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An archipelago of more than 700 islands, that’s the Bahamas, one of the Caribbean’s top destinations.
There are 16 main islands, each with its own personality but all with gorgeous sandy beaches. Most of them are sparkling white sand, while others like Harbour Island has one of the finest pink sandy beaches in the world - its colour comes from tiny pieces of coral and other marine organisms. Many Bahamian beaches are secluded, where the only footprints in the sand will be yours, ideal if you hanker after a Robinson Crusoe experience. Others throb with activities such as fishing, windsurfing, boarding and parasailing; and of course there are plenty of beach bars dotted around, ideal for chilling out and people-watching. This is movie-set beach life at its best.
The Bahamas gained independence from Britain in 1973 but remain part of the Commonwealth and it still has strong links with Britain. There is a fortnightly ceremony of the Changing of the Guard at Government House, official residence of the Governor-General. Cricket fans can enjoy watching matches that take place at the Haynes Oval in Nassau every Saturday and Sunday afternoon between March and November. Better believe ‘rain stopped play’ is not something that happens often in this part of the world.
Other outdoor activities benefit from the practically perfect climate including land-based pursuits such as cycling, horse riding and tennis. At sea, the Bahamas offers some of the best game fishing in the world as well as sailing and boating; then there’s swimming with dolphins and pigs (yes, you read that right!) The swimming pigs on Big Major Cay have become one of the most popular tourist attractions of the remote exotic islands of the Exumas.
No matter which island you're visiting, there will probably be a ‘fish fry’ at least one night of the week. Stalls fry up jack fish, snapper and conch to serve with sweet island bread and local beer. Conch is a mainstay of Bahamian cuisine as well as being prized for its ‘magical’ powers; locals say it is the best way to get rid of a hangover and that it is also an aphrodisiac.
For romantics, where better than the Bahamas to get married or go for a honeymoon? While you have to be in the Bahamas to apply for a marriage licence, the residency period is just one day and you can get a licence while you wait. You will need proof of your marital status so be sure to check out the details before setting off. You can tie the knot barefoot on the beach, under an arch of bougainvillea flowers or make your vows while swimming with dolphins in an underwater wedding service.
With so much to see and do, no wonder a Bahamas holiday is often voted the most popular destination in the Caribbean.
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