The Bahamas

Category: Resorts » International » North America | Author: biker | Views: 5032 | 31-05-2012, 00:38
The Bahamas

Official name: "Commonwealth of the Bahamas";

Capital of the Bahamas: Nassau;

Area of the Bahamian islands : 13 878 km. sq.;

Location of The Bahamas: northern part of the Caribbean Sea (to the south-east of North America);

Climate of the Bahamian islands: tropical and subtropical;

Population of The Bahamas 353 958 persons;

Ethnic groups: blacks (including mulattos) 85%,  Europeans - 12%, and others - 3%;

Religion: The majority of the population belongs to the Christian church;

Official language: English;

Currency : Bahamian dollar (BSD, code 44) (1 Bahamian dollar = 1 U.S. dollar); 

Internet domain: .bs;

Phone code of the Bahamas: +1-242; 

Local time: UTC -5.

 

 

Hotels of the Bahamas Hotels of the Bahamas    Tours to the Bahamas Tours to the Bahamas      Resort cities of the Bahamas Resort cities of the Bahamas 

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The Bahamas

Flag of the Bahamas 

The Bahamas

Map of the Bahamas 

The Bahamas

Coat of arms of the Bahamas 

 

Information about Bahamas

The Bahamas are tropical paradise with gentle sea, soft sand,  light breeze, clean air and exotic plants. Well-developed tourist infrastructure, mild climate, beautiful nature and a big choice of
water activities attract many tourists from all over the world. Also, the Bahamas are the center of gambling. Many casinos are open at any time.

The Bahamas The BahamasThe Bahamas

 

The geographical position of the Bahamas

The Bahamas archipelago consists of more than 700 islands, of which only 30 inhabited. The archipelago is located in the Caribbean about 90 miles. to the east of Florida. To the North of Bahamas there is Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea. The highest point is Mount Alvernia, located on the island Kate. Many islands have salty lagoons, interspersed with mangrove swamps and sandy beaches.

 

Photos of the Bahamas

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The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas

 

Climate of The Bahamas

Climate is tropical and subtropical with light breeze. The west coast is washed by the warm Gulf Stream and there is always soft equatorial breeze in the south-east. The average winter temperature is - 17 - 13C, in summer - 25 - 33C. The hottest months are July and August (32 C). The rainiest season is from May to October. At this time, possible tropical storms and tropical cyclones. The coolest month is January (25 C). The most favorable time for visiting the Bahamas - from December to February.

 

Flora and fauna of the Bahamas

 

Flora is represented by xerophytes vegetation (cactus and aloe vera), tropical forests and scrubby bushes. On the islands of Andros, Great and Small Abaco, Grand Bahama you can find such valuable trees as mahogany, lignum vitae, and Caribbean pine.
On some islands there are artificial plantings of casuarinas, mahogany, and other tropical plants, including flowers with amazing smell - bougainville, jasmine and various kinds of orchids. The fauna of the islands is not very diverse. The most numerous animals are bats.
You can see a lot of reptiles on the Bahamian islands, among them - different frogs, lizards and snakes. Iguanas can be found at almost everywhere. Many birds migrate here for winter. Swamps and lagoons are a natural habitat for flamingoes, pelicans and herons. On the island of Inagua there is a National Park, which is inhabited by more than fifty thousand pink flamingos.  There are many insects, particularly termites and mosquitoes on the islands. Underwater life is rich and varied: barracuda, mackerel, sailfish, sea turtles, lots of sponges and molluscs. Agriculture is represented by the cultivation of sugar cane, citrus, pineapple, banana, mango and coconut trees. In the coastal waters people catch marine sponges, lobsters and pearls.


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The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas
The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas
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History of the Bahamas 

Before Europeans, the islands had been inhabited by Arawak Indian tribes. Christopher Columbus was the first European who visited the Bahamas. It made a start to the Spanish expansion. Approximately 40,000 Indians had been taken by the Spaniards from the islands to work in mines or pearling. As a result, for about 135 years, the Bahamas were not inhabited and only pirates made their refuge there. In 1647 the first British colony was established on the island. Later, the British imported African slaves to work on their cotton plantations.
In 1834 the slavery was forbidden, which led to economic recession and the cholera epidemic. The population decreased by almost half. During the Second World War the islands were used as a base for U.S. air forces in the fight against German submarines.
In 1950 the tourist business developed on the islands. Many hotels, casinos and banks were built. The Bahamas became a center of tourism and the banking system, because of this it is called the "Caribbean Switzerland". July 10, 1964, The Great Britain gave freedom to The Bahamas. In 1992, the Free National Movement with H. Ingraham won the elections.
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Culture of the Bahamas

Historically, the culture of the Bahamas has been formed under the influence of European and West African cultures. Folk art is represented in the island tales, natural medicine, music and religious traditions, brought here by African slaves. The islands are especially proud of their distinctive musical culture.
The original band gumbo includes drums, covered with goat skin, rhythm sticks, maracas and bass. Nowadays the original instruments are replaced by saxophones and electric guitars. One of the "popular" religions is witchcraft "obeah" and the belief in the interaction between the living and the dead. Even the Anglican priests use some magic in their Christian ministry.
Christmas and New Year are brightly celebrated here. The Bahamas festival Junkanoo was held at this period. The holiday combines costumed carnival and theatrical and musical performance. This festival has its roots in history. Only one day a year - at Christmas - the owners gave full freedom to their slaves. The regatta, which takes place in April in the harbor of Elizabeth and The Goombay Summer Festival in June are very popular among tourists.
The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas
The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas
The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas

