The Bahamas is formed by 700 islands (only about 30 of them are inhabited!) and over 2.000 rocks & cays, which makes the archipelago an ecological oasis with the clearest water on the planet. It’s been on my bucket list since forever (who can relate?), and I finally got the chance to visit The Bahamas over a 2 week itinerary, so I decided to write a full travel guide to help everyone planning a trip to these beautiful islands.
If you have been thinking about a trip to The Bahamas but are unsure about which islands are the best, in this travel guide I will try to cover all the best things to do in The Bahamas, so keep reading and if you have any questions drop a comment!
- How to get to Bahamas: from Europe, we took a flight to Nassau with a stop in Miami. I found return flights for 500€ from Madrid, with Skyscanner. From the US there are many cities with direct flights to Nassau, the cheapest being Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
- Getting around: if you want to explore different islands you have 2 options, charter a boat (which is super pricey but might be affordable for big groups) or travel between islands by plane. These flights tend to cost around 100€ with return, and I booked all my flights through Skyscanner. You can also charter private flights for around 600€ (each way). Keep in mind that most islands are only linked to Nassau, so you would have to catch a flight there and then onto your next island destination.
- Budget: the Bahamas is definitely the most expensive country I have ever been to. No doubt. CRAZY expensive. We tried to budget as much as possible, and spent between 100-150€ a night for accommodation, but spend double that eating every day. Even supermarkets are super expensive! I think I even lost weight while being there.
- Currency: the Bahamas has its own currency but the dollar is accepted everywhere, so if you come from the US don’t worry about exchanging money. But if you come from Europe or elsewhere, now that is a different story. It’s almost impossible to get currency exchange anywhere, not even at the airport. Only certain banks will do it, and only in Nassau. We tried exchanging in Eleuthera but the rate was crazy and they couldn’t change more than 300$.
- IMPORTANT: there are sand flies that the locals call no-see-ums. Apparently they are everywhere in the Caribbean. I had no idea about this and they ate me alive. It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. You literally can’t see this monsters and their bite stings and itches a million times more than a regular mosquito. Plus it will leave marks on your skin forever. They are active at sunset, so wear long clothes if you are gonna be near the beach, wear insect repellent or just stay inside!!
NASSAU, NEW PROVIDENCE
Nassau is the capital of The Bahamas and it’s where the international airport is. Basically, it’s Las Vegas on an island. There are all kind of casinos and all-inclusive resorts, which we swore we would never go to, but ended up spending 2 nights at Melia Nassau Beach, because it was a better option than keep paying for crazy expensive food.
Most people go to Paradise Island Resort as it’s a family friendly resort with lots of activities, so if you are into all-inclusive vacations it might be worth checking out, as they offer very good packages.
Things to do in Nassau: some of the best beaches in The Bahamas are in Nassau, so make sure to visit popular beaches like Cable Beach. There are a lot of watersports & fun activities available, or you can just lay in a hammock and drink a cocktail.
One of the best things to do in Nassau is do a full-day excursion to Rose Island, which is a pristine uninhabited small island only 25 minutes away from Nassau. Here you can snorkel with turtles, go kayaking, swim in the lagoon and live the best island life. They will also give you the opportunity to visit the swimming pigs on Big Major Cay.
We also visited the Clifton Heritage Park so we could see the underwater statues. The easiest and cheapest way it’s to take a taxi from your accommodation and then swim from the beach. As soon as you arrive there is a shop where you can buy tickets to access the Park and they will give you directions to the beach. Once there, a lifeguard will show you where the statues are and maybe even give you food for the fishes. It’s an easy 5 minute swim, and the statues are at 6-10m depth.
On our last day, we decided to go on a snorkeling trip to swim with sharks! In my opinion this is one of the best things to do in Nassau. I loved the experience. We booked with Stuart Cove, which I found to be very professionals. There were maybe 15 more people on our boat, but they accommodated all of our request and even let me freedive with the sharks for a bit.
If you will be spending some more days, check out all the things to do in Nassau, Bahamas. If you are only staying in Nassau during your vacation in Bahamas, I strongly recommend to book a one day tour to Exuma. It seriously is the absolute highlight of any Bahamas trip, and with a tour like that you will be visiting the swimming pigs, the pink iguanas and the nurse sharks, plus you get to spend the whole day in Exuma which is much more beautiful than anywhere else in the world. It might seem a bit pricey but it’s worth every dollar, and keep in mind Exuma is far away from Nassau (like 3-4h by boat), so, in my opinion, the price is not bad. You can also do the one-day Exuma tour by plane, which is a bit more expensive but surely more comfortable.
Where to stay in Nassau: there are lots of options, I personally would choose a hotel with beachfront and possibly an all inclusive. We stayed at Melia Nassau Beach. You can check here the best accommodation options in Nassau.
