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Beaches, Bahamas-Style

Beaches for Silence and Seclusion
Beaches, Bahamas-Style
Beaches in the Bahamas are fringed with pink or white sand and surrounded by healthy coral reefs and pristine dive sites. Some are the territory of high-end resorts, others serve as yoga retreats, while still others are home to rocking beach bars.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
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    Beaches for Silence and Seclusion
    Beaches for Silence and Seclusion
    For some, the ultimate Bahamian experience is an escape from the everyday. The bliss of seclusion is exactly what some islands are about; Double Bay Beach on Eleuthera makes a long walk a pleasure, while Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island is worth a visit. From Bimini, you’ll need a boat to reach Honeymoon Harbour Beach on tiny Gun Cay, where you’ll be rewarded with up-close encounters with friendly local stingrays. Great Inagua and Little Inagua islands lie south of the Bahamian chain (closer to Cuba than Nassau); they're home to a national park and wildlife reserves with remote beaches.
    Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
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    Bahamian Water Sports
    Bahamian Water Sports
    Water sports are big business in the Bahamas. The Black Point Regatta is an annual race that brings together the world’s finest sailors and sloops every Emancipation Day Weekend in August. Get a taste of the sailing life with a Flying Cloud catamaran cruise that takes you out to reef snorkeling sites or to uninhabited beaches for the day. The wild at heart may prefer a WaveRunner tour with Exuma Water Sports, during which riders have the chance to see swimming pigs, wild iguanas, and other treasures of the sea like starfish and stingrays. If the sea experience you have in mind includes sportfishing, book a day with Born Free Fishing Charters and test your skills against a blue marlin. A wholly different view of the Bahamas awaits those brave enough to take to the skies and parasail over Grand Bahama Island with Ocean Motion Water Sports. Paddle boarding and kayak excursions are available, too.
    Photo by Patrick Bennett
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    Into the Deep Blue
    Into the Deep Blue
    The Bahamian islands are home to some of the world’s great underwater seascapes, which have drawn snorkelers, swimmers, and divers for decades. Stocking Island in the Exumas chain is particularly notable for its high visibility, endless cave systems, pristine coral reefs, and ancient stromatolites. Stuart Cove’s Shark Adventure is among the most thrilling underwater experiences in the islands, where divers get to sit amid a feeding frenzy of friendly reef sharks, and at the nearby James Bond Shipwrecks, you can scuba dive on the sets from iconic Bond movies. Near Andros Island, the Tongue of the Ocean channel is seen during an Andros Barrier Reef Expedition, which explores the third longest barrier reef in the world.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Beachfront Dining
    Beachfront Dining
    There’s no point locking yourself inside some stuffy dining room when you’ve come to the Bahamas to expose your body to sand, sun, and surf. The Bahamas features a few standout beachfront eateries that serve everything from tourist staples (fish and chips, fried conch, seafood stew) to authentic local dishes. Santana’s Grill Pit in William’s Town serves an array of seafood and Bahamian fare, including cracked conch, fried grouper, and seafood fritters, from a quaint seaside shack. Chat 'N' Chill on Stocking Island is a simple beach bar and grill that's especially good on Sundays, when it hosts a pig roast. Some of the best opportunities to mingle waterside with the locals and try island fare come at a weekly fish fry, like the Friday Anchor Bay Fish Fry on Eleuthera or the almost-daily Arawak Cay Fish Fry in Nassau, where more than 30 stalls host a tasty party of fried and grilled seafood.
    Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
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    Sunrise to Sunset
    Sunrise to Sunset
    Compass Point in Nassau is a great place to catch a Technicolor sunset while sipping a sundowner. If you chart an early course for Saddleback Cay in the Exumas, you’ll have the horseshoe bay lit up by the sunrise all to yourself. Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island is true to its name; the three-mile stretch of sand is the color of cotton candy, and it turns nearly magenta come sunset.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    National Parks and Reserves
    National Parks and Reserves
    There are a number of wildlife reserves in the Bahamas where indigenous species flourish. Bitter Guana Cay has a population of endangered northern Bahamian rock iguana, so watch your step. Lucayan National Park is home to one of the longest underwater cave systems on the planet, while Abaco National Park is a great place to spot the Bahama parrot, though you may have a hard time getting one to speak. The first marine reserve established in the Caribbean, Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, lures visitors with the promise of native vegetation, pristine reefs, and colorful aquatic life.
    Photo by Jessie Festa