The name says it all. Paradise island and its capital city Nassau fuses traditional Caribbean charm with the liveliness of modern America, to facilitate a holiday which is, at the same time, both tranquil and entertaining. A colourful town rich in culture and tradition, during your catamaran charter in the Bahamas make sure to take advantage of the national history museums and sites to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the town’s colonial past. Christ Church Cathedral; originally built in 1670, and recently renovated, is worth seeing; the cathedral’s original and unique architecture has been well-preserved throughout the years.
In Nassau, you will also find the headquarters for Bahamas National Trust; a foundation which protects over 2 million acres of Bahamian biodiversity and preserves the natural resources of the archipelago and important ecosystems. The Atlantis Paradise Island resort also has an aquarium with more than 50,000 aquatic animals from 250 species. A visit to the aquarium will bring a fascinating and educational angle to your trip; it’s always important to understand your natural surroundings.
Finally, don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten track and explore the more remote areas of the island where you’ll find magnificent pine forests and rugged landscapes. The island is home to a wide variety of stunning and distinct beaches. Some of the most popular beaches include Love Beach and Cable Beach, and Clifton Bay and Old Fort Bay are ideal for snorkellers and divers. On Paradise Island, you will also find the biggest water park in the world, ‘Atlantis Aquaventure’, which will undoubtedly make for an entertaining and exciting day out.
The most northern of the islands, this destination is another hot spot with the tourists. Its capital town, Freeport, is the 2nd largest town of the Bahamas. More modern than authentic, this town is ideal if you want to do a bit of shopping during your catamaran charter in the Bahamas. There are more than 80 different shops which offer a range of products and a countless number of restaurants to choose from. Don’t be afraid to haggle in the market places and try and snap up a bargain!
Yet despite being one of the most popular tourist destinations, 70% of the island of Grand Bahama is covered by wild forest and is totally preserved. Lucaya National Park is in the south of the island and boasts the largest amount of under-water caves in the world. With its hidden beaches and underground caves, it is the most popular of the three national parks in the Bahamas and it will take at least an afternoon to explore. You can choose to get around by horse or by boat. Other sites of interest include: Freeport, Rand Memorial Nature Centre, West End fishing village and Gardens of the Groves.
Ernest Hemingway put Bimini on the map when he fell in love with the island back in the 1930s. Less than 50 miles from Florida, Bimini island, with its clear, blue water, is a renowned destination for diving, fishing and shark research. The north and the south of the island are totally different, and attractive to the holidaymaker in distinct ways; the south is slightly quieter and less built up than the north, for example. Located on the south of the island is the Bimini Nature Trail, a mile-long trail which will allow you to get closer to the flora and fauna that populate the island. Along the trail, you may be able to spot birds, iguanas and even snakes.
Bimini island is notorious for its precious marine life; from dolphins to turtles, the island is a watery refuge for numerous wild sea creatures. If you are looking to gain valuable insight into the history behind the island and its ongoing marine projects, the famous Bimini Sharklab is worth a visit during your catamaran charter in the Bahamas. This marine reserve aims to study the role of sharks in marine tropical wildlife and preserve local marine life and species. The Sharklab offers daily tours to members of the public to teach them more about the conservation of the sharks and the research carried out on site.
If you are not only seeking to learn more about the earth’s most amazing marine mammals but also to encounter them in an intimate and personal way, head to Bimini Scuba Centre and book one of their renowned safaris. The centre’s most popular dives include Great Hammerhead shark diving where you can swim within arms’ length of these 3-metre-long creatures. Hammerhead sharks are only in the area for 3 or 4 months of the year and then they emigrate towards other places; the Great Hammerhead Safaris therefore only run for a limited period each year so make sure to enquire before you book. The centre also runs Wild Dolphin Safaris where you can swim and connect with these beautiful marine mammals – a surreal life experience!
Several of the islands have airports which you can fly to, but equally the proximity of the islands to Florida, Miami and Orlando, means you could also fly to the mainland first and get a connecting flight which may work out cheaper. There are also ferry services from the mainland to the Bahamian islands. The currency is the Bahamian Dollar and there are various banks, post offices and ATMs from which you can withdraw cash on the islands.
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