Eleuthera island should be a trip of its own. Located 30 minutes away from Nassau by plane, this island is popular for its endless miles of white & pink beaches and the remoteness vibe. People also come to Eleuthera to visit Harbour Island, which is known as one of the best islands in The Bahamas. Obviously we had to visit so we could include it in our Bahamas itinerary & travel guide!
How to get to Eleuthera: There are 3 different airports in Eleuthera, we flew into North Eleuthera Airport and stayed in the area for 4 nights. Depending on where you are going, you could fly into Governor’s Harbour Airport (in the middle of the island) or to Rock Sound Airport, which is in the South of Eleuthera. You can also check with your hotel which airport they recommend flying into, as the rates are all the same. I recommend using Skyscanner for finding cheap flights.
One of my favorite things about The Bahamas is how flexible they are. When we got to the airport to catch our flight from Nassau to Eleuthera, we found out that I had booked for the next month (I know, I’m an idiot). Turns out The Bahamas is not like the rest of the world where you would most probably just loose all your money and need to book a new flight. They simply said that they can change us into any other flight for free as soon as there were available seats!
Things to do in Eleuthera: We decided to spend NYE in Harbour Island, which has a good choice of restaurants and shops. You can get from North Eleuthera to Harbour Island by water taxi for just 5$ each way. There are no cars on Harbor Island, only golf buggies (available to rent for around 20$ a day), but you can also walk from one coast to the other as it’s a really small island. We walked to the Atlantic Coast to spend the day at the Pink Beach.
We also explored North Eleuthera by Jeep, which I can’t recommend enough! There are so many amazing hidden beaches and secret spots like the Sapphire Blue Hole. We used google maps satellite to spot secluded beaches and then tried to make our way to them. Sometimes it wasn’t easy as there were no paved roads and even with the Jeep we couldn’t get to them.
Another great thing to do in Eleuthera is visit Spanish Wells which is also accessible by water taxi for 5$. It has beautiful beaches and the cheapest food in all The Bahamas! There are very few tourists on the islands as there aren’t many accommodation options. It also has a whole different vibe to anywhere else in The Bahamas.
After staying in North Eleuthera, we headed to explore the southern part of the island. We spent another 3 nights driving from one beach to the next, and finding hardly any other tourist. We got to dive with sharks (again!) and it was a surreal experience. Did you know that The Bahamas is one of the best places in the world to swim with sharks?!
On our last day in Eleuthera, we flew back to Nassau from Governor’s Harbour Airport, which is located in the middle part of Eleuthera, but our flight got delayed. Luckily our Airbnb neighbor invited us to go on his private charter flight. The kind of things that only happen in The Bahamas!
Where to stay in Eleuthera: some of my favorite accommodations in all The Bahamas are located in Eleuthera. We stayed at Driftwood Cottages in North Eleuthera for some days, but make sure to check my full guide for the best hotels in Eleuthera.
The Exumas comprises a chain of 365 cays (you could explore one island each day of the year!) that are the ultimate tropical paradise: isolated beaches, sapphire waters, incredibly rich marine life, and a great variety of adventure activities. Exuma is undeniably one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and no Bahamas itinerary or travel guide would be complete without a visit to these islands.
How to get to Exuma: there are lots of airports in the Exumas, as many of the private islands & cays have one. Most people fly to Grand Exuma and get a hotel in the area, but we decided to get a bit off the beaten path and took a flight to Staniel Cay. The rates are pretty much the same, around 150$ with return. You can use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
Things to do in Exuma: After spending a few days in paradise, it was easy to understand why every millionaire and Hollywood Star owns a private island in the Exumas. The local food is excellent, you can order a piña colada pretty much everywhere, you can swim with pigs and, if you are lucky, encounter manta rays and turtles! All this while surrounded by the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen.
The crystal-clear waters are perfect for kayaking, sailing and diving. We rented a small little boat so we could explore all the islands at our own path. It was a great decision but since it was so small (the only kind of boat you can rent without a license) we couldn’t get very far.
The best things to do in Exuma are playing with the swimming pigs at Pig Beach, visiting Thunderball Grotto, swimming with the sharks at Compass Bay, and feeding the lizards at Allen’s Cay. Sadly, we couldn’t visit the iguanas but I’d have loved to. All of these are located in different islands, so you need to book a tour or rent your own boat to be able to get there.
Where to stay in the Exumas: We flew into Staniel Cay and stayed there for 4 nights so we could be close to all the action, while also being on a super small island that felt very remote and disconnected from the rest of the world. If you have the chance I recommend staying at Staniel Cay Yacht Club.
Alternatively you could also stay in Great Exuma or Little Exuma and book all of your activities from there. Definitely there is a greater choice of hotels and restaurants in the area. Check here the best accommodation options in Exumas.
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