If you ask random people on the street if they could go to a place anywhere in the world for a beach holiday right now, the chances are The Bahamas will be on that list. It could even be on top of it.
Who hasn’t heard of The Bahamas and what this place has to offer? While I’m sure that everyone dreams of clear blue skies, Pina Coladas, and different shades of blue on the sea, The Bahamas is so much more than this.
So what are The Bahamas famous for? Aside from the very popular Nassau’s pirate activity in the past (we’re talking about Blackbeard here), they have the Andros Barrier Reef, the world’s second deepest hole in the world (Dean’s Blue Hole), the crazy pig island and pink beach, and so much more.
While it’s also true that The Bahamas is still recovering from the hurricane that hit in 2019, this Carribean country won’t be stopped.
Only Abacos and Grand Bahama are closed for tourism and still in rehabilitation. We can still visit it’s capital city Nassau, Andros, Eleuthera, Cat Island, to name a few.
After you’ve read this blog post, you will definitely learn that The Bahamas aren’t all pristine white sand beaches, that they have other tourist destinations, they have a unique and eccentric cuisine, and of course, their Junkanoo! So let’s dive in and learn more about The Bahamas.
It Is Literally Made Up Of Islands
We’ve heard about archipelago nations around the world. The Bahamas is one of them. Imagine having 700 islands being a part of just one country. But, not all of these 700 islands have people living in them. Only 30 of these islands have actual residents.
The Bahamas also has around 2400 coral reefs. If that doesn’t make you want to snorkel while you’re there, we don’t know what else will.
And if you happen to have at least $2.5 million, you can own your own island in The Bahamas. In fact, some celebrities like Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Murphy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce & Jay-Z, actually own some of these islands!
The Bahamas Mean Shallow Water In Spanish
Well, it’s not directly translated. But some believe that the word Bahamas is from Baja mar, which means shallow water in Spanish.
A little bit of historical background, though everyone knows that The Bahamas was a British colony, it was actually first discovered by Christopher Columbus.
He claimed the island to be a territory of Spain. It was years later that the British came to claim it. How did the British claim it?
Well, Christopher Columbus thought that the Tainos, the original people of The Bahamas, were so nice that he wanted all of them to become slaves and work for the Spanish regime.
The Bahamas was nearly empty when the British came, so it wasn’t so hard for them to do it.
They Have Their Own Carnival – Junkanoo
Junkanoo. Repeat after me. Junkanoo. It does have a funky sound to it, and it keeps soundings better if you repeat it out loud.
The Bahamians needed an excuse to party, dress up, and to just enjoy life with music, bright costumes, and dancing. A lot of dancing.
So here comes Junkanoo, it’s everything from a parade to a party to a Carnival on steroids.
The best thing about this is that it happens during Christmas and the New Year festivities! I mean, you have the Christmas holidays and the Junkanoo in one.
In short, you can never go wrong with celebrating your holidays in The Bahamas.
The Tainos Were The First Bahamians
You’d probably be scratching your head upon reading the word Taino. It sounds like an energy drink.
It doesn’t come up in your everyday conversation, but if you have enjoyed chilling in a hammock, savored eating barbecue dishes, paddled your arms out in a canoe, then you have done Taino originated activities.
NOTE: The Tainos, who were (American) Indians in origin, were the ones who greeted Christoper Columbus in The Bahamas in 1492.
When The Band Comes Marching In
…a one-dollar Bahamanian note! Yes, it is only in The Bahamas. You can see the Nassau Police Marching Band image on their money.
Normally, you’d see images of important people, more likely their busts or heads, on the money. But not in The Bahamas. You have at least ten people in that one-dollar bill.
So when you go there, make sure you bring home a Bahamian dollar. It’s the only one in the world with a marching band!
Real Pirates Were Here
Blackbeard and Calico Jack are pirate names that you probably have come across even once in your life.
And there was a time in history, for real, not just in the movies, that Providence Island in The Bahamas was called Republic of Pirates.
