My first stop on the Bahamas was the capital Nassau on the island of New Providence. After arriving at the airport building I see a live band in Hawaiian shirts play Caribbean music. The outside temperature was 18 degrees. The sky is black and the palm trees bend in the wind.
Beach promenade in Nassau
The first day in the Bahamas remains cool and windy. I drink Bahama Mama, a local cocktail in the restaurant with a view of the Nassau promenade. The street is full of tourists, souvenir shops and in front of me stands a gigantic cruise ship. This is Nassau!
NO NAME CAY - SWIMMING PIGS
Yes, yes, I see the famous Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas. The swimming pigs were from small to very large, in brown or pink.
Many of the little pigs press their trunks against the camera lens. Others are curious and trot on me. A big pig is taking a nap in the sun and I see baby pigs drinking from opened coconuts.
On the way back from the sweet pigs, several dolphins emerge next to our boat. They go with our boat for some time. On journeys, you never know what you get and sometimes it comes at the end much better than you think. I have never seen dolphins in the open sea before and not in such a dreamlike turquoise blue sea.
NASSAU - BEACH RESORT
The beach resort where I stay was a bit out of the hustle and bustle in the west of Nassau. The hotel and restaurant were my personal favorite place, away from shops and cruise ships. There are candy-colored bungalows by the water and a long jetty leading into the sea. Many pastel-colored rocking chairs make the hotel a very special place. It was a playful and enchanting little world in the touristy Nassau.
I had a great meal and spent my most wonderful evening in the Bahamas. The menu was of salad, burger and the vegan curry. After the meal, I order a cool drink on time for the sunset and sit out on the jetty in one of the colorful rocking chairs. The sea rushes, the sun goes down and the whole sky seems wrapped in light pink.
For a moment I wish to freeze the color of the sea in the pink light that is much more turquoise than usual. Soon the stars emerge above my head. How beautiful that would be!
Have you ever heard of the favorite food of the Bahamians called Conch? No? I did not either. What I would never have thought but I did. I ate snails on the Bahamas and a lot of them in all possible variants as soup, fried, salad.
I drive from the city center with an ancient bus and clattering doors towards the west. Because here is to be the best Conch salad in all Nassau. A little later, a small blue food booth appears on the right, I call the bus driver and get out at the sea.
The Conch salad is only edible when the Conch comes fresh on the plate. One of the fishermen stands in front of a blue pick up which is fully loaded with Conch. He uses a small saber to loosen the slippery sea snail from their shell. Then he pulls them out with his hands and eats a sloppy looking part of the conch. It has an aphrodisiac effect.
The fishermen explain to us how the Conch salad gets prepared and I hesitate no longer! After all, I'm here for fun. Conch salad gets served with green peppers, onions, tomatoes, a lot of lime juice and a little orange juice. Before preparation, the washed conch gets drizzled with lemon.
The snail named Conch tastes pretty cool in my salad. I find these moments are those for which it is worth traveling. Locals stand at a food stand, chatting and having snail salad. If you want to try the best Conch Salad in your Bahamas holiday on Nassau then come right here!
I later visit the former house of a pirate and at the end have a piece of rum cake. For me, the preparation of the original Conch salad was the more exciting experience.
Besides the Conch, I ordered myself Mahi Mahi in the Bahamas. It is on the menu up and down. The fish from the family of the mackerel tastes best grilled with rice or fruits and a cool beer. You should have a local Kalik. I ate the most delicious dessert Bahamian Bread in a restaurant on the island of Abaco. You should not leave without having tasted this sweet bunch of Bahamian Bread with sauce.
ELBOW CAY - HOPE TOWN
The island of Abaco is the starting point to travel to other islands such as Green Turtle Cay or Elbow Cay by boat. In the city of Marsh Harbor, a ferry departs every day from the harbor to Elbow Cay. Cost of round trip is about 40 dollars.
Hope Town is a small town on Elbow Cay and without cars and without stress. The first cottage is pink, next to it is one in mint, yellow, peach, the colors do not stop. All the houses are in colorful pastel shades, surrounded by white wooden fences. It makes the whole look like a gigantic frame of pictures. I no longer listen to my fellow travelers and run past the dream houses like in a trance.
Each cottage in Hope Town has a different beautiful pastel color. I see tiny mailboxes in turquoise, pink window shutters. Everywhere figurines in the shape of a pineapple stand in front of the house entrance. The pineapple in the Bahamas means so much as welcome. The hospitality in the Bahamas blossoms along a few streets.
I was near one of the colorful houses on the beach to photograph. The owner runs and invites me to his home. I stumble in unsure and take a few photos on the terrace with a view of the sea. I'm not used to this kind of open style. But I get, more of it!
