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The Bahamas is a coral archipelago consisting of some 700 low-lying islands, and over 2,000 cays (pronounced “keys”). The highest hills, on Cat Island, are less than 400 ft and most islands have a maximum height of 100 ft. The total area of the islands is about 5,400 square miles, roughly the same as Jamaica.

The whole archipelago extends for about 600 miles southeast from the Mantanilla shoal off the coast of Florida to 50 miles north of Haiti. Some of the smaller cays are privately owned but most of them are uninhabited. The main tourist areas are Paradise Island and Cable Beach, on New Providence, and Freeport, on Grand Bahama, where huge resorts attract mass tourism. Most cruise ships come in to Nassau, the capital, on New Providence, and its main shopping street can be packed when several ships are in port. The other islands, known as the “Family Islands”, or “Out Islands”, are largely unspoilt and include Bimini, the Berry Islands, Abaco, Eleuthera (these two are particularly attractive), the Exumas, Andros, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Inagua, Acklins and Crooked Island. The water around these islands and the smaller cays changes from deep blue to pale turquoise according to depth and underwater features, producing spectacularly beautiful colour schemes when seen from the air and a huge playground for all manner of watersports: sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling and anything else you can think of.

The islands are made up of limestone over 5,000 m deep, most of it Oolite, laid down for more than 150 million years on a gradually sinking sea bed. New material accumulated constantly and the seas of the Bahamas Platform remained remarkedly shallow, often only a few metres deep. From the air, the different shades of turquoise, ultramarine and blue in these shallow waters are spectacular. On land, the soil is thin and infertile except for a few pockets of fertile soil. In many places, bare limestone rock is exposed at the surface while much land is swampy, impenetrable and uninhabitable. There are many large cave systems, including the impressive blue holes, formed when sea levels were lower and since flooded. There are no rivers or streams on any of the islands, but there is some freshwater, found close to the surface but resting on underlying saltwater. If wells are drilled too deep, they produce brackish or saltwater. Andros has a surplus of freshwater, which is barged to Nassau. Most people drink bottled water. Desalination plants are being built.

About 15 island areas have been developed. They have a total population of about 287,000; about two thirds live in New Providence and 16% in Grand Bahama. The weather can be pleasant in the winter season although cold fronts from the North American continent can bring strong north winds, heavy rain and surprisingly low temperatures. The summer months are hot, humid and often windless, with frequent thunderstorms. In August 1992 Hurricane Andrew hit the Bahamas, making over 1,200 homeless, killing four people and causing damage of over US$250mn. North Eleuthera was badly damaged. In October 1996 Hurricane Lili destroyed houses and crops and cut power lines in Exuma, Long Island and other islands after passing over Cuba. In June 1997 unprecedented rainfall and a spring tide caused flooding in New Providence while a tornado struck Hope Town, damaging boats and power supplies. In 1999 Hurricane Floyd hit Abaco, Cat Island and Eleuthera before heading for Grand Bahama and Florida. Wind speeds of 100 mph were recorded on Nassau, where coastal areas were flooded and power cut off, but on Eleuthera winds reached 155 mph and about 25% of houses were damaged. Businesses soon got back to normal, however, and there is little evidence of storm damage now.

 



 


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Sun Seeker Vacations is a travel consulting company that specializes in all-inclusive resort vacations in the Caribbean and Mexico. All Inclusive Honeymoons, a division of Sun Seeker Vacations, is our all-inclusive honeymoon vacation consulting division catering only to honeymoon resorts and locations. Our goal is to ensure that your vacation is filled with wonderful memories to build upon. We provide you with all the information you need to make the right vacation choice. Our quality customer service is something everyone deserves. As Preferred Sandals Specialists and a SuperClubs Platinum Agency, Sun Seeker Vacations offers expertise on the island resort vacations that we market. We offer 21 years of combined knowledge in the travel industry and have traveled to more than 23 islands, many of them, several times.