Spotlight on Bahamas

The Bahamas is a country of 700 different islands and cays, stretching southeast off the Florida coast. Visitors won't find more interesting islands. The islands differ physically: pine forests, white sandy beaches, limestone caves, lush plantations, bonefishing flats and the world's third largest barrier reef. They differ historically: Indigenous Arawak Indians, Seminole Indians from Florida, Eleutheran Adventurers from England, post-Revolutionary planters from Carolina and pirates all settled here. Even Columbus paid a visit in 1492. Because each island retains its individual character, each has something unique and unexpected to contribute to an island vacation. There are islands so secluded, only the lighthouse keeper has a telephone. Islands with everything from casino to golf course. Islands for the country-club set, where tennis overlooks mile-long beaches. Islands bustling with colonial charm. Islands for frogman and islands for fisherman. Even islands have islands- a Sunfish sail from nearly any beach can become a voyage of discovery.

Nassau – You'll recall sunning and strolling on a seemingly endless white sand beach. Or relaxing in the shade of coconut palms. You'll remember the crystal-clear water and the multicolored tropical fish. And you'll certainly recollect the graceful gestures of the uniformed "bobbies" directing traffic in the bustling downtown. Nassau will delight you in many ways. With its colorful Colonial architecture. With the warmth of its people. And with the infectious music of steel drums. It's very likely you'll leave this happy place with lots of duty-free gifts and mementos and at least one straw hat.

Grand Bahama Island - Situated 100 miles off the Florida coast, Grand Bahama Island is a tourism center offering great beaches, crystal clear water, excellent offshore diving, resort hotels, casinos, golf courses and shopping bazaars. It is the fourth largest island in the Bahamian archipelago and has over 660 miles of beaches and stretches nearly one hundred miles from east to west, but only 17 miles across at its widest point.

Where Nassau is a blend of the old and new, Freeport/Lucaya is a modernistic planned city, and is situated on the Bahamas' second most popular tourist destination: the Island of Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama Island has long stretches of deserted clean-white beaches, inviting hotels, one major casino, night-time entertainment and world-class scuba diving facilities and land and sea sports. Freeport is the resort center of the Island where the action can be found. On the eastern and western ends of the Island are serene and quaint settings and finding hide-away spots is not uncommon. Shopping is also a feature as one can stroll through Port Lucaya and discover treasures from around the world. For those into nature, Grand Bahama is also home to one of the oldest underwater cave systems in the world, situated at the Lucayan National Park. Grand Bahama offers the best of modern luxury and places to get away from it all.

Half Moon Cay is a private island in the Bahamas. Have you ever peered through water so clear? Sipped a tropical cooler in the shade of a palm tree? This private paradise has been designated a Wild Bird Reserve by Bahamian National Trust. When was the last time you whiled away the day on a private Caribbean island? Here's your chance. The island is yours to sun, swim, and sail. Here is a sample of activities: banana boat rides, deep sea fishing, glass bottom boats, parasailing, tropical kayak adventures, certified scuba diving, beach parties, treasure hunts and ice cream, paddle boats, sailboats, and hobie cats.

Great Exuma - Exuma's cays form one of the prettiest and most hospitable Bahamian chains. Bright white sand of deserted beaches contrast the deep aquamarine and jade hues of the water. Lord Rolle imported the first cottonseeds in late 18th century and had more than 300 slaves working on Great Exuma - who adopted their master's surname. When cotton was a financial failure for him and emancipation loomed, Lord John Rolle deeded 2,300 acres of land given to him by the British Government to his foremen slaves. This land has been passed on to each new generation and can never be sold to outsiders. Today almost half the residents go by the name Rolle; one of the largest settlements is named Rolleville. George Town is home to Government Administration Building, a pink and white building modeled after Government House in Nassau. St. Andrew's Anglican Church is a beautiful 150-year old white building with blue doors and shutters and an active place of worship today. Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a natural preserve for brilliant coral reefs and exotic marine life.

Castaway Cay - Formerly known as Gorda Cay, Castaway Cay is located amid the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas, an area first occupied in 1783 by European settlers in exile from the American Revolution. More than two centuries later, Disney purchased the island—used as a location in the classic 1984 Disney film Splash—to create a private paradise for Disney Cruise Line Guests. It took builders 18 months to perfect the rustic, "castaway" landscape and motif that lend the pristine scenery additional charm. Of the island's 1,000 acres, only 55 have been developed for Guest use, leaving the remaining land unspoiled and untamed. Reserved exclusively for Disney cruise Guests, Castaway Cay is a port-of-call paradise on Disney Cruise Line Bahamian and Caribbean cruise vacations, where you enjoy such tropical leisure as snorkeling, boating, swimming and old-fashioned sunbathing. Disney's private island in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is 3.1 by 2.2 miles in size and features a post office with its own unique Castaway Cay postmark.


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