The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands and 2,400 cays peppered across the West Indies in the Northern Atlantic, many of them uninhabited. It is only 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of Florida and has famously been described as “the most beautiful place from space” by astronaut Scott Kelly who was blown away by images of the stunning blue waters taken from the International Space Station.
The Bahamas is not just stunning from space, it is equally breathtaking from Earth. The crystal, gin clear, warm waters in every shade of blue imaginable and the pristine white beaches are the epitome of a tropical paradise. Its swashbuckling history of pirates and rum runners adds to the romance and enchantment of the islands that will captivate your imagination, steal your heart and leave you with a chest of treasured memories forever. Here are my favourite things to do in the Bahamas.
- 20 Things To Do In The Bahamas
- Top Tours
- 1- Swim With Pigs
- 2- Discover Thunderball Grotto
- 3- Dive The Bahamas
- 4- Visit The Turtles of Hooper’s Bay
- 5- Chat, Chill And Feed The Stingrays
- 6- Climb The Queen’s Staircase
- 7- Visit The Candy-Stripe Lighthouse
- 8- Go Island Hopping
- 9- Have A Rum
- 10- Marvel At The Blue Holes
- 11- Eat With A Local Family
- 12- Go Fishing
- 13- Get Up Close To The Nurse Sharks Of Compass Cay
- 14- Stroll The Glass Window Bridge of Eleuthera
- 15- Feed The Iguanas of Bitter Guana Cay
- 16- Enjoy The Local Fish Fry
- 17- Pick Up Some Beautiful Androsia
- 18- Drink In A Bahamian Sunset
- 19- Hop On A Golf Cart
- 20- Hunt Down The Pirates
20 Things To Do In The Bahamas
1- Swim With Pigs
This is an experience not to be missed!
The pigs live on Big Major Cay, or Pig Island, which is otherwise uninhabited.
No one seems to know how the pigs ended up on the island but as the stories go, they either swam there from a sinking ship or they were left there by sailors intending to return and eat them.
Either way they now have the life of Riley basking in the Caribbean sunshine on soft, white sands or swimming in the turquoise, warm waters, while visitors happily bring them treats!
It is easy to get to the cay and lots of companies offer full-day trips that include a swim with the pigs or you can charter or rent a boat to take you there.
The friendly, adorable pigs will swim up to meet you, allow you to take photos and happily relieve you of your apple!
2- Discover Thunderball Grotto
Not far from Pig Island is Thunderball Grotto, about 80 miles (128 km) south of Nassau and made famous by the James Bond movies, Thunderball and Never Say Never.
You will probably need a guide to take you there as it is well hidden, however, it is included in many of the day trips on offer.
The outside of the grotto is pretty unimpressive; it looks like a big rock.
The entrance can be tricky and is mostly submerged so you should be comfortable with snorkeling.
Once you get inside it is truly spectacular!
The hollow centre of the grotto is filled with sunshine streaming through holes in the rock allowing it to penetrate and dance in a kaleidoscope of light.
The water is teaming with exotic marine life and brightly coloured corals.
It’s an unforgettable snorkeling experience.
The Grotto is popular with celebrities so you never know who’s yacht you may see anchored there.
3- Dive The Bahamas
Sharks, shipwrecks, reefs, planes and a piano are some of the things you’ll see when diving the Bahamas.
A diver’s dream, The Bahamas is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world, countless blue holes, underwater caves and wrecks.
Visibility in the clear, warm waters is 150 to 200 feet (45 to 60 m).
For the brave there is shark diving.
Swim up close and personal (as you dare!) to impressive predators such as Tiger Sharks in Freeport, Silky Sharks in Nassau or Hammerheads in Bimini.
There are shipwrecks dotted all over the waters of The Bahamas and they can be found in shallow to deep water.
The Ray of Hope and the Tear of Allah, both off Nassau are among the popular sites.
The most accessible plane wreck in The Bahamas is Pablo Escobar’s two-seater, twin engine aircraft that sits about 10 feet (3 m) under the crystal-clear water, about 10 miles (16 km) off Norman Cay.
The plane apparently ditched after trying to land at Staniel Cay, the halfway point between the Americas, frequently used by Escobar’s Columbian cartel.
Many celebrities own private islands in The Bahamas, including David Copperfield, the magician, who owns eleven! Just off the beach of one of his islands, Rudder Cut Cay, lies a life size sculpture of a mermaid and a baby grand piano.
The sculpture, commissioned by Copperfield, is about 12 to 15 feet (3 to 5m) below the surface and is a quirky, underwater, instagrammable photo op.
Recommended tour: PADI Discover Scuba Diving and Day Pass in Freeport
4- Visit The Turtles of Hooper’s Bay
You may not find this in guidebooks.
It is one of Exuma’s best kept secrets! on the beach at Hooper’s Bay in Great Exuma there is an area of water between two jetties where turtles hang out.
The turtles are super friendly and seem unfazed by attention.
In fact, they will swim so close to you that it is difficult to avoid the “Do not touch the turtles” rule.
Some people feed the turtles lettuce, conch or squid but this can attract sharks.
