Pink sand beaches, coral reefs, 2,500 cays, and more than 700 islands comprise this stunning archipelago: The Bahamas. Geographically The Bahamas sits close to Florida and Cuba but after 325 years of British rule and the Queen as head of state the country still retains a distinct British feel. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the capital, Nassau. Once the playground of pirates, today Nassau’s colonial homes and British forts draw visitors from all over the world. There’s even a “royal climb” up the Queen’s staircase to Fort Fincastle. And while most travellers choose to stay in Nassau when booking their flight to The Bahamas, the less developed Grand Bahama Island is also a great choice and has gone through a revival with new hotels being built along the Lucayan strip.
Eco-travellers who shun the casinos and mega-hotels that line Bahamas’ beaches will be happy to know that recently eco tourism has been growing in the country. Travellers booking flights to The Bahamas can expect to visit the preserved coral reef of the Andros Barrier Reef and Great Inagua Island, home to the world’s largest flock of pink West Indian flamingos, which were nearly extinct a few years ago.
Bahamas’ “cold” weather reaches a comfortable 21 degrees. The warm months average between 27 and 30 degrees with high humidity.
September through May is the cool season and the time when most people visit. The temperature is an average of 24 degrees Celsius.
May to October is the off season, with the most rainfall occurring in these months. However, it is not extreme and temperatures are at their highest, so low-season fares tempt many holidaymakers out during this time. Hurricane season is June to November. Prices fall in this time, though the chances of becoming caught up in a hurricane are slight.
Getting between islands is relatively easy, with a choice of flights from charter airlines. You will normally have to travel to or from Nassau, however, so if you’re planning on island-hopping, you may end up visiting the city often. Bahamas Air provides the most routes.
There are some ferries that cover transport between islands. The Fast Ferry service covers several routes originating at Nassau, though round trips are available taking in three or four destinations. Local ferries, or water taxis are also available.
If you’ve got lots of time to spare, take a mailboat. This is the cheapest way of travelling around, though certainly the slowest and you have no control over the destination.
Once on an island, hiring a car is the easiest and often only practical way of getting around. Driving is on the left and you have to be over 21 to hire a car.
(prices quoted are from London)