Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Spotlight On The Bahamas


The moment your feet touch the sand and your gaze meets the clear water you know you’re in the Islands of the Bahamas. It’s the comfortable ease, the instant sense of belonging. Its finding that your departure from everyday life is also your arrival at an extraordinary place within yourself.

There are 700 Islands of Bahamas sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The archipelago is an ecological oasis featuring 2,000 breathtaking islands and cays and boasts the clearest water of the planet – with visibility of over 200 feet. You can see your toes as easily as you can the world’s third largest barrier reef.

The Government

The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas is one of the most politically stable countries in the world. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations which has Queen Elizabeth II as their head. Her Majesty’s representative is the Governor General. The Cabinet constitutes the executive branch and has control over the Government. The Cabinet is compromised of at least nine ministers including the Prime Minister and Attorney General.

Parliament constitutes the Legislative Branch, which is made up of a Senate and a House of Assembly. Subject to the provision of the Constitution, Parliament makes laws for peace, order and good government.

The History

Even the most experienced explorers have gotten lost in the abundant natural beauty. For centuries our Islands captivated explorers, settlers, traders and invaders while the shipping chanel enchanted pirates who quickly discovered all the great hiding places. To this day there are still tales of hidden treasure.

As early as 300 AD people came to the Bahamas from what is now known as Cuba and lived on the Islands of the Bahamas and relied on the ocean for food. From around 900 to 1500 AD the Lucayan people settled in the Island. They enjoyed a peaceful way of life and developed a viable political, social and religious systems.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World on the island of San Salvador. Inspired by the surrounding shallow sea he described the islands as “Baja Mar” which became The Islands Of The Bahamas. When he arrived there were approximately 40,000 Lucayans. Their peaceful nature made them easy targets for enslavement however, and within 25 years, all of the Lucayans were wiped out due to diseases, hardships an slavery they endured.

Fast forward closer to the present day, 1973 to be exact. On July 10th the Islands of the Bahamas became a free and sovereign country, ending 325 years of peaceful British rule. However the Bahamas remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and celebrates the 10th of July as Bahamian Independence Day.

Heritage

The Bahamas are much more than just a tropical destination. A daily celebration of rich culture, diverse heritage and way of life.

Art / Music / Dance – Self expression is at the core of every Bahamian. Whether through colorful art, lively music or soulful dancing. Throughout the Islands you’ll hear traces of African rhythms, Caribbean Calypso, English folk songs and unique Bahamian Goombay traditional music, which combines African musical traditions with European colonial influences Goombay can be traced back to slavery and is story telling and dancing performed to a fast tempo’d “goom-bahhh” beat on a goat skin drum.

Bahamian Cuisine – Being an international destination you can rest assured that you can find any type of food here. But while you are here, give your taste buds a chance to discover Bahamian cuisine. It’s spicy and uniquely flavored. Seafood is the staple of the diet. Fresh conch served with a knife and sprinkled with lime juice and spices is delicious. Other delicacies you’ll enjoy are lands crab and the Bahamian “rock lobster”. Wash down the wonderful cuisine with a cold beverage such as “Kalik”, a Bahama Moma or Goombay Smash. Perhaps give the “Sky Juice” a whirl, coconut water blended with sweet milk and gin.

Straw Markets – EXplore one of the Straw markets and take home a piece of Bahamian culture. You’ll find handmade hats, mats, baskets, woodcarvings or guava jellies. Test your bargaining skills and get a good deal on a great piece.

Language – English is the official language although you may hear “Bahamian English” which is a mixture of the Queens diction, African influence and Island dialect. The “h” is often dropped so it sounds like “ouse” for house and “t’anks” for thanks.

Weather / Climate

Thanks to trade winds that blow throughout the islands the Bahamas has warm weather all year round. The coldest winter averages a comfortable 70 fahrenheit, the coolest time being September through to May when temperatures range between 70-75 degrees. During the rest of the year there is high humidity with temperatures ranging from 80-90 degrees. At night it generally drops 5-7 degrees, so you can fun all day and all night.

Beaches

It’s quite literally heaven on earth in the Bahamas. Take a look at any of the pink or pure white sandy beaches. When you step in to the ocean you will be amazed how clear the water is.

The Travel Channel recently named Harbor Island Beach one of the top ten beaches in the world. While Surfers Beach is considered the world’s second best for surfing. Both of these beaches are on Eleutheria / Harbor Island. If you prefer the quiet there are plenty of beaches where the only footprints will be your own.

Boating & Sailing

There is no finer journey than one that leads you to paradise. Every mile you get closer you connect more with the world. The fish become more colorful. The coral reef brighter. And the water clearer. This is why the moment Columbus set foot in the New World, the Islands became a magnet for sea vessels. Everyone from Blackbeard to Ernest Hemmingway has made the voyage.

Today 10,000 boaters travel here each year for the Boating Fings, sailing regatta’s and an opportunity to escape. The close proximity to Florida and the 32 ports of entry make cruising here easy and convenient. Even if you do not own your own boat, don’t worry, there are plenty catamarans, private charters, boats and yachts to take you on a real water adventure.

Diving

The Islands of the Bahamas of a wide variety of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. There are sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, caves and forest like coral reef, teeming with marine life. There are 25 different dive destinations across the island. Some of the most exciting experiences allow enthusiasts to swim and feed reef sharks, an exceptional experience offered no-where else in the world. More importantly the people of the Bahamas are committed to the art of hospitality as well as preserving the the unique ecology of marine life below the waves.

Family Fun

No matter if you are a kid or just a kid at heart, there is no shortage of fun in the Bahamas. The Islands offer some of the best family fun anywhere. Kayak through Gold Rock Creek. See egrets and blue herons at Duck Pond. Snorkel or ride on a glass bottom boat right over the coral reefs. Swim with Dolphins or Stingrays. Or relax at the pool or the beach at your resort or hotel. Whether you have little ones or big ones, everyone will have the time of their lives, including you.

Water Sports

One thing you have plenty of in the Bahamas is crystal blue water and it feels as amazing as it looks. Averaging 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round its like a warm water bath. So there’s no need to dip your toe in just jump right in. It’s the perfect conditions for water sports, kiteboarding, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, bonefishing, wave-runners, island boat tours, wild dolphin excursions and more. You will see rich marine life while riding the gentle waves and if you ever lose your balance, no worries, the water feels fantastic.

Attractions

While the beaches may be the main attraction they are far from the only ones. Venture inland and you’ll soon discover what it means to be Bahamian. Get a firsthand look at the way of life, the rich history, the extraordinary natural wonders and the striking man made attractions.

Stroll through forts, plantations and remote villages. Cool off in caves. Stand before the “Fountains of Youth”. See the endangered Bahamas parrot and rare flower species. Shop on historic streets. Watch the changing of the guard outside the Government House. Every one of the islands has plenty of onland attractions that tell the unique story of each.

Birding

People are not the only residents in this tropical paradise. The Bahamas parrot also calls these islands home. Bird watchers can enjoy close encounters with over 109 species of birds. This includes 28 species of birds not seen in the USA, Canada or Europe, as well as American redstarts, Cape May warblers and West Indian flamingos, which is the national bird.

Dining & Entertainment

For Bahamians, dining and entertainment go hand in hand. Eating is NOT simply to refuel ones body. No eating is about spending time with friends and family and new friends. If you are looking for good food there is plenty of it. Bahamian food is distinctive. The unique flavors and seasoning awaken taste buds. Beverages, made from fresh limes and coconuts leave you gasping for more. Whether you’re in a low key mood or want something more fancy, Bahamian food is available roadside, beachside and in fine restaurants – with additional international cuisine choices. After trying a few of the food and beverage offering you will not be able to control your cravings. It’s OK, you’re on vacation.

And when the sun goes down the fun doesn’t stop, it’s just beginning. Bahamians love music and dance. So when the moon lights up the islands, clubs, live shows and night spots come alive!

Gaming & Gambling

Treasures have been associated with the Islands of the Bahamas for centuries. Although nowadays it’s easier to get your hands on some without looking for buried ones. The Bahamas has world class casinos exclusively for vacationers.

Play a friendly game of Blackjack on the island Blackbeard once frequented. Take a chance on roulette. Wager on a major sporting event. Or try your luck at slots, which are open 24 hours a day. Are you game?

Golfing

All it takes is one look and it’s love at first sight. The championship fairways and green are that impressive. Designed by the likes of Robert Trent Jones Jr, Dick Wilson, and Greg Norman the challenging courses offer many distinctive features. Holes that hug the perimeter of Emerald Bay. Tifdwarf grass for faster putting surfaces. And even the world’s first Scottish style links course on a tropical island. Every detail plus the ocean winds and tight fairways, makes playing a round of golf absolutely incredible. You’ll just be praying for more daylight!

Weddings & Honeymoons

The declaration of love. The gatherings of friends and family. Bahamians love weddings. Getting married here is more than a special occasion, it’s a celebration.

