The Bahamas – 14 Islands Up and Running and Waiting for Tourists.
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travel Column. For this month’s edition I wanted to write about the Bahamas. The Islands suffered devastating hurricane damage in September 2019 but is now well and truly open to visitors.
Do remember to check for any travel restrictions before booking your holiday: Official Bahamas Website
A Few Facts
Bahamas are officially known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas – a country within the Lucayan Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Contrary to what many misconstrue, the Bahamas are not owned by the United States. They are an independent country, part of a commonwealth who gained their independence from Britain in 1973. The vast territory of the Bahamas covers approximately 180,000 square miles of ocean space consisting of over 700 islands and islets and over 2000 coral reefs. Roughly only 30 of those islands are inhabited.
The Bahamas is located in the Northwestern Indies, about 50 miles southeast of Florida, just north of Cuba. The language spoken is English, most natives are descendants of Africa. Two most familiar and popular islands tourists visit are Freeport and Nassau, which is located on the island of New Providence. The capital of Bahamas is Nassau.
A Bit of History
The Bahamas were inhabited by the Lucayans – a branch of the Taino people (original inhabitants of the Caribbean for centuries before the arrival of the European colonizers). Columbus made his first landfall there in 1492. Later, the natives were shipped to Hispaniola to serve as slaves, leaving the Bahama islands mostly deserted from 1513 till 1648 when British colonists began to settle there. In 1718, Bahamas became a British Crown Colony, clamping down on piracy. After the American Revolution, American Loyalists (those who stood loyal to the British Crown), settled in the Bahamas with their slaves and built plantations. The majority of the population from this time period on, saw African slaves and their descendants populate the islands.
In 1807 the slave trade was abolished by the British, and finally abolished in the Bahamas in 1834. The Bahamas became the new safe haven for freed slaves. There was also an influx of North American slaves and Seminoles who migrated from Florida. Bahamas became an independent commonwealth in 1973 under the Queen. The Bahamas are the 3rd richest country in the world following the U.S. and Canada. Their wealth is based on tourism and offshore financing.
The low elevation and gulf stream contribute to Bahamas winterless, tropical climate, producing sunny and dry days for approximately 340 days a year. Tropical storms and hurricanes have impacted the Bahamas in 1992 – Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and most recently, and the most devasting, Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 tropical cyclone – the strongest on record, which decimated the islands of Grand Bahama and Great Abaco. Average temps year-round are 75 degrees to 85.
Bahamas rely on tourism for 50% of its income and offshore international financial services for about another 15%. Agriculture and manufacturing contribute to another part of their economy, still, 80% of the island’s food is imported. Bahamas are also known for being a tax haven. The government derives their taxes from importing taxes, licensing fees and property taxes. There is no income tax or tax on the wealthy. The currency used is the Bahamian dollar, which is set at the equivalent of the U.S. dollar.
The country is made up of Afro-Bahamians, British and Americans, with a huge population of American visitors. Each island is rich in its own culture, all of which offer coral reefs, turquoise waters and beautiful sandy beaches.
While Bahamas is comprised of over 700 different islands, there are over 2000 recommended beaches! Of course, some beaches are more well known than others, but some of these not-so-well-known gems may be just the place for you. From quiet beaches to those of full on activity to white or pink sands, there is something for every beach lover in the Bahamas.
Most popular destinations in Bahamas are Paradise Island, Freeport, Grand Bahamas, Eleuthra, and Exuma Islands, and below, I’m sharing links with some recommendations and info on various islands and what they have to offer:
Best recommended places to stay in the Bahamas:
Like many other Caribbean islands, souvenirs and trinkets are widely available on most islands. You can always find local straw items hand-crafted, designer boutiques, fine rums and cigars, wood carvings, jams and jellies, just to name a few items you will find in Bahamas. You will find most of the boutique shopping in Nassau, New Providence. Below is a sampling of things to purchase and where, for your souvenir pleasure:
Things To Do
From beach lounging to snorkeling, diving, just about any water sport, exploring, taking in the culture or just relaxing with a cool drink, there are a plethora of things to see and do in the Bahamas. Below, I’m including some links to give you more specific details to some of the most popular things to be seen and done in the Bahamas:
: As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, planning to visit the Bahamas is one way to contribute to helping them rebuild their devastated islands. I came across this short article on 14 islands in the Bahamas that are up and running and eager to welcome visitors. If you’re not in the market for a visit right now, there is also a place on the bottom of the post that offers people to donate to help with the rebuild of the Bahamas.
Discover more about the Islands and all they have to offer: The Bahamas – Blog
I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Travel Column. If any of you have been to the Bahamas and would like to add to the conversation with your discoveries, please share with us here.
My thanks to Debby for another interesting and informative column and I hope you will join us again in the sunshine next time.
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
“I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.”
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
Books by D.G. Kaye
One of the reviews for Have Bags Will Travel
This is such a hoot, what a laugh!
Have Bags Will Travel is such an entertaining read which gives you an insight into D G Kaye’s character, her shopping obsession, packing troubles, germaphobia, and brushes with airport security. Enjoy her recollections on the glamour and glitz, her love to travel and a nostalgic aspect to it all.
Her friend Zan shares her shopaholic tendencies too. The two of them together… can you imagine? A red head, blonde explosion of zaniness! I love the part when they end up at Buckingham Palace and chat to a Beefeater, the royal guard and after which… it gets funnier by the moment.
Have Bags Will Travel gives a historical account of how much easier it used to be to take overstuffed baggage through airports in the good old days. Now, it seems that D G Kaye will resort to anything to get her shopping home.
Zan and D G Kaye also travel to Paris and end up shopping for shoes!
There are manmade toboggan rides in Muskoka, Canada.
Trips to Venezuela: Margarita Island and Caracas with cousin Eileen.
Las Vegas, Then and Now – gambling/casinos, fond memories of the author’s love of the desert.
Have Bags Will Travel is just what we need right now, a good giggle! There is also a section at the back of the book with Helpful Travel tips.
A short, entertaining read. Highly recommended, especially for the shopoholics and travel enthusiasts in your life!
Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Debby: Goodreads – Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye – Twitter: @pokercubster – Linkedin: D.G. Kaye – Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye