I might have only been in the Bahamas for a few short days, but I soaked up as much culture as I could. Whether you’re visiting with your special someone, your bestie or heading off on a solo adventure, here are a few things that are better in the Bahamas.
Carnival rolls around twice a year
I’m going to kick things off with a brief recap of my first Junkanoo experience. This was the sole reason I was in town and while I’m not a seasoned carnival goer, I had such a blast taking part in this twice-a-year festival.
In addition to three nights of concerts featuring both local and international artists, there was a decadent parade where Bahamians showcased their costumes—a craft that can take up to a few months. That’s right, there are certain rules people must follow like ensuring that their outfits are primarily constructed out of cardboard and natural materials. My favorite costume featured kelp straight from the ocean.
If you’re in town during Junkanoo, make sure to stop by the Junkanoo Expo Museum. In addition to learning about this revered festival, you can try on costumes like the one pictured. After wearing a few different headdresses, I have a newfound respect for the people who walk for hours in the parade each year. They are heavy and the sun is hot!
Palm trees for days
Seeing that skyscrapers are more my habitat (I live in New York), I’m probably a bit more excited about palm trees than the average person. That said, the Bahamas—in particular Nassau and Paradise Island—have hundreds of them and they provide some much needed shade in the afternoons.
The lovely Ashlea from A Globe Well Travelled snapped this picture mere minutes before we got lost in the hugeness that is Atlantis. Inspired by the “lost” city of Atlantis, the resort does have a magical appeal to it; that, coupled with dozens of attractions, results in many a visitor getting lost. All that considered, I’d definitely recommend spending a few hours exploring the grounds.
Underwater tunnels give you serious mermaid vibes
I grew up during the Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen era (they’re about 6 months older than me), so visiting Atlantis has been on my bucketlist for nearly two decades. That, and I once thought I was turning into a mermaid when I was, in fact, drowning. So, it’s safe to say that my love for all things ocean, fantasy and imagination, made for a truly memorable day.
At Atlantis, there are many activities to choose from, and in my opinion, some are more ethical than others. While I wouldn’t want to “play with dolphins” again (been there, regretted that), I did really enjoy viewing fish and other wildlife from afar. This tunnel, taken in the Predator Lagoon, felt otherworldly.
Every hour is Happy Hour
During my whirlwind weekend trip to Nassau and Paradise Island, I stayed at the Warwick. The property offers an all-inclusive option, which I took full advantage of. Unlike other all-inclusive resorts I’ve stayed at in the past, the Warwick felt smaller and less overwhelming, a major plus for introverts!
Maybe I got lucky with the dates, but the resort wasn’t too crowded, which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. During my free time, I usually caught up on emails by the pool or treated myself to a fruity cocktail. It’s not every day that you’re in paradise, so don’t feel guilty about indulging.
There’s always a beach within walking distance
Even though the focus of my trip was Junkanoo, it’s worth mentioning that there are many beaches to choose from throughout the Bahamas. Since our group didn’t have a dedicated beach day, I was really happy that there’s a little body of water, called Harbor Beach, right on property.
Like many tropical destinations, beaches in the Bahamas offer all sorts of water sports—snorkeling and diving to name a few—along with upscale beachfront dining. Since Paradise Island is fairly compact, many visitors don their bikinis by day and then change into something a bit fancier for dinner and drinks.
Sunsets are truly Insta-worthy
Last but not least, the sunsets here are pretty breathtaking. I wasn’t staying at one of the ocean-facing, balcony suites, so I made sure to take a stroll each evening. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, try to plan your dinner reservation to coincide with the sunset, as many beachfront restaurants offer great views.
Not staying near a beach? Hop on over to Junkanoo Beach for a casual evening. The beach pavilion is always busy with locals hosting cookouts (usually on Saturdays) and tourists exploring the area. The cruise ship dock is only a few minutes walk away, so keep this in mind if you’re hoping to avoid crowds as part of your backdrop.
What’s your favorite beach break? Tell me in the comments below!
This post is in collaboration with The islands of the Bahamas. All opinions are my own.
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