In many areas of the world it’s a dreary time of year and we long for blue sky, sun, and warmth. I feel good just thinking about it… the beach is calling! We love the water and we’ve been to lots of beaches, but there’s one place we go back to again and again… the Bahamas. If you’re dreaming about sun and have a trip in mind, check out the Bahamas!
Why the Bahamas? Great people, safe and friendly atmosphere, variety of experiences available, doesn’t have to be expensive, casual and relaxed, amazing beaches, great snorkeling and other water activities, easy to get to… these are just a few of the reasons the Bahamas are always at the top of our list.
We’ve written about the Bahamas before and thought it would be helpful to summarize the information in one post…
The Bahamas is a group of over 700 islands, cays, and inlets in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamian Islands start just east of the southern tip of Florida in the group of Islands referred to as the Abaco Islands, and end just north of the Turks and Cacos at Great Iguana Island.
Though the Bahamas are in the Atlantic Ocean and very close to Florida, they are not part of the US and passports are required for entry.
The Bahamas has its own currency that is equal in value to the US Dollar. We’ve found that US currency is accepted most everywhere. We typically receive Bahamian currency if there’s change.
English is the official language of the Bahamas.
Some practical notes…
The Bahamas are pretty far north, especially the Abaco Islands, and may not be super warm in the months of December, January, and February. We’ve been to the Bahamas in January and had great weather, but as we were leaving the weather turned and it was about 60 degrees.
The snorkeling is really amazing… one of the largest barrier reefs in the world is just off the coast of the Bahamian Island of Andros. We don’t dive yet, but have heard that the dive opportunities are amazing.
The two most popular routes to the Bahamas are flights from various locations to Nassau on New Providence Island and routes from Florida to Nassau or other Bahamian Islands (there are lots of flights between various Florida airports and Nassau and some other Bahamian Islands). The airport at Nassau is an international airport and there are flights from all over the world and a number of US airports.
For lots of people Nassau or an island reachable via Florida is the final destination… for more on this see “pick your vibe” below. However, we enjoy the remote and relaxed atmospheres of the out islands and have always required additional travel…
There are a number of small Caribbean and Bahamian airlines that run daily flights from Nassau to the out islands… we have used these airlines multiple times to reach Andros and Long Island. The flights are very inexpensive, but the planes are small, so be prepared! For more information, check out Amazing Beaches – Out Islands Of The Bahamas. The resorts will know all of the flight schedules and can help book travel.
It is very easy to get to the domestic terminal in the Nassau airport from the international terminal. We’ve never had a problem making our flights. (We have always had 1.5 hours or more between flights and this has been plenty of time).
There are some islands that are reachable by ferry from larger islands. Last summer we visited Hope Town on Elbow Cay for the first time. We flew from Miami to Marsh Harbor on Grand Abaco Island and took a 20-minute ferry ride to Hope town. We loved this option and found it much less stressful than spending more time at the airport! For more information check out The Bahamas... We're On To Something!
Pick your Vibe
We’ve visited multiple destinations in the Bahamas, some multiple times, and have found that each spot has its own vibe…
Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas is located on New Providence Island and is the hub of activity. Paradise Island, the home of the Atlantis resort, is reachable by ferry from Nassau. We have only stayed in Nassau briefly and recommend Nassau and Paradise Island for people looking for lots of activity and/or nightlife.
Long Island is in the southern section of the Bahamian Islands and is… long! It’s about 80 miles long and 4 miles wide at its widest. We’ve visited Long Island 3 times, each time at the same resort, Cape Santa Maria. Why do we keep going back? The beach. It’s really amazing… one of the best we’ve experienced. To read more about the beach check out Amazing Beaches – Out Islands Of The Bahamas.
Cape Santa Maria is no frills… one restaurant with good food and a nice bar, some little beach houses, some larger condo units, and a great beach but no pool. The condos are great for families (two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, full kitchen, washer and drier, etc.), but the beach houses are fine too and are very affordable. This is a spot to truly get away…
Though water/beach activities are the only activities at the resort, Cape Santa Maria arranges snorkeling trips, various fishing trips, and sightseeing around the island. There’s also some important history to learn about… Long Island was Christopher Columbus’s third stop when he reached the Americas in 1492, hence the resort’s name Cape Santa Maria.
For a remote feel with a little more luxury, Kamalame Cay just off the island of Andros is fantastic. Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas and is in the northern section of the islands, just west of New Providence. Kamalame Cay is a private island dedicated completely to the guests of the island. We’ve been to Kamalame Cay twice and both times we felt like we were on Fantasy Island! There are no cars and all guests are provided with a golf cart to get around.
The accommodations on Kamalame Cay include big houses, little beach houses with two to three units, and few rooms in a lodge. On both visits we stayed in one of the little beach houses and found it perfect for our family of 3. All of the structures are set far enough apart that the beach is never crowded.
The beach is really fantastic, but there are a few other points that make Kamalame Cay a really special experience… The island has lots of undeveloped area and it’s really fun to take the golf cart or a bike and explore. Much of the beach is untouched and we’ve seen all kinds of fish and other marine life just off the beach. The snorkeling is AMAZING… both the coral and the marine life are awesome. Kamalame Cay has dive masters on staff and several boats and we were able to take snorkel trips completely tailored to us.
Kamalame Cay is all inclusive and has one restaurant. The food is very good, but there’s not a ton of variety. Though there’s not an energetic nightlife, but both times we’ve visited Kamalame Cay we’ve found that the other guests are very friendly and many evenings we’ve enjoyed drinks after dinner and great conversation.
Kamalame Cay is a rustic luxury resort and is more expensive than the other spots we’ve visited. We’ve been to Kamalame Cay with and without our Daniel and had great experiences both times. The resort staff is very accommodating to kids and goes out of their way to make sure kids are welcome.
We were at Hope Town on the Island of Elbow Cay most recently and LOVED it! Elbow Cay has an amazing beach that is not crowded at all, but has a town and multiple dining and shopping options. You can get all the details in The Bahamas… We’re On To Something!
Dreaming about the sun? I am!