you can really find typical Caribbean beach feeling. At the huts around the Tiki Bikini Hut at Junkanoo Beach many locals meet during the day and in the evening. Caribbean music is playing and the atmosphere is mega relaxed.
Walking along Junkanoo Beach, you come to the famous Fish Fry, a collection of restaurants where you can eat the best “Conch Fritters” or “Conch Salads” on the island, among many other typical island dishes. Conch means sea snail and is a delicacy in the Bahamas.
The Oh Andros restaurant in particular was recommended to us by locals on the beach, but Trudy’s also offers a warm welcome.
Also below the docks, across the bridge that leads from Nassau to Paradise Island, there are a number of stalls offering very tasty food for fair prices. Which is more than can be said for the touristy places on Paradise Island. Here, you rather have the feeling that they double the price everywhere.
Straw Market, Nassau
In the heart of Nassau there is the famous and very touristy Straw Market. The wood carvings offered there are wonderful and the straw bags and straw work are also enchanting.
But you can really hardly go through in peace without being spoken to very violently from all sides. I think it is a big misunderstanding that a traveler who wants to buy something is only interested in the price.
He wants to look but first and foremost in peace and get involved with the preciousness’s and only then make a choice, which is so very difficult.
Music and festivals in the Bahamas
Just like the famous beach, the most famous music style in the Bahamas is called Junkanoo. It goes back to African influences. It is said that an African tribal leader brought Junkanoo with him when he came to the Bahamas as a slave.
Every year starting on December 26, the Junkanoo Festival or Junkanoo Carnival is celebrated. There is a parade on that day and on January 1 with colorfully costumed dance groups, lots of music and unusual sounds, such as cowbells, goatskin drums or whistles.
From June to August, there is even a Junkanoo Summer Festival every weekend. This colorful and joyful festival is not to be missed.
If you travel outside these times, you can visit Junkanoo World to get an impression of the wonderful costumes and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this typical festival.
Culture in the Bahamas
When you talk intensively with the islanders, you learn a lot about what is close to your heart. The typical food, the view of the sea, the family, the music and the religion. There are an incredible number of churches in the Bahamas and most of the believers are Baptists. Beachguard Anna, for example, tells me that their culture is very similar to that of Trinidad, which historically dates back to the time of the slave trade.
The Bahamas flag has been around for 50 years, ever since the Bahamas became independent. It tells the story of the yellow of the sun, the blue of the sea and the dark skin of the people who live there.
The Bahamas are located off the coast of Florida, which is why they are the vacation paradise of many US Americans.
What I noticed: Many of the tourists have a very arrogant attitude towards the islanders and employees, which is why they in turn seem somewhat jaded towards tourists at first. But as soon as they realize that you are not one of those tourists who are only looking for artificiality and luxury on the islands, but are genuinely interested in the people and their culture, they are incredibly warm and open.
Waterworld in the Bahamas
Our cab driver John, for example, is very enthusiastic about Long Island and recommends it for our next trip. Cat Island is also wonderful.
Did you know that you can swim with pigs in the Bahamas?
We didn’t and instead went to the Blue Project on Paradise Island with its rays, sea turtles, sawfish and sharks. For adrenaline action there is also the famous Aquaventure waterpark of the huge Atlantis Hotel.
For $135 USD, you can spend a whole day there even without booking a hotel and experience the many slides in the dark from the Maya Temple, the “Challenger” slide with timer or the “Leap of Faith” free-fall slide through the shark tank.
The opposite of this man-made action world is Cabbage Beach, also on Paradise Island. It’s a fantastic place for an evening stroll on the beach. Even after sunset, the warm sea still gently laps your feet and you want to keep walking until it gets dark.
It was a short trip to the Bahamas, which we have added to our Florida round trip. And makes you want more…especially I want to see more of the sea.
Next time we stay longer and discover a few more beautiful places there.