Where to Stay in The Bahamas First Time: Best Islands & Safety

Where to stay in the Bahamas first time? for families, couples, all inclusive? In today’s article, we will be looking at the best islands the Bahamas (with a video and map), the best hotels in The Bahamas for all budgets and safest places to stay in the Bahamas.

First discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, The Bahamas are well known around the globe as being a tropical idyll and dream location for summer vacations in the sun. Just a few miles east of Florida, it is a particularly popular destination with tourists from the United States.

The Bahamas is comprised of a number of individual islands. Each island is home to various towns and resorts. If you are looking for the safest place to stay in Bahamas, look into the Family Islands or Out Islands. They include Eleuthera, Exumas, Abacos, Andros which are general generally safer than New Providence or Nassau for female travelers, for family with young children.

Where to stay in the Bahamas first time?

The best islands to stay in the Bahamas for first-time visitors are Nassau / New Providence, Paradise Island, Exuma Island, Grand Bahama, and Cat Island.

If convenience is your top priority, then New Providence Island is a great place to start your search. It is home to the capital city, Nassau, and has the best variety of shops, restaurants, tour companies, and entertainment.

It’s also served by one of the Bahamas’ primary international Airports, so you can enjoy connection-free travel into the island. This convenience also makes New Providence Island ideal for families with children. Between plenty of dining options for fussy eaters, easy transport to the island, and plenty of beaches to choose from, it will be easy to keep the whole family happy.

For those on a more generous budget seeking a luxury resort to relax in, then Paradise Island may be the perfect spot. The resort island is known for its upscale hotels, dining, and shopping. It retains an air of exclusivity whilst conveniently connecting back to the capital of Nassau by two short bridges. 

Alternatively, for a quiet escape consider the family-run hotels and guesthouses of remote Cat Island. Full of peaceful beaches and tranquil forests, this island is the perfect getaway for anyone trying to avoid crowds. 

Meanwhile, those who love snorkeling, scuba diving, or just exploring the world beneath the waves will adore the vibrant reef systems of Andros Island. There are tons of tropical fish to swim amongst, and with the reef wrapping around the island, you can keep entertained for days. 

If a bustling nightlife scene is important to you, then you should head to the city of Freeport on Grand Bahama. The closest city to Florida, this is a popular party destination and you will find plenty of clubs and bars catering to the thriving market. 

The Bahamas is known for beautiful soft sandy beaches, particularly those with their iconic vibrant pink sand. If you want to take advantage of this unique quirk of the landscape you should head to Eleuthera, particularly Harbour Island.

If you’ve heard about the opportunity to swim with pigs and have it at the top of your to-do list, then the Exuma Islands are where you should head. Big Major Cay is where you’ll find the pigs, and neighboring Staniel Cay has plenty of accommodation if you want to stay in the area overnight. 

💖 Best Area for first-timers:New Providence
💎 Best luxury hotel:SLS at Baha Mar
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
💰 Best budget hotel:Ocean West Boutique Hotel

Best Islands to stay in Bahamas for tourists and first-timers are:

1. New Providence

New Providence is the principal island in The Bahamas. Home to both the capital city of The Bahamas, Nassau and seventy percent of the total population of the country, New Providence has some of the best commercial infrastructures in the country. 

Nassau was originally Charles Town, which was burnt to the ground in 1684 by the Spanish, but later renamed Nassau to honor King William III in 1695. Here, you will find well-preserved colonial buildings, dreamy beaches, duty-free shopping, Nassau Straw Market, and unique cultural activities.

Hosting one of The Bahamas’ main international airports, Lynden Pindling International Airport, this is one of the easiest islands for tourists to get to, without having to worry about connections. Due to the size of New Providence being quite small, like most islands in The Bahamas, you will never be more than a few miles from the airport. 

This makes it ideal if you want to minimize travel to and from your hotel. Tourists seem to agree that this is one of the best general options for a vacation in the Bahamas. Over two-thirds of the travelers who visit The Bahamas each year opt to stay on New Providence island. 

The high demand means that there are plenty of hotels across the island catering to a wide range of price ranges and preferences. Home to the largest city in The Bahamas, this is the best place to go if you want a great variety of dining options too.

