While neighbors Florida and Cuba tend to talk up their storied pasts, the Bahamas is no slouch when it comes to historical importance. Comprised of 700 islands, cays, and islets, this former British Commonwealth was where Christopher Columbus made the first landfall in the New World, English Puritans established religious freedom, and infamous pirates like Blackbeard and Calico Jack pillaged and plundered from merchant ships sailing through local waters.
It’s a country that has endured hundreds of years of slavery, political oppression, and battles fought along its white sand shores to arrive at what it is today: a sovereign island nation with fierce pride and an independent spirit. CSome experience the rich history, rollicking towns, and palm tree paradise of the Bahamas in the comfort of our vacation rentals.
At its closest point to the United States, the Bahamas lies 56 miles east of Florida’s east coast. But the hundreds of islands that collectively make up this country encompass a much wider area. From West End on the northernmost island, Grand Bahama, to Mayaguana Island at the southeastern terminus, there is over 450 miles of Caribbean Ocean peppered with Bahamian islands.
Whether you’re up for a sun-splashed day on the beach, a chance to land a trophy Marlin on a charter fishing boat, or an outdoor excursion to get up-close-and-personal with the local wildlife, you’ll find it all on the islands of the Bahamas.
Throw on your swimsuit, lather on some sunscreen, and soak up plenty of sunshine at the wide, sloping, white sand beaches on every island. Your options are many, but a few favorites include Xanadu, a crescent-shaped beach on the south side of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, Pink Sands Beach, a three-mile stretch of pale, pink sand on Harbour Island, and Tahiti Beach, a remote stretch of white sand with low crowds and crystal-clear water off Great Abaco Island.
Carry along snorkeling gear to explore the reefs just offshore, or take advantage of any of the friendly island outfitters for booking scuba diving excursions, horseback riding on the beach, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing lessons, kayaking trips, and dolphin watching tours. You're guaranteed to sleep easy in your vacation rental after any of these adventures!
Much like Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the Bahamas celebrates its own form of costumed decadence, called Junkanoo. If your visit falls at the end of the year, you won’t want to miss this annual street parade with performers in ornate outfits dancing to the beat of goatskin drums and cowbells. New Providence Island features the largest Junkanoo parade, though it’s an occasion for celebration on other islands, too!
Nassau, the most populous city in the Bahamas, is also the country’s culinary capital, with palette-pleasing options for every budget. Looking for some authentic Bahamian bites? Try Sapodilla or Old Fort. Ready for some fare in a fun, beachy atmosphere? Head to Señor Frog’s, Tiki Bikini Hut, or the Green Parrot Bar & Grill.
On every island, you’ll encounter fresh seafood and local specialties like conch salad, baked crab, and souse - a succulent stew made of onions, lime juice, peppers, carrots, bay leaves, potatoes, and chicken, lamb, or pork. Wash your meal down with a fruity Goombay Punch, then satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of local rum cake.
Thanks to a variety of vendors lining the colorful, colonial streets, you could also enjoy some fresh finger foods while watching street artists perform the Rake-n-scrape, an infectious rhythmic dance born of the islands’ Afro-European heritage. It's a combination guaranteed to get your head bobbing and leave your stomach feeling satisfied.
The water's warm and the living's easy in the Bahamas. An unforgettable island escape begins when you book one of our Bahamas vacation rentals today.
Photo Credit: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr