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Bahamas Travel Guide

20 Ultimate Things to Do in The Bahamas

The best things to see, eat, and do while visiting the Bahamas.

The Bahamas is known for its subtropical climate, crystal clear turquoise waters, and massive resort properties, but there is so much more to see and do. With over 700 islands and cays, no vacation is long enough to do it all, but you can plan the perfect mix of relaxation, exploration, education, and excitement. To have the best experience, be willing to follow the lead of the locals, deviate from the tourist attractions, get off the hotel property, and remember New Providence is just one of many islands.

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Fish Fry at Arawak Cay

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

Ask where to eat, and nine times out of 10, Bahamians will send you to Arawak Cay. It is convenient both because of its location and the number of restaurants waiting to accommodate guests, local and visiting. If you like to eat where the locals do, you definitely need to make your way to this favorite spot. You can settle at one restaurant, or go on a self-directed tour, trying something different at each stop along this strip. You obviously need to try fried fish, but there is a lot more to explore. Even if you’ve had rice and peas elsewhere, put peas and rice on your list because it really is different. Have a daiquiri from Twin Brothers, and be sure to walk over to Sky Juice King for sky juice (coconut water, condensed milk, and gin) which you can enjoy leaded or unleaded. Go hungry, and walk off the food hangover on the nearby beach.

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Primeval Forest National Park

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

Established as a national park in 2002, the Primeval Forest National Park transports visitors to a New Providence of years gone by. Virtually untouched, it is 7.5 acres of diverse flora and fauna as well as impressive sinkholes and limestone caverns. This park is a must-visit for nature lovers and geology enthusiasts. Get lost in this time capsule, a previous version of New Providence with some of the only remaining blackland coppice on the island. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get a photo with the Mighty Mahogany, believed to be the oldest tree in New Providence.

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Aquaventure Waterpark

WHERE: Paradise Island

Everyone likes a little bit of waterpark fun every now and then, and you can do a lot at Atlantis’ 141-acre Aquaventure. There are a lot of swimming areas to enjoy, but the top features are the lazy river and the waterslides. There’s nothing like a water rollercoaster! The Challenger is perfect for a sibling showdown and The Abyss brings the thrill you can only get from an almost-vertical 50-foot drop. If you’re not staying at Atlantis, visit the Atlantis Adventures desk to purchase day passes.

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Day Away at Harbor Island

New Providence and Paradise Island are not all there is to The Bahamas. Do yourself a favor and take some time to island hop. If you’re short on time, you can make it a day trip, and Harbour Island is a popular destination. You may have already heard about the pink sand beach. It’s definitely a good reason to go, but there is so much more. The three-hour boat ride to and from is comfortable and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Bahamian waters. Upon arrival, you’ll be provided with a golf cart to explore the island. A lunch voucher is also included in the package from Bahamas Ferries. Get a taste of true island life, away from the busyness of New Providence.

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Exuma Excursion

WHERE: Exuma

You have seen incredible photos of the most beautiful beaches in The Bahamas already, and you have been imagining yourself on them, enjoying the sun, swimming, and taking great photos. Chances are some of the most jaw-dropping beaches you saw in those photos are in Exuma and the cays. Let Powerboat Adventures take you to Ship Channel Cay in the Exumas for a day of feeding iguanas and stingrays, swimming with pigs, and getting great Instagram content. Enjoy lunch on the private island, watch the conch salad show, and take advantage of the open bar. Once you get this small taste of Exuma, you will definitely want to visit on your next trip.

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New Day, New Beach

Don’t fall in love with just one beach! There are so many to explore, it would be a shame to spend all of your time on just one. Especially if you are staying at a resort with private beach access, venture out to public areas. You’ll probably see friends having barbeques, parents putting their toddlers’ feet in the water, children collecting shells, runners using the sand for resistance training, and families cooling off in shallow water. There may also be people selling snacks and bottled juices and water as well as water sports operators offering their services. Every beach is different, and the features vary, from shade provided by trees, privacy provided by hedges, presence of rocks and seaweed, and even the temperature of the water. You may find that you love a particular beach for a completely unexpected reason. Be open, try new spots, and find a way to keep notes on them all. It’ll come in handy when you return.