Nassau boasts an excellent selection of eateries to appeal to foodies of all preferences. The best selection of restaurants is clustered around Nassau’s northern coastline, so you can enjoy your dinner with a beautiful sea view. 

It also has great nightlife after dark, live music, bars, nightclubs, casinos, Nassau has it all!

If hitting the shops is one of your favorite pastimes, then New Providence is the island for you. With shopping centers full of chain stores, oceanfront boulevards offering a plethora of souvenirs, and elegant plazas lined with unique boutiques you’re sure to find whatever you are looking for.

Nassau offers beautiful family-friendly beaches such as Saunders Beach, Coral Harbour Beach, Love Beach, Blue Lagoon, Cabbage Beach, Atlantis, Balmoral Island Beach, and Cable Beach. The high season is from December to April.

As far as sightseeing goes, there is plenty to keep you entertained on New Providence. There are several historic buildings worth visiting. The 18th-century Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle, and Fort Montagu are three such structures, all within Nassau and easy to reach. 

Fort Charlotte offers tours by costumed guides, whilst the seafront Fort Montagu boasts views across the water to Paradise Island. Fort Fincastle is accented by The Queens Steps, a long staircase carved directly into the limestone leading to the castle. 

For a more modern attraction, you can visit:

  • The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, a contemporary museum showcases the art and culture of the Bahaman people.
  • The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas
  • The Pirates of Nassau Museum
  • the Pompey Museum.

Alternatively, check out the parrots and flamingos at the Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre. Visitors can enjoy wandering around the beautiful, landscaped gardens, whilst learning about local plants, environmental preservation, and various exotic animals. 

You can also find the elegant and exclusive residential enclave of Lyford Cay on the western edge of New Providence Island. Here you will find the 18-hole Rees Jones-designed golf course, South Ocean Golf Course.

If you want to take some Bahamian souvenirs home, you can visit the Nassau Straw Market, one of the largest straw markets in the Caribbean.

Other interesting places to visit are the impressive pink-and-white building of Government House and the 102-foot staircase Queen’s Staircase that connects Fort Fincastle to the Princess Margaret Hospital;

Stay in New Providence if You’re visiting the Bahamas for the first time; You want to stay in the main tourist center of The Bahamas with all its conveniences; You are traveling with children; You enjoy historical sightseeing;

Best Places to Stay in the Bahamas in New Providence Island:


2. Paradise Island

Paradise Island, where to stay in Bahamas for luxury stay
Paradise Island

Paradise Island is a small island just a few hundred meters north of New Providence. In many ways, it acts as an extension of the capital, with two bridges connecting the two, as well as ferry routes.  

The island is primarily a resort location, with far less of the local, residential feel of the neighboring capital. Instead, it is mostly populated by hotels, gift shops, and restaurants catering to tourists.

The east end of the island is dominated by Paradise Island Golf Course and related facilities. There is also the Atlantis Bahamas resort with white sandy beaches, the Aquaventure Waterpark, a casino, and a shopping arcade.

Paradise Island bridge, one of the two that connects over to New Providence, is also a hotspot for street food and casual independent restaurants. The section between New Providence and Potters Cay is lined with tiny restaurants and bars offering fresh seafood and local cuisine right by the water. 

There are some beautiful beaches on Paradise Island, most notably Cabbage Beach, which stretches along the length of the northern coastline. The beach is backed by various beach bars, restaurants, and mini-marts, so you will have plenty of options for refreshments throughout the day. 

There are also several smaller beaches around the rest of the island. These other beaches have fewer facilities in the immediate area but make up for that by being considerably less crowded. Pack some drinks and snacks to take along with you and you can enjoy a super relaxing day on the sand.

The commercial hub of the island is located right at the center, close to where the bridges connect across to New Providence. Here you will find many shops and restaurants clustered around the banks of Paradise Lake. 

If you enjoy high-end shopping, this is where you will want to go. You can enjoy browsing well-known brands, such as Versace, or more independent boutiques. All of this is in the comfort of an air-conditioned shopping mall full of upscale bars and restaurants overlooking the water.

There are also shops at the Bahama Craft Centre, Marlborough Antiques, The Plait Lady, and the Kennedy Gallery.

