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Travel & Holiday Tips


There are more than 700 islands in The Bahamas, many of which have escaped the notice of tourists. The islands offer clear warm water and sandy beaches. Several are relatively large but others are tiny and uninhabited. All the larger islands offer a high standard of accommodation and leisure facilities.

The capital of the Bahamas, Nassau, stands on New Providence Island. In the capital, tourists can shop in the bustling ‘straw market’, where local vendors create unique straw goods on the spot, or the more sophisticated shops in Bay Street. The 18th-century Fort Charlotte on West Bay Street has a moat, open battlements, dungeons and a magnificent view of the harbour. The nearby Ardastra Gardens have tropical flowers and pink flamingos. The Queen’s Staircase, at the top of Elizabeth Avenue, is a 40m- (102ft-) climb up steps carved into the limestone leading to Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower. Built in 1793, Fort Fincastle is in the shape of a ship’s bow. The Water Tower is the highest point on the island, 85m (216ft) above sea level. An elevator takes visitors to an observation deck for panoramic views. Many bars, restaurants and discos can be found along Cable Beach, a 2.5 mile-long stretch of golden sand, located just 3 miles outside the city. Paradise Island boasts some beautiful beaches, a 14-acre aquarium, 34 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens, the Caribbean's largest casino and a multitude of resorts. Sunbathing, diving, fishing and boating are the main daytime amusements on these islands. The Bahamas National Trust is based here.

Grand Bahama Island
Only 52 miles off the Florida coast, this island is perennially popular. Lucayan National Park (there are 40 acres to sample here) and Peterson Cay National Park are both worth visiting. The main towns are Freeport/Lucaya, which has an airport, and West End. The island offers wide white sandy beaches, two casinos and good shopping facilities, entertainment and restaurants at the International Bazaar and Port Lucaya. The Rand Memorial Nature Centre offers an excellent nature walk and the Garden of the Groves has exotic flowers, waterfalls and colourful birds. A highlight of any trip here will be to watch the semi-wild dolphins gliding and soaring in Sanctuary Bay. There are also 8 acres of pristine white sand for the traveller to recline upon and observe the waters lapping this versatile island.

The Out Islands
These stretch across a huge area of clear ocean and are fringed with hundreds of kilometres of white sandy beaches, and peppered with authentic fishing villages. This is a mammoth archipelago twice the size of Spain. The islands have resort facilities for groups of up to 200 people and are ideal for a relaxing, secluded holiday. Though secluded, the islands are not isolated. They are served by the national flag carrier, Bahamasair, from Nassau and Freeport.

The largest but probably the least known of the bigger islands. Laced with creeks and densely forested inland, the interior is still largely untouched and natural. Off the eastern shore is the 224km- (140 mile-) long coral barrier reef – the world’s third longest. Beyond the reef, the ocean floor drops away steeply to a depth of more than 1.5km (1 mile); called the Tongue of the Ocean, deep-water fishing is a major attraction here. Captain Bill's Blue Hole is an attraction, 180ft deep, 440ft wide in diameter. In Congo Town is the world-famous StarGate Blue Hole where Indian skulls were discovered in the early 1990s.

The Abacos
A 120 mile-long, crescent-shaped necklace of islands to the north of New Providence, where many of the towns have the atmosphere of New England fishing villages. The islands are particularly noted for their tradition of shipbuilding, the original 200-year-old practice that can still be observed in Man-O-War Cay. Treasure Cay has an excellent golf course and here, as in the other major islands, there are excellent leisure facilities. Other attractions include Alton Lowe’s Museum in New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay and Marsh Harbour, the bare-boat charter centre of the northern Bahamas. Scuba-divers are drawn to Pelican Cay National Park, an underwater preserve where night dives can be arranged.

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