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Farmers Market at Doongalik

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

Farmers markets are always fun to visit because you can chat with vendors, learn about products, see what everyone else is buying, and often find out where retailers get their inventory. The farmers market at Doongalik on Village Road always has smart, friendly vendors ready to talk about sourcing, testing, packaging, and everything else related to their products. You can find locally-grown produce, fresh bread, handmade goods like candles and jewelry, pepper sauces, and teas. There’s even a store—Craft Cottage—on property where you can purchase perfect souvenirs made by Bahamian artists. Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it’s a great place to spend an hour or two.

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Sun and Ice

WHERE: Paradise Island

Tucked just behind the lobby of the Coral Towers at Atlantis, Sun and Ice is easily the best ice cream spot on New Providence or Paradise Island. Bahamian chef Wayne Moncur uses fresh milk, cream, egg yolks, and cane sugar in combination with some of your favorite Bahamian ingredients—including fruit, teas, and spices—to keep you coming back for more. The names will pique your curiosity, and you can make it your mission to find the story behind each one before you leave. For example, the delicious irie nuts—with roasted peanuts, almonds, and pecans—has cultural significance as “Irie nuts!” is often called out by street vendors selling roasted peanuts, usually at traffic lights. What a delicious way to learn about Bahamian culture!

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Food Truck Parks

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

One thing Bahamians love to do is eat, and one thing that makes it better is being able to eat a lot of different things in one place. In recent years, food trucks have been popping up, but food truck parks have changed the game. Get a drink from one truck, share an appetizer from another, get lunch from different vendors instead of compromising, then grab dessert to go (to the beach, of course). Tin Ferl is on Gladstone Road and Broadway Food Park is at The Dundas Center for Performing Arts on Mackey Street. Whether you’re east or west, one of these food truck parks is near you, so go sample this, taste that, and be on your merry way.

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Art Gallery Hopping

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

The art scene in The Bahamas is fresh and exciting, and there is always an exhibition to see. Start your art journey at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) on West and West Hill Streets, a short walk from the #10 bus stop on Bay Street. Housed in the historic Villa Doyle building, it is open Tuesday through Sunday. In addition to four gallery spaces indoors, it has a sculpture garden and ampitheater. Be sure to ask staff about upcoming events. From the NAGB, you can walk to D’Aguilar Art Foundation on Virginia Street (open Tuesdays and Thursdays). From there, take a longer walk, east on Bay Street, to contemporary art gallery Sixty 2 Sixty and, if you’re lucky, you may meet gallery owner and artist June Collie whose vibrant work you may have already seen around town.

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Tru Bahamian Food Tours

Food tours are a great way to get to know a city. Not only do you get to engage with locals and try different dishes, but you can learn about the culture and history as you walk around and hear stories about restaurants, recipes, and things you stumble upon along the way. Tru Bahamian Food Tours has offerings to suit different interests, from food tasting and lunch to cooking classes and cocktails. You can even enjoy a virtual experience if you’re not able to travel just yet, or want to get a jumpstart on the island experience before your arrival.

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Bahama Hand Prints

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

It is always nice to have something special from each place you visit. Sometimes it’s simply a fridge magnet or t-shirt, but we all love items that are handcrafted, unique, and bring back the memory of a place. Make time to drop by Bahama Hand Prints on Ernest Street, near the bridge from Paradise Island. This isn’t a store you dash into and leave in 10 minutes with something you hastily grabbed from a shelf. You’ll want to look carefully at all of the fabric on the walls. You’ll want to take your time choosing the right wallet or tote bag, then get distracted by the aprons, and wonder if you really need another maxi dress or sport shirt.

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Conch, Conch, and More Conch

You can visit The Bahamas without trying conch, but you’d probably regret it when people ask you, over and over again, how it was when you did. Conch is prepared in many different ways, and it’s highly recommended that you try a few. For the most adventurous, conch salad is the way to go. Not only is it delicious, but watching the preparation is an experience all on its own! The conch is diced, mixed by hand with diced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers, and heaped into a bowl where fresh lime and orange juice are squeezed over it. Salt is sprinkled and goat pepper is added to your specifications. Even if you don’t like pepper, trust the conch salad expert to give you just enough. This is like no ceviche you have ever had. If you’re not fond of raw seafood or want to spend less on the experience, go for conch fritters. Be sure to use the calypso sauce because conch fritters just aren’t the same without it.

