Welcome to Paradise!!!
The Bahamas are a nation of 700 tiny islands located in the Atlantic Ocean at the top of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The islands are mainly made up of flat coral, with just a few rounded hills and the highest point in the islands is just 206 ft. above sea level. Despite their physical similarity, the character of each island is as individual as the people who live here. From lounging on the white sandy beaches at Treasure Cay Beach in The Abacos, to diving the wrecks in Eleutheria or kayaking adventures on Paradise Island, or shopping at Port Lacaya Marketplace on Grand Bahama Island, there is something to entertain every traveller’s taste. The trade winds and calm waters, sailing and game fishing is a draw for many. The famous coral reefs are a haven for divers and snorkelers, as are the many wrecks left behind from the days of the pirates. Wildlife is diverse so bird watching and swimming with dolphins are another draw to the country. Because of its beauty and year round warm, subtropical weather, the islands are also popular for weddings and honeymoons. With 30 inhabited islands to choose from, visitors can decide if they prefer a bustling metropolitan holiday in the capital of Nassau or something a bit quieter on the more remote island of Long Beach, with its farms and fishing villages.
The Bahamas are a British Commonwealth country and English is the national language, with a British twist and a Bahamian dialect. The islands have a population of 305,000 people, with nearly a quarter of those living on New Providence Island where the capital Nassau is located. The Lucayans Indians are natives of the Bahamas and Christopher Columbus as the first European to visit the islands. The people of the islands are warm and welcoming with a history steeped in West African roots mixed with European influence.
Local artwork is bright, bold and strikingly original. Bahamian music is influenced from African rhythms, Caribbean Calypso, English folk songs, and the unique Bahamian ‘Goombay’ which is a rolling rhythmic beat produced using a goatskin drum. Some of the best expressions of Bahamian culture are the religious hymns which resemble the American slave songs brought to the Bahamas and the congregational gospel singing which is accompanied by hand clapping and spiritual dancing. The Bahamas are also famous for their Junkanoo parades, a cultural extravaganza similar to Mardi Gras with dancing, music and elaborate costumes. Parades are on Boxing Day, New Years Day and summer time.
Accommodation for visitors can be as diverse as the islands, catering for all preferences and budgets with options ranging from all inclusive hotels where all your food and local drink are provided or grand resorts providing the ultimate in luxury and amenities, to intimate guest houses or bed and breakfasts which provide a more personalised visit. There are also options for self catering villa holidays, boats or the always popular cruise liner.
Although you can find just about any world cuisine available in one of the many restaurants in the Bahamas, the local food is affordable and easy to find. The delicious native cuisine is spicy and uniquely flavoured using local meats and produce, and, more than any other cuisine in the Caribbean, Bahamian cooking has been influenced by Cajun and Creole flavors of the American South.
Seafood and fish are the staples of the Bahamian diet. Conch and the Bahamian ‘rock lobster’ and delicacies including boiled or baked land crabs, which can often be seen running across the roads after dark, are popular. Souse is a soup unique to the Caribbean and the Bahamas made only from water, onions, lime juice, celery, peppers and meat. The meat added to a souse is often chicken, sheep’s tongue, oxtail or pigs’ feet which gives it a delicious, rich flavour.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails are a speciality, with rum punch being the most popular. Bars pride themselves on their own special concoctions of the drink, the main being the Bahama Mama. A refreshing drink is coconut water blended with sweet milk and gin. The local beer is light, wheaty and refreshing.
The Bahamas are easy to get to by plane or boat from the UK, so whether you have come to visit the islands to relax, explore, be adventurous or even to get married, you will find yourself wanting to return time and time again to explore all that the Bahamas has to offer.