Sometimes we all deserve a really special vacation. For some of us it could be heading home for the holidays to see our family, for others it could be jetting off to the Caribbean. Whilst family are great, in this instance, we’re heading to the Caribbean, or the Bahamas to be precise. Comprised of 16 major islands, the Bahamas is truly unlike any other place on Earth.
White sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, an incredible variety of flora and fauna, as well as wonderful weather all year round make this country the dream destination for so many of us. So, if you’re heading to the Bahamas why not really push the boat out? We’ve rounded up the bougiest boutique hotels, the most marvelous menus, and the superlative sightseeing spots to ensure that your stay in the Bahamas is as luxurious as it gets.
Stay at the Atlantis Resort
If you enjoy the sort of holiday where you don’t have to lift a finger or leave the resort to thoroughly enjoy yourself then the Atlantis could be the perfect place to make your base in the Bahamas. There are five distinct hotels to choose from, each varying in price and style. The Cove is the most luxury of the options, allowing guests their own suites with pool views.
The resort itself is built around a 62-hectare waterpark, complete with wide-open lagoons, giant waterslides, cascading waterfalls, an enormous aquarium, and even opportunities to swim with the fish. The marine habitats here are world-class and the tireless conservation work means that you can enjoy watching all kinds of native marine species without a hint of guilt.
As well as the watery entertainment, the resort is also famous for its casino. Here you’ll find all of the table games you could ask for, as well as a selection of traditional and video slots. Although the casino at this place is pretty special, if you’re feeling tired from your day of sightseeing then you can always enjoy some of the fun upstairs.
The resort offers free wifi so you can recreate the casino experience from the comfort of your bedroom. Sites like CasinoSmash offer the same selection of games as the hotel, but you can play them in your pajamas.
For many people, one of the most memorable things about the Bahamas is their swimming pigs. If you’re an animal lover, or just want a really great photo for the ‘gram then a trip to Exuma to see the pigs is an absolute necessity. You’ll find the pigs basking on the white sandy beaches, paddling in the shallows, and some even properly swimming a distance from the land.
The cool water helps to regulate their temperature in the Bahamian sun, so take a leaf out of their book and join them. Although there are no strict rules about swimming with the pigs, it’s generally kindest to give them a little space and if one starts to swim away from you then to leave it alone.
Once you’ve had your fill of porcine entertainment, you should make your way to The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. This National Park was built in 1958 and was the first of its kind. Whilst many marine nature reserves at the time allowed people to take home shells as souvenirs, this one was the first ‘no-take reserve’ in the Caribbean.
If you want to explore properly then you can hire full diving equipment, or just a mask and snorkel and take to the waters. The visibility here is incredible, so you can properly explore the reef and get really close to all of the fascinating creatures that call it their home.
Eat at Shanna’s Cove
When you’re surrounded by such clean and abundant waters, it makes sense to eat seafood. In Orange Creek, there really is only one restaurant that stands out above all of the rest and that is Shanna’s Cove. This romantic spot changes its menu every single night depending on what has been caught fresh from the sea and which vegetables are at the peak of their season. Every guest sits down to three delicious and creative courses, all made with ingredients sourced from within a couple of miles of your very table.
Whilst the flavor of the fish is always allowed to sing the loudest, it is always complemented with subtle touches, such as a rich jus or a light foam. Desserts are also made in house and are generally a little more complex than those you might find elsewhere. A rum soaked barbecued banana is undoubtedly a delicious thing, but Shanna’s Cove elevates these Bahamian classics with the sort of touch only a great pastry chef can manage.
Take your time to really savor every mouthful, the chef here is a true artist. Oh, and if you can, book yourself a table on the decking. It’s lovely to take in the sea air, but mainly, the views over the ocean are truly breathtaking. If you arrive early to enjoy a before-dinner cocktail, you might even see tonight’s dinner being hauled in.
Visit the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
If you’re after a bit of more high-brow culture, then the National Art Gallery is the perfect place to find it. The largest collection of art on display to the public in the whole of the Bahamas, you only need to skip a couple of blocks from your accommodation to find it. This gallery is home to hundreds of incredible pieces by Bahamian artists, ranging from paintings, to sculptures, photographs, and ceramics.
Whatever your preference in art is, you’re likely to find something to suit it here. As well as being home to some beautiful creations, it is also a welcome view into Bahamian culture. Whilst some art galleries elsewhere can feel a little stuffy, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is a welcoming riot of color from the moment you step through the doors. If you really want to understand the country’s culture then make the time to look through the Art Library. This is a fascinating collection of pieces through the ages, encapsulating various art movements and providing a time capsule right into the past of the Bahamas.