ith 700 islands and 2,400 cays — of which only 30 are inhabited — endless crystal clear waters, pearl-white sandy beaches and swimming pigs, the Bahamas is the ultimate holiday destination.
Here’s where to eat, sleep and what to do in this island paradise.
Food & Drink
Bahamian cuisine is a fusion of West African, European and American, and naturally features plenty of seafood dishes. When you hold a conch (pronounced “konk”) shell to your ear, you can hear the ocean — but while you’re on the islands, do try the delicious conch meat, too.
Cracked conch with pigeon peas and rice is the national dish. “Cracked” simply means coated in batter and deep fried, while pigeon peas and rice are cooked with salted pork, bell peppers, onions, celery, tomato paste, coconut milk, thyme, and other seasonings. The delicious dish is best enjoyed washed down with an ice-cold Yellow Bird, a popular and refreshing local cocktail that is made with light and dark rum (or coconut rum), Galliano, a sweet herbal liqueur, and tropical fruits.
Finish things off with a Guava Duff, a steamed pudding that consists of dough rolled up into a roulade with diced guava fruit spread into it and topped with a tasty rum custard sauce, it’s by far the most popular dessert on the islands. Do also indulge in the Caribbean tradition of Johnny Cakes, which are traditionally made with cornmeal, butter, milk and sugar. Once baked golden brown, they have the texture of something between bread and cake, which is why they are also known as “Johnny Bread”.
Overdone it on the rum cocktails? Chicken Souse is a popular breakfast dish that is also hailed as a great hangover cure. It’s a clear broth soup made of chicken wings, potatoes, goat peppers, onions, celery, seasoned with lime juice, hot chilli peppers, and allspice to give the soup its signature flavour. Another traditional breakfast staple is Fire Engine, a dish of corned beef cooked in tomato paste and herbs, served with rice or grits.
The best way to enjoy all of these local bites the an authentic way? Embark on a feasting food tour at Arawak Cay in Nassau.
Swimming with animals is one of the best things you can do in the Bahamas — from swimming with pigs, dolphins, and turtles to sharks or simply hanging out with flamingos at the beach.
Combine it with a boat tour that will take you to several different places in one day. Blue Lagoon Island is a great spot for swimming with dolphins, whereas Paradise Beach is a good place to spot flamingos. And do try and fit in some “snuba diving” while you’re at it, it’s a fun combination of scuba diving and snorkelling.
If you’re after a spot of retail therapy, head over to the Nassau Straw Market. Another cute and colorful marketplace is Port Lucaya in Freeport on Grand Bahama island.
Once you’ve spent a few days discovering the different islands, you might want to take things a little slower. Head to The Cloister in Nassau, where you’ll find the medieval ruins of a 14th century French monastery, or enjoy the lush greenery of the Versailles Gardens of Bahamas on Paradise Island. On the latter you’ll also find a huge water park.
Looking for the ultimate secluded escape? Head to Kamalame Cay, a serene private island off the Andros Great Barrier Reef. You’ll be rewarded with a chilled island vibe, with calm beaches and private bungalows which feel like you’re on your very own private island retreat. To get there, fly into Andros airport, then take a taxi to the port, and finally a short boat ride across to the island.
Prefer to be in the thick of it all? Check into The Atlantis on Paradise Island. The popular resort offers various different accommodation options which are all interconnected and built around a water adventure park. The most relaxed option here is The Cove, which even has its own slice of beach, a row of cozy cabanas and private access to two adult-only pools — fun fact, Casino Royale was filmed here.