Located to the east of Miami and just north of Cuba, the archipelago island-nation of the Bahamas is a bonafide tropical paradise. Consisting of over 700 islands and cays, the Bahamas is home to flawless white-sand beaches, dense coral reefs, and lavish hotels. Due to its striking scenery, the Bahamas was used as a filming location for the James Bond movies Thunderball, Never Say Never, and Casino Royale. With its crystal-clear waters perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling, world-class hotels and resorts and tropical climate, tourists are falling in love with the Bahamas. Here are five reasons why:
1. Its Stunning Natural Beauty
The Bahamas is an area of outstanding natural beauty, a fact attested to by the decision to film three James Bond movies there. If that weren’t proof enough, a glance at these natural wonders should be enough to convince anyone that the country’s reputation as one of the most idyllic settings on earth is well justified. The lagoons, caves, and nature reserves that the islands offer need to be experienced first-hand and any eco-tourist will be thrilled at riches the Bahamas boast. Whether diving or snorkeling among the tropical marine life that inhabits the reefs around the islands, trekking to one of its many peaks to witness breath-taking panoramic views, or scrambling through caves and caverns full of ancient rock formations, the natural beauty of the Bahamas will leave you speechless again and again.
2. It’s Gastronomy
In addition to the Bahamas’ stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife, another reason that the islands are so popular with tourists is the world-class gastronomy which specializes in seafood. With everything from crab tacos to roasted Chilean seabass available, sea-food lovers will be in their element. There are also plenty of non-seafood options, such as beef brisket, for holidaymakers who aren’t so keen on fish and shellfish. The Bahamas is a foodie’s paradise and with so many options, even the most voracious diner will be able to satisfy their taste buds morning, noon and night. The capital city Nassau is a must for those wishing to experience the best of the islands’ legendary gastronomy, with highlights including the rustic seafood on offer at Goldie’s Conch House and the fine-dining menu at The Cricket Club.
3. The Climate
The Bahama’s position in the Tropic of Cancer gives it a subtropical climate that makes it a perfect holiday destination all year round. There is no off-season, meaning it’s possible to engage in all the outdoor activities available of the islands all year round. This makes it a perfect choice for those who want a winter getaway or who like taking their vacations outside of the traditional spring-break or summer vacation windows. The presence of cooling trade winds serves to moderate the temperatures, meaning that, while you’re guaranteed to have sweltering sunshine here, the heat won’t be the overly oppressive kind many people associate with the tropics. However, as The Bahama’s is in the Caribbean and does sometimes experience extreme weather conditions, it is advisable to take out travel insurance before leaving, to protect yourself against any unforeseen events that may force you to cancel or reschedule your trip.
4. Culture and Traditions
The Bahamas, so like so many island nations, especially in the Caribbean, is a melting pot of different linguistic, religious, and cultural identities. Walking through the vibrant markets, you can hear the locals conversing in various Bahamian dialects of English, which is the official language here, with accents and vocabulary varying from island to island. Upper and middle-class Bahamians tend to speak an English which is more heavily standardized, with working-class Bahamians speaking a Bahamian-English Creole and Haitian immigrants speaking Haitian-French Creole. There are some very interesting Bahamian English words that you may need to understand before you arrive! The highlight of the Bahamian cultural calendar is Junkanoo, which is a traditional street parade celebrated primarily on Boxing Day and New Year’s day, with plenty of festivities in between. Expect vivid local costumes, live tropical moving, and frenetic dancing!
As mentioned earlier, the Bahamas is a melting pot of different identities, but there are several characteristics that are common amongst Bahamians. For example, they’re famed for their hospitality, and being invited to someone’s home to share a meal is a common way for local people to welcome visitors to their Island. People here are also notorious for their sense of humor, and often demonstrate a knack for light self-deprecation and a disdain for pompous or self-important behaviors. If you show respect for and interest in the local people and their practices, can engage in some light-hearted banter and don’t refuse invitations to dinner, you’re likely to endear yourself to people in the Bahamas!