If you’re looking for a little more fun and excitement on your trip, you may want to spend a day at the 141-acre waterscape of Aquaventure at Atlantis Resort. This popular Mayan-themed waterpark is full of slides, pools, and rivers for the whole family to enjoy. 

Alternatively, head to the other side of Atlantis Lagoon to the Predator Lagoon Aquarium, where you can view all kinds of marine wildlife.

Despite being mostly filled with contemporary hotels and modern tourist facilities, there are also some pretty interesting sights to visit on Paradise Island. At the south of the island, just off of the main road, you can find the Versailles Gardens and French Cloister.

The grand cloister is centuries old and makes for a beautiful and atmospheric location to take photos or just walk. The aged columns are all intact and retain their original elegance, their splendor enhanced by the weathering and foliage that has accumulated over the many years.

Surrounding the cloisters are the lovely, landscaped gardens. Visitors can spend a tranquil afternoon wandering winding paths around fishponds and flowers. Both the gardens and the cloister overlook the harbor, with views across the water to Nassau. 

At the far west of the island sits Nassau Harbour Lighthouse. Also known as Brown’s Lighthouse, the historic structure has been restored and can be reached via a pleasant walk along the shoreline. 

Paradise Island may be small, but there are several even smaller, largely uninhabited islands around it. Athol Island and Blue Lagoon Island are just a few hundred meters from the east shore and can be explored by boat rented or chartered from one of the many marinas around the island.

Stay in Paradise Island if you are looking for a more luxury resort experience, with plenty of high-end shopping; you want to stay close to the conveniences of the capital but outside of the crowded city.

Best Places to Stay in the Bahamas in Paradise Island for first-timers:


3. Eleuthera Island

Eleuthera Island, quieter, more relaxing island with pink sand beaches

Eleuthera Island is a long, thin curve of land, about 30 kilometers east of New Providence. The island is particularly popular with tourists due to the 110 miles long with magnificent pink-white beaches, sheltered coves, bluffs, cliffs, and pineapple fields.

In addition to being the name of the main island, Eleuthera also refers to the chain of smaller islands that surrounds it.

Despite being rather small, Eleuthera is one of the most accessible Out Islands with direct flights from the US. There are several airports that serve Eleuthera. The primary one used by tourists is the Rock Sound International Airport at the south of the island. 

Beaches are one of this region’s most plentiful resources. Visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to which area of pink sand to relax on first. Having so many beaches not only gives you more to choose from but also ensures that they rarely get overcrowded. 

There are no large cities on Eleuthera, rather a lot of smaller towns and resorts, each with just a few shops and restaurants. As such, the population is lower, giving the island a relaxed feel. Visitors who come here are typically looking for rest and relaxation rather than thrills and excitement.

In fact, the largest towns in the region are mostly not even on the main island of Eleuthera. Spanish Wells on neighboring Russell Island to the north is one of the most populated areas of Eleuthera. Here you will find various restaurants and shops, as well as tour and charter companies. 

The rest of Eleuthera is comprised of small fishing and colonial villages such as Tarpum Bay, Bannerman Town, and Hatchet Bay spread across the main island.

Despite the length of the island, traveling between towns is fairly straightforward thanks to the series of highways that run directly through the center of Eleuthera, from the southern tip right to the northernmost point. 

In addition to the various towns, the highways run through several popular tourist locations and natural attractions. One of the most stunning of these is Glass Window Bridge, a naturally occurring rock formation that connects two larger sections of the island.

The bridge is notable for the difference in color and temperament between the oceans on either side. To the west, the vibrant turquoise waters of the protected Eleuthera bay make a dazzling contrast to the much darker blue of the exposed Atlantic ocean to the east.

The centre of the island is home to several nature reserves and conservation parks. The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve boasts landscaped walking trails, where visitors can observe beautiful local plant and wildlife species.

Stay in Eleuthera Island if A quieter, more relaxing island away from the crowds of cities and big resorts is ideal; Having plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from is your main priority; You want to experience the iconic pink sand that the region is known for;

Best Places to Stay in Eleuthera Island for first-time visitors:


4. Harbour Island

Harbour Island is one of the main tourist islands in the Eleuthera chain, located in the north of the region, between Eleuthera Island and the smaller Man Island. This island is mainly known as the home to Pink Sands Beach, the best example of the region’s stunning pink sand that it’s famous for. 