It was that time when the pirates were sort of in charge of the Carribean. It was from the 1660s until the 1730s when the pirates were really basking in their glory.
Blackbeard was Edward Teach in real life, he was a British privateer before he became an infamous pirate.
NOTE: Calico Jack, who was John Rackham in real life, was also an Englishman.
The One and Only, The Bahamas
You must have noticed that I have been putting the word “the” before Bahamas. Not because it’s grammatically correct, but because the official name of the country includes it.
There are only two countries in the world that have this determiner and only this determiner alone, The Bahamas and The Gambia.
NOTE: You don’t count countries like the Republic of the Philippines or Republic of the Marshall Islands – as they both have other words in their names aside from ‘the’.
Neighbors With The (In)Famous Bermuda Triangle
Another infamous place is the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle. If you have been living under a rock and you don’t really know what’s this triangle about, let me give you a quick catch up.
This is an imaginary triangular section whose boundaries are The Bahamas, Miami, Puerto Rico, and San Juan. It is said that ships, aircraft, and people have gone missing while passing through this area.
And there is no factual nor scientific explanation as to where they have gone or what happened to them. If you’ve seen the TV show Lost, you know what I’m talking about.
If an aircraft or a ship has gone missing, their debris, or what’s left of them, should be found somewhere near the Bermuda triangle.
But the thing is, the areas near Bermuda, especially The Bahamas, have very shallow waters and you’d immediately see the wreckage.
And no debris or wreckage has been seen from these missing vehicles. Yes, that’s why it’s a mystery. But of course, no government organization acknowledges this.
A Living & Breathing Organism That Spans 190 Miles – The Andros Barrier Reef
It’s not the Great Barrier Reef, but the Andros Barrier Reef doesn’t fail in comparison to it. With a length of 190 miles, this is the 3rd largest living (and breathing) organism on the planet.
Yes, if you still don’t know, coral reefs are actually living organisms. And not only is it alive but it is also the home of 160 different species of marine life. Ain’t that grand.
No wonder snorkeling and diving is a great activity while in The Bahamas, especially in Andros.
If You Love Pink, You Will Like The Pink Sands Beach
It isn’t impossible, but it is not what you see on social media. I’m talking about the very famous beach that has pink sand. It’s actually in The Bahamas.
The Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island does have sand that has a faint pink hue. Let’s get a little bit scientific to explain why this is actually happening.
It’s a big word, but Foraminifera is responsible for the pink sand color.
In a nutshell, Foraminifera has a pink to red shell color. They live near the pink sands beach and when they die, their remains (their shells) get thrown into the sand and voila – you have that faint pink hue.
NOTE: The pink color is strongest when wet. So don’t get your hopes up to see really strong pink color as what social media has led people to believe. Some of these pictures are edited.
The Fort That Withstood It All
Sure, there are several forts in The Bahamas. In fact, there’s a lot of them. This is because they did try to defend their country against the pirates.
But if you don’t have a lot of time to visit all of the forts, then head on to Fort Charlotte, without a doubt.
Not only will you get to visit the biggest fort in Nassau (100 acres), but it also gives you a stunning view of the harbor.
So you might want to bring a lot of water and snacks if you plan to see all 100 acres of it.
The $5 entrance fee is definitely worth it.
The Highest Point In The Bahamas With A Bonus Church On Top
It’s only 63 meters, so I’m pretty sure most of us can climb Mount Alvernia. And besides, Father Jerome, the one who built the monastery called The Hermitage, on top of it has done extensive sculpture and artwork for you to see along the way.
So the climb up will also be entertaining when you pass by his sculptures (the Stations of the Cross).
Mount Alvernia on Cat Island also provides breathtaking views of its surroundings. So reward yourself and spend a little bit of time here.
Underwater Cave Systems That Will Make You Feel Transported In A Different Place
You rarely get to be in a place that is not only filled with history and the unknown but also with living organisms.
This is the feeling that you will probably get when you visit Lucayan National Park, in Grand Bahama.
