Few places in the world rival The Bahamas for warm shallow waters, vibrant reef bars and sheer variety of heavenly island anchorages.
From the bijou boutiques and glamorous beach parties in the capital city of Nassau to the unspoiled natural habitat of the smaller cays, The Bahamas offers space and tranquility, and all within an enviably close proximity to Florida. Comprising nearly 700 islands, the archipelago boasts ideal sailing conditions for windswept charters and some of the best motor yacht cruising opportunities around.
Big Major Cay is an uninhabited island famed for Pig Beach, which is populated by wild, swimming pigs. Feeding these furry feral friends has become a favorite charter attraction, but it’s just one of many incredible nature highlights found within the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a 35-mile long wildlife sanctuary. The pristine waters provide an ecological refuge for rare seabirds and near-extinct marine life, including loggerhead and hawksbill turtles. Keep a look out for three-foot iguanas, too.
Start the day by dropping anchor at Shroud Cay to discover a myriad of underwater life by snorkel, such as rock lobster, clownfish and vibrant red starfish. A quarter of the world’s coral thrive in The Bahamas, with over 150 different species. A mix of mangrove and scrub play home to white-tailed tropicbirds and several species of tern. Explore the natural formed lazy rivers by tender or waverunner before picnicking on roast conch on a deserted mile-long sand bar. Nearby, Conception Island is a hatching site for green turtles, and offers arguably the best white, sandy beach in the area. And no trip to The Bahamas is complete without a day spent snorkeling Thunderball Grotto at Staniel Cay. Head there at low tide for an ethereal swim in the light-filled sea cave.
The Bahamas’ remote location and shallow atolls prevent an influx of cruise ships to the area, making the tranquil waters an ideal playground for all ages. The whole family can spend the day safely ducking around on SeaBobs or gliding above manta ray on transparent paddle boards, the latest must-have water toy. For those seeking an exhilarating test of endurance, the crystal-blue waters are awash with blue marlin. Bimini and Cat Cay are two of the best locations to strap in for a day of deep sea fishing, and one of the few areas where the sport is not prohibited. Just be sure to come prepared for huge sprawling jumps and powerful runs from the most powerful fish in the region, capable of clocking speeds of up to 50mph.
It’s not all surface play, though. The Bahamas houses one of the world’s largest barrier reefs, and the Abaco Islands in northern Bahamas are a mecca for scuba diving enthusiasts, world-renowned for its blue holes. Typically found on the Bahama Banks, these ancient limestone caves reach depths of up to 1000-feet. But the islands cater for all experiences, with thrilling drift dives, drop offs and shipwrecks on offer. Swimming with friendly dolphins is a daily occurrence, especially on Dolphin Cay. For shark encounters, head to Grand Bahama Island, where lemon sharks, reef sharks and even resident tiger sharks can be found.
Big trade winds produce ideal sailing conditions, not to mention some of the best kite-surfing opportunities in the world. Sheltered harbors and deserted beaches are paired with palm-fringed coastlines. It can take between one and seven hours to cruise between islands, meaning even at peak season it feels isolated and far removed from buzzing crowds. By night, dock at Farmer's Cay Yacht Club and Marina and take a stroll along the pastel-hued waterfront to soak up a little bit of island life and a spicy rum punch. Few places on Earth offer a yacht charter with the same level of rich and diverse mix of culture, food and nature than the unforgettable Bahamas.
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