The sand gets its astonishingly vibrant pink color from the unique pigment of finely crushed shells. Contrasted with the gorgeous, crystal blue waters, this makes for a fantastically beautiful location. 

Due to being one of the most iconic beaches in The Bahamas, as well as being so close to a bustling town, Pink Sands Beach can get quite busy. Even so, it’s definitely worth a visit. Also, being that the beach is three miles long, the crowds are generally spread out enough that it stays pretty peaceful. 

Many of the island’s hotels and resorts are close to Pink Sands Beach. If you want to snag a room with a view of the iconic location, you have plenty of options. Many of these are in the 4-star range, so you should expect to pay a little more, especially for the privilege of an ocean, or pink sand, view.

The main area of the island is populated by Dunmore Town. This thriving tourist town is full of shops, conch restaurants, and hotels. If you are looking for all the conveniences you would find in a larger tourist city, but with a more laid-back vibe, this is the location for you. 

While far from a thriving party town, there’s plenty of bars to keep everyone entertained throughout the evening. Particularly around the west side of Dunmore Town, you can find a great variety of bars right by the water. Perfect for enjoying cocktails with a stunning view of the sunset over the ocean.

Despite being a relatively remote area, the town is home to several art galleries as well as studios of local artists. The Princess Street Gallery displays and sells artwork, craft goods, and jewelry by local independent artists, while Briland Art gallery sells works by two local artists from Harbour Island.

In addition to these galleries, there are also several independent clothing and souvenir stores in the town. It may not be the plentiful shopping experience of the larger islands, but it’s perfect for art fans, as well as anyone searching for some wonderful, unique souvenirs and gifts.

Stay in Harbour Island if you want to stay in a scenic region but with the convenience of a more populated town; you appreciate local art; you want to enjoy the iconic pink sand that the area is known for.

Best Places to Stay in Harbour Island for first-timers:


5. Acklins

Acklins is one of the southernmost islands in The Bahamas. Technically, Acklins refers to a cluster of islands in this region, including Crooked Island and various surrounding cays. However, it also refers specifically to the south-easternmost island of the region. 

Acklins is a very quiet island with a population of fewer than 600 residents. With only a few small lodges and hotels scattered across the island, this is a location for those who really want to stay somewhere remote and secluded. 

This secluded island is home to bonefish, Acklins Island bonefishing is a must-try experience for fishing enthusiasts. it is also good for diving, snorkeling, and island hopping.

There are few restaurants and shops here. One supermarket and two local restaurants can be found at the north of the island, along the border with Crooked Island.

One thing the area does have quite a few of is Lucayan relics. The Lucayans were the people who inhabited The Bahamas before it was colonized. In recent decades, archaeologists have uncovered various notable sites across the island. 

A particularly significant site is located just south of Pompey Bay Beach. The remains are believed to have once been one of the largest Lucayan villages discovered. If you are interested in history, particularly that of native peoples, you will enjoy exploring the many ancient sites in this region.

Apart from Lucayan National Park, be sure to check out the best beach in the Bahamas – Gold Rock, and shop at Port Lucaya Marketplace.

Wildlife enthusiasts may enjoy a boat trip across to the tiny Fish Cay and North Cay to search for the endangered Acklins Ground Iguana. This rare lizard is only found here and conservation efforts are underway to preserve them following their disappearance from the neighboring Long Cay.

To the northeast of Acklins island are the Plana Cays, designated as a protected nature reserve. These tiny islands are home to The Bahama’s only native mammal, the Bahamian Hutia.

Stay in Acklins if You want to stay somewhere very quiet; Access to a variety of shops and conch restaurants is not a priority; Visiting historical sites of the Lucayan people interests you; You would like the opportunity to spot rare local wildlife.


6. Bimini Islands

Located just 50 miles off Florida’s coast, a short flight from Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, The Bimini Islands are a chain of tiny islands at the westernmost point of The Bahamas, with a population of fewer than 2000 people. It was the place where Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea.

Despite being so small, the islands are the closest to the US and so are a popular day trip destination for Floridians.

Much of the Bimini Islands remain largely wild and unspoiled, full of nature trails and remote beaches to discover. However, increased interest in the area in recent years has seen a number of larger resorts and contemporary hotels spring up along the west coast of the two bigger islands.

