The Bahamas represent the perfect luxury vacation location for many people in surrounding countries. From sandy lagoons, warm-water reefs, turquoise water, and fine white sand, it is a place that feels like it is heaven on earth.
The 16 major islands of the Bahamas are located in the Caribbean Sea off the southeast coast of the state of Florida. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has been a sovereign nation since 1973. US citizens do not need a visa but must present a valid US Passport to enter the Bahamas by air or ship.
The close proximity to the United States makes the Bahamas a favorite vacation destination for people all over the country. While a valid US passport is needed, the Bahamian people make travelers feel welcomed. Just one visit to this beautiful island nation can never be enough. Keep reading to learn more about the Bahamas and what travelers need to know before visiting.
Where is the Bahamas?
The Bahamas are an island chain in the Caribbean Sea off of the southeast coast of the United States. The close proximity to the state of Florida makes it a quick and easy vacation destination for most of the United States and much of Canada.
It takes less than an hour to fly from Miami, Florida, to the international airport in Nassau, Bahamas. This makes the Bahamas accessible by just a few hours of flight from all major international airports from the east coast to as far west as Denver, Colorado. A flight from Denver to Miami is four hours non-stop, making it a five-hour flight to go from the Mile High City to Nassau, Bahamas.
- The islands of the Bahamas run in a northeast to southwest direction
- The total surface area of the Bahamas is about 5,382 square miles
- The Bahamas boast a thrilling 2,201 miles of pristine coastline
- The Bahamas are nearly 600 miles long from the northwest corner to the southeast corner
- The largest island, Andros, lies to the western side of the smaller islands
- Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence Island
- Paradise Island, one of the most popular vacation destinations, is connected to New Providence Island by a bridge that is suitable for both vehicles and pedestrians
Aside from the United States, the other nations that are closest in proximity to the Bahamas are Cuba to the west, Haiti to the southeast, and the US territory of Puerto Rico, also to the southeast.
The Bahamas boast some of the most pristine waters in the world, flanked by snorkel-accessible reefs full of tropical fish, seahorses, and small sharks. Boasting long beaches made of fine, white sand, warm water, and delicious local fare, it is no wonder that it is a preferred vacation destination for families and couples alike.
Which Country is Bahamas Belong To?
The Bahamas achieved independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973. However, it still holds close ties to the United Kingdom that are similar to Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The official name of the country is The Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
- The Bahamas are a sovereign, independent nation with a Westminster form of government
- The Bahamas are members of the British Commonwealth, so the Queen of England is considered to be the Head of State
- The Bahamian people elect a Prime Minister by popular vote from one of two main political parties
Due to the adoption of English law and procedures, the Bahamas have enjoyed peaceful sovereignty, making it a safe and favored destination for vacationers all over the world.
The legal system of the Bahamas is based on English law, with the highest final court being the Privy Council which resides in England. Likewise, the Bahamas have a reliable system of local magistrates, courts, and courts of appeal that are available to the citizens.
The Bahamas are also members of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, CARICOM, which is an alliance of Caribbean nations that helps to uphold the interests of the member nations by working cooperatively in politics, law, tourism, and disaster relief.
CARICOM also seeks to help stabilize political unrest in member nations, ensure fair and honest elections, and provide cooperative scientific monitoring and warnings for natural disasters such as volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
What is the Most Beautiful Island in the Bahamas?
Trying to decide which is the most beautiful island in the Bahamas is a most delightful task. It is highly recommended that those who are interested in visiting the Bahamas should visit as many islands as possible to form their own opinion. Every person who visits finds that they have visited the most beautiful island in the Bahamas.
The island that is the most beautiful of all the Bahamian islands is a highly subjective opinion, and everyone’s opinion is different based on personal preferences. However, for the sheer expanse and lonely beauty that is still accessible to tourists, there is no lovelier or more peaceful spot than The Abacos archipelago.
