One of the most popular destinations for all inclusive vacation packages is the Bahamas. The Bahamas are a series of twenty-nine islands, hundreds of cays, and thousands if islets that are collectively located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and southeast of Florida.
Many resorts exist throughout the main islands; about 50 percent of the Bahamas workforce relates to the tourism industry. The islands collectively encompass just over 5,000 square miles-roughly the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined- and have a population of about 330,000 people.
The Bahamas was originally the first point of entry that Columbus landed on in 1492 when arriving at the West Indies from Spain. The Spanish enslaved the native Lucayans and left the islands uninhabited until the British colonized them some 150 years later. Today’s native population consists largely of descendants of liberated African slaves from the British plantation economy instilled during colonization.
Geography and Climate
The island of Bimini is closest to the U.S. and oftentimes called the gateway to the Bahamas. East of Bimini is the large island of Grand Bahama, one of the most popular islands and also something of a landing point because of its proximity to Florida. The largest island is Andros Island, located directly west of Grand Bahama. The capital city of Nassau is on the island of New Providence.
All of the islands are flat and low, usually not exceeding about 50-60 feet in elevation. The highest point exists on Cat Island and is about 200 feet above sea level. The climate is tropical and dictated to a certain degree in the winter by the Gulf Stream waters. Hurricanes threaten the Bahamas in the late summer and fall, but these storms often pass near the islands rather than directly through them.
Every other time of the year, the islands exhibit an almost surreal blend of pearly white beaches and lush turquoise waters. The islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama boast rows of luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The outskirts of Grand Bahama consist of sparsely populated beaches perfect for those seeking a more tranquil experience rather than or in addition to a luxury hotel or all-inclusive vacation package.
Grand Bahama is only about seventy miles off the coast of Florida and just a three hour plane ride from New York City. Tons of shops, bars, and restaurants exist in the Port Lucaya Marketplace and of course throughout the capital city of Nassau. Water sports, dance clubs and casinos make up a significant portion of the Bahamas recreational activities.
Best Time to Go
There’s really not a bad time to go to the Bahamas unless a hurricane has developed in the area. The hurricane season from June to November is usually a great time of year weather-wise, and hence doesn’t deter many travelers who jump at discount all inclusive vacation packages. The winters are about ten degrees warmer than Florida, though once in a while Gulf Stream waters and trade winds can bluster in dramatically colder temperatures.
Winter, spring, and early summer are the most popular times of year for vacationers, with the spring season hosting the most tropical weather. The area is consistently humid, but the lower temperatures help the overall climate stand out as considerably more comfortable than other parts of the Caribbean.
The Bahamas are actually one of the most successful tourist attractions in the entire Caribbean, and a high percentage of travelers insist that they’ll return to the islands within five years for more exciting all inclusive vacation packages.