The Bahamas: 14 Best Things To Do

Snorkelling in bermuda

Everything actually seems better in The Bahamas with its turquoise waters, pillowy sand beaches, and laid-back island demeanour. With 16 major islands and 259,000 square kilometres (100,000 square miles) of some of the clearest water in the world, there’s no shortage of island adventuring to be had, whether it’s jumping in the ocean for a snorkelling excursion or relaxing with a cool rum-laden beverage in hand.

The Bahamas is a terrific place to indulge in your love of water sports if you have one. Desolate islands and private coves offer a secluded glimpse at the marine life enjoying the warm, clear seas that surround the islands, making for exciting snorkelling and scuba diving excursions.

There are lots of places to explore if you’d rather stay close to the land, though. Want proof? Here’s a list of the top things to do while in The Bahamas.

Dive into a cave at Lucayan National Park

Underwater caves

 

The Lucayan National Park is one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world

The 16-hectare (40-acre) Lucayan National Park is one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world, two of which are open to the public for swimming and exploring. Located east of Freeport over on Grand Bahama Island, Lucayan is an ecological wonder, playing host to all six of the Bahamas’ vegetation zones.

Detour: Experience the mangrove wetlands, rocky coppice scenery, and unique hardwood forest of the park while walking or riding a horse along one of the park’s paved roads before cooling off in the cave’s waters.

Pick up souvenirs at the straw market

Straw Market

At Nassau’s chaotic Straw Market, near to the boutique stores on Bay Street, you may hone your negotiation skills and pick up a few locally created gifts. You’ll find sellers with individual stalls offering all manner of products, from straw purses and wood carvings to tacky shirts and hats. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, the Straw Market is open.

Local tip: Haggling isn’t only permissible in this open-air market, it’s encouraged.

Tame the water slides at Atlantis Paradise Island

Waterslides

Who says that yelling and giggling while speeding down a waterslide is only something that children can do? In the midst of the “ruins” of Atlantis, the Aquaventure attraction at Atlantis Paradise Island features 11 swimming pools spread across 57 hectares (141 acres) and high-speed water slides. Access to Atlantis is free for overnight guests of the resort, but you can buy yourself a day pass if you’re staying elsewhere.

Get a massage on Cabbage Beach

The public entrance to Cabbage Beach, a two-mile stretch of immaculate sand bordered by swaying palm palms, can be found on the east side of Paradise Island, which is also home to Atlantis.

If the sea is turbulent, look for one of the beachside huts where a masseuse is waiting to give you a relaxing massage as the waves of the ocean beyond pound on the shore.

Soak up the sun on pink sand

Pink Sand Beaches

No, an Instagram filter hasn’t taken over your sight; Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island actually has pink sand. A small coral bug with a vivid pink and red shell is responsible for the rosy pink colour.

In a slightly gloomy twist, the waves smash their shells and mingle the remains with the sand and coral on shore, giving a lovely pink colour. The sand here is usually always cool, making the three-mile stretch of beach suitable for daytime strolls or sunbathing.

Sip on a boozy frozen drink at the Daq Shack 

Did you truly visit The Bahamas if you didn’t down a few daiquiris? Get yourself to the Daiquiri (Daq) Shack, an outdoor wooden shack famous for its heady blended cocktails made with fresh tropical fruits and generous pours of rum, to avoid being the victim of that query.

There are numerous pretenders to the throne on the island, but Cable Beach is where the real one is. After thanking the bartender, find the one with all of the tourist photos and business cards nailed to the walls and add one of your own.

Dine at the historic Graycliff Hotel

A historic pirate hideout and playground for the rich and (in)famous, the magnificently opulent grounds of the Graycliff Hotel have courted all manner of intriguing personalities for nearly 300 years.

While best known for its cigars, the estate also has one of the world’s largest wine cellars and, indeed, a five-star restaurant. Think upscale variations on traditional Bahamian dishes.

Planning tip: Make sure to call early for reservations – the restaurant tends to be fully booked weeks in advance.

Making conch salad on the street

 

No trip to The Bahamas is complete without sampling conch © Getty Images/Moment Open

Order up some conch at the Fish Fry

Conch is the next item you visit after crossing the daiquiri off your Bahamas bingo card. The Fish Fry in Nassau is the most well-liked location to eat the island’s unofficial food, whether it is fried or fresh. The collection of wooden shacks houses individual vendors advertising fried and fresh conch along with Bahamian staples like plantains and rice.

The Fish Fry is open every day of the week, but on Friday and Saturday nights, a festive ambiance driven by rum-spiked cocktails and music is most welcome.

Watch a cricket match with a cold beer

The Cricket Club is where British ex-pats get their fill of Premier League Football, pints of beer and platters of Yorkshire pudding (along with authentic bangers and mash). Watch a cricket match on the field below by setting up shop at one of the tables on the upper-level balcony. The cool Caribbean breezes and a refreshing drink are just what you need to cool off on a hot tropical day.

Sample some rum at John Watling’s Distillery

Without a little rum, what good is a trip to a Caribbean island? The liquor with a sugar cane molasses base has been produced by John Watling’s Distillery since 2003. The distillery filters its juice through coconuts, which at first glance may appear like a tropical gimmick but actually works.

Situated on the verdant two-acre Buena Vista Estate, the distillery is accessible seven days a week for tours and tastings — don’t forget to pick up a half gallon of one of their estate cocktails to go.

Try your luck at the Baha Mar Casino

The island archipelago of The Bahamas has lots of scenic natural areas to keep you occupied, but it also has a fairly glamorous side, which is prominently displayed at the Baha Mar complex in Nassau.

The Baha Mar Casino, which unites the SLS, Grand Hyatt, and Rosewood resorts, may boast that it is the largest casino in the Caribbean. Join the affluent throng by ordering a lucky cocktail before playing one of the 119 live table games, spinning the 1000 slot machines, or placing a wager on a live sports event being broadcast on television.

Dive into a grotto like 007

The underwater cave system known as Thunderball Grotto made its James Bond movie debut in the 1965 movie “Thunderball“. The jagged blue pool sits just west of Staniel Cay and is ideal for a day of diving, swimming, and snorkelling while channelling your inner spy, even if only for a little period.

Snorkeler enjoys the warm, clear waters of the Bahamas

 

The Bahamas has a number of sandy coves with warm waters ready to be explored via snorkeling © Stephen Frink / Getty Images

Snorkel around the barrier reef on Andros

It’s time to put your mask and fins to good use since the third-largest barrier reef in the world, which is located on Andros Island, provides a unique glimpse at the vibrant variety of marine life that lives in the Caribbean waters. Andros, also referred to as “the Big Yard,” is a huge, sparsely populated island that preserves much of the natural Bahamian landscape.

But it’s the 190-mile barrier reef that steals the show, with its submerged shipwrecks, underwater blue holes, and schools of parrotfish, speckled scorpionfish, and blue tangs.

Enjoy a day of snorkeling at Sandy Toes

Sandy Toes, the traditional Bahamian beach bar, can be found on Rose Island, which is just a 30-minute boat journey from Nassau. Located on the shores of a remote tropical island, you can choose to spend the day swimming with the island’s nine resident pigs or snorkelling in the area’s crystal-clear seas (if that appeals to you).

After that, get a frozen daiquiri from the bar and relax in a rope hammock on the island.

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