Founded in 1670, this onetime “pirate republic”, notorious for its buccaneers, and later, its prohibition-era rumrunners, was transformed into a luxury escape with the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Serving as Governor from 1940 to 1945, the residency of the exiled monarch established Nassau as a destination on the annual winter social calendar. By the 1960s, the island was brimming with exclusive resorts, private residential communities, and grand oceanfront mansions; its glittering casinos and stunning beaches serving as the backdrop for several James Bond movies.
Today, Nassau is the hub of the Bahamian archipelago, its capital and largest city, home to the international airport and an extensive range of hotel, dining, and nightlife venues.
The largest of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, Andros is also amongst its least developed.
Spanning 2,300 sq. miles with a population of just 10,000, its tidal creeks, lagoons, Blue Holes, and miles of uninhabited, white sand beach offer much to explore. With a few small hotels, basic to luxe, and a handful of dining venues and rustic beach bars, the big draw here is the island’s namesake ocean wonderland—the Andros Great Barrier Reef.
The world’s third largest, this vast, marine-life rich coral garden lies a mile offshore and offers world-class snorkelling, diving, and deep-sea fishing, while its mangrove flats are a long-time mecca for global bonefishing enthusiasts.
With an inland lagoon, white sand shores, and excellent snorkelling, this onetime pineapple plantation draws day-trippers from Nassau, three miles away.
Without towns or roads, this little, 11-mile island offers a couple of watering holes: the afternoon bar and grill at Footprints Beach or the classic Bahamian BBQ lunch at Sandy Toes Beach—the local favourite for its beachside hammocks and massage therapists.
Daily boats ferry guests between Nassau and Rose Island’s First Beach, the closest to Nassau. For more privacy, head to MacTaggart’s Beach, the furthest from the mainland and, without any amenities, the most secluded.
Just two miles wide, but 110 miles long, this slinky island takes its name from the Greek word for ‘freedom’ and holds a special place in the hearts of Bahamians.
Divided between North and South Eleuthera and dotted with pineapple plantations and charming villages—Tarpum Bay, Bannerman Town, Hatchet Bay, and Governors Harbour, among them—this quiet, friendly island is known for its pink sand shores and translucent waters.
Free of crowds, Eleuthera moves at a leisurely pace but fashionable Harbour Island is a five-minute boat ride off its northeast coast if you need a little razzle-dazzle.
Anchored by the picturesque, 18th century, Dunmore Town—among the nation’s oldest villages and its former capital—Harbour Island lies just off the pastoral shores of Eleuthera.
Known as ‘Briland’ to locals and habitués, high season draws a jetsetty, international crowd.
The crown jewel of the Bahamas beloved as much for its quaint and colourful colonial architecture and stunning, three-mile-long pink sand beach, as it is for its stylish hotels, boutiques, restaurants, and watering holes.
Settled in 1783 by American Loyalists, Staniel Cay is a protected national heritage site. With its central location and 3,000-foot landing strip, it’s also the gateway to The Exumas and offers the circa 1956 Staniel Cay Yacht Club and a selection of hotels and restaurants.
The tropical setting for several Bond films, Thunderball to Never Say Never Again, Staniel Cay is also famed for its swimming pigs—a quick boat ride away on a neighbouring islet.
Much of the Exumas – a 120-mile chain of gem-like islets, pristine reefs, and continually shifting sandbars – is set in the aquamarine waters of a protected marine reserve.
With some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, these islands are an oasis for boating, fishing, diving, snorkelling, and kayaking. While Great Exuma, the hub of archipelago, offers a wide selection of restaurants and hotels in its George Town capital, many of these small islands are privately owned or operated as exclusive island resorts.
Known as ‘The Fishbowl of the Bahamas’, this fisherman’s paradise is famed for record-breaking catches of tuna, grouper, billfish, yellowtail snapper, wahoo, and king mackerel.
Accessed by small airports on its two largest islands, Great Harbour Cay or Chub Cay, this 130-cay chain of magnificent, untouched beaches and coves is located just off the legendary ‘Tongue of the Ocean’—a legendary, marine-life rich, Blue Hole.
Scattered with old churches and conch shacks, the Berry Islands offer a handful of restaurants—but no hotels or resorts. Here, it’s private beach houses only, many of which are available as rentals.
With a trio of National Reserves including a vast bird sanctuary that’s home to over 80,000 flamingos, the national bird, as well as, 140 species of native and migratory fowl—parrots to pelicans—Inagua is the Birdwatching Capital of The Bahamas.
Comprised of two islands, Great Inagua and Little Inagua, its capital and sole harbour, Matthew Town, is marked by the Great Inagua Lighthouse, erected in 1870.
One of three remaining hand-cranked, kerosene lighthouses in the nation, on a clear day, visitors to its 113-foot viewing platform enjoy panoramic vistas all the way to Cuba.
Scattered with plantation ruins, this fishhook-shaped island off the Tropic of Cancer is named for the 17th Century pirate, Arthur Catt.
A world-class game fishing and diving destination edged in deserted beaches, coral reefs, blue holes, caves, and shipwrecks, this rustic island’s inland pleasures include exploring its rolling hills by bicycle, kayaking its pastoral creeks, hiking up Mount Alvernia to its 18th century monastery for sweeping views, or chilling in the thatched roof bars of its tiny villages.
The quaintest of which is Fernandez Bay, believed to be the place where Columbus first set foot on the New World.