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Freeport/Lucaya, Grand Bahama

When Christopher Columbus discovered the islands of the Bahamas in 1492 on his way to America, he named the largest island Gran Bajamar, "Great Shallows," a name that evolved through the centuries into Grand Bahama. The island is just 68 miles from West Palm Beach and is easily reached by plane or boat, making it a popular vacation spot for visitors looking for a taste of the tropics not far from home. The Freeport International Airport has been recently refurbished, opening the door even wider to visitors from all over the world.

Freeport/Lucaya, the island’s capital city and the second largest city in the islands, is one of the best-known destinations in the Bahamas. The city was specifically designed for the tourist trade, and as a result features terrific duty-free shopping and many attractions to keep visitors entertained and enthralled. The 10-acre International Bazaar in downtown Freeport is divided into sections that represent different parts of the world, each with its own collection of shops and restaurants. You can easily spend a whole day exploring the Bazaar, and when you run out of money, just pay a visit to the Bahamia Casino nearby!

Lucaya boasts its own shopping mecca, the picturesque Port Lucaya Marketplace and Marina, located across from the beach in Lucaya. This 6-acre complex is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening exploring the duty-free shops or chowing down at one of the many popular restaurants. Boaters won’t want to miss the impressive array of luxurious yachts anchored at the huge marina, an official port of entry into the Bahamas. The Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort nearby features a medium-sized casino in addition to lovely beaches and luxurious accommodations. And with the evening breeze come the sounds of tropical rhythms from live entertainment in the Count Basie Square.

After the sun sets in Freeport/Lucaya, the night comes alive with entertainment and spectacle. Sit back and enjoy a dazzling show at the Casino Royale Theater, Joker’s Wild, or Club Tropicana, or visit one of the many nightclubs where you can catch the sounds of local bands. If you’re feeling lucky, the gaming action at the casinos rolls on virtually non-stop, featuring craps, blackjack, roulette, mini-baccarat, and all of the latest slot machines. There are also lessons for novice gamblers as well as the Sports Book betting facility, where you can place wagers on football, basketball, or hockey games. Later, when you’ve had your fill of partying and playing the odds, you can search out a cozy bar on the beach and watch the moonlight skip across the ocean while you eat conch fritters and toss back Bahama Mamas.

Nature lovers will want to leave the modern amenities behind to explore the eco-structure of the Bahamas in Freeport’s Garden of the Groves, an 11-acre botanical park filled with plants, flowers, trees, and waterfalls. The Rand Nature Center offers 100 acres of winding nature trails showcasing native Bahamian plants. You can experience all the major habitats found on Grand Bahama in the 40-acre Lucayan National Park, famous for its limestone caves. You can even explore one of the two caves that are open to the public, if you’re not afraid of bats! Water sports of all kinds abound on Grand Bahama, from cruises and deep-sea fishing to swimming with dolphins and sharks. Snorkelers and scuba divers will find themselves right at home in the waters around the island exploring some of the world’s loveliest coral reefs. Guided tours are available everywhere, with the best spots located near Deadman’s Reef on the island’s west end.

The Pirates of the Bahamas Theme Park, right on the beach in Freeport, provides the perfect atmosphere for a day full of beach activities. The Kidd’s Camp offers adult supervision for children of all ages, with swings and seesaws, climbing and digging equipment, and a professional miniature golf course. Ping-pong tables, basketball courts, and all kinds of water sports are also available. You can eat from the galley of a "sunken" pirate battleship while you drink grog, and then at sunset compete in a line dancing or Macarena dance contest around a beach bonfire. Depending on how good a dancer you are, you might even win a prize!

Visitors to Grand Bahama may find it hard to decide where to stay, because the choices seem endless. Whether you choose a charming waterfront hotel or a deluxe modern resort, you can count on gracious service and genuine hospitality. There are accommodations for every taste, from the Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resorts luxurious modern atmosphere to Paradise Coves apartment-type rooms with full kitchens. The Bahamia in Freeport, one of the island’s largest hotels, is adjacent to two 18-hole golf courses as well as the International Bazaar. The Grand Bahama Beach Hotel was completely gutted and refurbished two years ago, and several 4-star and 5-star hotels and resorts have opened in recent years. But if all the modern glitz and glamour isn’t your cup of tea, check out Pinder’s Point, Smith’s Point, or another of the sleepy settlements off the beaten path, where you can relax in a quieter atmosphere.

Come on down and enjoy your own tropical adventure in our capital city! No matter what you’re looking for in the Bahamas, you can find it in Freeport/Lucaya. The largest island in the Bahamas isn’t called "grand" for nothing—there’s something here for everyone!

If you need urgent assistance during your stay, call the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Telephone 352-8044/5.
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Page last updated on: July 14, 2008