06 December 2017
Traditional imagery of The Bahamas lends itself to endless white sands illuminated in the heat of the midday sun, serene clear blue skies matched only by the inviting turquoise waters featuring exotic fish and dolphins below, and a smattering of fluorescent pink 19th century colonial buildings among an endless array of islands combining for a subtropical beach paradise made reality.
The Bahamas offers much more to travellers, however, than simply awe-inspiring aquatic and land based panoramas, highlighted in our list below of five unique experiences to found when delving a little deeper into this enticing archipelago.
he Bahamas contains 29 national parks and conservation areas, each protected by the Bahamas National Trust.
These havens of flora and fauna range in size from the 743-square kilometre Inagua National Park through to the West Indian Flamingo breeding grounds and the eleven-acre Retreat Gardens boasting the largest private collection of palm trees in the Western Hemisphere.
Truly unique conservation areas include Exuma Land and Sea Park, attracting sailors, kayakers and divers due to the untouched islands, anchorages and underwater splendour they offer, while a collection of all elements of The Bahamas landscape can be found at Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahamas, showcasing mangrove swamps, sand dunes, and wide beaches.
If you’re a keen birdwatcher, head to Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park. This 250-acre wetland is home to more than 100 species of bird, including the chance for rare sightings of egrets, ibises, and the endangered Bahama Swallow.
The colourful Bahama Parrot can be seen almost exclusively in the country at The Abaco National Park, and with only about 3,000 of this endangered species left in the wild, it is a must-see when ticking rare birds off your bucket list. Finally, head over to Inagua, home of over 80,000 West Indian Flamingos as one of the largest colonies in the world.
The Graycliff Chocolatier is nestled inside the famous 18th century Graycliff Hotel, where they process cacao beans from start to finish, creating mouth-watering gourmet sweet treats.
During The Art of Chocolate and Factory Tour, discover the fascinating process of how fruit taken directly off the trees are then transformed into a bar of sumptuous chocolate, while you can also try your hand at designing your own chocolate bar.
Adults have the additional option of a chocolate and spirits tasting event, with chocolates paired with rum, whisky and more.
If you’ve never tried scuba diving before, The Bahamas offers an incredible introduction to the dazzling, colourful underwater world. The Bahamas has the world’s third largest barrier reef and some of the clearest waters, with visibility of over 60 metres (196 feet).
On a dive in the waters here, you can swim past an astounding number of creatures, including over 40 species of sharks, turtles, wild dolphins, parrot fish, trumpet fish, and rays. Experienced divers can also explore fascinating caves filled with stalactites, stalagmites and crystals for a memorably unique twist on the traditional dive.
While pirate life has been popularised and glamorised throughout various novels and several Hollywood movies, it can often be overlooked that the period was a reality in Caribbean history, particularly during the so-called Golden Age of Piracy’ between 1690 and 1720, amid which The Bahamas capital of Nassau held the largest population of pirates in across the entire Caribbean.
Visiting the incredible Pirates of Nassau Interactive Museum is a great chance for adults and kids alike to find out more about the way of life of true pirates exploring the region many centuries ago, with role playing and re-created pirate ships bringing the absorbing tale to life.