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Most first time visitors head to New Providence Island or Paradise Island, the heart of the action in the Bahamas (you’ll sometimes hear New Providence called Nassau, but that’s technically just the name of its capital city). If you’re looking for buzzing bars and casinos, duty-free shops and some of the best all-inclusive hotels in the Bahamas, then this is where you’ll want to be.
Some of the most desirable hotels in the Bahamas can be found on Cable Beach, a scenic beachfront strip littered with restaurants, casinos and bars. But budget travellers might prefer to try their luck in downtown Nassau, which offers a greater variety of affordable accommodation options. The cultural centre of the Bahamas, Nassau’s beguiling historic buildings speak of a swashbuckling past filled with piratical adventures.
For more glitz and glam, head across the bridge to Paradise Island, which is set just off the coast of New Providence. The island is home to the biggest resort in the Bahamas: the sprawling Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Paradise Island tends to be pricey and some of its attractions and beaches are restricted to Atlantis guests, but it has some of the best beaches in the Bahamas, as well as luxury hotels, and exceptional dining spots.
Grand Bahama Island offers an appealing mix of tourist-oriented amenities and gorgeous landscapes – and all at reasonable prices! You’ll find drop-dead gorgeous beaches, swanky casinos, quality restaurants and diverse shops in Freeport and the nearby suburb of Port Lucaya.
Beyond the tourist hubs and luxury Bahamas hotels, however, lie pristine stretches of beach and parkland. A mecca for divers and hikers, the island is home to Lucayan National Park, which encompasses all six different ecosystems found in the Bahamas.
Travellers interested in getting off the beaten track and experiencing authentic West Indian culture should set their sights on the Out Islands, also known as the Family Islands.
Accessed mainly by boat, they can be a little more challenging to reach than the other islands in the Bahamas. Travellers who make the effort, however, are rewarded with untouched natural landscapes and people-free beaches.
Head to Andros for mangroves, forests and caves, or head out off the coast of Bimini in search of big game fish. A hotspot for snorkelers and divers, the Exumas are home to five-star Bahamas hotels as well as a range of budget-friendly options. Walk along pink sand beaches and hit the waves for fantastic surfing on Eleuthera Island and Harbour Island.