NORTH AMERICA

WHICH ISLANDS TO VISIT IN THE BAHAMAS

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that one of my favorite places to visit is the Bahamas. I visit at least once a year, every single year. A good Bahamas write up was long overdue, especially since I am constantly getting messages from people wanting to visit the places they’ve seen on my Instagram or here on my blog. So instead of providing this information one on one, I decided to put it into a blog. The first decision you have to make is which island you want to visit. Most people don’t realize just how big the Bahamas are.

About a month ago I started writing this, but never got around to finishing it. In that time, Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, making this post even more important now. People have seen the devastation brought on by the hurricane all over the news, but what you might not realize is how much of the Bahamas were unaffected. 

The Bahamas are huge and super spread out. Just to put it into perspective, the Bahamas are comprised of more than 700 islands and cays encompassing 180,000 sq mi (470,000 km2) of ocean space. Although some areas got destroyed by the hurricane, most of them were virtually unaffected.

Map is from Travels 2 Paradise

Should you plan a trip to the Bahamas? The answer is absolutely! Tourism is a huge part of the Bahamian economy, so visiting the islands that were unaffected truly helps them as a whole. The hurricane caused the most damage in The Abacos and Grand Bahama Island, which you’ll notice are the 2 islands all the way at the top.

I’m going to share with you my favorite islands, which include Bimini, Harbour Island, the Exumas and Nassau. All 4 of them are back to normal and ready for you to visit. Let me share a little about each of my favorite islands to help you decide which you want to visit.

BIMINI

Bimini is a tiny island, less than 60 miles from Miami. It is easy to get to with daily flights and even a ferry from Miami. However, a private boat is the best way to arrive because some of the most amazing things to see in Bimini are actually offshore. You can expect to spend your days just enjoying the beautiful beaches and hopefully doing an offshore excursion to check out Honeymoon Harbour and the SS Sapona. Then in the evening you can have dinner at one of the restaurants in the new hotel (the Hilton), test your luck at their casino and maybe even venture off to a local bar for some drinks.

This is the island I know best. I’ve been just about every summer of my entire life. However, the Bimini I visited as a kid is very different from the Bimini of today. Tourism has taken over and a huge chunk of the island was developed into a full blown resort, known as Resorts World Bimini. Resorts World has it all…. a hotel, private residences and condos (that you can rent), 2 marinas, a casino, several restaurants, etc. 

The reason I visit Bimini so much is due to its proximity. It’s just a 2 hour ride on our boat, so it’s an easy weekend getaway from home. But there’s so many beautiful islands in the Bahamas worth visiting.

HARBOUR ISLAND

If you’re a foodie like me, Harbour Island is the island for you. Without a doubt, it’s the most luxurious of the islands I’ve visited and it’s full of 5 star restaurants. Some of my favorite restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, are in Harbour. (Don’t worry, I’ll be doing a whole blog post just about Harbour Island and I’ll include all of my restaurant recommendations for you in there).

Harbour Island has lots of beautiful luxurious hotels, even more incredible private residences available for rent and it is home of the famous Pink Sands you’ve probably seen all over social media. While absolutely beautiful, it is not the easiest to get to. There’s flights from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale into Eleuthra. However, once you land, you have to take a taxi to the dock and then a water taxi across the water (like a 10 or 15 min ride) to a marina in Harbour Island. If you’re staying in one of those hotels then you arrived, otherwise you have to get another taxi to drive you to your final destination. Although it’s a quick flight, the process of making it to your final destination takes a pretty long time, so prepare for a long travel day. 

It’s definitely the most luxurious of the islands I’ve visited, but all of that comes with a price tag. Let’s put it this way, of all my Bahamas trips, Harbour Island is always the most expensive. 

EXUMAS

The most instafamous part of the Bahamas, is certainly the Exumas. You might not know it yet, but it’s probably the place you’re dreaming of when you think of the Bahamas. It is home of the most beautiful turquoise water you’ve ever seen, the swimming pigs, the sunken plane you can snorkel, the nurse sharks you can swim with, iguana beach, the famous grotto from the James Bond movie and so much more. In the Exumas you won’t run out of things to see, so plan to spend quite some time there.

Be aware that the Exumas are huge and super spread out, Exumas are made up of over 365 islands and most of main attractions are on different islands. There’s only 1 main airport is all of the Exumas (in Georgetown), so having a boat or tour is crucial for seeing all of the amazing things the Exumas are known for. And even still, expect long days, because everything is so spread out.

There’s also limited availability when it comes to accommodations. When we last visited this summer we stay in Staniel Cay (near the swimming pigs). The main hotel and marina there tend to be booked over a year in advance.

NASSAU

One of the most commonly visited islands is Nassau. It is super accessible with plenty of flights daily and even cruise ships stop there frequently. It is home to 2 big resorts, Atlantis (which you’ve probably heard of – there’s one in Dubai too) and the new Baha Mar. The resorts have everything, so you never have to leave. In Nassau you’ll find great hotels, a waterpark, a gorgeous aquarium, plenty of restaurants, a marina, casinos and even nightclubs. While amazing and super accessible, they’re touristy big resorts. 

TIME TO BOOK YOUR TRIP

The Bahamas are full of gorgeous beaches and great activities. The truth it everyone would love to see all of it, but you would need a few months to even get close! So the first thing you have to do is decide on which island or combination of islands you plan to visit. If you’re still unsure and need more visuals, then check out my previous post, The Most Instagrammable Spots in the Bahamas.

This is the time to plan your trip! What better way to help the people in need after the hurricane than by helping their economy which survives on tourism?

Keep an eye out because I’ll be sharing all of my recommendations for each of the islands mentioned in the coming weeks.

I pray that the beautiful islands destroyed by the hurricane can rebuild and open the doors to tourism again soon. I was actually planning to visit the Abacos next summer, but they might not be ready for tourism just yet. Can’t wait for them to be back up and running so I can visit.

If you visit the Bahamas, please let me know what you think. Leave me a comment. Happy Travels!

Disclaimer: None of this information was sponsored, it is all my honest opinion from my previous experiences.

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