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Make It Last Longer

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

Got a fancy camera? Bring it with you. From idyllic beaches and beautiful sunsets to old buildings and straw plaiting, there is more than a memory card full of moments to capture. Check out the forts, Rawson Square, Government House, fish being scaled at Montague dock, majestic trees, and police directing traffic downtown. Sometimes just carrying a camera around gets you to slow down and makes everything you see more obvious and magnificent. No camera? Maybe you should be the one being captured! Book a Bahamian photographer like Blair J. Meadows to take photos of you on one memorable day in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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Play to Win

WHERE: New Providence & Paradise Island

Do you like taking chances, or are you on a good luck streak? Maybe the sound of slot machines and winnings coming through give you a thrill and warm you up for live competition and intensity at the tables. While you’re in The Bahamas, get into one of the casinos and see if you can win another trip to the land of sun, sand, and sea. The main Atlantis casino slot machines are open 24/7 and tables are open 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Players can also enjoy a completely different gaming experience at The Cove Pool. The casino at Baha Mar boasts 1,100 machines and electronic and 119 live tables with 18 games. You can even visit the Sportsbook to watch and wager on a wide range of sports. Wherever you choose, you can get lucky in luxury.

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Stress-Free Beach Day

WHERE: Blue Lagoon Island

We all love an easy day when we don’t have to think about much. Even a beach day can seem like a lot to plan after a few days of fast-paced vacationing. Blue Lagoon Island is a great option for this point in your trip. You want to just toss a towel, some sunscreen, a floppy hat, and a good book in a bag and go. No worries about food, drinks, or entertaining the other, higher-energy people on your trip. Take a short boat ride to the private island where lunch is taken care of and there are lots of lounge chairs, picnic tables, and hammocks. The lagoon is calm, perfect for non-swimmers and watchful parents. You can go for the carefree beach day or opt for interactive programs with, for example, dolphins. If you want to keep the young adults busy while you relax, this is a great way to do it.

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John Watling’s Distillery

WHERE: Nassau, New Providence

On the Buena Vista Estate in downtown Nassau, John Watling’s Distillery is a hand-crafts small-batch rum. Sugarcane molasses, charcoal, coconut, and sisal all have their role in the development of the product. Drop by the distillery on Delancey Street for a free tour to find out exactly how all of those inputs come together to make what you’ll taste and buy to share with friends when you get back home.

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Dean’s Blue Hole

WHERE: Long Island

Do you like to find the most talked-about places in the world, explore them, then make all of your family, friends, and followers jealous of your fabulous life? Well, the second deepest blue hole in the world ought to do it. Dean’s Blue Hole, 663 feet deep, is in Long Island. It is framed by white sand beaches, cliffs, and an inlet to the Atlantic ocean. It’s a top-tier dive site and an amazing photo opportunity. Seeing the blue hole requires a flight to Long Island, but it’s worth it, right?

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“The Narrowest Place on Earth”

WHERE: Eleuthera

Get the distinct feeling of being in two places at once on the island of Eleuthera when you go to the world-famous Glass Window Bridge. Thirty feet wide at its narrowest, the bridge is the only connection between the settlements of Gregory Town and Lower Bogue in Eleuthera. The original rock arch was destroyed by a hurricane and replaced. The dark blue Atlantic ocean on one side makes it seem almost impossible to believe the turquoise waters of the Bight of Eleuthera are real. When you’re on the Glass Window Bridge, you are standing between two wondrous worlds.

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The ultimate Bahamian event is the Junkanoo parade and competition that takes place on New Year’s Day and Boxing Day (December 26) at 2 a.m. Groups spend months together, designing and creating costumes out of cardboard, styrofoam, crepe paper, beads, and feathers, choreographing and practicing dances, and arranging and practicing music (with goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles, and brass instruments) to fit their top-secret themes. When they bring their performances to Bay Street, loyal fans greet them with unbridled enthusiasm. The event lasts for hours and hours, past daybreak. Throughout the year, there are smaller performances on holidays, at celebrations, and on hotel properties. Find out when and where you can catch one and be there. It is absolutely worth missing whatever you’d planned to do before.

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itaplink0381 September 13, 2021

Love your article going to visit Bahamas very soon