The Bahamas in the Caribbean is a massive collection of islands, small cays and natural rock outcroppings. While most people refer to it as simply the Bahamas, this large network of natural islets has officially been recognized as The Commonwealth of the Bahamas since the 1970s.
The Bahamas was not always the Caribbean tourism and cruise ship destination epicenter it is today. In fact, the nation was quite inexperienced after it decided to remove itself from British rule in the colonial era and declared itself a self-governing nation in the sixties. However, the Bahamas still shares a relationship with its former monarch, continuing to be a part of the Commonwealth.
In the nineties, the Bahamas was losing tourist dollars to neighboring islands like Anguilla and St. Barthelemy. The Bahamas subsequently evolved into the tourist apex of today thanks to the past efforts of investors and the Bahamian government which pumped significant funds into the industry and turned the islands into the Caribbean destination that sees over a million visitors every year. Paradise Island and especially Nassau tend to be the most frequented islands. Despite Nassau’s prominence as the arguable top Caribbean island in the Bahamas for tourism, its evolution has not come at a sacrifice to its classic British traditions.
Hotels and American restaurants have proliferated throughout the Bahamas. Paradise Island is famous for its huge Atlantis resort which throws in lagoons, multiple pools, a casino, clubs and tons more. The Hilton hotel chain has also erected some of its finest hotels in Nassau and the island of Grand Bahama is also seeing considerable hotel growth. This proliferation of hotels from respected names like Four Seasons, Club Med and aforementioned Hilton has also lead to a growth in casinos, as seen on Paradise Island.
Some of the other islands in the Bahamas have not seen the same rapid growth as that of the larger ones like New Providence Island. However, the Bahamas as a whole has shifted towards adopting and promoting eco-tourism. As such, the nation is arguably second only to Saba in its collection of natural sights to behold and the abundance of wildlife living on its many islands like the Indian flamingo, iguanas, parrots and turtles.
Residents of the Bahamas are generally considered among the friendliest people in the world and their culture of Bahamas is a rich mix of African and European influences from the familial regattas and festivals to storytelling sessions and sports activities. Music also plays a major role in Bahamian culture. Ripsaw, calypso, reggae and the indigenous Junkanoo music festival held in Nassau are among the genres favored throughout the islands.
Residential and commercial Bahamas real estate available for rent or purchase comes in huge varieties and encompasses just about every category imaginable from condos, communities and townhouses to traditional estates, apartments, duplexes and vacant land. Interestingly, the huge amount of islands within the Bahamas allows individuals to purchase their own entire private islet or so if they so choose.
Bonefish Cay is an example of one of the smaller cays and/or private islands available for purchase. Located in Central Andros, it offers six acres and like its name implies, the waters are inhabited by bonefish. The island itself contains three separate beaches. For something larger, cays of more than 200 acres offer marinas, restaurants, landscaped trails and tons of space to design and construct a dream home.
The Atlantis resort offers condo hotel units which have just about all the amenities of the Atlantis resort itself plus residences ranging in size between 523 square feet to a little under 1,500 square feet. The island of New Providence also offers a large selection of condo units with eight bedrooms, eleven bathrooms and over 13,000 square feet. Like traditional condos, the perk of owning a Bahamas condo is having several extra amenities like fitness centers, personal concierge and Jacuzzis.
Estates in Grand Bahama Island can come with over ten bedrooms to smaller three bedroom and bathroom 1.5 acre residences intended to function as single family homes. These homes are designed in a European style, have unusually large terraces and overlook the beach. Inside owners enjoy features like mahogany wood, marble floors and granite kitchen countertops.
Bahamas rental property functions the same way as most other properties within the Caribbean: owners are allowed to rent out their properties when not in use as temporary vacation homes if they so choose. The breadth of smaller islands and cays throughout the Bahamas means there is a large amount of vacant land available for multi family or single family use or commercial use.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino
British Colonial Hilton
Club Med-Columbus Isle
Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay
Grand Bahamas Island
The official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar (BSD). The BSD is equivalent to that of the US Dollar (USD).
Calling Code: 1 (242)
Top Level Domain: (.bs)
Cable providers: Bahamas Telephone Co. (BATELCO).
The Bahamas is a commonwealth of England headed by Queen Elizabeth II.
Valid Travel Documents: Required Exit/Entry
Government Issued Photo ID: Required
The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter.
Language: English, Creole
Tips when you get there:
The Bahamas is particularly well served by the airline industry. Many flights go in and out along with extremely inexpensive flights form the closest U.S. state Florida. The Bahamas has six international airports spread throughout its 700+ islands. Whether arriving by personal watercraft, cruise ship or airplane, getting around island and interisland travel is simple with taxis and ferries available at most locations. Most Bahamian islands are relatively small and easy to travel throughout. It's not unreasonable to preview every attraction on your particular island and plan out your trip accordingly.
What to do
The Bahamas is world renowned for its tourist appeal. With over 700 islands serving millions of guests a year, events, activities and attractive locations are abundant. Most travel to the Bahamas for white sandy beaches and clear blue water, but when they’re not sunbathing there are also other experiences to be had from island hopping to visiting one of the Bahamas many national parks. Andros Island is described as a "wild island" with lots of vegetation in the form of dense forest and palm savannahs. The island also provides a 140-mile-long coral reef very popular with divers.