The Bahamas is a country made up of more than 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast of the United States. Though still in the Atlantic, its location in the south and the proximity to the Caribbean Sea make it a dream getaway spot with warm temperatures, beautiful waters, and lovely sand beaches. The country enjoys a winterless climate, and an average of about 3000 hours of sunshine per year. The sunny, warm, and dry weather conditions make it an ideal vacation destination.
The Bahamas is a sailor’s dream, as one can sail among the country’s many islands and through 470,000 square km (180,000 sq miles) of ocean space that the nation claims. With its close proximity to the United States as well as many Caribbean countries and territories, the Bahamas is also a great place to start an extended sailing holiday. Start at Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco and sail (after enough beach time) to the capital city of Nassau on New Providence, on to Great Guana Cay for some impressive coastline and almost blindingly white sand beaches, and down to Crooked Island for possibly the most beautiful beaches and waters you will have ever seen. Sailing throughout the Bahamian islands will let you experience the thrill as well as the beauty of a holiday down by the Caribbean, but with unique experiences that not everyone has, and certainly a more complete understanding of the country as a whole than if you went on a cruise ship and docked in just one port.
The Bahamas are obviously beautiful to look at from the deck of a boat, but there is so much more to see than what you can from the ocean. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving in the water, spend some time on the beaches, play both land and water sports, and take in the sights that the many islands have to offer. Since the country is made up of so many individual islands and cays, there is something different to see depending on where you are. The beaches will be beautiful everywhere, so be sure to get to the specialty places on different islands.
The Bahamas’ climate and land structure provides unique environments for plants and animals that are not a part of most peoples’ everyday life. The country boasts an ecotourism niche, with parks and sites on various islands where people can experience some truly unique and mesmerizing plants and creatures. In South Abaco you can find “bird-watcher’s paradise” including the green Abaco parrot, also known as the Bahama parrot, which is endangered.
For those more interested in submarine life, there is plenty of diving and snorkeling available off these 700 islands. The Andros Barrier Reef near the island Andros is, at 190 miles in length, the third largest barrier reef in the world and is home to more than 160 species of fish and coral. It’s also possible to do specialty dives to swim with dolphins and among sharks. With so many different islands and ecosystems, the underwater possibilities in the Bahamas are almost endless.
As a nation of islands, there are many beautiful marinas and harbors throughout the Bahamas. This makes travel by sea not only a wonderful possibility, but also sometimes the only way to get to some of the smaller islands. After clearing customs, boatsmen can enter many ports throughout the country. Start at Marsh Harbour on the Abaco Islands and sail on the eastern side of the islands to Green Turtle, stopping at the Green Turtle Club and Marina for a delicious meal of fresh seafood.
After Green Turtle, sail north and then west, around the west end of Grand Bahama, to Port Lucaya Marketplace for some on-land entertainment and plenty of shopping. Sail on south to Great Harbour Cay on the Berry Islands for beautiful, quiet beaches and to check out some impressive marine life. With harbors and ports all over the Bahamas, you can sail a large span of sea without ever leaving the country. Sail all the way from Marsh Harbour, even north of Miami, down to Matthew Town in the south, near Haiti and southeastern Cuba, and you’ll see more of the Bahamas than most people get to experience and you’ll probably have more fun doing it.
Take advantage of the independence having your own boat provides, and visit many islands in your time in the Bahamas. With the number of safe and pretty ports and harbors to dock in all over the hundreds of islands, you can dock for a few hours or even a few days without a problem.
The weather in the Bahamas is always warm. With a tropical climate, the average temperatures range from up to 89.8ºF (32.1ºC) in the hottest month, August, and average lows of 63.1ºF (17.3ºC) in the coldest months, January and February. You will have to make some decisions though: would you rather go in the summer months, when the temperatures are high and the sun shines the most, or in the cooler months that feature less rain than in the summer? The Bahamas’ rainiest month is August, but with 266 hours of sunshine, it is also among the sunniest.
The water temperatures around the islands are always warm, ranging from 73ºF (23ºC) at its coldest in January to 82ºF (28ºC) in the summer months and through September.
The Bahamas are beautiful islands with a tropical climate, wonderful ecosystems, and plenty of sailing opportunities. Come during your summer holidays, or book during the winter moths for a break from the cold temperatures at home.
With the huge amount of water the Bahamas cover, there are obviously plenty of sailing opportunities to be had. The Abacos in the north make up a chain of islands that is 120 miles long with plenty of bays and coves scattered along the coastlines. With many marinas on the way, sailing throughout this section of islands will allow you to see unforgettably beautiful beaches and stop in to towns and resorts if you want a bit of a break on land. Yachtico.com has many boats available in Marsh Harbour, in The Abacos, and is known as the “Boating Capital of the Bahamas". Navigate around the island and many cays for a few days of holiday, or make it the starting point for a more extended time at sea in the Bahamas. With calm waters and nice, warm breezes, The Abacos are one of the most loved sailing destinations in the world.
The Exumas, in the middle of the mass of islands making up the country, is another beloved yachting location. The most popular boating event in the Bahamas, the National Family Island Regatta, is held in the waters of Exuma every spring. Come watch the competition before taking to the waters yourself and experiencing some of the most amazing coastal scenery there is to see. And if you have time, go diving to see the sea gardens and coral reefs that stretch from island to island.
For a more off-the-beaten-track destination, sail down to the tiny Conception Island, in the middle of the Bahamian island chain. It is one of the hundreds of uninhabited islands that make up the Bahamas, and is protected as a National Land and Sea Park. With wind coming out of the north, the northern bay has safe anchorage on this bit of land rife with various types of turtles, coral, fish and birds. An interior lagoon makes for a lovely view from the cliffs on the island, which can serve as a pleasant break on land before heading off to the next destination.
As with all sailing holidays, keep a watchful eye on weather forecasts. If inclement weather is headed your way, make sure you are in an area in which you can stay safe, or get to one quickly.
By booking through YACHTICO.com, you can save yourself the stress and hassle of having to search endlessly for a chartered boat. Have a look at the several sailboats, motorboats and catamarans available through Yachtico.com and choose the right one for your vacation in the Bahamas. With a skipper and crew or without, you can book a yacht in the Bahamas in just a few clicks. Use all the time you saved on thinking of all the amazing activities you can do and sights to see when you are finally in the Bahamas, relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying an unforgettable time at sea.
With several catamarans, sailboats and motorboats available from Marsh Harbour, Rock Sound City, and George Town, and prices from 557 euros to 11,885 euros per week, finding an ideal yacht for your time in the Bahamas, however long or short, should be a breeze. If you have any problems or questions, please feel free to contact us directly so we can help you realize the vacation you have always dreamt of.
Inspiration, article and insider tips: Steffen Bruenn
Tip from the editor: There is usually a lot of excitement and anticipation leading up to the holidays. To ensure that you depart stress free to your holiday destination, it is worthwhile taking a look at the current visa regulations. Entry and visa requirements vary depending on the nationality of the visitor, so it is important to check the prerequisites before you leave.