After a walk through Hope Town, I order an Iced Caffè Mocha and sandwich with artichokes and tomatoes. Later I rent a golf cart for 40 dollars and swim over Elbow Cay to the end of the island. There is a dream beach, the Tahiti Beach. I enjoy the sun on my body, and the view of the long sandbank, which is like a sickle in the sea. For me, the visit of Elbow Cay was the most beautiful afternoon in the Bahamas.
ABACO - COCO BEACH
My trip to the Bahamas takes me to the island of Abaco within 40 minutes after Nassau by plane. The island welcomes me with a good-looking sunset. A long country road leads from one end of the island to the other. There is a wonderful feeling of spaciousness.
In Abaco, I stroll along Treasure Cay along one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, the Coco Beach. The sand of Coco Beach is soft and feel almost like butter under my feet. The sea is gorgeous turquoise and has a color like I've never seen it before in my life, especially not up to the horizon.
After a few meters, I find luxury villas and lots of coconut palms. For two hours I photograph. Again and again, I laugh out loud, run away, beat wheels, try a handstand, and pick up small broken shells.
I stayed at a resort in a colorful cottage right near a romantic jetty by the water. The rooms were perfect and the bar creates a charming backpacker feeling that I like very much.
The Abacos consists of the main island and over 120 upstream so-called Cays. They together form the system of the Abacos. During the trip to the port of Hope Town, I realize that there is more money here than on other islands. Big yachts lie at anchor and on the coasts, I see grand houses. Many Americans and Canadians have the second house here. They arrive in the winter months even with their own yacht.
The symbol of Abacos, if not the entire Bahamas, is the red and white striped lighthouse on Elbow Cay. I climb the 100 steps for a 360-degree view of the turquoise ocean, the Cays and the picturesque town of Hope town. Abaco National Park has thousands of parrots of the extinct Bahamian Parrot species.
HARBOR ISLAND - PINK SANDS
Harbor Island and the Pink Sands is one of the popular and famous photographed places of the Bahamas. The color of the sand depends on the light intensity. On the pink sand beaches, the sand shines pink. During the spectacular sunsets, there is a wonderful color play on the beach.
You can reach the 5-kilometer-long pink dream either from Eleuthera by boat in 15 minutes. The ferry crossing from Nassau takes 3 hours. At Harbor Island, you can rent a golf cart for 40 dollars at the ferry station and jet over the island to Pink Sands. The island's capital, Dunmore Town is in New England style with chic shops, galleries, and cafes.
This historic village has one of the oldest settlements in the Bahamas. It houses the oldest Anglican church in the island. A long coral reef protects the beach along the east coast and is an excellent snorkel reef. From the beach restaurant, I have the best view of the beach and the turquoise blue sea.
Eleuthera is still very original. The island is 170 km long and at the narrowest point is a few meters wide. Here the cold, dark and wild waters of the Atlantic meets the calm turquoise Caribbean Sea.
The hilly landscape is ideal for the cultivation of pineapples and tomatoes. In fact, Eleuthera dominated the world market for pineapples in the late 18th century. In the Bahamas, the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. At the Pineapple Festival in Gregory Town, you can taste a rich variety of pineapple drinks
Andros is the largest of the islands and still very original. It is little developed, and the entire west coast is home to many different animal and bird species. The east coast is a paradise for divers and also are the unique Blue Holes in the islands. The Andros Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef in the western hemisphere.
The so-called tongue of the ocean, a 160-kilometer-long moat, crashes 1800 meters deep. The island is also famous for its colorful Androsia Batik, which can be got all over the Bahamas.
Bahamas Travel Tips
The last point of my experiences is most dear to my heart. For the Bahamas, you should bring one thing. Time! Time to chat with the Bahamians and the people who live there. You can get to talk to the locals and learn something interesting from their lives. The warmth in the Bahamas is unique. The Bahamas is a Caribbean dream. There is a lot of turquoises, crystal clear waters, dreamy beaches, and delicious food.
Renting a car is not recommended on the Out Islands. Besides the taxis, there are few cars on the islands. The golf cart is a popular means of transportation within the small towns.
The Bahamas is for those seeking peace, nature lovers, families, water sports fans, divers. And of course, for those on honeymoon, Bahamas is a diverse destination.
We dream of white sand, of palm trees, celebrities and pirates. Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492. Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera are among the best known islands.
And as if that postcard feeling were not enough, here are also huge populations of flamingos. After the hustle and bustle of Nassau, you can have a good time on board the Mail Boats.
If there is a star who knows the Caribbean, then it is Johnny Depp. As Captain Jack Sparrow he crossed the island several times in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Tiger Woods has a house in the Bahamas. Shakira is also looking for peace. Lenny Kravitz built a house on Eleuthera. Popstars like Paul McCartney and Jennifer Lopez record songs here.
It's better in the Bahamas, says a well-known proverb. Anyone who does not, believe me, should plan their next holidays here.