The Bahamas is a vast archipelago with lots of islands to explore, yet most travelers focus on the more populated Freeport, Paradise Island and Nassau. This means missing some truly special Bahamian places that are remote, underrated, intimate, or all of the above. So where in the Bahamas can you find these travel gems? Seasoned travelers prefer to keep these places to themselves, but we are letting you in on these secrets. For raw experience and a totally different perspective on the Bahamas, check out these hidden travel gems.
The Abacos have miles of uninhabited and stunning beaches to explore, go snorkeling, diving, fishing, sailing, along with a few select accommodations, bars and restaurants. The waters are so crystal clear that you can see the colorful corals and the ocean floor almost as if you are looking through a glass. It's also an island-hopping paradise as the cays are easily accessible by ferry or boat. The main island was settled by the English colony which explains why the towns and villages have the seafaring New England feel to them ? with beautifully preserved architecture and a touch of Bahamian pastels.
Eleuthera is a 110-mile-long fishing island with pristine white and pink sand beaches, spectacular barrier reefs, secluded coves and a lazy pace. Like the Abacos, much of the architecture on this island was influenced by the early English settlers. There are surprisingly very few tourists who come here although it is popular among celebrities and royals. The island offers a wide array of activities for adventurers and beach lovers who want to get away from the crowd and have the shore all to themselves. Eleuthera means ?free? in Greek, and true enough, you'll feel a complete sense of freedom when you're on the island.
If you're looking for a vacation where you're likely to see wild dolphins, giant starfish and swimming pigs more than people on the beach, then go to the Exuma islands. Exuma is an archipelago that is now divided into three major areas ? the Exuma Cays, which act as a playground for the rich and famous; Little Exuma, which is known for its laid-back atmosphere; and Great Exuma, which is the main island and activity hub. Each island is remote and unbelievably beautiful, with shades of blue, aquamarine and amethyst in deeper waters that turn to translucent jade near the shores. No matter which cay you go to, you'll find footprint-free beaches that make for a very unique Bahamian experience.
Bimini is the nearest Bahamian island to the United States ? just a 25-minute plane ride away or a few hours by boat from Miami. Like its neighboring Bahamian islands, Bimini boasts miles of pristine beaches and countless shades of blue waters. Two main islands make up the Biminis ? North Bimini and South Bimini, plus numerous cays. What the Biminis have that the others don't are several landmarks that are said to be of mystical origins, including Bimini Road, which some believe is a remnant of the legendary Lost City of Atlantis. Its history is also as fascinating as the islands themselves. The island was Ernest Hemingway's favorite summer escape and it's also where Martin Luther King, Jr. composed some parts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. It is a favorite of snorkelers and SCUBA divers because of its rich underwater marine life that is considered by many to be the best in all of the Bahamas. A lot of new hotels have been built recently but the island remains quiet, simple, and a bit Bohemian.