The Bahamas are located north of the Greater Antilles and southeast of Florida, technically the location of the Bahamas is in the North Atlantic Ocean, and not in the Caribbean, yet sometimes the Bahamas are encompassed as being islands of the Caribbean. A significant percentage of those islands are technically cays, or coral reef islands, and most are uninhabited. The name “Bahamas” comes from Spanish, and it roughly translates to mean “shallow water.” More than 300,000 people live here, making it a relatively populous country. Since winning its independence from the U.K. in 1973, the Bahamas have flourished. Tourism, in particular, is the main thing driving the economy here, so locals tend to cater to visitors and are very welcoming.
The Bahamas are made up of more than 700 islands. It is believed that Christopher Columbus arrived on the Bahamian island of San Salvador in 1492. At the time, it was populated by Arawak Indians. The British first arrived in 1647, and the Bahamas officially became a colony in 1783. Due to its long history with Great Britain, the Bahamas continues to be highly anglicized. English is the official language, and Christianity is practiced by nearly everyone who lives there. Indeed, the country is very religious and boasts the highest ratio of churches in the Caribbean.
Though the Bahamas consist of thousands of islands, only a handful get any real attention from tourists. New Providence Island is home to Nassau, the capital. It’s also where you’ll find the world-famous Atlantis resort. Grand Bahama is best known for its amazing underwater cave systems. Many cruise lines own and operate private resort islands as well. Most of the islands in the Bahamas are long, flat coral reef formations. Smatterings of small, rounded hills appear here and there in some areas. The highest point, Mt. Alvernia, is 63 meters high.
If you’d like to visit the Bahamas, the best time is generally between late December and early May. You can fill your days boating around the islands, noshing on cracked conch, swilling local rum and splashing about in the year-round 80-degree waters. You can also check out art galleries, casinos, forts, museums, monuments and much more. The official currency is the Bahamian dollar, but American currency is widely accepted too.
- Capital city - Nassau
- Language - English