A Complete Guide to Visiting the Islands of the Bahamas

travel to the bahamas

With 700 islands and cays of idyllic clear blue ocean water and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder that the Bahamas has forever been the perfect destination to truly “get away from it all.”

It’s the type of place where no matter which island you choose to visit, you’ll quickly become immersed in the relaxation and rejuvenation of everything these islands have to offer. For those of you that think you might get bored just “laying around all day,” considering that there are 16 “major islands,” including;  The Abacos, Andros, Bimini, Harbour Island, The Exumas, Freeport, Nassau, Rum Cay and San Salvador (to name a few) all with a different unique cultural aspect, we’re pretty positive we’re steering you in the right direction. Just trust us.

Don’t get us wrong, while we think you could spend quite a bit of time lounging on a chair under a palm tree while sipping on a cocktail…

We’d be skipping out on some of the fantastic culture, unique Bahamas tour packages, amazing local food, and people, for which we think you should carve out some time in your itinerary.

Let’s start with some of the incredible experiences you can look into during your time in the Bahamas.

bahamas travel

We know you didn’t just come all this way not to fully experience the why of “it’s better in the Bahamas.”

First, we must point out that many of these islands are best seen by boat. With some of the islands being simple stretches of sand surrounded by the bluest of waters, we highly suggest an afternoon of good old island hopping if you can make it happen.

Nassau and Paradise Island is probably one of the most talked about destinations in the Bahamas, and if you’re looking for some of the best Bahama tour packages, this island is filled with family-friendly fun, beautiful restaurants, bars, and swoon-worthy resorts. Making it super tourist friendly and easy to plan a trip to.

bahamas trip

This island is often referred to as the “gateway” to the Bahamas, and for a good reason, you can find anything your heart desires here. The history of this Bahamian capital alone is worth spending time learning about. We suggest checking out Majestic Tours Bahamas as a one-stop shop for a few of the adventures you will want to look into during your trip.

trip bahamas

If you’ve ever wanted to frolic among the wild pigs you’ve seen on Instagram at what’s now called Pig Beach in the Exuma Islands, here’s your chance. This is a fabulous option if you’re looking for an easy day trip in the Bahamas. You’ll quickly lose track of time exploring all of the natural wildlife the beautiful Exuma islands offer. For all our brave readers, you should definitely add underwater cave snorkeling and swimming with nurse sharks to your list.

bahamas vacation

Of course, you can’t talk about the best excursions in the Bahamas without highlighting some of the incredible diving and fishing you can find throughout the islands. For example, Majestic Tours Bahamas has some great options for showing you the best spots and ensuring you’re making the most of your time in paradise.

bahamas tour

If we’re talking about scuba diving specifically, Freeport offers some of the most revered reefs to explore in all of the islands. If you’ve dived before, you know that the weightless feeling that awaits you is a chance to connect with a new place you wouldn’t otherwise experience. A whole new world of colors, fish, and coral awaits you.

If fishing is more your scene, you’ve come to the right place. There is nothing like spending an afternoon fishing, reeling in that big catch, and spending the evening enjoying your wahoo sashimi style.

Plenty of Bahamas Tour packages offer fishing charters if you’re not sure whether you’re willing to tackle this thrilling adventure alone. Some of which would bring you to experience the revered Abacos, an island many would admit has some of the best sport fishing to experience in the world. Albacos frequently sees anglers from all over the world hoping to reel in the elusive bonefish and the many other fish that are abundant in this area.

If you’re planning a day trip to the Bahamas from the US, you’re most likely heading to Bimini, which is only a couple of hours away from South Florida by boat. We suggest checking out Dolphin grounds, a place breaming with wild Atlantic and bottlenose dolphins. If you’ve been lucky enough to see Dolphins in their natural habitat before, you know this is a magical experience that might very well be the highlight of your trip.

tour package bahamas

Forget that Bahama blue water; let’s dive into the important part. The food and drinks scene.

While you can find fantastic seafood pretty much all over the Bahamas, you can’t miss the experience of a fish fry, a truly authentic Bahamian experience. Arguably, the best fish fry throughout the islands can be found at Arawak Cay in Nassau. A long strip of restaurants featuring local favorites such as fried fish (of course), conch salad, guava duffs (you’ll probably have to look this one up), and cracked conch.

