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  • Bahamas Tourist Office

    Market St , P.O. Box N-3701 , Nassau , Bahamas

    It’s Better in The Bahamas.

    Proximity/Geography
    Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida in the United States, the tropical archipelago is an easy and convenient destination to escape to year-round. For centuries, the close proximity has attracted all kinds of people: Native Americans. Puritans. Explorers. Even pirates. Now it’s your turn. Discover all 700 islands and the hospitality of the Bahamian people. Paradise is just a short plane ride from Miami International Airport, South Florida, and many airlines now offer direct flights to Nassau/Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island or The Out Islands. You can also sail into one of the 32 ports of entry. 

    People
    When your home resembles paradise, it’s pretty easy to see why so many Bahamians have a laid-back attitude. They are  humble people who love to celebrate. Weddings and funerals are both important social events there. It is an opportunity to celebrate the new life starting and the life lived. Bahamians take great pride in their storied past.

    The majority of Bahamians live on New Providence Island, home of the capital city, Nassau. You will find most are of West African descent whose ancestors were enslaved and brought here to work on cotton plantations. The majority of the other residents are descendants of English settlers. Some are even related to Loyalists who fled the southern U.S. during the American Revolution. When Britain abolished slavery in 1834, life on the islands changed dramatically. Plantation life ended and locals tried their hand at sponging, fishing or farming. The lack of fertile cropland led our people to become a nation of seafarers.

    Language
    The friendly nature makes it easy to strike up a conversation with a Bahamian. English is the official language, although, you might hear Bahamian English. It’s a mixture of Queen’s diction, African influence and island dialect. The “h” is often dropped, so it sounds like “ouse” for “house” or “t’anks” for “thanks.”

    The dialect and idioms were influenced by African slaves, English Puritans and other settlers. Because of this combination, you will hear a unique language found only on The Islands Of The Bahamas. For instance, if you hear “day clean” they mean “daybreak” and “first fowl crow” means the first cry a rooster makes in the morning. These idioms are typical of Bahamian English.

    Government
    The Bahamas is one of the most politically stable countries in the world. Their constitution is based on the Westminster Model: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and Judicial Branch. The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, all former British colonies, and recognize Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State. Her Majesty’s representative is the Governor-General. Our Cabinet constitutes the executive branch and has control over the Government. The Cabinet is comprised of at least nine Ministers inclusive of the Prime Minister and Attorney General.
    Parliament constitutes the Legislative Branch, which is made up of a Senate and a House of Assembly. Subject to the provision of their Constitution, Parliament may make laws for peace, order and good government.

    Weather
    The trade winds have blessed the Bahamas with warm year-round weather. Winter lows average a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit and summer highs with high humidity at around 80–90, with a gentle dip at night of just 5 to 7 degrees. The result? A climate where you can have fun anytime of the day, any season.

    Hurricane Season
    This season officially lasts from June to November, but that shouldn’t discourage the visitor at all. Reports of bad weather are often less than accurate, causing some U.S. visitors to cancel their vacations for no reason. If the reports do turn out to be true, many Bahamian hotels have a Hurricane Cancellation Policy that mitigates risk. Visitors who cancel during a hurricane can receive an immediate refund with no penalties. If you do happen to get caught in a hurricane, despite everything, hotels will continue to offer courteous service and extend the lowest possible rate.

    Rainy Season
    Even paradise needs to cool off with a little rain now and then. The islands have rain year-round, which explains the lush vegetation. Squalls and thundershowers pass through quickly, so the rain never has to ruin your day. May and June are the months with most rain, typically with about twice as much falling in the northern islands as in the southern ones.

    Art/Music/Dance
    Self-expression is at the core of every Bahamian. Whether through colorful art, lively music or soulful dancing, it is a part of the people and it reflects the beauty of the slands.

    Music plays a big part in Bahamian culture. Throughout the islands, you’ll hear traces of African rhythms, Caribbean calypso, English folk songs and a unique Bahamian goombay traditional music, which combines African musical traditions with European colonial influences. Goombay can be traced back to slavery and is storytelling and dancing performed to a fast-tempoed “goom-bahhh” beat on a goatskin drum.

    African slaves had very few resources to create instruments. Rake and scrape bands had drums made out of a pork barrel and goatskin, a carpenter’s saw that was scraped with a metal file, maracas, rhythm sticks, and a bass violin made from a washtub and string. Today, rake and scrape bands use modern instruments mixed with saws and goatskin drums.

    Bahamian Cuisine
    Being an international destination, you can rest assured that you can find any type of food here. But while you’re in the Bahamas, give your taste buds a chance to discover Bahamian cuisine. It’s spicy and uniquely flavored. Seafood is the staple of the Bahamian diet. Fresh conch scored with a knife and sprinkled with lime juice and spices is delicious. Other delicacies you’ll enjoy are land crabs and the Bahamian “rock lobster.” Locals also love fresh fish, especially boiled fish served with grits. Many dishes here are served with pigeon peas and rice mixed with spices, tomatoes and onions.

    Wash down the cuisine with a cold beverage like a Kalik or Sands (beers of The Islands Of The Bahamas), a Bahama Mama, or Goombay Smash. There’s also a Bahamian favorite that is called “Sky Juice,” coconut water blended with sweet milk and gin. And don’t forget to try Switcher, a refreshing drink made from native limes.

    Bush Medicine
    Bush medicine is using indigenous plants for medicinal purposes. It’s a tradition African slaves brought with them when they came here. There are almost 100 plants found here that can be used for medical treatment. Examples include aloe vera, crab bush, fig leaf, sailors’ flowers and white sage.

    Religion
    Religion is important in the lives of the Bahamian people. Even small communities have several churches. The religious devotion is evidence of the Eleutheran Adventurers and their Puritan influences.

    Straw Market
    Explore one of the straw markets and bring home a piece of Bahamian culture. You’ll find handmade hats, mats, baskets, woodcarvings and guava jellies. Test your bargaining skills and get a good deal on a great piece.

    Useful Links
    To learn more about The Bahamas, visit our Bahamas page

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