The Bahamas are a chain of hundreds of islands just off the east coast of Florida. Growing up in Palm Beach, the closest Bahamian island was only a 2 hour boat ride from my house, so my family used to go fairly regularly. Each island is unique in its own way and has a ton of fun activities to offer. On my most recent trip to the Bahamas, I went to Great Guana Cay with my family and my boyfriend and stayed at Baker's Bay, which I'm pretty sure is actually heaven on Earth. Check out my recommendations below for an unforgettable experience in the Bahamas.
NIPPER'S BEACH BAR
Nipper's Beach Bar is easily the most notorious bar in the Bahamas. Sundays are the wildest day at this beach bar so make sure you plan accordingly if you want to join in on the festivities or experience it on a less crazy day. Make sure you try a Nipper's Punch while you're there! You can get it frozen or on the rocks, but be warned… they're strong! Make sure you don't get nipped :)
GO LOBSTERING (IF IT'S LOBSTER SEASON!)
Lobster season runs from August 1st to March 31st; however, there are a lot of rules that one must know prior to going lobstering. I'd recommend hiring a local captain to take you to make sure that all rules and regulations are abided by.
- You're required to have a fishing permit for them (if you're on a chartered boat, they will most likely carry a legal fishing permit-- make sure they do before leaving the docks!)
- You cannot be using supplemental oxygen while catching lobster. You must only free dive.
- Spear guns are illegal in the Bahamas, but you may use a Hawaiian Sling pole (that's what we used and they're super user friendly!)
- Lobsters must be of legal size and not be a female carrying eggs (this one is pretty difficult to tell while holding your breath underwater. All the more reason to go with a chartered captain)
Despite all of the rules affiliated with lobstering, I highly recommend it! Riley and I had an absolute blast (it was Riley's first time doing it and he was an absolute natural). We caught dinner for the whole family and had the most fresh lobster dinner prepared at a restaurant that night.
I always love fishing in the Bahamas and then eating it for dinner. There is no meal that you will ever enjoy more since you've caught it and made dinner with it all in a day's work. Fishing regulations in the Bahamas are similar for regular fishing in that a Hawaiian sling is the only approved device. Personally, I prefer staying on the boat and reeling them in to avoid an encounter with a shark!
SIP ON A RUM PUNCH OR A KALIK
You're on island time, which means it's always five o'clock somewhere. Sip on a rum punch or kalik (the beer of the Bahamas) at breakfast (rum punch has fruit juice in it right?!), lunch or dinner and enjoy your time in the islands. We won't judge!
HEAD TO HOPE TOWN & CLIMB THE LIGHTHOUSE
Hope Town is a great spot to stop for lunch after a day of snorkeling. Head to Elbow Cay on Hope Town and climb the historic lighthouse built in 1862. The Hope Town Lighthouse is actually one of the last manually operated lighthouses in the world and offersstunning panoramic views of the island from the top that should not be missed!
HEAD TO PIGGY ISLAND & SEE THE SWIMMING PIGS
Head to Piggy Island to see the famous swimming piggies! Be warned: these little piggies are fearless and they're very keen on human food. If you do opt to feed them, please be cautious about what you feed them and make sure you don't just throw the food into the sand. There have been incidents where pigs have been dying from eating sand on food left behind by tourists (their bodies can't digest it). Fun fact: our captain blasted his Bahamian music and the piggies came RUNNING out of the woods on the island a sprinted down the beach into the water. It was honestly a hilarious sight!
RELAX BEACHSIDE OR POOLSIDE
I mean you are in the Bahamas! While it's easy to get wrapped up in the countless activities at your fingertips in the Bahamas, make sure you get some much needed R&R while you're here. Park yourself in one of the beachside hammocks with a drink and watch the sunset over the ocean.
PLAY A ROUND OF OCEAN FRONT GOLF
Baker's Bay is home to quite literally the BEST golf course I've ever met to. I also can't say that I ever swung a golf club while I was there, but I regularly frequented the course with my family. This course lives by the motto: no shirt, no shoes, no problem. Swing by the Sip Sip (the halfway house) for a Baker's Bay Punch before playing the back nine!
The Bahamas have some gorgeous reefs with thousands of fish, turtles, sharks, and other marine life! Make sure you get under the water while you're there and make sure you don't miss out on the colorful life below sea level.
TRY CONCH FRITTERS
I refuse to eat Conch Fritters anywhere, but the Bahamas and crave them even when I'm not there. You can't get fresher conch and it's typically served with a pink sauce that's absolutely delicious. You can't leave the Bahamas without trying this traditional dish!
TIPS FOR THE BAHAMAS
- Bahamians are known for their relaxed lifestyle. You'll be on island time! Embrace the slow pace and enjoy the break from the chaotic mainland lifestyle!
- Wear sunscreen! This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised. The sun is stronger in the Bahamas so bring a big hat and wear plenty of sunscreen
- As I mentioned before, there have been recent cases of swimming pigs dying from ingesting too much sand on the food that humans feed them. Try not to feed the pigs no matter how cute they may be.
- Concerned about the various fishing regulations? Click HERE to see each of the fishing regulations in place in the Bahamas
- Don't wear bright or shiny jewelry underwater. The reflection of the sunlight off of shiny jewelry looks like fish scales. You definitely don't want a barracuda to mistake you for a fish!