Bailey Town in North Bimini is also home to an increasing number of shops and restaurants. Set on a narrow strip of land, all of these restaurants can offer views over the sea, so it’s a fantastic location for diners who appreciate their surroundings as much as their food.

If you are in Bimini you should definitely visit the Dolphin House museum at the southern tip of North Bimini Island. The unique building is a constant work in progress, having begun construction in 1993. It is formed from recycled materials and trash found washed up around the island.

In addition to providing insights into the history of the island, the museum is also a testament to just how much rubbish winds up in our oceans. The owner and builder offer guided tours of the house so you can get to know more about its construction and the man and cause behind it. 

Since the museum is constantly being added to and expanded as more trash is picked up around the island, it is worth visiting even if you have been before to see how the building has developed. 

Stay in Bimini Islands if you are a Floridian planning a quick trip; you enjoy walking and being out in nature; you want a small, remote island that still has some tourist comforts and conveniences.


7. Exuma Islands

The Exuma Islands, also known as the Exuma Cays, are a long line of over 350 individual islands. Many of these islands are so small that they remain uninhabited whilst others are some of the most popular tourist locations in The Bahamas. 

Some of the islands are even privately owned by wealthy celebrities, so a boat trip around this archipelago could be a fun way to get in some star spotting. In addition to the stars, the shallow waters surrounding these islands are also home to tons of incredible wildlife. 

If you have ever wanted to get up close to turtles or docile nurse sharks, this is a fabulous place to go. As long as you remember to respect the wildlife and give them their space, you are in for an incredible experience sharing water with some exotic animals. 

The largest and most highly populated of these islands is Great Exuma in the south. This is where you will find the widest range of accommodation options. The vast majority of hotels and resorts on the island are located along the eastern coastline. 

The Queen’s Highway runs along the length of the island’s seafront, so transport between the various towns is super convenient. Great Exuma is also home to Exuma International Airport, so it is the most convenient of the islands to get to. 

There’s plenty of hotels close to the airport, so if staying near to your point of transport is a priority then this is a good option. The convenience of the international airport also makes Great Exuma a good location for those traveling with children who do not wish to stay in a crowded city. 

You won’t have to fuss with getting cranky kids onto connecting flights and, with most of the hotels located along the singular main road, getting from the airport to your accommodation will be a breeze too. 

One of the islands, Big Major Cay is home to one of The Bahamas’ most unique wildlife tourist attractions. Also known as Pig Island, or Pig Beach, there is a semi-wild population of friendly pigs that inhabit the island. 

No one knows for certain exactly how they got to the otherwise empty island, only that they appeared in the 90’s and have been thriving ever since. 

Today there are over twenty pigs residing on Big Major Cay. They love tourists and will happily swim out to greet visitors. A popular tourist activity for visitors to The Bahamas is swimming with these sociable pigs and it is definitely a unique opportunity not to be passed up. 

Pig Island is quite a ways north, away from Great Exuma. However, it’s not as remote as it may seem. The neighboring island, Staniel Cay, boasts quite a few hotels and rental villas, as well as restaurants and convenience stores. 

During your stay in Exuma Cays, don’t forget to check out Sandpiper Arts & Crafts, Hoopers Bay Beach, Cocoa Plum Beach, Exuma Cay Land and Sea Park, and Three Sisters Beach.

There’s even a small airport on the island, making it super easy to travel to the area from elsewhere in The Bahamas.

Stay in the Exuma Islands if Swimming with pigs is at the top of your to-do list; You love getting close to animals in their natural environments; Taking a cruise around celebrity-owned islands and trying to spot the stars sounds fun; You don’t mind not having a large town or city close by.


8. Grand Bahama

As the name suggests, Grand Bahama is one of the largest islands in The Bahamas, located at the north end of The Bahamas. It is the closest of the main islands to the U.S, around 30 kilometers east of Florida, making it a popular spot for day trips and weekend breaks for Americans.

Grand Bahama is home to another of The Bahamas’ international airports, so it is one of the easiest islands to get to. Combined with its proximity to the U.S. this is one of the most convenient locations for American families to visit. 

The east end of Grand Bahama Island is largely uninhabited. There are a couple of small lodges to accommodate visitors who want to explore the shallows around the fragmented tip of the island, but no hotels or tourist facilities. 

There is one small restaurant catering to visitors to the little sea turtle sanctuary, but this is an area for day trips, not vacations. The vast majority of the action and infrastructure is to be found in the west of the island, particularly around the bustling city of Freeport. 

As one of the largest cities in The Bahamas, this is a busy tourist location that is extremely popular with visitors who appreciate the comforts and conveniences of larger towns. Freeport also boasts a unique landscape, particularly around its coastline. 

Various channels and waterways have been carved into the shoreline, creating a web of meandering canals and inland marinas. In the east end of the city these canals cut all the way across to the other side of the island. 

The 40-acre Lucayan National Park is home to a variety of tropical vegetation, mangrove ecosystems, and Gold Rock Beach. The unique cave system, the Lucayan Caverns is more than six miles of caves, caverns and charted tunnels.

Being both beautiful and unique, these inland waterways are a popular location for hotels and resorts. If you are looking for a room with a view over the water you will have plenty of options, even if they don’t face the ocean. 

Being that the city of Freeport stretches several miles along Grand Bahama’s southern coastline, there are plenty of beaches for visitors to enjoy without having to leave the city. You will find plenty of beach bars and restaurants to keep you refreshed throughout the day. 

You can also choose from a range of hotels that can have you sleeping just steps from the sand. If you manage to get tired of relaxing on the beach and want a bit more excitement, you can head to Pirate’s Cove Zipline and Water Park. 

Located on Taino Beach, this waterpark offers various inflatable slides and obstacles, water sports, and its own bar and restaurant. Guaranteed to keep the whole family entertained. 

For a break from the concrete jungle of the city, you can head to the Garden of the Groves at the east end of Freeport. The landscaped gardens utilize waterfalls, bridges, and tropical flora and fauna to create a winding network of paths that is well worth spending an afternoon exploring. 

For shopping, head to the Port Lucaya Marketplace and International Bazaar where you can buy local products and sample authentic Bahamian cuisine like Cracked Conch, Conch Salad, and Bahamian Stew Fish.

If a vibrant and varied nightlife scene is a vital part of your vacation, then this is definitely a place to consider. Between being one of the country’s main urban areas, as well as being a popular destination party trip from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The city caters to this thriving nightlife market with an excellent selection of bars, clubs, and casinos. There is not necessarily a particular area of Freeport that is home to the city’s nightlife scene. Rather you can find various venues scattered across the town, catering to the many resorts and hotel hubs. 

Stay in Grand Bahama if You are a Floridian planning a day trip or weekend break; You appreciate the convenience of staying in a larger city; A vibrant nightlife culture is a priority.


9. Andros Island

Technically speaking, Andros Island is the largest of all the islands of the Bahamas. In fact, by area, it is larger than all of the other islands in the archipelago combined.

In spite of this, it has a population of less than 8000 permanent residents, and no large town or city to speak of. It has 3 main towns Nicholl’s Town, Andros Town (Fresh Creek), and Congo Town.

You won’t find large chain hotels or resorts here. There is plenty of accommodation, but it caters to the healthy population of visitors who appreciate the island’s natural charm. It mainly consists of family-run guesthouses and small independent hotels, ideal for a more homely atmosphere.

This sparse population and lack of resort tourism make for a largely unspoiled landscape. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking and exploring nature, then this is a great location to consider. There are plenty of quiet trails leading through the trees and hills to remote lakes and tiny villages.

There are also several national parks and nature reserves on the island. This helps to ensure that the preserved nature of Andros Island will be protected for years to come. The island is largely fragmented, and in fact, is often considered to consist of three islands. 

Much of the island is made up of a large reef system that makes Andros Island a marvelous ecosystem for tropical marine life. Snorkelers and scuba divers are particularly drawn to Andros Island. The vast reefs and their wonderful wildlife offer a wonderland for marine explorers.

In addition to divers, the healthy populations of tropical fish make this a popular location for anglers. Andros island is even known by some as the bonefish capital of the world.

Despite feeling relatively remote, Andros Island is just a few kilometers and a short flight or ferry ride from New Providence. 