Our version of paradise? Taking a day trip to the Bahamas to spend time meandering along this unique strip and sampling everything culinary this island has to offer, from nicer-sit-down restaurants to more laid-key barbeque beach shacks that are open pretty much whenever the owners feel like it.

food bahamas

If you’re looking to immerse yourself even further in the culture of the local Bahamians, please don’t miss checking out Tony Macaroni’s Conch Experience, located on Taino Beach in Freeport.

A wooden shack on the beach where the gully wash cocktails are flowing, fresh conch is roasting, and Tony Macaroni is serving up the dishes. We highly suggest the fresh conch salad and lobster. Best enjoyed alongside the ocean waves and the sound of music coming from his restaurant.

bahamas tour guide

We feel like we can’t talk about a group of Caribbean islands without covering a couple of their most noteworthy bars. One of which is Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar & Restaurant on Green Turtle Cay, the home of the original Goombay Smash. This timeless local watering hole is beloved by locals and tourists alike.

If you’re looking for a casual spot to watch the sunset while you sip on a cocktail, head to Sunsets Restaurant and Bar on Harbour Island for live music and some cracked conch (just a suggestion!).

Don’t worry; we didn’t forget about you boujee folks. For drinks? We think you’ll be pretty happy at the Peace and Plenty Beach Club. The perfect spot to sit under an umbrella while sipping on a cocktail as you look out at the endless blue ocean.

And for dinner, you ask?

Shanna’s Cove on Cat Island is considered to be more of an experience than a restaurant. Sitting on the deck surrounded by the ocean, you’re treated to a 3-course dinner curated with fresh, local ingredients from the surrounding island. And yes, each dish is presented just as beautifully as it tastes.

Spots you should make a point to visit.

While this one is a little off the beaten path and difficult to find, Surfers Beach on Eleuthera is worth seeking to find your next perfect wave. A beach full of friendly surfers and locals awaits you there, enjoying another beautiful day and surprisingly big waves for such a hidden spot.

While you’re in Eleuthera, it’d be a sin not to jump on the 5-min ferry minute ride over to Harbour Island, if not just to check out the famous pink sand beaches that dot the island. You’ll quickly feel like you’ve been taken back in time walking down the picturesque streets in Dunmore town that are lined with colorful houses. The island’s harbors are filled with million-dollar yachts and stunning places to watch the sunrise or sunset.

bahamas hotels

Did we also mention the pineapple fields in Eleuthera? If you’re lucky enough to visit in June, you’ll want to check out the annual pineapple festival. Why not?

If you’re looking to find something off the beaten path, away from “tourist spots,” you should take the opportunity to head over to Spanish Wells on St. George’s Cay, where you’ll instantly feel like you were taken back in time. This laid-back community of fishermen has kept much of its original charm. The beautiful jewel waters and soft powdery beaches alone make the trip worthwhile.

Even with its remote location, you can easily find Bahamas tour packages that will take you to Spanish Wells. Many private fishing charters or tour boats will bring you here as a part of their other recommended stops.

Where to stay.

The Bahamas has hundreds of stunning hotels, all with their own charm, beaches, amenities, and of course, price. Don’t worry. We won’t bore you with our long list of favorites. However, we’d be remiss, not to mention two that forever have a place in our hearts (and minds).

bahamas all inclusive

Starting with the crème de le crème, the Ocean Club on Paradise Island is true indulgent at its finest. With its world-famous restaurant Dune, oceanfront pool, golf course on site, and luxury yachts that you can charter to island hop all day long…the better question is, what doesn’t this island oasis have. The beautiful Versailles-styled gardens alone have us dreaming of our next visit back. We’ll be honest, though; this may not be the spot for those trying to be mindful of their overall Bahamas trip cost.

The beautiful Coral Sands Hotel on Harbour Island sits on what has consistently been voted the best beach in the Caribbean. Once you visit, you’ll understand why. Location, location, location. Picture long sun-kissed days sitting by the hotel’s pool or under a tiki hut on the beach and evenings spent slowly exploring Dunmore town’s quaint streets full of candy-colored houses and shops. Please take us with you.

bahamas beaches

We know we’ve covered a lot here, so we’ll leave you with the statement that no matter what island(s) of the Bahamas you find yourself on, you seriously can’t go wrong. With its colorful culture, never-ending list of sun-drenched beaches, and beautiful hidden gems.

One of our favorite parts about traveling here is that whether you’re looking to splurge on your Bahamas trip cost or hoping to keep it a little more low-key, the Bahamas is truly a place for everyone.

We might even have just convinced ourselves of our next trip back…..if not just to have a gully wash cocktail and a side of conch at Tony Macaroni’s.

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