The turtles are not as happy to receive those visitors as they do not want to end up as a snack.
Turtles are a protected species so please if you visit, do not touch, do not feed and just delight being in the presence of these beautiful, amazing, graceful creatures and enjoy doing your part in protecting them so you may visit them again and again.
5- Chat, Chill And Feed The Stingrays
On Stocking Island lies the world-famous Chat n Chill beach bar on nine acres of pristine tropical paradise.
Visitors from everywhere arrive by boat and seaplane to spend the day here.
The laid-back beach bar is especially famous for its Caribbean pig roast on Sundays, enjoyed with music and delicious island drinks by locals and visitors alike.
Try the Goombay Smash.
That’s not all!
On the beach there is a Conch bar where you can mix your own, fresh from the sea, Conch salad.
If you have any scraps, stingrays are swimming in the shallows looking to help you out and they will happily sit at your feet taking conch from your hand.
They also enjoy a bit of a head rub.
Recommended tour: Honeymoon Harbour and The Sapona Day Trip Stingrays
6- Climb The Queen’s Staircase
Take a step back in time and climb The Queens Staircase or the 66 steps between Fort Fincastle and Nassau City.
The steps have a dark history, hewn out of solid limestone rock by slaves using only pick axes and hand tools in the 1700’s.
It took over 16 years to complete.
Much later the steps were named in honour of Queen Victoria who signed a declaration to abolish slavery in 1837.
Today the steps are one of the most visited attractions in Nassau.
- Nassau Shore Excursion: Island Highlights Sightseeing Tour
- ATV Island Tour – the most fun way to explore on land!
7- Visit The Candy-Stripe Lighthouse
As you approach the picturesque harbour of Hope Town in the Abaco Islands you will see the candy striped Elbow Reef lighthouse.
It is the last kerosene burning lighthouse in the world.
The Keeper of the Light is Jeffrey Forbes Jnr., who inherited the position from his father, as he did from his father.
The lens must be hand-wound 427 times every two hours to maintain the flashing light that can be seen up to 20 miles (32 km) out at sea, warning sailors of the treacherous nearby reef.
The lighthouse is 89 feet (27 m) high and has 101 steps that are worth the effort for the amazing vista at the top.
8- Go Island Hopping
Chartering a boat or renting one is the best way to explore the Islands and Cays of The Bahamas.
Obviously if you want to go out into open water and are not an experienced sailor you will opt to charter a boat or book a guided tour.
There is also the option of renting a smaller vessel such as a Boston Whaler from Minns Water Sports to explore the shallow waters of Elizabeth Harbour, the Cays and Sand Bars.
Discover the many beaches such as Starfish Beach, Coco Plum and Tropic of Cancer.
Take time to snorkel or have a picnic on a deserted cay all at your own pace.
The harbour is easy to navigate with a map as the water is so shallow.
It is a fantastic way to spend a day in The Bahamas and one you will never forget.
- Private Island Hopping Boat Tour and view the Turtles
- Exuma Island Hopping and Swimming Pigs Tour with Lunch
9- Have A Rum
You cannot go to The Bahamas without sampling “the spirit of The Bahamas!” John Watling Distillery on the Buena Vista Estate in Nassau is within walking distance of the harbour and perfect for a historic rum tasting experience.
The distillery is named after a famous 17th-century pirate.
You cannot get any more Bahamian than that.
Complimentary tours are on offer and you can enjoy them while tasting various premium rums or pop into the on-site tavern for a delicious signature rum cocktail.
The John Watling Distillery is at Buena Vista Estate, 17 Delancy St, Nassau, The Bahamas.
10- Marvel At The Blue Holes
Blue holes are abundant in The Bahamas, which is home to the deepest blue hole on earth, Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island.
It is 663 ft (202 meters) deep and no human has been able to reach the bottom.
While that sounds a little terrifying there is a white sandy beach on one side where you can marvel at the phenomenon from the surface or snorkel in its shallows.
11- Eat With A Local Family
The Bahamas has a fantastic People-To-People Programme where guests are invited into the homes of locals for dinner.
This allows a special opportunity to get to know the people of the islands, their culture, their love for the islands and, as everyone knows, locals make the best tour guides.
It’s also a great way to experience authentic, homemade Bahamian cooking or and you may even be asked to help prepare dinner.
If that sounds good, please make sure you sign up before you travel at www.bahamas.com.
12- Go Fishing
The Bahamas is the ultimate fishing destination, where 16 islands offer fishing charters that cater for all levels, from beginners to experienced anglers chasing a world record.
Whether you want to go deep sea fishing for the mighty Marlin or Tuna, reef fishing for Grouper and Snapper or fly fishing for the elusive Bonefish or Tarpon The Bahamas has it all.
Couple this with the tropical backdrop and the vibrant turquoise waters and you have fishing in paradise.
Many of the charters can recommend a harbourside restaurant who will be happy to prepare and cook your catch of the day for you to enjoy.
