It’s very rare, at this stage in my travel life, that I repeat visit anywhere outside of the country (this “rule” doesn’t apply to Paris, London or Amsterdam, each of which I often visit). After all, there are so many other places I have yet to see and experience! So each time I get a chance to travel, I want to soak in the essence of somewhere yet unknown to me. I could visit a country many times – say Italy for example – but each time I visit, I’d make an effort to visit a new city (for instance, so far, I have visited Milan, Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena and Pisa in Italy). At this point in my travel life, I want to visit as many places as possible first before eventually deciding on which places were my favorites to return to later on over and over and over…
But as it turns out, the beautiful islands of the Bahamas will be getting a repeat visit from me this summer, and I have absolutely no complaints! 😀 I absolutely loved the Bahamas the first time I was there!
If you live in the United States, especially on the Eastern seaboard, the islands of the Bahamas are virtually a stone’s throw away and present an opportunity for one of the most fuss-free vacations you could take!
The capital city, Nassau, is on the island of New Providence and is located only about 186 miles away from Miami. The closest island to the United States is Bimini, which is also known as the gateway to the Bahamas and is about 53 miles from Miami. The island of Abaco is to the east of Grand Bahama. The southeastern most island is Inagua and the largest island is Andros Island. Other inhabited islands include Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Exuma and Mayaguana.
The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter. Temperatures range from an average low of 70°F in January to an average high of 82°F in August.
The islands of the Bahamas are well known for their beaches with beautiful white sand and the beautiful turquoise blue waters are considered some of the clearest on earth, making the islands of the Bahamas the perfect island getaway.
Some random facts about the Bahamas
– Even though the Bahamas is considered a part of the Carribean, the islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea
– The official language is English, though the dialect and slang may be difficult for some Westerners to understand
– The biggest event in the Bahamian calendar is ‘Junkanoo’, a street parade held on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day (January 1). Junkanoo groups “rush” through the streets of towns, especially Nassau, wearing spectacular yet disposable costumes of crepe paper and playing distinctive Junkanoo music, which combines African rhythms with loud brass and cowbells, fusing them together in a medley that veers on cacophony but is exceedingly dancable (source: wikitravel)
– As of the 2010 census, there are 353,658 residents of the Bahamas, over half of whom live in the capital city of Nassau
– The ethnic mix of residents consists of 85% black, 12% white and 3% Asian and Hispanic.
Want to go?
You will likely fly into the Lynden Pindling International Airport, formally known as the Nassau International Airport, which is the largest airport in the Bahamas, and the largest international gateway into the country. The IATA code is NAS.
Due to the proximity to the United States, a visit to the Bahamas can be one of the most affordable one can take outside of the country in terms of flight costs. Many airlines run direct fights from major American cities to Nassau. Below are some of the cheapest direct flights from major cities I was able to quote at the time of this posting for flights in August:
- Washington DC: Direct roundtrip on AirTran for $311 (2.5 hour flight)
- Miami: Direct roundtrip on American for $294 (1 hour flight)
- New York: Direct onward and a connecting flight returning on JetBlue for $392 (2.5 hour flight onwards, 6.75 hour total time on the return)
- Chicago: Connecting flight through Atlanta on AirTran for $361 (9 hour total time onward and 5.5 hour on the return)
- Atlanta: Direct roundtrip on AirTran for $299 (2.5 hour flight)
- Dallas: Direct onward and a connecting flight returning on American for $504 (3.25 hour flight onwards, 5.5 hour total time on the return)
In the winter months, the flight costs remain about the same.
All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport in order to enter The Bahamas, as well as to enter or re-enter the United States when traveling by air. U.S. citizens do not need visas for short trips to The Bahamas for tourist/business purposes, however, Bahamian regulations require that air passengers entering for tourism have a round trip ticket. Travelers should be prepared to show return/onward travel arrangements to immigration authorities if requested. Passengers arriving with one way tickets could be denied entry.
As can be expected for such a popular island, there is no shortage of suitable accommodation options on The Bahamas. There are well over 30 hotel properties in Nassau alone with prices ranging from $61/night to well over $500/night depending on the caliber and quality of the hotel.
When I visited, I rested my head at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, a Starwood Category 4 property located right on Cable beach. Room rates start at $127/night in the month of August.
Due to my SPG Platinum status, we were upgraded to a spectacular Executive King suite upon arrival, which of course, impacted my opinion of the hotel :). Bias aside, I found the hotel to be well appointed, with adequate amenities and great service. I also found the location to be conducive to getting around the city. The conch bus stops just outside the hotel and for a dollar, you can take a ride to the downtown area to get some off the resort flavor.
Things to do
Nassau offers many options for activities to partake in. If water sports such as snorkeling, diving or kayaking are your thing, the possibilities are endless in the Bahamas. The marine life in these waters is impressive. You can swim along with sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures while admiring the beauty of the coral reefs.
But for the most part, you probably just want to go to the Bahamas to relax..
…sip some tasty drinks…
…and enjoy some tasty Bahamian meals…
Whatever your reason is, the Bahamas is likely to satisfy you! So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go! The beautiful islands of the Bahamas await!