 

Where to go in the Bahamas
 
    Citizens of the United States, Canada and Russia may stay in the Bahamas for 90 days without visa. When crossing the border you must show  passport, return ticket and money (not less than U.S. $ 400 per person).
    1. Nassau is the capital of the archipelago and it is located on the island of New Providence. Modern city, built in American style, but at the same time, in the city you can feel the atmosphere of the Caribbean. Modern buildings stand side by side with samples of old colonial architecture. The central street of the city is Bay Street with its fashionable shops and boutiques with high prices. If you are looking for original and affordable gifts, we advise you to visit the local straw market. The historic city center is located near the square Rawson; here you can see the architectural masterpieces of the 18-19 centuries.
      For lovers of history it will be interesting to visit the Museum of Pompeii, where you can learn a lot about the history of slavery on the islands, and lovers of nature will enjoy visiting the magnificent gardens, among them- Royal Victoria Garden with 300 species of tropical plants and Adastra Garden and Park Retreat. Climb to the highest point of the city - Fort Finkastl and Water Tower, which offers gorgeous view to the city and harbor. The royal staircase of 66 steps leads upstairs to a magnificent view over the bay. The royal staircase dates back to 18th century and was built by 500 slaves for 16 years. The Bahamas are a symbol of luxury. You can see it visiting the artificial island Arawak Cay with its luxury shops and restaurants. Go over the bridge to the island of Silver Bay, where the huge underwater aquarium Crystal Kay - Marine Park is located. There is the Island Paradise with vip hotels, casinos and nightlife to the east of the capital. In Nassau, there are many centers for diving and snorkelin. And around the city there are more than 10 world-class yacht-clubs.

    2. Grand Bahama - the second most visited region of the archipelago. It attracts tourists with its white sand beaches, forests and rich wildlife. The biggest towns of the island are Freeport and Lucaya - luxury tourist centers with many hotels, restaurants, golf courses, tennis courts and diving and fishing centers. On the west bank there is a Nature Centre Rand Memorial, which consists of the Grand Museum - Bahama and several parks where you can see more than 5,000 species of exotic plants. Also visit the National Park Lukayyan with the largest system of underwater caves with thousands bats and picturesque village of Jack, a former pirate’s refuge. Near the island there is a coral island - the world's largest artificial reef with underwater observatory. On the island you can swim with dolphins, to watch the show of sharks  and take a trip on kayak. On the shores of the Bay you can meet unusual tourists- brown and pink piglets. Locals have been feeding them for years, so they are not afraid of people and always friendly.

    3. Andros - the "wild" island of the archipelago covered with groves of palms, mahogany and mangrove forests. The forest is so thick so each local resident will tell you the horrible stories about the red-eyed elves chikcharniz. The island is popular with divers, as there is Andos Barrier Reef - third largest in length and has about 200 Blue Hall, many of which are connected with each other, creating one of the longest underwater caves in the world.

    4. Abaco Island - the third largest island of the archipelago and consists of the Greater and Lesser Abaco, as well as a group of reefs. The island's capital is Marsh Harbour. The famous village Hawn Town is located at 10 km from the city; it attracts tourists with the historical museum and the Museum of whales. Valk Cay Reef is of the most famous centers of sport fishing, and pine forests offer great opportunities for hiking and bird watching. Also, the island can boast its beaches and coral reefs. The islands Abakos does not have luxury hotels, in stead of them there are cozy cottages, which are not far from the sea.

    5. Eleuthera - a small island with excellent conditions for vip tourism. It is famous for its luxurious resorts and beautiful beaches. Coastal waters are ideal for diving and snorkeling.

    6. Bimini - the islands of "Ernest Hemingway" They are famous among fishers – you can catch here tuna, sailfish, mako shark, barracuda and blue marlin. Atlantic blue marlin weighing about 250 pounds has inspired Hemingway for writing "the old man and the sea." Islands are also famous for the ancient sunken city, which is located at the depth of 3-10 meters and is visible from the sea. The islands have marvelous beaches, and spotted dolphins have no better entertainment as to frighten swimmers, suddenly emerging near them. We also recommend you to visit "Bimini Road" and "Bimini Wall", which according to the legend are the remains of Atlantis. And also take a trip to the fountain of youth.

    7. Long Island is one of the most picturesque islands of the archipelago. Coastal waters are full of life. At Cape Santa-Maria there is a long white sandy beach, one of the most beautiful in the western hemisphere. In the town of Salt Pond you can see the Anglican Church of St. Joseph, a little further there is Reef Didmen Cay with the ruins of the old plantation. If you are not afraid, so visit the Kartrays Cave, once a refuge of pirates, and nowadays thousands of bats live there. The village Pettiz is known for pottery studios where you can purchase wonderful ceramics.

