When beachgoers fantasize about the perfect stretch of powdery sand lapped by turquoise seas, they're probably fantasizing about the Bahamas. This tropical paradise, which consists of 700 islands and over 2,000 little cays scattered over the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, is barely 80 kilometers from Florida at its closest point.
The islands, which were once a haven for pirates and Loyalists, are today a playground for the wealthy and famous, as well as anyone who appreciates world-class fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, and sailing.
The nation's capital, Nassau, on New Providence Island, draws the most visitors. Mega resorts, stores, restaurants, and entertainment complexes make up this bustling cruise port. Second place goes to Grand Bahama.
The other Bahamas islands, known as the Out Islands, are divided into groupings, each with its own personality and charm. The Abacos and Exumas, slung like pearls across the shallow Bahama Banks, offer some of the world's best boating and sailing waters. These tranquil islands are dotted with sleepy fishing villages and secluded beaches, and many of their shores are surrounded by flourishing coral reefs.
All of the other islands have something to offer discriminating visitors. It's difficult to top the Bahamas for big game fishing on Bimini and pink-sand beaches on Harbour Island, as well as bonefishing, regattas, and uncrowded outlying cays. If you're coming around the New Year, don't miss Junkanoo, the country's most popular event, with its pulsing drums and multicolored costumes.
Plan your sightseeing and find out more about the best places to visit in these idyllic islands with our list of the top attractions in the Bahamas.