Sun, sand, and sea of course! Oh, wait, other countries supply these precious commodities, too, back to the drawing board. What makes the Bahamas stand out from our Caribbean neighbours and the tropical destinations that exist on the other side of the globe? This archipelago has different dynamics on each island along with hidden gems throughout, therefore when you visit I recommend you go island hopping. It’s a perfect place for those millennials who hesitate to take a vacation. See the pink sands in Harbour Island, visit the overwater spa in Andros, be blinded by the white sand on the Tropic of Cancer beach in Exuma, snap a photo on the candy-striped lighthouse in Abaco. Yes, this is only a few but keep reading to find out more must-see-sites in the Bahamas.
1. Did you hear about those swimming pigs?
I am sure you heard about it but I must mention it here. In the Exumas, on Big Major Cay, we have pigs that are better swimmers than some of the inhabitants, which I am not ashamed to say I am one of them. At the sound of a boat, these pigs come out of hiding to interact with people in exchange for food. The origin of the pigs are unknown, some say European explorers abandoned these pigs on the cay, other say that they swam there from a shipwreck. These pigs have gained so much popularity that it is a priority on guest’s vacation list. My Canadian friend, soon after a discovery of these pigs, opted out the dolphins, because she wants to swim with these pigs.
2. Dive in with sharks as they eat
Feeding time for the sharks but you are not on the menu. Compass Cay dock in the Exumas Cays which boaters come to clean their fresh catch. The cleaning process attracts dozens of nurse sharks looking for an easy lunch. Exumas, guests get the opportunity to swim, snorkel, and pet with nursing sharks by the dock. These creatures are not confined to a tank, so you are swimming side by side in the marina. This has become a Bucket List item for travel bloggers & vloggers. If you want an underwater thrill, come to the Bahamas to shake that off. Compass Cay, Exuma (Charter Tours or Private Boat)
3. Bahamian conch salad: not what, but where
The Iconic Bahamian salad which many locals and travellers have come to love. As I sat on a step Downtown, a traveller highlighted to me while eating a bowl of conch salad, “I’ve been coming here for years for this conch salad.” Finding a delicious bowl of conch salad in the Bahamas is not hard, every island, every corner has it, but where you indulge speaks volumes. On an Exuma cays’ excursion, the tour guide prepares conch salad on the picturesque sandbar. As you chow down on conch salad, you can scroll on this partially exposed sand ridge. A Sand Bar in Exuma (Charter Tours from Nassau or Exuma)
4. Junkanoo historical festival where tradition goes strong’
A cultural festival that evolved from simple costumes of sponges and cloth to extravagant pieces of art. This festival is rooted back to slaves in The Bahamas who celebrated on the streets. Today, The ‘Big’ Junkanoo is celebrated during the Christmas season; Boxing Day (Day after Christmas) and New Years Day. Participants of Junkanoo parade in artistic costumes made of moulded cardboard pieces decorated with layered crepe paper, beads, feathers, and glitter. There are also huge handmade showpieces that are carved out of Styrofoam and decorated to relay the chosen theme. Yes, the materials may seem simple, but the products produced are breathtaking. You should visit a Junkanoo shack to witness for yourself the creation of Junkanoo pieces. The beating of the goatskin drums sets the backbeat for the music, then the horn instruments bring the melody and harmony, and the whistles, cowbells, and other horns adds the unique flare to the music. Don’t be surprised if your jamming to the music. Choreographed and freestyle dancers fill the streets in costume to groove to the Junkanoo sounds. All this happens as onlookers watch from aside, to dance along on the stands or snap photos of this unforgettable event. Downtown, Nassau (buy tickets from your hotel)
5. About that Blue Hole Life
Yes, The Bahamas has the beautiful beaches, but the blue holes are must-see attractions. Some countries possess these natural occurring caverns, but why go there when you can come here. Blue holes in The Bahamas can be found on several islands such as Andros, San Salvador, and Long Island. Andros has been known to have “the highest concentration” of blue holes in the world, including inland and ocean blue holes. Snorkelers and divers appreciate the ecosystem that lies underneath especially the caves which house unique marine life. After Andros, you need to head to Long Island to dive in the deepest Blue in The Bahamas and second deepest in the world, Dean’s Blue Hole. This blue hole is the destination for free diving athletes who participate in the Vertical Blue Free Diving International Competition. Another fascinating feature of this blue hole is the sand-fall. It’s exactly what it sounds like; sand falling into the blue hole resembling a waterfall. If you are not a free diver, like me, hang around the edge and go cliff jumping. By the end of your trip, you will be all about that Blue Hole life and mention before about that #islandhopping life Clarance Town, Long Island