Usually when you think of the Bahamas, you think of a tropical island with huge cruise ships docked in the harbor and tourists piled on the beaches. The Bahamas is comprised of more than 700 islands, and once you get out of the main islands like New Providence or Grand Bahama, remote beaches with powder white sand and crystal blue waters are everywhere. The following places are my favorite islands of the Bahamas!
Bimini is the closest island to the US, and only a twenty minute flight away from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A cheaper option is taking a high-speed ferry for two and a half hours from either Miami or Fort Lauderdale.
This island is also known as the “big game fishing capital of the world” and you can catch all sorts of fresh fish and have it cooked right in front of you. From scuba diving to dolphin tours, there’s all sorts of water sports and activities for everyone!
2. Staniel Cay
With colorful cottages right on the water, freshly caught conch, friendly laid-back locals, and ocean teeming with sea life, Staniel Cay embodies everything about the Bahamas.
One of my favorite things to do is to have a boat day tour around the island and the guide takes you to all the sites including Iguana Cay to see endangered iguanas roaming the beach, snorkeling Thunderball Grotto as seen in the 1965 James Bond movie “Thunderball,” swimming with nurse sharks at Compass Cay, and of course, the swimming pigs on Pig Island.
3. Hope Town
Hope Town is located in the chain of islands within the Abacos and is incredibly unique with a “New England meets the tropics” ambiance, very few tourists, and bicycling is the main method of transportation around the island.
This town has a rich history with houses and monuments dating back to post-American Revolution, where British loyalists took refuge after the war, and its architecture reflects that culture. It’s also home to one of the last manual lighthouses in the world, and has a very iconic candy cane striped design.
4. Long Island
Close to the Turks & Caicos, Long Island is one of the most remote islands in the Bahamas, but it’s an incredible mecca for divers. At Stella Maris Resort in the north they hold a “shark amphitheater” dive, where the dive masters are covered in chain mail and hand feed the sharks thirty feet below the surface. Towards the south is Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the world’s second deepest salt water blue hole, plunging to a depth of 663 feet and holds the world’s international free diving competition each year.
5. Harbour Island
Harbour Island, or Briland, as the locals call it, is home to some of the best beaches in the Bahamas, including the renowned Pink Sand Beach. Unfortunately if you look up photos of the pink sand, most of them are heavily edited to be bright pink, but the sand only has a very light pinkish hue. Regardless of the color, the sand feels like powder on your feet and the ocean is crystal blue!
Visit the Bahamas
Even though this island has a larger population of tourists, this island has amazing beaches, great restaurants, and some interesting wreck dives for scuba divers. Harbour Island definitely reflects not only the casual Bahamian attitude, but also more of a luxurious feel.
The Bahamas is home to incredible islands outside of the cruise ship meccas and is much more than a “spring break college party escape.” With beautiful white sandy beaches, clear ocean water, and laid-back friendly locals, it’s a must-visit destination for all tropical island lovers.
By Anna Harris.
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