With its powdery beaches and rich colonial history, the Bahamas has long been a favourite spot for luxury getaways, as well as one of the world's leading cruise destinations.
The Bahamas has qualities to appeal to all travellers, with a range of activities to choose from on more than 2,000 islands – whether you're looking to relax on the beach, try your hand at water sports or trace the country's heritage at world-class museums.
See a different side of the Bahamas by heading to Nassau and Paradise Island for upscale casinos, retail therapy and dining options from the local Fish Fry to gourmet restaurants.
The Bahamas were the first islands visited by Columbus on his voyage to the New World in 1492, and 3 centuries later the territory was claimed by the British Empire. Since achieving independence in 1973, the Bahamas has become a major tourism destination bridging the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
- Currency - the Bahamian Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar, meaning that both currencies are equally valid in the country and do not need to be exchanged. 1 dollar is divided into 100 cents.
- Population - around 372,000 people live in the Bahamas, with 60 per cent residing in Nassau and New Providence Island.
- Language - English is the official language of the Bahamas, though the Bahamian Dialect is still used. With tourism being a major industry for the islands, many people working in the industry are fluent in foreign languages.
- Time Zone - the Bahamas is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). The country follows Daylight Saving Time (DST), advancing 1 hour for 6 months of the year.
- Weather - the climate of the Bahamas varies from north to south, with cooler winters in the subtropical northern islands and less difference in temperature throughout the year in the tropical south. Most rain falls between May and October.
Who goes there?
Cruise lines offer dedicated tours of the Bahamas, and may include a shorter stay on the islands as part of larger itineraries of the Caribbean.
Many of these cruise lines own or lease private islands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
Best time to go?
The cruise season never stops in the Bahamas, though the winter months of December to February are when the islands are at their busiest. Avoid the crowds and get the best deals by visiting between May and November.
- Nassau - don't head straight to the beach after landing in Nassau, the Bahamas' bustling capital. See the colourful buildings of the Old Town and the views from Fort Charlotte, visit the Pirate Museum and Ardastra Gardens & Zoo, and practice your haggling skills at the Straw Market to take home bargain souvenirs of your trip.
- Lucayan National Park - the Bahamas' northernmost island, Grand Bahama is home to 3 national parks, the most notable being Lucayan. Named after the country's indigenous people, this park showcases the natural diversity of the region with white beaches, pine forests, mangrove swamps and one of the longest underwater caves in the world.
- Paradise Island - just off shore from Nassau, the Bahamas' ultimate entertainment resort is a favourite with visitors of all ages. Ride the slides and swim with dolphins at the world's biggest waterpark, try your luck at the casinos or sample the best local cuisine at the country's most sophisticated restaurants.
- Andros Island - leave the modern world behind and visit the Bahamas' largest and most unspoilt island, a favourite for nature lovers and honeymooners. Look out for rare migratory birds and take to the waters to see whales, dolphins and other creatures in the 100-mile barrier reef.