The Bahamas. Seven hundred islands. Twenty-five hundred cays. Four days of vacation. What do you do?
From Nassau to the Out Islands, here’s our cheat sheet for the Bahamian best in exploring, imbibing and just plain loafing.
1. Kayaking & kiteboarding, Exumas
Hundreds of cays swoosh over a 120-mile span of crystal blue in the Exumas, a shimmering natural playground anchored by lonely coves and critter-filled reefs. Glide past palmettos and plovers near George Town or paddle to iguana-owned shores in Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. Adrenaline junkies may prefer swooping the gusty banks by kiteboard.
2. A Goombay smash at Miss Emily’s, Abacos
Miss Emily’s Blue Bee shines like a bright blue gumdrop near the center of New Plymouth, a gingerbread town clinging tight to windswept Green Turtle Cay on Abacos. For decades, yachties and day-trippers have drifted into the Blue Bee for jug-poured goombay smashes – the drink was created here – and the easygoing charm of Violet Smith, Miss Emily’s daughter. Tack your business card to the wall.
Ferries depart the Green Turtle Ferry Dock near Treasure Cay ($15 roundtrip).
3. Diving with friends, Andros
Divers swap stories and lies at Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros, where the only thing better than peering over the Tongue of the Ocean is talking up the adventure with friends. And everyone’s a friend at this affable, family-owned retreat near Fresh Creek. With its home-cooked buffets, eco-friendly accommodations and laugh-filled happy hours, Small Hope serves up everything but the camp songs.
4. Junkanoo, Nassau
Christmas doesn’t leave Nassau on lullabies and sugarplums. It parades out of town in a jostling blast of whistles, horns, drums, and cowbells that whirls down Bay Street in the wee hours of Boxing Day. In this brightly costumed celebration, which traces its roots to West Africa and plantation-era religious rites, neighborhood teams compete for prizes.
If you miss the parade on Boxing Day, there’s a second one on New Year’s Day and a warm-up in the summer.
5. Stylish loafing, Harbour Island, Eleuthera
Roving roosters and sputtering golf carts are part of the charm in Dunmore Town, a chichi Harbour Island village where Wall Streeters, supermodels and kitesurfers come for the shimmering pink sand beach…
Read more: Greg Johnston, Lonely Planet