The Islands of the Bahamas- General Information
|Visitors to the Bahamas
soon discover that instead of arriving at one destination,
they’ve stumbled upon many! Just 50 miles off the Florida coast,
the islands of the Bahamas are as
diverse as they are lovely. The bustling marketplaces, marinas,
and hotels of Freeport and Nassau
seem worlds away from the pine forests and mangrove swamps of the Lucayan
National Park. The more cosmopolitan islands provide
traditional tourist fare, but others offer secluded beaches, tiny
palm-lined villages, and stalagmite-filled caves. Stretching from Grand
Bahama and Abaco at the north
to Great Inagua at the south are 23
inhabited islands and hundreds of uninhabited islands and cays
(pronounced "keys"). With six distinct ecosystems and
many different adventures to be had, the islands of the Bahamas
offer visitors a paradise of possibilities.
The Bahamas have earned a
worldwide reputation for sailing, due to the calm waters
surrounding the islands and the cool tradewinds and balmy breezes.
Regattas and other races are held year-round on many of the
islands, drawing champions from around the globe to test the
fleetness of their vessels. Because the islands are the birthplace
of the Gulf Stream, the crystal clear
waters are home to an amazing abundance and variety of marine
life. Over 50 international fishing records have been set in these
waters, and the greatest game fish in the world lure sport
fishermen in search of "the big one." Legendary
fisherman Ernest Hemingway wrote many stories about his angling
adventures in Bimini, his home for
With more than 5% of the earth’s reefs, the waters around the
islands are a dream come true for divers and snorkelers. Vast
underwater parks provide endless challenges to undersea explorers.
Thousands of miles of shoreline are home to some of the world’s
most beautiful and pristine beaches, from the sparkling sands of Eleuthera
to the lonely strands of Cat Island.
Further inland are national parks and tropical gardens giving
visitors glimpses of rare and endangered plants and animals. Miles
of walking trails, both guided and unguided, allow you to explore
the Bahamas on foot.
Although each island has its own unique personality, the people
of the Bahamas are delightfully
consistent in their warmth and charm. The Ministry of Tourism,
with their People-to-People program, gives visitors the chance to
experience Bahamian hospitality and culture in a genuine and
informal setting. Native volunteers are paired with visitors with
similar interests to offer them a taste of day-to-day island life.
Bahamians are friendly and open people, happy to share with you
their fascinating history and interesting folklore. Stories of the
infamous pirate Blackbeard, the blue
holes of Andros, and the freed slave
for whom Junkanoo is named will give
you an up close and personal insight into the rich culture of our
islands. We sincerely hope that the information you read here will
make you want to leave your keyboard behind and come visit the Bahamas
The Bahama Islands temperatures rarely drop below 60
degrees F, or rise above 90 degrees F. Most of the rain fall occurs
in the summer months. The sea temperature ranges from the low 80's
in the summer to about 74 degrees F in the winter. More
information on the Hurricane Season.
||People: The largest Bahamian population is on New Providence
Island, site of Nassau, the capital.
||Government: The Bahamas gained independence in 1973 and became
part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The British Monarch is the
sovereign and appoints the Governor General. The Bahamas has a
two-house Parliament, a ministerial Cabinet headed by the Prime
Minister and an independent judiciary.