You can’t make a better choice for a Destination Wedding than one of the Islands of the Bahamas. The clear blue sky, powdery white sand and crystal blue waters make the perfect setting for your big day. It’s the reason A list celebrities like Maria Carey, Cindy Crawford, Deion Sanders and even Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, chose these islands as the place to start their new lives.

To get you ready, even from afar, Wedding Day Away’s professional wedding planners make organizing stress-free. They can even tell arrange special offers to make sure you stay within your budget.

Furthermore the Islands are a great place for one last pre-marriage hurrah with the guys or girls. Finally, being such a short ride from Florida, the Islands are easy for the most important people in your life to get to your nuptials.

The memories don’t have to end when your last dance does. Spend your honeymoon on the island afterwards. With 700 islands, you can go island hopping and really experience it all. Relax on the secluded beaches. Explore underwater caves. Go shopping for hand made crafts. Try some Bahamian rum punch. Swim with dolphins. An island honeymoon in the Bahamas is the perfect way to start your life together.

Quick facts

  • The 700 islands total an estimated land area of 5,382 sq. miles.
  • The Bahamas has the world’s third longest barrier reef. 14.5% of the world’s coral can be found in these waters.
  • The islands are made entirely of calcium carbonate, which is mainly produced or precipitated by the organisms of coral reefs.
  • There are no rivers in The Bahamas.
  • The population is somewhere north of 300,000.
  • The average temp is 70-75ºF during winter and low 80′s in the summer. Generally the Islands have light rainfall and low humidity.
  • English is the official language of the Bahamas.
  • The official currency is the Bahamian Dollar, although US currency is widely accepted, as well as major credit cards.

Most notable, however, is that each island has its own diversity that makes each truly unique.

Here are some examples…

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is the capital of the Islands of the Bahamas. It is located on New Providence next door to Paradise Island. Nassau is a genuine Caribbean jewel, with glorious beaches, some popular and booming such as Cable Beach, others quiet and secluded. You can choose from a number of activities including water sports, snorkeling, shopping, gambling at the casinos and all other expected modern conveniences.

Furthermore, it’s an easy flight from the US.


Paradise Island, Bahamas

Right next to Nassau, Paradise Island has all the modern conveniences and lots to do. Just like the other islands, Paradise is easy to get to by plane or by boat.

It caters for all desires from snorkeling and water sports to duty-free shopping and casino gambling.

But the best part is Paradise Island has its own separate beach, called Paradise Beach, a beautiful hideaway accessible only by boat or by foot.


Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

Grand Bahama Island, the fourth largest of The Islands of The Bahamas, gets its name from the Spanish “gran bajamar” meaning “great shallows” for its many flats and shoals in the waters off the island. Located just 50 miles from Florida, Grand Bahama is easily accessible from anywhere on the east coast of the US.

The island offers two very distinct vacations. The miles of beautiful clean beaches provide a relaxing carefree visit especially along its southern coast where Lucaya is particularly popular all year round.

Alternatively the island also provides a vibrant night life including numerous hotels, restaurants and casinos. Those who crave activity can enjoy water sports and golfing activities. The Island also boasts one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems, three national parks, endless beaches, emerald green waters and enchanting marine life.

Despite its popularity today, Grand Bahama Island was virtually uninhabited for over 250 years. Yet the building of the Freeport and the short distance to the US mainland mean it is now one of THE most visited islands of the Caribbean.


Harbour Island, Bahamas

Three and a half miles of some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see make up much of Harbor Island. The beaches are known for their distinctive pink sand.

Just next door, at 100 miles long and a slim two miles wide, Eleuthera makes it impossible to wander far from the white-sandy beaches. Together with Harbour Island, Eleuthera charms travelers with colonial villages and pineapple plantations.

Now you have seen the beautiful locations to choose from, click here to get started with your planning!

Disclaimer:
Laws do change and so we cannot guarantee that all information regarding rules, regulations, and marriage requirements at particular sites are completely accurate at the time of viewing. Before making marriage decisions on a particular destination, we highly recommend you speak with one of our wedding planners.

Photos and information from:

Wedding Day Away

Phone: 862 250 0949

WeddingDayAway.com

3 comments:

  1. Oh wow!! We had our honeymoon in the Bahamas and it was a dream come true!!!

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  2. You're making me miss it!! We had our honeymoon on the island of Eleuthera in a private house with private beach. It was so wonderful, truly heaven on earth. I adore the bahamas and am going to go back one day! :)

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