Recommend Jan 2018 - 13

THE BAHAMAS

EXUMA

This long archipelago of two larger islands and more than 300 cays
begins near subtropical Nassau-Paradise Island and stretches to the
southeast so far that Little Exuma meets the 23rd parallel, where the
tropics officially begin. These OUT ISLANDS are lined with perfect
beaches, a few exclusive hotels, and, just beyond the surf, protected
reefs that are home to colorful schools of fish and, curiously, friendly
swimming pigs whose origin in these waters remains a mystery.
SEE/DO: Visit the marine park at Moriah Harbour Cay, between
Great and Little Exuma. Sand dunes, unblemished beaches with
pure white sand, and mangroves sheltering conch, crabs, crawfish,
groupers and other marine life. The birds at Moriah Harbour Cay
range from little plovers to giant ospreys, and snorkelers swim amid
reef fish, rays, and turtles.
SIGNATURE EVENT: The Farmer's Cay Conch Jamboree
celebrates a shellfish that is central to Bahamas cuisine. Vendors
offer it in the form of conch fritters, conch salad, conch chowder, and
conch ceviche, etc., so the trick is to come with someone (or better
yet, the whole family) in order to try everything. This being an island
party, there'll also be music, dancing, and crafts.
STAY: Sandals Emerald Bay is one of the largest adults-only
Sandals resorts, a 500-acre hideaway built on a mile-long stretch
of Great Exuma's Emerald Bay beach. The 183 accommodations
all include butler service, and despite the modest number of rooms,
this Sandals offers guests a choice of 11 restaurants, including
(exceptionally good) Bombay Club. Rates include unlimited scuba
diving, and the 18-hole golf course is one of the best in the
Caribbean: a Greg Norman layout that's on the PGA circuit.

The crystal-blue waters of The Bahamas.

FASTFACTS
BEST TIME TO GO: November, and February through May
GETTING THERE: Delta flies from Atlanta to Exuma,
Freeport, Marsh Harbour, and North Eleuthera. Delta flies
from Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York
(JFK) to Nassau
ENTRY DOCUMENTS: Valid passport
CURRENCY: Bahamian Dollar
INFORMATION PLEASE:
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism-bahamas.com

FREEPORT

┬ęTHE ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS (2)

Shopping for local handicrafts and souvenirs.

It was no knockout when Hurricane Irma punched past GRAND
BAHAMA ISLAND; the port and airport reopened within days.
This is one of the largest of the country's islands; it's also the
northernmost and the closest to the states, with its west end
(accurately named West End) just 55 miles from Palm Beach. This
being part of the Bahamas, the Grand Bahama Island's waters are
rich fisheries; ideal for snorkeling, diving, and fishing.
SEE/DO: Not only is Rand Nature Center an unspoiled
woodland, but it's conveniently located right in Freeport. Rand
has a walking trail winding through pines groves and marshes that
are home to flamingos, blue herons, owls, other birds (especially
in winter) as well as more than 100 species of native plants, from
flowering plants to evergreens. The Glory Banks Gallery, affiliated
with this preserve, displays nature-oriented artworks.
SIGNATURE EVENT: The Goombay Summer Festival, which is
part of the island's annual independence celebration, takes place
in Freeport every Thursday in July. Goombay is one of the great
locals-and-visitors mashups in the region, and it features drumming,
performances by popular Bahamian recording artists, dancing,
crafts, and lots of conch and other local dishes.
STAY: Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach had such good
protection-both natural and man-made-when Category 5 winds
whipped Grand Bahama Island that it was one of the first hotels
there to reopen after the hurricanes. A 274-room all-inclusive, it
sprawls across 26 prime acres near Freeport. Guestrooms are
modern and mostly white with lime accents; dining options include
Junkanoo, an open-air buffet with international food stations.
There's a kids club, plenty of sports, and good entertainment, too.

13


http://www.bahamas.com

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