Photo by Chelle Koster Walton

Bahamas Itineraries

Nassau Bahamas Sidetrips

Bahamas culture and history wrapped in beaches

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To many, “Bahamas” means “Nassau.” Period. The nation’s history-rich capital on New Providence Island certainly is the most-visited destination of the 700-island (and that’s not counting the thousands of small cays) Bahamas, but it is only the starting point for diverse island explorations and experiences.

Most do get their feet wet in the transparent, gem-toned waters around Nassau. I always recommend that even first-timers balance their city-mouse Nassau visit with a country-mouse stay in one of the Out Islands or Grand Bahama Island. An island-hopping vacation may take some time, but is well-worth it to experience the variety of the Bahamas.

Grand Bahama Island

Grand Bahama Island (GBI) is home to Freeport, which developed an early reputation for gambling junkets and cruise ship visits. Today the adjacent town of Lucaya draws the resort crowd and only one casino remains on the island at a Lucaya resort.

Besides its major resorts, Lucaya also boasts its Port Lucaya shopping and entertainment center and tour boat harbor. But beyond the twin cities of Freeport and Lucaya stretch more than 90 miles of untouristy, authentic Bahamian fishing villages, often deserted beaches, and “the bush,” as Bahamians call their outback. So GBI visitors have the opportunity to experience both urban and Out Island temperaments at one destination.

Bahama Out Islands

Of the major Out Islands, Abaco rises to the top of most-visited list. Great Abaco Island forms the core of the island group that includes historic Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay (home to charming Hope Town), Man-o-War Cay, and Great Guana Cay. Island-hopping is a favorite pastime in this boating mecca. Each island – except Man-O-War, which is a dry island – attracts day-trippers with salty bars, restaurants, snorkeling, and beautiful beaches.

Exuma, too, is famous for its island-hopping islands and cays – many of them deserted or owned by celebrities such as David Copperfield, Faith Hill, and Johnny Depp. Explorers find rare iguanas, swimming pigs, the dramatic Thunderball Grotto snorkel site, and a national sea and land park.

Compact George Town occupies the main Great Exuma Island, where most of the resorts are boutique. Larger destination resorts are spread out over the 37-mile long island.

Next comes Eleuthera in the popularity contest. Much of its repute comes from chi-chi Harbour Island, known for its celebrity clientele and pink beaches. Eleuthera mainland has a raw beauty that runs for 110 miles of sparsely populated beaches and tropical forest.

The other major islands offer special gifts to visitors. On Andros, it is superb diving and bonefishing and a way of life little changed over the decades. Long Island has its caves, basket-makers, historic churches, and bonefishing resorts. Cat Island boasts the highest elevation in the Bahamas – 206-foot Mount Alvernia, home to a historic site where a priest built his Hermitage in the 1940s.

Bimini fans love it for its party scene and fishing so awesome Hemingway frequented the two islands. The smaller islands and island groups appeal to true adventurers out to scuba, snorkel, fish, and sail far removed from the crowds. San Salvador Island holds a Club Med but also a monument honoring Christopher Columbus’ first landfall in the New World. The Berry Islands, Inagua, Crooked and Acklins Islands, and Mayaguana see few tourists in their small settlements.

The Bahamas is like its own separate Caribbean with great diversity of tourism offerings, but a shared culture that celebrates its annual Junkanoo holiday festival and music, vibrant art, colonial architecture, and a hardy seafood-based cuisine.

What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US?.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $25 per person
$$ => Tickets $25-50 per person
$$$ => Tickets $50-100 per person

$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $100-250 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $250 for a double

$ => $1-15 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$ => $15-30 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $30 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

N/A => Not applicable

$ => Tickets less than $50 per person
$$ => Tickets $50-100 per person


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