- The Abacos are a separate island chain, or archipelago, that is part of the Bahamas
- Together, they are about 120 miles long
- The Abacos has three international airports: one in the north, one in the middle, and a third in the south
- The Abacos must be explored in multiple areas to get a taste of the rich variety to be found in this 120-mile stretch of paradise
Residents of The Abacos are quite aggressive against the encroachment of blatant tourism development. The residents value the uniqueness of the area, with its ambiance of islands locked in time, and they strongly protect this way of life. This is a boon for them but also for those who really want to get away into another world.
It is important that visitors to The Abacos go with the attitude of respect for the lifestyle that is there. They are so special because people have fought to keep them as they are. The boating in the area is unparalleled, the beaches and wildlife are unforgettable. Tourists need to be willing to take it as it is, enjoy it for what it is, and do their part to keep it one-of-a-kind.
The Abacos are part of what is known as the Out Islands. The Out Islands are also referred to as the Family Islands. There are over 700 sparsely inhabited or uninhabited islands in the Out Islands, and all are pristine. They cater to boutique tourism and the wildlife that call the islands and the sea their home. The Out Islands are places of unrivaled beauty.
For nightlife, people prefer to visit Grand Bahama and the major hotels on Paradise Island. To revel in the true Bahamian island culture and enjoy a stay that respects and revels in the pristine waters, native wildlife, and local foods, the Out Islands are the place to go.
What Islands are Part of the Bahamas?
The Bahamas are a collection of islands, an archipelago, that is associated with a centralized government located in Nassau on New Providence Island.
- The Bahamas are made of over 700 individual islands, 30 of which are uninhabited.
- The islands are grouped into major islands, which include: Abaco, Acklins, Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Harbour Island, Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana, New Providence, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Spanish Wells.
- There are about 306,000 citizens of the Bahamas who primarily live on New Providence (about 70%), Grand Bahama, and Abaco (about 15%), with the remaining population being scattered among the remaining islands.
- The majority of the tourism is located on Grand Bahama, New Providence, and Paradise Island. These islands are tourist-friendly and offer great getaway packages for couples and families to enjoy the year-round sunshine, mild weather, and warm seas.
With so many islands to choose from and explore, visitors can have an ever-changing array of scenery, wildlife, accommodations, and cuisine and never enough time to see and experience it all.
Keep in mind when visiting the Bahamas that it is possible to go on adventures to the uninhabited islands, but visitors must be aware of the risks before they go. Some outfitters will take guests on camping trips to these islands, which is a safe way to go. Survivalists enjoy kayaking small island chains, camping as they go along.
As this type of adventuring becomes more popular, people will find it harder to truly get away. Additionally, visitors must be careful to leave no trace. Currently, the Bahamas allows this type of exploration, but visitors who do damage and leave garbage will inevitably ruin this opportunity for the world.
Those with private yachts enjoy boating to these bits of uninhabited paradise but do so at their own risk. There are no freshwater or food sources on most islands, so visitors must be prepared to survive if the worst happens, and they become stranded on a remote strip of land.
Do You Need a Passport to Go to Bahamas?
Due to the close proximity of the Bahamas to the United States, many travelers wonder if they will need a current US passport to visit the island nation. Passport and entry requirements can be read in full on the official website for Bahamian tourism.
Visitors of all ages must show a current US passport to enter the Bahamas. This requirement must be met whether traveling by air in a public flight, on a chartered flight, on a cruise ship, or on a private boat. Passports must not be set to expire during or near the end date of the trip.
Those who arrive in the Bahamas in a private boat have extra paperwork, fees, and clearances that must be met before they will be allowed to depart the vessel. The vessel must fly the yellow quarantine flag, and only the captain can leave the vessel until the paperwork is completed and Customs and Immigration have cleared the vessel.
- A customs clearance form for the vessel and contents
- A completed Bahamas Immigration Card for each person on the vessel
- A current passport (proof of citizenship) for every person on the vessel
Once the applicable fees are paid, and Customs and Immigration have green-lighted the vessel, the vacationers are free to enjoy their stay in the lovely Bahamian islands.
The Bahamas are 700 of the loveliest islands on the entire planet. Like white pearls in the azure blue of the Caribbean Sea, these islands beckon vacationers of all kinds to come and enjoy a truly relaxing way of life that will call them back again and again.