Bon Voyage to… The Bahamas

The Bahamas are a great idea for empty nesters looking for a taste of international travel that’s not too far from the States. With Freeport located less than a hundred miles from Ft. Lauderdale, it is either a quick one-hour flight or 3.5-12 hour ferry ride away. The Bahamas has numerous resorts, pristine white sand beaches and even a waterpark for the kid in all of us. The beaches abound with small privately owned stands offering food and refreshments. With an abundance of natural beauty, many ways to relax, and numerous activities to take in, we found that the Bahamas offer something for everyone to enjoy.

Swimming with the Fish…or Catching Them!

The best way to enjoy the warm turquoise waters of the Bahamas is by snorkeling. Snorkeling in the Bahamas gives travelers the ability to swim alongside Blacktip and Whitetip reef sharks, Whale sharks, Eagle rays, Hawksbill turtles, Parrotfish and multiple species of octopus. All these species inhabit the third largest reef system in the world. Film buffs can even snorkel in Thunderball Grotto, where parts of the eponymous film were shot just off Staniel Cay.

The Bahamas also offers world class fishing with prized catches like Tuna, Amberjack, Grouper and White Marlin. All these fish are abundant throughout the summer. Fly fishermen have long been drawn to the shallow waters surrounding many of the islands. The southernmost islands are regularly visited by fishermen looking to explore the flats when the seas become too rough for deepwater fishing.

Excursions into the Wild

With only 30 islands in the Bahamas inhabited, there is an abundance of natural landscapes to see. The highest point in the Bahamas is only 207 ft above sea level, which means almost everyone can enjoy walking around the islands.

Don’t think you’ll run out of nature to see and experience either. There are a whopping 32 national parks! The favorites are Lucayan on Grand Bahama or Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve on Eleuthera. The rocky Stocking Island,which protects Great Exuma’s port from the Atlantic Ocean’s waves,is wonderful for taking in a coastal hike or hilltop excursion. You cansee magnificent views from the rocky cliffs.

Another can’t miss natural area is the Glass Window Bridge along the Queen’s Highway on Eleuthera. Visitors can park cars along the shoulder of the road, grab something to eat from a local store on either side of the bridge,and spend an hour or two looking north towards the dark blue waters of the Atlantic then south at the brighter turquoise waters of Exuma Sound in the Caribbean Sea. The contrast in colors makes for a view unlike any other in the world.

Feasting and Merry-Making

The Bahamas, like many Caribbean islands,has a long tradition of enjoying food and drink along the beach. Arawak Cay is the go-to spot for the ubiquitous fish fry where the day’s catch is fried in oil spiced with hot pepper. You can enjoy this delicious fried fish with a cold beer or a fruity umbrella drink in a glass or a coconut. If feasting and drinking are your idea of a good time, you also can enjoy samples of their different hand-made alcohols. Just make sure to buy a few bottles since they don’t export off the island.

You’ll soon find that the Bahamas offers more entertainment than simply relaxing on the beach and taking in the sun. Visitors can surf, windsail and paraglide at beaches on the major islands.

For those needing a respite from all the sun and sand,there are several golf courses or the John Watling’s Distillery on New Providence to visit.

With its location so close to Florida, the Bahamas are the perfect entry point to the Caribbean and for international travel. The blend of great weather, beautiful sights and variety of activities make it a great destination for empty nesters wanting to enjoy a tropical vacation.

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