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One of the most popular destinations for all-inclusive vacation packages is the Bahamas. The Bahamas are a series of twenty-nine islands, hundreds of keys, and thousands of islets that are collectively located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and southeast of Florida.
There are many tourist centers on the main islands; about 50 percent of the Bahamian workforce is involved in the tourism industry. The islands collectively span just over 5,000 square miles, roughly the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, and have a population of about 330,000 people.
The Bahamas was originally the first point of entry that Columbus landed at in 1492 when he arrived in the West Indies from Spain. The Spanish enslaved the native Lucayans and left the islands uninhabited until the British colonized them some 150 years later. Today’s native population consists largely of descendants of African slaves freed from the British plantation economy instilled during colonization.
Geography and climate
Bimini Island is the closest to the US and is often called the gateway to the Bahamas. East of Bimini is the large island of Grand Bahama, one of the most popular islands and also a landing point due to its proximity to Florida. The largest island is Andros Island, located directly west of Grand Bahama. The capital city of Nassau is located on the island of New Providence.
All the islands are flat and low, usually not exceeding 50-60 feet in height. The highest point exists on Cat Island and is about 200 feet above sea level. The climate is tropical and to some extent in winter it is dictated by the waters of the Gulf Stream. Hurricanes threaten the Bahamas in late summer and fall, but these storms often pass near the islands rather than directly through them.
At any other time of the year, the islands display an almost surreal mix of pearly white beaches and lush turquoise waters. The islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama boast rows of luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts. The outskirts of Grand Bahama consist of sparsely populated beaches, perfect for those looking for a calmer experience rather than or in addition to a luxury hotel or all-inclusive vacation package.
Grand Bahama is just 70 miles off the coast of Florida and just a three-hour plane ride from New York City. There are tons of shops, bars and restaurants in the Port Lucaya market and of course throughout the capital city of Nassau. Water sports, dance clubs and casinos make up an important part of recreational activities in the Bahamas.
The best time to go
It really is not a bad time to go to the Bahamas unless a hurricane has developed in the area. The hurricane season from June to November is usually a great time of year for weather and therefore does not deter many travelers looking for discounted all-inclusive vacation packages. Winters are about ten degrees warmer than Florida, although from time to time the waters of the Gulf Stream and trade winds can rage in dramatically cooler temperatures.
Winter, spring, and early summer are the most popular times of the year for vacationers, and the spring season is home to the most tropical climate. The area is constantly humid, but the lower temperatures help the general climate to stand out as considerably more comfortable than in other parts of the Caribbean.
The Bahamas are actually one of the most successful tourist attractions in the entire Caribbean, and a high percentage of travelers insist that they will return to the islands within five years for more exciting all-inclusive vacation packages.