Recommended tour: Half-Day 27ft Dream Life Private Fishing Charter in Nassau
13- Get Up Close To The Nurse Sharks Of Compass Cay
There are a lot of Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay! When you walk to the dock and look down into the harbour and the mass of black, shadowy shapes below it is a little unnerving.
To steady the nerves, Nurse sharks are, by nature, very docile and inquisitive.
They are bottom feeders who have no interest in attacking humans, unless of course they are threatened.
There are no threats here! Head rubs and conch are the order of the day.
They even seem to enjoy the attention and circle back for more.
Their skin is rough to the touch which is a little surprising.
It is quite an experience to encounter these fascinating animals in such close proximity.
The water in the harbour is shallow so you don’t actually have to swim, but you are in the water with sharks so that qualifies as swimming with sharks and a tick off the bucket list!!
14- Stroll The Glass Window Bridge of Eleuthera
The bridge was originally a naturally formed stone arch that created the impression of a window.
When the arch fell victim to hurricanes a man-made bridge was erected in its place.
That and subsequent structures have also been destroyed and rebuilt over the past 130 years.
The bridge on Harbour Island is the narrowest place on earth and one of the few places where two oceans meet.
On one side you have the rough, deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side the calm turquoise waters of the Bight of Eleuthera.
Do tread cautiously as rouge waves have been known to hit the bridge.
Recommended tour: Be Your Own Captain Adventure: Bimini, Nassau, Exuma or Eleuthera
15- Feed The Iguanas of Bitter Guana Cay
Bitter Guana Cay is home to the only remaining Bahamian Rock Iguanas in the World.
It is believed they have evolved over the course of three million years and have lived in the same place, even before the land became a cay.
The Iguanas have their eyes peeled for incoming boats and as soon as one is spotted, they run to the shore to meet it eager for a snack.
It is quite a sight to see hundreds of mini dinosaurs running to greet you, very Jurassic Park!
16- Enjoy The Local Fish Fry
Every Island in The Bahamas has a Fish Fry and they are fun! Enjoyed by both visitors and locals, they are usually a collection of beach shacks serving authentic, traditional, local cuisine such as conch Fritters, cracked lobster and fried snapper.
You can also sample island drinks including a refreshing cold Kalik “the beer of The Bahamas” or a delicious rum cocktail like the Bahama Mama.
The Fish Frys come alive on Sundays when live music and dancing add to the Bahamian flavour.
The largest and best-known Fish Fry is on Arawak Cay in Nassau.
A visit is highly recommended.
The Arawak Fish Fry is at Esplanade Way, Nassau, The Bahamas.
Book a seat on the Shared Fish Fry Shuttle
17- Pick Up Some Beautiful Androsia
Androsia handmade batik is a work of art!
Established on the beach in the 60’s by the Birch Family of Andros Island, the fabric can now be found in gift shops all over The Bahamas in the shape of beachwear, accessories and home goods.
The hand-crafted designs are inspired by the beauty of the Bahamas and the striking, bright colours of the fabric bring them to life.
If you visit Andros drop by the factory and have a go at making your own.
The Androsia Hand Made Batik Factory is at Androsia Street, Andros Town, Andros, The Bahamas.
- CocoNutz Cruisers Electric Bicycle Tour
- Dilly Dally Walking Tour of Nassau Attractions
- Mamma Gal Native Experience
18- Drink In A Bahamian Sunset
You cannot go to The Bahamas and not see a sunset as the sun sets every night.
The best place to see them, however, is from the water.
It is truly magical to cruise the Caribbean Sea on a warm balmy night and take in the sky’s dramatic canvas of ever changing colours as the sun slips beyond the horizon.
There are many sunset dinner cruises on offer from any of the islands.
Sip on a rum cocktail, be in awe and enjoy!
- Sunset Dinner Cruise in Nassau
- Single Parasail Over Cabbage Beach, the Bahamas
- Bahama Kayak Full Day Water Sports Package at Junkanoo Beach
19- Hop On A Golf Cart
Harbour Island is home to the only town on the island, Dunmore Town.
The town is steeped in history and was the Capital of The Bahamas in the 1900’s.
The town can be explored by golf cart, the only method of transport on the island.
You will find historic buildings, charming streets, quaint pastel-coloured cottages, art galleries and boutiques.
The island is famous for it’s pink beaches, the result of millions of crushed Foraminifera shells, coral and sand creating the stunning pink appearance.
20- Hunt Down The Pirates
The most recent pirate to plunder the shores of The Bahamas was the affable Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of The Caribbean movie fame.
“Dead Man’s Chest” and “At Worlds End” were shot in the Exumas.
Less affable and more terrifying were two of the most infamous pirates of The Bahamas, Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
You can experience life as it was when they plagued The Bahamas at the interactive Pirates of Nassau Museum.
There you can find yourself on the deck of a ship about to be boarded by Blackbeard or stroll down the quayside at twilight listening to pirates celebrating in a tavern on the dock or pop into the Smugglers tavern for a rum!
The Pirates of Nassau Museum is at King and George St, Downtown Nassau, The Bahamas.
Recommended tour: Pirate’s Gold Nassau Scavenger Hunt Adventure
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