The Bahamas are a sprawling tropical paradise made up of over 2000 islands and cays. The tropical location means the islands have a mild spring-like climate all year round. Each of the islands has a unique character, offering everything from jet skiing to diving with dolphins.
The islands are famed for their sparkling sandy beaches, where bright white sands meet impossibly clear turquoise seas. To find the very best picture-book beaches, Icelolly recommends heading for the ‘Out Islands’, affectionately known as the ‘Family Islands’ by the locals. Away from the tourist hubs of Grand Bahama and New Providence Island, these smaller islands offer a cheaper, friendlier more relaxing way to soak up the Caribbean sun.
As you might expect, the traditional dishes of the Bahamas are almost all seafood. The crystal clear Caribbean seas make the islands one of the world’s best places to sample shellfish, lobster, crab and conches.
The more cosmopolitan towns and hotel resorts will of course cater for those with international tastes. Expect to find everything from Italian restaurants to American style diners.
It is probably a hangover from the days when pirates ruled the islands, that rum remains the cheapest and most abundant form of alcohol. You’ll find rum is a key ingredient in the ‘cocktail culture’ of the Bahamas, though make sure you don’t end up legless... Get it? Legless like a pirate… No? Ok then.
The Bahama’s are home to one of Icelolly’s all-time favourite tourist attractions, the notorious swimming pigs of Major Cay. Nobody knows how they got there, nobody knows why. What we do know is that there is a group of about 20 domestic pigs living wild on an uninhabited Bahaman island, who will frolic about in the sea with tourists in exchange for scraps of food. Ah paradise!
For those who want a less porcine party make sure you visit the islands over the Christmas period for the festival of ‘Junkanoo’. Every Boxing Day and New Year’s Day the capital Nassau holds a giant parade celebrating Bahamian freedom and culture. Think of it as a Caribbean version of the Rio Carnival, with appropriately outlandish costumes and copious amounts of rum.
History buffs will love exploring Fort Charlotte on New Providence Island. Walking around this 18th century fort for the price of just a couple of dollars, you’ll find impressive ramparts, secret dungeons and over 42 antique cannons. What’s more, it’s located just a stone’s throw from the cruise ship terminal and Nassau’s most visited tourist attraction, the Queen’s Staircase – a 100ft high, solid rock staircase built to honour Queen Victoria.