An English-speaking archipelago that begins about 50 miles off the south coast of Florida, the 29 islands, 661 cays, and a few thousand rocks that make up the Bahamas differ dramatically from one to the next -- from bustling, modern business centers in Nassau, to flashy casinos packed with thousands of docked cruise ship passengers, to Americanized shopping centers that house a McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, Tony Roma's, and five-star outposts from Food Network denizens like Bobby Flay, Nobu Matsuhisa, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (all at Atlantis), to entirely isolated beaches far removed from an airport, a bank, a grocery store, or anything else. But, uniformly, you'll find a pleasantly infectious culture focused on conch, beer, and slow-paced good times.
The great majority of hotels and resorts are concentrated in Nassau (on the island of New Providence) and on Grand Bahama Island, which also have the two most prominent international airports.
In Nassau, the hotels here tend to be grouped in two areas, either on Cable Beach (where there's the Sheraton Nassau Beach and Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino) about 1.5 miles west of historic downtown Nassau, or across the port from downtown on resort-saturated Paradise Island, a small enclave that feels a bit like a giant golf community and includes one of the largest, more elaborate mega-resorts in the world, Atlantis, which has, among other features, a world-class casino, a dolphin habitat, a massive water park, couture designer shops, high-profile concert venue, and some 40 bars and restaurants.
On Grand Bahama, most hotels are concentrated in the Port Lucaya area, a bustling shopping and dining area that's popular among cruise ship passengers for its gorgeous beaches. The largest and nicest is the Radisson Our Lucaya Resort, which has more than 1,300 rooms, four pools, a handful of upscale restaurants, and the popular Isle of Capri Casino. For a little more remote luxury, and a lot more quiet relaxation, there's also Old Bahama Bay, about a 45-minute drive from the airport on the western tip of the island.)
|Airports:||Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) (formerly Nassau International Airport)|
|Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO)|
|Time Zone:||Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5)|
|Peak:||Dec. 15 - April 15|
|Off-Peak:||April 15 - Dec. 15|
|Hurricanes:||June 1 - Nov. 30|
|Electricity:||120V, 60Hz (U.S. compatible)|
|Tipping:||15-20% in restaurants (if not already added to the bill); 15% in taxis|