Looking for ways to show your support to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian? Well, one of the best things you can do is visit!
In fact, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is encouraging travelers to visit to areas not affected by the hurricane. Dionisio D’Aguilar, the country’s tourism minister, said it best, “We would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do is visit [The Bahamas]. Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you.”
A wide swath of the country escaped Dorian untouched, including several major destination islands and archipelagos. From the Exumas and Berry Islands, to Nassau and Paradise Island, airports, resorts and ports are open for business.
The tourism dollars that flow into the country will help with the rebuilding and recovery efforts. So, in other words, whether you’re planning a Bahamas yacht charter, or want to lay on a beach somewhere in the Out Islands, this winter is the perfect time to visit the island nation.
Looking for areas you can visit in the Bahamas? Here’s a quick guide to post-Dorian travel in the Bahamas.
What Bahamas Islands Can I Visit?
The Bahamas is a massive archipelago, comprised of some 700 islands and more than 1,000 cays spread across 100,000 square miles of ocean. The northern-most islands in the country bore the brunt of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, including Grand Bahama and the Abacos.
Yet, from the northeast, to the central and southern Bahamas, many of the most-visited islands were left untouched. These islands are still welcoming guests with major airports, resorts and attractions open. They include:
- Nassau/Paradise Island – New Providence Island, home to the capital city Nassau and Paradise Island, might be the Bahamas’ most recognizable island. Known for its world-class, family-friendly resorts like Atlantis (which remains open), as well as golf, dolphin adventures and fabulous beaches, Nassau and Paradise Islands are one of the world’s favorite Bahamas destinations.
- The Exumas – Spread across more than 120 miles in the central Bahamas, the Exumas archipelago beckons travelers to its soft-sand beaches, pristine coral reefs, and serene natural landscapes. Here, you’ll find adventure around every corner – from Staniel Cay, to Great Exuma. Some must-see experiences include taking a dip with the swimming pigs, snorkeling in Exumas Cays Land and Sea Park, or a round of golf at one of the many picturesque oceanside courses.
- Eleuthera and Harbour Island – These islands in the central Bahamas are revered for their pink sand beaches, world-class diving, and lux resorts and spas. Harbour Island, in fact, is often called the “Nantucket of the Caribbean,” thanks to its pastel-colored cabanas and upscale resorts, as well as incredible surf.
- Bimini – Located just 80 miles south of Miami, Bimini has long been a hangout for Floridians. (In fact, Ernest Hemingway used to frequent the island in the 1930s.) Today, Bimini is known for sailing, diving and sport-fishing. This is a great spot for shipwreck diving, as well, as there are numerous dive spots throughout the cays.
- Andros – Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas, but it also remains mostly untouched. This is a natural oasis. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to hike, kayak, dive or explore nature, and thanks to being fringed by the world’s third-largest barrier reef, it’s a world-class snorkeling and diving destination, as well.
- The Berry Islands – This group of 30 small islands in the northern Bahamas is known for its tranquility. On nearly every island, you’ll find deserted, virgin beaches, perfect for soaking up the sun, as well as untouched wildlife. Often called “The Fish Bowl of the Bahamas,” thanks to its famed billfish, the Berry Islands are also a popular sport-fishing destination.
- Cat Island – Cat Island is nearly 50 miles long and is home to the highest peak in the country, Mt. Alvernia (207 feet). At the top, you’ll be rewarded with expressive views and can explore the historic hermitage at the summit. Cat Island is also home to some incredible beaches, including Fire Beach, which measures 8 miles in length.
- Long Island – The 60-mile-long Long Island is a favorite for exploring the Bahamas’ history and enjoying the water. Here, you’ll find incredible beaches, blue holes perfect for diving, and historic plantation ruins. This is a great island for some R&R.
- San Salvador – Christopher Columbus first made landfall in the Americas at San Salvador, and many history buffs make the pilgrimage to explore the island’s history. Today, San Salvador is off-the-beaten path, but it’s rich in history and offers an endless variety of underwater terrain to explore. This is a favorite destination for underwater photography, as well as relaxing, quiet beach days.
