A vacation in the Bahamas inspires visions of sunset cocktails, relaxing spa days, and walks on pink-sand beaches. And it’s true. The Bahamas are the perfect place for some R&R and soaking up the sun. (Photo credit: Yacht Unbridled)
But don’t be fooled. There’s plenty more to do than lounge and relax.
In fact, the Bahamas is one of the Caribbean’s best destinations for the adventurous. Across the nation’s 700 islands, you’ll find a world of exhilarating experiences to partake in – from cliff jumping, to swimming with sharks.
We’ve highlighted the best of the best. Bottom line: If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, try any of these six Bahamas adventures.
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Swimming with Nurse Sharks
Head to Compass Cay in the Exumas, the exclusive chain of islands that are popular for Bahamas yacht charters, and cross swimming with sharks off your bucket list. The marina at Compass Cay is home to a school of friendly nurse sharks. (Some of which measure 9 feet in length!)
Beyond the sharks, though, a trip to the privately-owned Compass Cay is an unforgettable experience. The island has one of the most beautiful marinas in the Bahamas, with crystal-clear sapphire water, so be sure to bring a camera.
Explore Thunderball Grotto
Thunderball Grotto just sounds like a place you have to see to believe. And this network of underwater caves doesn’t disappoint. The destination earned its name after being featured in the 1965 James Bond movie, “Thunderball,” and it offers an afternoon of adventure for visitors.
The cave system can be reached by a tiny, almost-hidden entrance. At low tide, visitors can snorkel in and explore all of the hidden aqua-marine grottos where you’ll be treated to a dazzling display of colorful fish.
Play with Swimming Pigs
Big Major Cay is a stunning uninhabited island in the Exumas. And although it has some truly incredible beaches to explore, its most famous is Pig Beach. The beach takes its name from the cuddly pigs that populate the sandy shore. And the pigs are as friendly as they are cute. You can actually spend an afternoon swimming with these friendly beasts.
Getting here is part of the adventure too. Located near Staniel Cay, visitors have to take a 20-minute boat ride to see the sights on Big Major Cay.
Snorkeling and Diving Galore
The Bahamas are one of the best dive and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Thanks to its varied reefs and exciting dive sites, snorkelers can certainly whet their appetite for adventure. Some of the best places to go for snorkeling include:
- Bimini – A stunning island in the Abacos, Bimini is protected by a number of black coral barrier reefs, many reachable from shore. The coral gardens of Bimini are known for their resident turtles.
- Elbow Cay – Another Abacos hotspot, Elbow Cay is home to Mermaid Beach, where you’ll find one of the most colorful reefs in the islands.
- Stocking Island – One of the best snorkeling spots in the Exumas, Stocking Island is home to a number of natural blue holes and vibrant coral gardens.
Want to dive? There are plenty of incredible dive spots too. The James Bond Wrecks are a favorite spot. During the filming of Thunderball, a ship was sunk off the coast of Nassau, and today it’s a favorite spot for divers. Another popular wreck is the HMS Conqueror, a British naval ship that sunk in 1865. Located just off of Rum Cay, the site offers a perfect beginner spot in just 30 feet of water.
Cliff Dive at the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole on Hoffman’s Cay is a massive freshwater hole located in the middle of the jungle. And a trip here provides a day full of adventure. The Blue Hole is reachable only by boat, and it’s a short hike from a beach on the cay.
But once you get here, the adventure begins. A 20-foot cliff surrounds the 600-foot-wide hole, and visitors can jump from the heights for an exhilarating dive. Since it’s a bit off the beaten path in the Berry Islands, it’s usually without the crowds.
Adventure Awaits in the Bahamas
If you’re looking for a place you can relax and lounge by the pool, you’ll find that in the Bahamas. But there’s so much more to the Bahamas than fruity cocktails and beautiful beaches.
It’s the ultimate Caribbean adventure destination. Bottom line: If you’re looking for an active vacation, the Bahamas fits the bill perfectly.