Channeling Hemingway in the Bahamas
White sand, blue sea and all the color of the carnivals are just a few reasons people choose to visit the Bahamas. This beautiful cluster of islands in the Caribbean Sea has been a favorite escape for everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Johnny Depp for over a century.
While the Bahamas is famed for its powdery beaches and stunning diving, that is not all it has to offer. It’s the wealth and variety of attractions these islands have for visitors to enjoy which keep tourists flooding back every year. And it was the sportfishing that kept Hemingway coming back and inspired his most famous novel The Old Man and The Sea.
Reliable weather for 10 months of the year also makes this part of the world accessible to people traveling from around the globe. So, if you’re heading off for a week (or three) in the sun, what are the best experiences the Bahamas has to offer?
This is no surprise, but the beaches are so good it wouldn’t be right to leave them out. The sugary sand lining the turquoise waters is just perfect. Ask James Bond. He’s been there in several movies.
They’re not all white, though. The Bahamas is one of the few places in the world to have pink sand beaches. Harbour Island is particularly blessed with these striking geographical features, and the island’s quaint town of Dunmore is worth a visit too.
Conch is the national dish of the Bahamas, and you will find it in every shape, from soup to fritters or even on a pizza. There is more food to choose from too, as the islands offer a rich blend of spicy Caribbean and southern American cuisines.
Homely local grills can be mixed with indulgent five-star restaurants for eclectic dining throughout any stay. There’s certainly no need to ever go hungry while you’re in the Bahamas. You can always fish your way over to Bimini from Key West like Hemingway, who ended up living there for two years.
Junkanoo Festival is more than just a vibrant Caribbean carnival; it’s a real party. Visitors staying in April or the beginning of May can join in this huge celebration attended by up to 50,000 people.
There is music everywhere, with live bands playing traditional instruments as people dance and party in the street. Flamboyant costumes, huge parades and lines of floats make for a truly exciting atmosphere.
The Bahamas is more than just Nassau and Paradise Island. There are 16 main islands and almost 700 others, only a handful of which are inhabited. Explorers can hire a yacht from companies such as BorrowABoat and visit as many as they have the time for.
Even large families or groups of friends can enjoy this option, with boats accommodating up to 13 people available when you choose a catamaran charter. The Bahamas, and its endless miles of crystal-clear waters and picturesque islands, can become one boundless floating hotel.
One of the first places you’ll want to visit on your island-hopping journey will be Exuma, home of the famous swimming pigs. These adorable characters have been doing the rounds on social media and nature shows for some time now.
Celebrities and influencers have been rushing to Exuma for years to experience the unique thrill of swimming in clear waters with these incredibly cute animals. The pigs don’t care if you’re famous though, and anybody can enjoy this amazing day out and world-class photo opportunity.
Whether you snorkel or scuba, the waters around the Bahamas are teeming with marine life just waiting to be discovered. From the shipwrecks off Paradise island to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, these islands offer some of the best diving in the world.
The Bahamas is also home to one of the largest coral reefs on earth. Novices can book trips or take PADI-approved courses while experienced divers can explore alone, perhaps from the deck of their own catamaran.
It’s not all swimming and cocktails. The Bahamas is also home to some impressive historical sites. Visitors can see where slaves were traded at Pompey Square or follow Christopher Colombus to the first landing sites of the “New World.”
The colonial history of the Bahamas means the islands, in particular the capital of Nassau, are littered with interesting buildings and monuments. You’ll also find several 18th-century forts, some built to keep the waters safe from piracy, others as lookouts for the pirates themselves.
The Bahamas have been a playground for the rich and famous for as long as there have been rich and famous people to play there. Who might you see enjoying their vacation in one of the many luxury hotels or restaurants, or cruising around in their rented sports car or limousine?
The truly rich can also buy their own oceanfront villas or, if you’re someone like Oprah Winfrey or Michael Jordan, a private island. Perhaps you might see Johnny Depp or Julia Roberts looking back at you as you sail elegantly past their dock.
This is just a small selection of the attractions that make the Bahamas such an incredible vacation destination. We haven’t even touched upon the shopping, golf, cocktails, fishing and lighthouses.
Whether it’s for a wedding, honeymoon, family getaway or simply time with friends, there’s certainly more to the Bahamas than the postcards show. No matter if you stay in a luxury hotel, rent a private villa, or drift along in a chartered catamaran, your days will be easily filled.