We visited the Bahamas for the first time this year as part of a cruise. We did the low key thing and walked off the cruise ship to a local beach where we snorkled off shore, enjoyed vittles and drinks from a local tiki hut and had a fantastic day overall. While I hope to write more about that trip in the near future, you can learn a whole lot more about The Bahamas in this guest post below from Claire Lovesti.
Claire is a self-confessed travel nut. “I’ve been travelling around the world since my mum farewelled me in a teary goodbye,” she explains. “And I haven’t looked back since.” You can read all about her adventures through 48 cities in 26 countries on 4 continents on her blog Traveltio.com.
With water temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round, pristine white beaches and an unlimited supply of palm trees, the Bahamas are the perfect island getaway. I’m a big fan of sunshine and anything tropical, so these Atlantic islands had me hooked from the first time my toes touched the sand.
These stunning islands have something for everyone, from fun water sports to relaxing spa trips and rum tastings. Whether you head down with friends or bring the family along, there are just a couple of things to take care of before your plane takes off.
- Get in touch with your inner animal lover — Ever wanted to be that kid at SeaWorld who gets to pet the beluga whale? In the Bahamas, you can come face to face with some fun creatures in their natural habitats. Aside from snorkeling with the fishes and turtles, you can go swimming with dolphins, sharks and even some of the islands’ native pigs (that’s right, swimming pigs).
- Find the perfect sun hat — The sun is always shining in the Bahamas, even on a rainy day. Aside from packing the always-necessary sunscreen, think about investing in a good quality hat to provide some shade and a much needed break from the constant rays.
Don’t forget to wear it on the plane though! You wouldn’t want a nice straw hat getting crushed in your checked luggage.
- Pack your dancing shoes — The Bahamas come alive at night. There are a number of clubs and bars, especially on the larger islands, that are just perfect for you to let loose and dance the night away. If nightlife is your thing, head to Nassau for some of the best hotspots, whether you’re looking for a celebrity crowd or a more mellow night with the latest reggae jams.
Just be sure to leave the shorts and flip-flops in your room, because most clubs on the islands enforce dress codes.
- Learn to not hate sand — I love the allure of the beach as much as the next landlocked person, but I will admit that constantly finding sand in places it doesn’t belong isn’t always my favorite part. When you’re in the islands, though, sand in everything is a way of life.
Get in the right mindset before you leave and don’t let the little things (like tiny rock granules) get you down. After all, you’re on the beach now, where all your troubles wash away with the tides.
- Put your mind on island time — Whether it’s due to the heat or it’s just a natural pace, things move a little slower in the tropics. Meals last a little longer, people walk a little slower and time isn’t meant to be rushed. Leave your plans for a strict schedule at home — the whole point of a tropical getaway is to relax, so if you’re a habitual planner, let yourself take a break and just enjoy where the island life takes you.
- Exchange some money — The Bahamas uses the Bahamian dollar, and it doesn’t hurt to exchange some money before you go. Not only will this make your life a little easier when you land — no one wants to worry about money as soon as their trip begins — but it also might save you some money.
Exchange rates are typically higher at transportation hubs like the airport, so not having to change money first thing can give you time to find a better rate elsewhere. Besides, having cash on hand can also help you avoid some extra ATM and credit card fees.
- Rule out international phone charges — No one wants to come home to crazy phone bills after a vacation, and with all the beautiful clear waters and perfect palm trees, you’ll probably be on your phone quite a bit to share your vacation with your friends and family back home.
I’ve learned that the best way to avoid that is by switching to a local SIM card whenever you travel — once you unlock your phone, you just pick up a SIM when you arrive, pop it in, and use your phone to your heart’s content with no added fees.
- Learn the local haunts — The Bahamas are known for big resorts like Atlantis and Sandals, so it can be easy to get caught up in the never-ending lure of the words “all inclusive”. But straying outside the confines of the resort can be a great way to experience a more authentic side of island life.
Do a little research before you go and learn where the locals hang out — I guarantee you’ll have a great time, and probably make some new friends in the process.
- Book a water adventure — It’s impossible to go to any of the Bahaman islands without getting in the water (you are on an island, after all), but getting out and enjoying the watersports lets you get up close and personal with those vibrant blue waves.
Go snorkeling in the Exuma district, surfing off Harbour Island, or kayaking in Nassau for an up close and personal view of all the beauty waiting just off shore.
Once you step foot on the beautiful sandy beaches of the Bahamas, you’ll most likely never want to leave. Check these things off your to-do list before hopping on the plane, and you just might be able to stay — at least until the rainy season.0