It’s a recognized important place for birds, the creature Rempedia has been discovered here, and there is an awesome mangrove trail.
The Burial Mound Cave (where archaeological remains were found) and Ben’s Cave are two caves found underwater. Some sinkholes open into them and reveal 6 miles of tunnel area.
Gold Rock Beach, where scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean movie were filmed here, is also a part of the national park.
Your Dream Wedding Destination
They say beach weddings are dreamy, but Versailles in France is the most romantic. And what if you can get to put these two together?
Versailles Gardens in Paradise Island is the number one hot spot for your dream wedding! It has the ambiance and feels of Versailles, and a beach just a stone’s throw away.
It doesn’t really get better than this. Oh, but did you know that this garden is a part of The Ocean Club, Four Seasons? So there you go, a hotel, Versailles, and The Bahamas – all for your dream destination wedding!
It Seems Like They Rebuilt The Atlantis
Another extraordinary place to visit on Paradise Island is the Atlantis. Nope, not the lost city but the hotel. Why?
It has an open-air marine habitat, and it’s the largest in the world.
How can it not be that big if it is the home of at least 50,000 sea animals with over 250 species? They do need that space, I’m telling you.
You don’t need to be staying at the Atlantis Hotel to access this, though you’d need to be a Bahamian resident and a key holder of their partner hotels.
They do have tours for outsiders, but places are always limited! So be sure to book in advance.
Into The Deepest Depth Of The Ocean
Just a stone throw’s away from the Long Island’s shore, Dean’s Blue Hole can be found. Above, it looks like the water’s color suddenly changed from a blue-green to a deep blue, setting the margins of the sinkhole.
But inside, it’s a totally different world. It is 202 m deep, but if you get inside the cave, the water is just up to your waist.
You don’t really have to free dive inside it. Even just a glimpse on top will make you feel in utter awe.
If Pigs Could Fly
Or swim in this case, and they actually can. And they even have their own island! And if you haven’t heard of this, well, seriously?
The Exuma Cay is home to these adorable swimming pigs, and they’ve taken over the world by storm.
It’s also good to note that they have not been harmed by the hurricane that passed The Bahamas this year (Dorian, 2019).
Yes, you read that right. Conch is the Bahamian national food (if there is such a thing).
Pronounced as konk, conch meat is mixed in salads, cooked as fritters, deep-fried and served with fries or rice, or eaten in a sandwich!
NOTE: It’s also best served with the local beer, Kalik.
The Bahamians Are Big, Really Big
While I don’t want to say something that would sound like I’m body shaming, obesity is a health problem.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the ranks of countries with the most obese people in the world. The Bahamas ranked sixth.
The numbers are released by the WHO coincides with the overall health of the Bahamians, with 45% of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases.
Sure, they eat a lot of conch meat. But they also eat a lot of deep-fried pork, margarine, white rice, potatoes, and sugar-packed drinks.
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
You’d probably be wondering as you read this, why is snow mentioned in a blog post about The Bahamas. It’s in the Carribean, everyone knows that.
But what everyone doesn’t know is that it did snow once in The Bahamas. It was on the 17th of January, the year 1977. Snow came to the city of Freeport in the Grand Bahama!
But of course, snow was falling, but it didn’t stay on the ground. It was caused by the cold winds coming from Miami. Imagine that.
The Home Of The Bahamian Rock Iguana
When you’ve swum with the pigs, took hundreds of photos on the Versailles Gardens or the Atlantis aquariums, consumed all the conch in the world, you’re now stumped as to what else is there to see in The Bahamas.
Aside from the marvelous beaches and island hopping, there’s one more creature that you need to meet before heading home. Go to Bitter Guana Cay and say hello to the iguanas.
Yes, it’s not just the pig island that’s famous, there’s also an iguana island and it’s home to the Bahamian Rock Iguanas.
NOTE: They are an endangered species, and if you do go there, please follow all the rules and regulations. We wouldn’t want to lose more of them.