images via Jpatokal, Bz3rk, and TUF-KAT
The Bahamas is one of the most popular and well-known tourist destinations in the Caribbean. The country is made up of a chain of islands located southeast of Florida and northeast of Cuba. Known for its idyllic beaches and upscale resorts, the Bahamas is many travellers' dream destination. However, there are aspects of the islands that make them less than perfect for some travellers. Those seeking cheap prices and interesting cultural experiences may end up disappointed with a trip to the Bahamas.
High-end resorts can be found throughout the Bahamas. However, it is quite difficult to find cheap accommodations. Some family-owned rental cottages cost about £32 per night per person, but there are no guest houses or youth hostels.
Resorts on Grand Bahamas, such as Pelican Bay Hotel and Paradise Island, such as the gigantic Atlantis Resort and Casino, are among the best resorts in the Caribbean. The Bahamas is ideal for those seeking an all-inclusive resort experience. Prices at these resorts are often £130 to £195 per night.
During the summer hurricane season (June until October), there is a danger of hurricanes. Though there is plenty of advanced warning, these violent storms can cause trips to be cancelled or to end prematurely.
The weather is nearly perfect during the winter high season, when most tourists come to the islands. The trade winds and the Gulf Stream moderate the temperatures, creating comfortable weather year-round. Even during the summer low season, there is plenty of sun and warm breezes. Summer rains generally occur in short spurts except for the rare instances when there is a tropical storm.
Nassau's crowded streets during a festival.
Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, boasts one of the world's largest cruise ship terminals. When there are one or more cruise ships in port, the streets of the capital city and the nearby beaches can be quite crowded. Even during the high season--on rare occasions when there is no cruise liner at the terminal--some beaches and resorts can seem uncomfortably crowded.
Luckily, there are many islands to choose from. While New Providence Island and Paradise Island are home to many popular resorts, some of the Bahamas' outlying islands, such as Harbour Island and Bimini, offer a calmer, quieter scene during the high season. The numerous islands mean that visitors can choose exactly the type of experience they want.
Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, people staying on resorts in the Bahamas are not exposed to much of the local culture. However, festivals like Junkanoo (held on December 26th) allow tourists to experience the colourful culture of the islands. Bahamanians literally dance in the street during festivals. Nassau is the best place to experience the fun. Other major parties take place on New Year's, Carnival and whenever the cricket team has a major victory.
Because most tourist activities are associated with resorts, tour groups or cruise ships, most people consider the Bahamas to be very safe. Compared to Jamaica and Trinidad, the Bahamas is not dangerous. Most violent crimes occur between locals. However, there have been several reports by tourists of robberies and sexual assaults. The incidence of HIV and AIDS is also on the rise.
Hotels and resorts are generally able to advise travellers about the safety of the locations that they plan to visit. Hotels also can help arrange safe transportation and recommend trustworthy guides and taxi services. With a small amount of common sense and a few precautions, there is no need to fear any danger.
- images via Jpatokal, Bz3rk, and TUF-KAT