Around the World from A to Z: Bahamas

With its coldest winters averaging a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the archipelago located in the tropical Caribbean, the Bahamas are a hot vacation destination year-round.  There’s plenty to do on the land and in the islands’ surrounding seas. The beauty of the land is immediately apparent, with stunning beaches, reefs and islands, diverse marine life, and a booming tourist industry.

In 1692, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Yes, we all know this rhyme.  But did you know that Christopher Columbus first set foot on the New World in the Bahamas?  The first place Columbus landed in the New World was in San Salvador, Bahamas.  Humans had inhabited the islands already. When the European explorers landed, they gave the islanders red hats and beads. In the 1600s, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates. During the American Civil War, the islands’ trade industry prospered from dealing with Britain. In the late 1800s, the tourism industry in the Bahamas opened up and grew. The islands gained independence in 1973, becoming a free country.

The Bahamas are now classified as a developing nation with a stable economy. Much of the country’s income relies on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism actually accounts for 40% of the GDP and employs half the workforce in the country.  Starting in the 2000s, the Bahamas had a major economic boom.  Countless hotels and resorts were built. However, after the tragic events on 9/11 occurred, tourism decreased because of the tourists’ fear of traveling on airplanes.  Although Bahama’s tourism industry did falter during that period, tourism is back up to high standards and the country is flourishing.

Credit: Ricymar Fine Art Photography

Credit: Ricymar Fine Art Photography

Possibly the most popular attractions in the Bahamas are the beaches. Tourists flock to the islands to spend the day in the crystal-clear turquoise waves or on the soft pink or pure white sand. Many of the aforementioned hotels are built right next to the beaches for easy access and a lovely view out the windows. There are hundreds of beaches in the Bahamas. Some are popular and well-known, such as the Abacos or Andros beaches. However, many, many others are very secluded, to the point where they lack names. Often, the first footprints on those beaches each day will last the entire day without being wiped out by others.

Today, the Bahamas are mostly known for the tropical weather and and semi-tropical islands surrounded by coral reefs, clear water, and miles upon miles of hot, sandy beaches.

The country consists of several hundred islands, islets, and cays. Of all those islands, only about 30 are actually inhabited.

With only 5% of the islands populated, the country is a massive ecological reserve.  There are a total of 12 National Parks on the islands’ premises. Many types of animals reside on the islands, such as the Abaco parrot. The Abaco parrot is native to the Bahamas. The parrot is the only bird in the western hemisphere that nests on the ground. Also, many members of the whale family can be found in the Bahamian waters, such as sperm whales and spotted dolphins.  Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales in the entire world.  Sperm whales, on average, weigh 60 or more tons. Spotted dolphins like to stay close to the Bahama’s shores and stay in the Caribbean’s warms seas year round. Many other ocean mammals also thrive in the Caribbean’s seas.

All in all, the Bahamas is a wonderful country.  The Bahamas is as close to paradise as you could possibly get.  The history and culture are rich and fascinating, the beaches and coves are stunning, and the wildlife and National Parks are a huge plus.  Not only is the land and surrounding seas perfect, but people have made this archipelago eco-friendly.  Two thumbs way up for the stunning islands of the Bahamas.

Next in series: ‘Around the World from A to Z: China’ by urvi011235


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