Stay in Andros Island if You enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving; You enjoy fishing; Hiking and exploring unspoiled forests, hills, and lakes is the ideal way to spend your vacation; You want to stay in a quiet, remote location, without being too far from the capital city; You prefer small hotels and guesthouses over large chain resorts; You want to see unique marine life and a barrier reef.


10. The Abaco Islands

The Abaco Islands are a small chain of islands directly east of Grand Bahama. Stretching across 120 miles, the islands have tons to offer, from national parks to bustling towns and glorious beaches. 

Abaco is known as the boating capital of The Bahamas, so if you visit you definitely need to get out on the waves. There are plenty of companies offering tours or fishing trips, so no need to worry even if you aren’t an experienced sailor. 

The main island of Great Abaco dominates the south end of the region. Its main town of Marsh Harbour is home to over a third of the population of the entire chain of islands. Here you will find all of the typical amenities and conveniences you would expect from a modern town. 

You will find a good selection of restaurants and bars here, particularly clustered around the northern waterfront overlooking Jerry Bay. It is a lovely neighborhood to enjoy dinner and drinks whilst watching the boats drift in and out of the bay.

While the town has almost everything you could need during your stay, it is much smaller and less crowded than the cities of New Providence and Grand Bahama. As such, Great Abaco is a middle ground between crowded tourist hubs and remote seclusion. 

The southern end of Great Abaco is home to Abaco National Park. The luscious forest is a lovely place to take a walk and observe the native wildlife of the island. The trails will lead you to several scenic lakes hidden deep within the trees. 

If you choose to visit Abaco, you have to visit more than just Great Abaco. The surrounding smaller islands each have their own charms and attractions. The best way to explore the whole chain is by boat. You can hire a boat yourself, or charter a guide to take you around the archipelago. 

Stay in the Abaco Islands if you want the convenience of a large town and the laid-back atmosphere of a small island; you enjoy sailing and fishing; you like the idea of exploring the seas around all the individual little islands.


11. Long Island

As the name suggests, Long Island is a long, thin island stretching through the southeast region of The Bahamas. It has a population of just over 3000 people, spread across its 80-mile length. 

Believed by many to be the most scenic of all the islands in The Bahamas, Long Island has a particularly beautiful and varied natural landscape. The sparse population and unspoiled wildlife make this a wonderful destination for anyone who likes to appreciate the world’s natural wonder. 

From salt flats and swampland to gorgeous beaches, Long Island boasts a wide range of terrains to explore. Hikers and ramblers can enjoy the ever-changing tracks and trails keeping them on their toes. Meanwhile, every corner of the island provides sweeping views of the diverse environment. 

The island is surrounded by sprawling reefs. This is a haven for all kinds of exotic marine life and proves a popular draw for snorkelers and scuba divers who enjoy exploring the world under the sea. The diverse populations of fish mean this is also a hotspot for anglers and sports fishing. 

Long Island is also home to the world’s second deepest saltwater blue holes, a great sinkhole in the ocean floor. As such it makes a popular location for divers, particularly freedivers looking to test their limits. 

If you would like to take a break from exploring the local landscape and spend some time relaxing and unwinding instead, you can head to one of the beautiful beaches found around the island. The south of Long Island is particularly well known for boasting luxurious soft white sand beaches.

Stay in Long Island if you enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors; you are a keen snorkeler or diver; you enjoy exploring unique marine locations; you want to stay surrounded by natural beauty, away from crowds and cities; you want to see blue holes.


12. Cat Island

A little bit of a misnomer, you won’t find many cats on Cat Island. The island was actually named for a notorious pirate, William Catt, who once used the area as a hiding spot for the treasure. Whilst you are unlikely to stumble upon pirate gold, many consider the lovely island the true treasure to be found.

A forty-minute flight from the capital city of Nassau, Cat Island is one of the more remote inhabited islands in The Bahamas. With a population of just over 1,500 residents, the island is the epitome of peace and tranquillity.

There is no main town on Cat Island, rather a number of tiny villages and settlements scattered across the island. Likewise, you won’t find any large contemporary hotels or resorts here. This is a region solely populated by independent lodges and family-run guesthouses.

If you are looking for a location to truly get away from it all and relax with nothing but beaches, forests, and local hospitality, then this is the island for you. There are just miles of unspoiled coastline and hills to explore, with far fewer tourists than you would find on the larger islands.