- Rum Cay – Rum Cay is one of the central Bahamas’ best-kept secrets. A snorkeling paradise, this tiny island offers an ideal spot for enjoying the beach – as the island is fringed by hundreds of miles of soft sand beach. You’ll also find incredible snorkeling and diving spots, including the Underwater Museum of the Bahamas (a shipwreck dive), steep drop-offs, walls and coral tunnels.
- Acklins Islands and Crooked Island – Acklins and Crooked Island might not be as well known to visitors, but if you plan to fish, this is one of the best destinations. The waters around these islands are rich in a variety of big game species, including bonefish, tarpon and barracuda. These islands are separated by a deep-blue lagoon, the Bight of Acklins, which is surrounded by several islands.
Can I Still Fly into the Bahamas?
Yes! All of the Bahamas major airports outside of the affected areas are open, with flights operating on schedule. The airports include:
- Nassau – Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) is open and offers non-stop international service to many East Coast destinations.
- Exumas – The major airports in the Exumas are open. These include Exuma International (Great Exuma), George Town Airport (Great Exuma), as well as charter flights into the airports on Staniel Cay, Farmer’s Cay and Black Point.
- Bimini – The South Bimini Airport is open, with regular flights to Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and other East Coast hubs. Ferry service to Bimini is also operating.
- Eleuthera – North Eleuthera Airport (ELH) is open.
- Long Island – Both of the airports serving the island are open – Stella Maris Airport (SML) and Deadman’s Cay Airport (LGI).
What About Hotels and Resorts?
Many of the major hotels and resorts are open. That’s especially true on Nassau and Paradise Island. In the Out Islands, many hotels remain open, but some have closed for the late summer and fall. Many of these hotels will reopen in mid-October in time for peak Bahamas travel season.
Are Bahamas Yacht Charters Still Available?
Winter is prime yachting season in the Bahamas. And this winter, the yachting season won’t skip a beat.
“Our favorite Bahamas yacht charter destinations – like the Exumas, Harbour Island and Eleuthera – weren’t affected by the hurricane, and all charter yachts were moved to out of the storm’s direct path,” said Sanaa Vohra, the Yacht Charter Director for Worldwide Boat. “Winter 2019-2020 will be another amazing charter season, and the industry is ready to welcome guests onboard yachts.”
Thinking about a luxury Bahamas yacht charter this winter? You’ll find incredible cruising grounds in some of the Bahamas’ favorite yacht charter destinations, including:
- Nassau – Nassau and Paradise Island are a prime launching point for Bahamas charters, as they’re close to amenities like world-class golf courses, while allowing visitors to escape to nearby tucked-away beaches and hidden coves.
- Exumas – One of the Bahamas’ most desirable yacht charter destinations, the Exumas are a tropical paradise known for incredible diving and snorkeling. The islands offer something for everyone: wildlife experiences (the swimming pigs on Big Majors), world-class yacht clubs (Staniel Cay Yacht Club), and amazing snorkeling (Thunderball Cave and Warderick Wells).
- Bimini – Explore the warm waters of the Gulf Stream on a charter in Bimini. Charter guests can explore the islands’ stunningly beautiful soft-sand beaches, dive or snorkel, explore Bimini’s nightlife scene along “The King’s Highway” or swim with the friendly resident dolphins.
- Harbour Island and Eleuthera – These islands in the central Bahamas are renowned for their upscale resorts and incredible beaches. Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island is a can’t miss, as is Lighthouse Beach on Eleuthera. You’ll also find incredible dive spots in the surrounding sapphire waters, including the Egg Island Wreck.
Help the Bahamas Anyway You Can
A thriving tourism industry will be vital to the Bahamas recovery post-Hurricane Dorian. A vacation to the Bahamas right now is one of the best ways you can help. Plus, in addition to a Bahamas vacation, you can also help with the relief efforts by making a monetary donation. You can find verified Hurricane Dorian relief partners at: http://www.bahamas.com/relief
Let Worldwide Boat help you plan a yacht charter in the Bahamas this winter. Contact your broker now to learn more about options in the area for Winter 2019-2020.