With their crystalline waters, impeccable sandy beaches and year-round sunshine, it’s no surprise that the islands of the Bahamas are a popular cruise destination for the ‘baby boomer’ generation. However, this group of over 700 different islands situated in the Atlantic Ocean has so much to offer holidaymakers of all ages, that it’s worth spending an extended vacation in this spectacular part of the world. Whether you’re looking for the post-retirement holiday of a lifetime, or simply a relaxing getaway with your family, the Bahamas is your ideal destination
Travel and Accommodation
Depending on your budget, there are a variety of travel options to choose from to reach the archipelago. One of the most popular, and cost-effective ways, is to take the fast ferry service that runs throughout the year from Ft. Lauderdale in Florida to the main city of Freeport, in Grand Bahama. One-way ticket prices start at around $90, making it an ideal way to travel if you’d rather splurge on some of the more luxurious accommodation options in the Bahamas than ferry costs! Regular international flights from the U.S, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world arrive in and depart from the two main airports on the islands – Lynden Pindling International Airport (Nassau) and Grand Bahama International Airport (Freeport).
The capital city of Nassau, situated on the seven-mile New Providence Island, is where you’ll find those classic Bahamian bungalows and villas on private beaches, as well as an array of boutique hotels. This is one of the best islands to enjoy short-term vacation properties to rent from locals; websites like Airbnb.com are a great way to look for beach-side residences. Grand Bahama has some exceptionally good hotels within its shores, such as the Memories Grand Bahama Beach and the adults-only Dolphin Cove, which has been awarded V.I.P status from expedia.com. Then there’s the mega-resorts of Atlantis, Paradise Island and Baha Mar, Nassau, which offer all-inclusive luxury alongside the best of local culture and exciting activities.
Things to Do
The Bahamas has such a rich and diverse heritage, that even simply walking around the islands offers so much in the way of culture. Its colorful trading past and swashbuckling days of yore are still evident, creating an atmosphere that is quite intoxicating. You could easily spend a day or two exploring New Providence, taking in the historical sites and atmosphere, and stopping for a tasty lunch from one of the many authentic food trucks and bakeries in the area.
One of the unique spots to look out for in Nassau is the Queen’s Staircase. Situated just behind the Nassau Hospital, this staircase was carved out of limestone rock by royal slaves in 1793 and later renamed for Queen Victoria. A total of 66 steps lead down into an atmospheric-shaded area that’s a hotspot for holiday snaps. Just outside the staircase there’s a small fort, which is also a delight to explore.
A visit to the Out Islands is an absolute must if you want to experience the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Only 30 of the 700 plus islands that make up the archipelago are actually inhabited, leaving the rest free to roam and explore. Some of the most popular islands to visit include Exuma, Long Island, Eleuthera and the infamous Pink Sands of Harbour Island, but they all have their own unique appeal.
The perfect way to experience the serenity of the Out Islands in a day is to take the SkyBahamas flight from Nassau to Cat Island. Measuring just less than 150 square miles in area, Cat Island is home to the highest point in the Bahamas – Mount Alvernia. This little treasure offers some of the best views of the Caribbean Sea from its shores, and also contains a unique beachside town – Arthur’s Town – which was the childhood home of legendary actor Sidney Poitier. Its waterfront restaurant, Da Smoke Pot, is the ideal spot to tuck into delicious local cuisine and taste the iconic sweet n sour rum and conch punch.
More than a Vacation
For all the wealth and glamour that have become synonymous with the Bahamas, time spent here can really open you up to finding ways of enjoying island life just like a local. The true beauty of the Bahamas is in its soul, friendly locals and rich culture make for a holiday experience like no other. A trip to the Bahamas is so much more than just a vacation, and even for the budget traveler these stunning islands have so much to offer.