That’s not to say that Cat Island is complete without amenities. There are plenty of restaurants and small shops available along the island’s main road. Running along the west coast of Cat Island, many of these restaurants offer beautiful sea views along with delicious local food.

Near the south of Cat island is Mount Alvernia, the highest peak in The Bahamas. Hikers can head up the mountain via trails from The Bight Settlement, a small town to the west. Once you reach the top you’ll be met with stunning views of the island and ocean, as well as the ruins of an old monastery. 

The monastery, known as the Hermitage, was built by the English architect turned priest, Father Jerome in the 1940s. Jerome was later buried in a cave somewhere below the monastery. This fact, combined with the remote location of the building, lends it a somewhat spooky air. 

Stay in Cat Island if you are looking for a quiet escape; you don’t mind staying away from the convenience of larger towns or cities; you prefer independent, family-run guesthouses over large contemporary hotels


13. San Salvador Island

Also known as Watling’s Island, San Salvador is widely believed to be the first island visited by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. A monument stands at the point where it is believed he first stepped ashore on the west coast. 

Alternatively, divers and swimmers can visit the underwater monument where his ship’s anchor was supposedly dropped. 

San Salvador has a curious landscape, with much of the land area of the island taken up by vast lakes. Hikers of all abilities will enjoy wandering along the trails and discovering the varied plant and animal life that thrives in the unique environment.

The sprawling coral reefs surrounding the island make it a popular location for divers and snorkelers. Visitors can enjoy spending their days exploring the coral landscape and observing the diverse marine wildlife. 

When you’re done, you can relax on the soft white sand beach of one of San Salvador’s beaches. As one of the smallest and more remote of the inhabited islands of The Bahamas, San Salvador, and its beaches are typically much quieter than the larger tourist islands. 

The thriving outdoor activities market here ensures that there are plenty of hotels and restaurants for tourists to enjoy. Yet it retains much of its unspoilt natural peace and quiet.

Stay in San Salvador Island if You want to visit the first island sighted by Christopher Columbus during his first trip to the Americas; You enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving and exploring coral reefs; You enjoy hiking around lakes; A quiet island away from the tourist crowds but with plenty to do is ideal.


14. Crooked Island

Crooked Island is the wide northern section of the main island in the Acklins Island chain. The Acklins Islands are some of the more remote and secluded locations in the Bahamas. Located at the far south of The Bahamas archipelago, there are few amenities and tourist facilities to be found here.

The island boasts a single supermarket, right in the middle between Crooked Island and Acklins, and just a few restaurants spread across the island. This is a location for those who really want to get away from it all, and are happy to keep themselves entertained.

The area is particularly popular for fishing. There is a great population of bonefish throughout The Bahamas and anglers from around the globe flock here to take advantage of it. The crooked island is home to several fishing lodges, with particular emphasis on bonefish.

The sheltered bays and remarkable clear and shallow waters make Crooked Island a particularly ideal location for fishing. Anglers can wade out as far as five miles offshore without the water rising past their knees. 

If you have little experience with fishing but are interested in taking advantage of this prime location to give it a go, then you are in luck. Many of the various fishing lodges and clubs in the area offer qualified fishing guides and instructors to help new anglers make the most of their visit.

Stay in Cooked Island if You are looking for a remote location to enjoy fishing without being surrounded by people; You don’t feel the need to stay near a large town or city; Having few amenities such as shops and restaurants is not an issue


🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in the Bahamas:

Where to stay in the Bahamas: Best Areas to Stay in the Bahamas

In conclusion, Nassau / New Providence, Paradise Island, Exuma Island, Grand Bahama, and Cat Island are the best places to stay in The Bahamas for first-timers and tourists. They are generally safe and popular locations for visitors with an range of amenities for visitors.

Even if you already had a good idea of what exactly awaits visitors in The Bahamas, this article will probably have revealed even more attractions and landmarks worth visiting. Yet still, there is so much more waiting to be discovered when you get there. 

Hopefully, you now know exactly which part of this diverse region best suits you and where to start looking for your perfect accommodation. Now all that’s left to do is pick your hotel, and start booking an amazing vacation that you will remember for a lifetime.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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