The Bahamas officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida).
The island of New Providence is home to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. New Providence houses 70% of the country’s residents and is the center of economic and government activity. Although much business happens on New Providence, it isn’t all hard work and no play. Nassau is home to many resorts, including several luxury all-inclusive accommodations. One of the most popular resorts, however, isn’t a mega hotel. Compass Point Beach Resort is easy to spot, just look for the rows of beachfront “huts” painted in bright colors.
It is described as a resort done “Bahamas style,” Compass Point is a great choice for those looking for an authentic Bahamas vacation without the glitz and glam of a traditional resort. The comfortable rooms will make your Bahamas vacation feel more like staying in a well-appointed guest room at a friend’s beach house than a resort room.
Paradise Island is linked to New Providence Island by a bridge. Worth at least a few hours, if not your entire stay, the world-famous Atlantis Resort is located on Paradise Island. This mega resort has some of the most expensive rooms in the world and is a lot like a miniature beach-front Las Vegas in the middle of the Caribbean. The Atlantis has grandiose architecture, faux Mayan ruins, huge aquariums full of thousands of species of sea life, and the largest casino in the entire Caribbean, with 50,000 square feet of lavish decor and nearly 1,000 slot machines. Spas, nightclubs, and restaurants are on par with anything you could find in a Vegas hotspot. A guided tour of the mega resort is available and may be worth your while if you’re just visiting rather than staying on the property.
The smaller and fewer populous islands in the Bahamas are collectively known as the “Out Islands.” These islands have a lot of personality and great attractions, and are well worth at least a day trip on your Bahamas vacation. The Exuma island chain is about 120 miles southeast of Nassau. Comprised of Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Exuma Cays, the beaches and waters are extremely pristine and have been set aside by the government as a national park. Great Exuma has comparatively fewer resorts than some of the main islands given its small size, but all are highly rated. St. Francis Resort, for example, sits on a bright white-sand beach and offers a laid-back home away from home. Rooms are a second away from the beach, where lizards and crabs take advantage of the island’s largely unpopulated coastlines. Because the Exuma Islands are so isolated, diving sites are especially pristine. Mystery Cave is a particularly popular destination, especially for experienced divers. Visited by famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, it is a “blue hole,” or underwater sinkhole. While visiting the Great Exuma, stop for dinner at Santanna’s Grill Pit featuring fresh, locally caught lobster and conch.
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