    8. Cat Island is one of the least affected by civilization, island of Arhipelago. The island is named after the pirate Arthur Cat, as it was the pirate base in ancient times. The shores are covered with pink sand, and creeks on the western shore are full of fish. City of New Bight was founded as a free settlement of escaped slaves. Among its attractions there is the church of Holy-Redeemer. Brook Creek, overgrown with mangrove trees, attracts lovers of canoe trips. The stream flows into a clean lake, "Boiling Hole", which ‘boils” at low tide and low tide. Local residents believe that a great monster lives there.
       

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What to do in the Bahamas    

  • Beach vacation.

    The Bahamas have everything for the first-class beach holiday: soft sand, clear and warm ocean water, coral reefs and coconut palms. Be sure to bring a mask and flippers. The most popular beach resorts are on the island of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Paradise.

  • Diving - The costal water of Bahamian Islands has about 1,000 dive sites.

    Scuba diving is possible for divers of all levels. There are shallow reefs, vertical walls, lots of Blue Hall (Blue Holes - underwater tunnels and passages), sunken ships and even underwater caves there. Marine life is very diverse - sharks, dolphins, stingrays, reef fish, angelfish, moray eels. On the islands there are many dive centers, some of them even offer to dive with sharks. Winter - Spring is the best time to observe whale sharks and whales.

  • Fishing - The Bahamas are famous for its sports fishing. Here people catch tuna, sailfish, mako shark, barracuda and blue marlin. But keep in mind that in the Bahamas the spear fishing is prohibited. Allowed only sport fishing (one day fishing permission is $ 20).

  • Swimming with dolphins and sea lions.

  • Feeding the iguanas.

    In the Bahamas there are a lot of iguanas. Small iguanas (the size of a normal cat) can be found almost anywhere. You can feed them for free. Iguanas are sociable and friendly, they are not afraid of people.

 

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Bahamian cuisine 

 

Bahamian cuisine is distinguished by its uniqueness and diversity. The national cuisine includes dishes of American, British, European and African cuisines, but the recipes are slightly modified to the conditions of the area. The main cooking ingredients are rice, beans and seafood. You can taste a baked on the coals mussels, seafood salad, lobster, shrimp and local delicacy - a fillet of reef grouper. The marine snail, "Spe" is widely used in culinary, different appetizers, main dishes, salads and soups are prepared from it. The most expensive and exquisite dish is lobster. The dish consists of lobster, curry sauce, coconut and various spices. We also recommend you to try sea bass with white wine sauce, mushrooms, onions and spices. For dessert there is a big choice of tropical fruits - melons, pineapples, bananas, mango and papaya. The most exotic dessert is pudding and guava marmalade Goombay (which includes papaya, pineapple and green ginger). Everywhere you can drink tea or coffee. Rum cocktails are popular on the islands, also take local cocktails - Bahama Mama, yellow Bird and Goombay Smash. 

 

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The Bahamas The Bahamas The Bahamas

 

What to buy in the Bahamas

Handmade rugs, hats, baskets, jewelry, carved wooden figurines, guava jelly. Local handicrafts of straw and shells, batik, imported porcelain, textiles, perfumes, watches, cheap drinks. The straw market located in the centre of Nassau is very popular among the tourists. Here you can find exotic items: clothes, jewelry and all kinds of amulets.

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Interesting facts about the Bahamas

 

  • The name of the islands came from "Bayamar" which means in Spanish "shallow water".
  • In the Bahamas, as well as in Britain you should drive on the left side.
  • Tourism industry gives about 50% of the GDP.
  • The first tourist visited the Bahamas, was Christopher Columbus, he rested here while searching for India.
  • The Bahamas were the basis of pirates. Francis Drake, Mary Read, Anne Bonny found a refuge there.
  • The Bahamas is a small country, which area is not more than 5300 square miles. However, the country consists of 29 islands and more than 660 reefs. 
  • Lucayan National Park, in Grand Bahama is one of the oldest underwater caves in the world.
  • Many people think that the lost city of Atlantis was located near Bimini. 
  • "Bahama-mama" - is not just the well-known  song of Boney M, but it is the official name of the inhabitants of the islands - black fat women, who give white teeth smile to everyone.

 

Conclusions

The Bahamas are a truly paradise for tourists, a symbol of luxury and vip-tourism. The unique nature, tropical landscapes, exotic entertainment, excellent service, fine cuisine, colorful bars, restaurants and discos will not disappoint anyone. Under the water you will find a special world, full of unusual colors, just a dream for any diver. The sea is incredibly clear and warm and the sand has an unusual pink color, because of the admixture of coral.  On the islands of Bimini and Andos and you will experience an unforgettable fishing, on Abakos and Eleuthera - colorful diving in the coral reefs, on the island of Inagua you can watch the pink flamingos, iguanas and swim with dolphins, and the bravest tourists can feed the sharks. There are many uninhabited islands in archipelago, so everyone can feel as Robinson Crusoe and search for lost treasure of the pirates. Perhaps, you will get luck! The Bahamas are known as the place of year-round sailing. A lot of regattas and competitions are held there.

 

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