Walk across a blushing beach, sip on small-batch rum and spy pink flamingos in the wild – discover the best things to do in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas evokes dreamy images of paradise beaches, the graceful arch of a dolphin slicing through the ocean’s surface and rich rum-based cocktails. Just one jewel in the Caribbean crown, The Bahamas is only a short flight or ferry from Miami, making this dreamlike corner of the planet more accessible than ever. Learn about the Golden Age of Pirates from its heart in Nassau, sip piña coladas in tribute to the national tipple of choice (rum), and dive to shipwreck sites. The wealth of things to do in The Bahamas is a traveller’s treasure trove.
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Lucayan National Park
You may recognise the varied landscapes of Lucayan National Park in scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. This treasured park consists of golden beaches, mangrove swamps, pine forests and some of the largest underwater cave systems on Earth. Take a walk along the boardwalks, passing the park’s enchanting and ever-changing landscapes, set up a picnic on the beach (look out for sneaky raccoons), and see the ancient sinkholes of Burial Mound Cave.
Pink Sands Beach
Make footprints across rose-tinted shores at Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island. This dreamy, blushing landscape is thanks to microscopic organisms and washed-up pieces of coral which break down to turn the sand a muted shade of pink. Spend a day lounging on a sunbed or splash about in the aqua ocean. Just don’t forget to capture the perfect photo of this eye-popping beachscape.
Snorkel or dive at Andros Great Barrier Reef
A ghostly shipwreck, underwater caves, gliding sea turtles and curious dolphins: an underwater voyage, whether you’re a diver or a snorkeller, doesn’t get more magical than at Andros Great Barrier Reef. The third-largest barrier reef in the world is home to neon-bright trumpetfish, parrotfish and speckled scorpionfish, among other aquatic critters. Stay close to the shore and hover over vibrant coral clusters or – if you’re feeling brave – don your scuba gear and head out to the Tongue of the Ocean, a short distance from the shore where the ocean floor drops some 6,000 feet.
Sample fish fry at Arawak Cay
If you seek an authentic foodie experience, look no further than Arawak Cay, a small precinct which juts out to sea on West Bay Street, just 15 minutes from downtown Nassau. Here you’ll discover a collection of genuine Bahamian restaurants specialising in fresh seafood. Try the conch (sea snail) salad at Mckenzie's Fresh Fish & Conch and crunch on fish fry at Drifters At Da Fish Fry – all while taking refreshing sips of Kalik, ‘the beer of The Bahamas’.
Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre
Animal lovers flock to Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre, the only wildlife conservation area in The Bahamas. Here’s where you’ll find four acres of dense, tropical forest alive with everything from jaguars to Madagascan lemurs and hopping bunnies. The hero of the conservation centre is the long-legged Caribbean flamingo. See the vibrant, blushing plumage of these protected birds and learn about the breeding project which saved the species from extinction in the 1950s (when there were as little as 5,000 flamingos left in the wild).
World famous for its postcard-perfect panoramas, Cable Beach draws in sun lovers and beachgoers by the dozen with its renowned iced-white shores and iridescent waters. Just shy of Nassau, this paradisal four-kilometre stretch is the perfect place to roll out a towel and crack open your holiday read, savour a tiki cocktail at a nearby beach bar, or enjoy some fun-fuelled watersports like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling.
John Watling’s Distillery
If you’re going to try a tipple while you’re here, make it rum – the spirit of The Bahamas. In downtown Nassau, pay a visit to John Watling’s Distillery, the site of small-batch rum heaven on a historic estate founded in 1789. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the rum distilling process, before stopping in at the tavern to try a signature Bahamian cocktail. For us, we can’t resist a Piña Colada crafted with an in-house amber rum, coconut rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice.
For more inspiration, read St. Lucia, Antigua or Anguilla: Which are the best Caribbean Islands to visit?