Grand Bahama Island Feature
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Ecotourism on Grand Bahama
Beyond the 6-mi strip that comprises Grand Bahama Island's metropolis lies another 90 mi of unadulterated wilderness. The balance of the island is given to natural and uncrowded beaches, old-island settlements, and untamed "bush," as locals call the wilds.
The emphasis on the island's natural attributes begins below the water line with UNEXSO diving and the Dolphin Experience. UNEXSO's preoccupation with extreme diving led to the exploration of the island's unique cave system and the 1977 opening of Lucayan National Park, a portal to the underground labyrinth accessible to the public. One of the caves holds a cemetery of the island's aboriginals, the Lucayans. The park also gives intrepid visitors a taste of the beauty and seclusion of out-of-town beaches.
Kayaking, biking, snorkeling, boating, jeeping, and cultural safaris provide ways for visitors to take in Grand Bahama Island's most precious treasures.
Grand Bahama Nature Tours, a top-notch operation, follows backwater kayaking trails to Lucayan National Park and other off-the-beaten-path destinations. Knowledgeable native guides give lessons on island ecology en route.
Right in downtown Freeport, the Bahamas National Trust Rand Nature Centre was one of the precursors to ecotourism on Grand Bahama Island. It still provides an oasis for rare birds as well as residents and visitors. On the island's other extreme, close to West End, Paradise Cove takes you below the waves. Here you can rent snorkeling equipment or kayaks to experience the island's best swim-to reef—Deadman's Reef.
Ecotourism promises to be a fixture on Grand Bahama Island, attracting a different brand of island vacationer, one more adventurous and ready to experience the less-touted and richer offerings of Grand Bahama's great outback. For more information, contact the Ecotourism Association of Grand Bahama (242/352-8044, 800/448-3386 in the U.S.).
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