To be precise, The Bahamas is not actually part of the
Caribbean, as many people think. Rather, it is part of the North American plate
and is bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Gulf
Stream. No matter - we'll fudge it and say vaguely that the islands are 'in the
West Indies,' lumping them in with all the islands between North and South
America. Politically, The Bahamas is considered part of the Caribbean - not
least by its own government.
The Bahamas archipelago consists of some 700 islands and nearly 2500 small islets or cays sprawled across roughly 100,000 sq miles (259,000 sq km) of ocean. The islands stretch 750 miles (1200km) south from Walker's Cay, about 75 miles (120km) east of Palm Beach, Florida, to the Ragged Islands, which lie 50 miles (85km) northeast of Cuba. In all this vastness, the islands together add up to no more than 5385 sq miles (13,940 sq km) of land, about the size of the US state of Connecticut. Virtually all the islands are surrounded by coral reefs and sandbanks; nearly all are low lying, either pancake flat or gently undulating. Many islands are pockmarked by giant sinkholes called blue holes - water-filled, circular pits that open to underground and submarine caves and descend as much as 600ft (180m).
The environment of the Islands of the Bahamas become more arid and less vegetated as you move south, where hardy drought-resistant scrub and cacti predominate. There are over 1370 species of trees and plants found on the islands, including the Bahamian mahogany and 120 other natives. Pine forests rule the northern and western islands, characterized by a shrubby understory of palmetto, cabbage palm and fern. Many of the leeward (western) shores are fringed by mangroves - the only tree able to survive with its roots in saltwater. Flowers abound every month of the year. Many are associated with trees, such as the Pride of India, a large tree that when in flower becomes a cloud of lavender. Another beauty is the blue mahoe, an endemic form of hibiscus that blazes from yellow to red.
The archipelago has only 13 native land mammal species, all but one being bats, all being endangered. The most common is the leaf-nosed bat. The only native terrestrial mammal is the endangered hutia, a cat-sized brown rodent akin to a guinea pig. Wild boar roam the backcountry on some of the larger islands. Feral cattle, donkeys and horses, released after the demise of the salt industry, outnumber humans on the southern islands. The Bahamas have plenty of slithery and slimy things, including 44 species of reptiles. The islands' symbol could well be the curly-tailed lizard, a critter found throughout most of the islands and easily spotted sunning on rocks, its tail coiled like a spring over its back. Humpback and blue whales are often sighted in the waters east of the islands. Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins frequent these waters, as do the less often seen spotted dolphins.
Upon visiting the Bahamian archipelago in the 1760s, George Washington referred to it as the 'Isles of Perpetual June.' Indeed, the sun shines an average of 320 days a year. In general, the islands are balmy year round, with cooling, near constant trade winds blowing by day from the east. Daily high temperatures rarely drop below 60°F (16°C) in winter (December to February) or rise above 90°F (32°) in summer (June to August). The northern islands receive much more rain than their southerly neighbors. The rainy season runs from May to November, usually bringing short, heavy showers, though occasionally manifesting in protracted rains over several days. Summertime sometimes brings squalls and hurricanes, though the latter are rare.
Bahamas Vacation Concierge - Let us assist you in planning your Bahamas vacation by providing you with recommendations, contact info and links for the best hotel deals, vacation activities, restaurants, things to see and other vacation resources for all islands of the Bahamas.
What to Do, what to see and fun activities for the whole family.
Authentically Bahamian Art and Craft products.
Charming B&B's are found throughout the islands.
Information on boats, from Cruise ships to Mail Boats.
Rent a car, boat or golf cart (Family Island travels).
Spin the wheel, roll the dice in one of the many casinos.
Restaurants and recipes. Where to find the best food.
Best Dive spots and dive shops.
Enjoy an environment friendly vacation.
Where to go to catch the big ones, all year around.
How to get here from anywhere, by sea and air.
Play a round at the many beautiful golf courses.
Accommodations, Bahamas hotel directory.
Offshore finance and international investing services.
Young children tourist activities (and the young at heart).
Find an able attorney, law firm or legal advice.
Locations and info on available marinas.
All about Nassau Bahamas, the Bahamas' Capital city.
What's on the nightlife scene. Entertainment.
Directory of services companies.
Spoil yourself, indulge in the luxury of a Bahamas vacation.
Buy or rent a private island. Weekly or monthly rentals.
Agents and brokers, Bahamas Real estate.
All island guide Bahamas restaurants.
Couples only romantic secret hide-aways.
Picturesque sailing locations, boat charter information.
Shopping tips and Best Buys on jewelry & fashion.
Offshore investing financial resources.
Directory of Bahamas Time Share locations.
Visitor's Guide. Immigration info.
Find the perfect Bahamas vacation rental home or condo.
Everything fun you could possibly do in the water.
Unique, exotic and romantic wedding customized for you.
Weather center, hurricane tracker.
Winners of the 2004 Bahamas Web Awards.
Bahamas information and fact sheets.
Print out maps of all the inhabited islands
Information, maps and directories of the Bahamas islands.
Vacation resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Bahamas Tourism news, press releases.
Bahamas-Travel.info, the place to go before a Bahamas vacation.
Find plenty more information to plan your Bahamas vacation by selecting one of our thirty different resource guides with directory listings, maps & photos. There are island destination and hotel guides for Nassau, Paradise Island, New Providence, Grand Bahama Island, Freeport / Lucaya plus the Out Islands; including Harbour Island, Abaco, Andros, Exuma, Long Island, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Bimini, Acklins, Spanish Wells, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, the Berry Islands plus San Salvador.
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