An archipelago of 700 islands, only 30 inhabited, the Bahamas lie in the Atlantic Ocean, a mere hour’s flight from the coast of Florida. Or, if like me you are travelling from the UK, British Airways fly several times a week direct to the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly people immediately welcome you, and less than 30 minutes drive away, on both New Providence and Paradise Island, the classical tropical scene awaits you–clear blue skies, golden sands and swaying palms.
There are many things to see and do whilst staying around Nassau. Visit the STRAW MARKET, take a horse and carriage ride, climb the water tower for wonderful island views, visit the Pompey Museum to learn the local history, try your luck in one of the casinos, play a round of golf or tennis or just relax on one of the beautiful beaches. The sea, of course, also plays a big part in the daily activities, and a whole host of day trips are offered–one of the highlights of my trip was a day out with Powerboat Adventures. A thrilling powerboat ride out to the EXUMAS started the day and then we fed grapes to the resident inhabitants of ALLEN CAY–iguanas! Followed by a close encounter with stingrays, a snorkel safari across coral reefs, petting friendly wild boar, a barbecue lunch, plus, for real brave souls, an underwater viewing experience with sharks. Wow!
All this excitement needs lots of energy, so it is fortunate that Bahamians are passionate about their food! There is a wide selection of restaurants available, from local Bahamian to Italian, French, American and even Indian. Don’t forget to try the local Conch (pronounced Conk) in a salad, as fritters or even cracked! You will see the Conch shells with their beautiful pink hues around the hotel grounds, on beaches, along pathways and gardens and they are even sold as ornaments! Why not find your own when diving or snorkelling! With so many islands forming the Bahamas, it is a shame not to visit at least one smaller island. The FAMILY ISLANDS, as they are called, change the pace of the holiday and give you time to unwind.
With daily connections flying with Bahamasair, island-hopping is easy, fun and adds another dimension to your holiday. ABACO is famous for sailing and boat charters, the BIMINIS for deep-sea fishing and wild dolphin encounters, and the EXUMAS for world-class diving and snorkelling. I fell in love with HARBOUR ISLAND, with its stunning pink sand beach and pretty pastel-coloured clapboard houses and it was great fun exploring the island in a little golf cart! The Ramora Bay Club is a romantic hideaway with riotously colourful gardens leading down to a small pool and sundeck; and as I sipped my Pina Colada watching the sun set on the horizon I relaxed in the knowledge that I had found my very own ‘paradise island’.