Sitting in the Atlantic Ocean off the south east coast of Florida, Bahamas holidays are more varied than you might think...
The country is made up of more than 3,000 islands, from tiny rocky outcrops to large islands such as Andros Island, which is home to the third longest barrier reef in the world. If you think this sounds like the perfect recipe for beach days and diving fun then you'd be absolutely right. Throw in international casinos in the buzzing capital of Nassau and isolated beaches peppered around the islands, and you've got a varied and interesting sunshine holiday where you can tap your feet to a very chilled out soundtrack and enjoy a sophisticated slice of the Caribbean.
Christopher Columbus made his first landing in the New World in The Bahamas in 1492. You can discover the islands after a flight time of around nine hours from the UK. Holidays in Bahamas generally begin shortly after touching down at Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) near Nassau on the island of New Providence, though many cruise liners drop anchor here from Florida and beyond too.
Choose between staying in or around Nassau, where casinos, nightclubs, bars, restaurants and shopping opportunities compete for your attention, or transfer to an island to get away from it all.
Glory in Bahamas holidays on islands such as: Grand Bahama, the closest to the United States of America; Andros island; the sailing hotspot of the Abacos islands; the Exumas, where there are enough cays and islands to enjoy a new one every day of the year; Eleuthera; or Inagua, in the far south.
If you do choose to stay around Nassau, a popular choice is Cable Beach. Many visitors also opt to take the bridge from the capital to connect to Paradise Island.
Families, groups and couples will feel at home in The Bahamas. Gently shelving beaches and shallow clear waters will offer extra peace of mind for parents of water-loving children.
The Bahamas is a fascinating island nation and discerning tourists can enjoy perfect beach holidays here.
The islands can be visited year round, with fantastic temperatures and a great laidback lifestyle for holidaymakers...
The dry season in The Bahamas runs from November to April, when temperatures sit at around a pleasant 22C. Temperatures do rise and peak at around 29C in July and August, though rainfall is unpredictable in the summer months. Be careful of travelling in the peak summer months through to October as the area is prone to hurricanes at this time.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach, you could enjoy some of these popular events on the islands...
Junkanoo festival; December, January and June: The biggest and best of events in The Bahamas. Colourful and wild costumes are donned for street parades of music and dancing. Catch the spectacle on Boxing Day and New Year's Day, and now at Junkanoo Summer (laid on due to the popularity of the winter events). The best parade can be seen in Nassau, though many islands host their own parade.
Bahamas Heritage Festival; March/April: If you're on Exuma in spring then you're in luck. This annual event sees performances, arts, crafts and piles of food to celebrate the best of what The Bahamas has to offer.
Independence Day; July 10: The Bahamas gained independence from British rule in 1964 and locals celebrate this national holiday with parties and events. You can join in the fun on a number of islands.
Wherever you stay during your holiday in the Bahamas, you can be sure of finding things to do...
Keen golfers can enjoy manicured courses, while shoppers will be in heaven at international stores and rustic markets, where straw products fly off the stalls. There are plenty of watersports available, plus excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities, during which you might spot dolphins, rays, small sharks and a guaranteed clutch of brightly coloured fish.
Wildlife and marine life can be found at Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama, where caves, reefs, and mangroves stir the senses, while dolphin encounters can be guaranteed during a swim at the private Blue Lagoon Island.
Other islands of note are Cat Island, which claims the highest point in The Bahamas with Mt Alvernia, and Long Island, which is split by the Tropic of Cancer.
Kids & teens: All the family will enjoy a day out at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre. Watch the marching flamingos, hand feed the lory parrots and journey into the jungle where you will be able to encounter lemurs, monkeys and jaguars.
Active types: Pop on your snorkel mask and take an underwater adventure to explore the beautiful coral reefs and exotic fish of the ocean.
Shopping: Head to the buzzing capital of Nassau if you're looking for a shopping fix. Explore the Straw Market, boutiques and gift shops of this vibrant shopping hotspot.