The Bahamas’ finest hikes for birds, blue holes and (after all) seashores

When vacationers consider the Bahamas, they consider the ocean – but the dry land on this alluring archipelago beckons as properly.

Even if you happen to’re planning on a number of weeks of diving, crusing and beachside bliss, it’s properly value making time for one the Bahamas’ gloriously different mountain climbing choices. Whereas lots of its 3000-plus islands and cays are just too small to discover on foot, the bigger islands provide an alluring mixture of subtropical vegetation zones (six in all), historic sights and flourishing native natural world.

These are the perfect hikes within the Bahamas.

Skip the distributors in Nassau and discover the sights of the town – just like the flamingo-pink Parliament Home – throughout a strolling tour © Hendrickson Pictures / Shutterstock

Colourful Nassau is finest for historic sights

3.7 miles (6km) a technique; 3–4 hours with stops; simple

Based in 1670 by British privateers searching for a base for raids towards Spanish treasure ships, Nassau has a colourful, typically cutthroat historical past. Dodge the straw-goods distributors and cigar outlets catering to the cruise-ship crowds and stroll this downtown circuit to expertise the town’s true historic cloth.

Orient your self each traditionally and geographically in downtown Pompey Sq, web site of the intriguing Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation – each named for a slave who led a profitable revolt in 1830. East and inland from right here, Nassau’s different museums are a blended bunch, together with the coral-pink Balcony Home, Nassau’s oldest; the Heritage Museum of the Bahamas in Nineteenth-century Mountbatten Home; and the tawdry-but-fun Pirates of Nassau.

As you head uphill and loop again west, the town’s actual historic gems emerge. Parliament Sq. is surrounded on three sides by Georgian buildings; the slave-built Queen’s Staircase results in excellent views from Fort Fincastle; and West Hill affords the Graycliff Cigar Co, Nationwide Artwork Gallery of the Bahamas and John Watling’s Distillery.

Planning tip: Set off in mid-afternoon to time your end with cracked conch and sky juice on the Fish Fry, between Arawak Cay and the bastions of Fort Charlotte. 

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Stocking Island’s beach-to-beach route affords the perfect island circuit

8 miles (13km); 5–6 hours; arduous

The barrier island that shelters Nice Exuma’s japanese shore, Stocking Island is a pleasant place to roam. With a everlasting inhabitants of solely 10, the island affords immaculate seashores, scrubby forests and blue holes to discover with out interruption. 

Take a water taxi from George City to Authorities Dock in Hurricane Gap, the place ships have sheltered from violent winds for hundreds of years. Your circuit begins among the many blinding sands and clear blue shallows of Honeymoon Seaside, then loops across the island’s 3-mile (5km) circumference. When you don’t swim at Honeymoon, simply select from the succession of good seashores that powder your approach: Hamburger, Starfish, Sand Greenback, Shep’s and (particularly) Flip Flop.

You’ll traverse the island counterclockwise, contrasting the peaceable Elizabeth Harbour coast with the much less sheltered japanese facet dealing with Exuma Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Inland paths lined with casuarina bushes and palms head towards scenic viewpoints such because the monument surmounting the island’s low peak; Pirate’s Lair Cave; and Tidal Pond.

At Volleyball Seaside – journey’s finish – relaxation up and reward your self with a Goombay Smash (a Bahamian favourite of various rums and fruit juices) at Chat’n’Chill Bar. 

Planning tip: Mosquitoes at nightfall and tenacious sand burrs are two irritants it is best to positively put together for.

Head to Blue Holes Nationwide Park to discover the wonders of sinkholes

1.5 miles (3km) spherical journey; 2 hours (with swimming); simple

Andros, the largest and most sparsely populated of the Bahamas, has the world’s highest focus of “blue holes.” There are over 50 of those karst sinkholes – which fill with a mixture of rain and seawater to kind distinctive ecosystems – scattered across the pine forests and mangroves of the “Massive Yard.”

Simply above Andros City, the island’s largest settlement, is Blue Holes Nationwide Park, extablished in 2002. At 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares), the park protects 22 blue holes, together with a few of Andros’ most well-known. Trails and indicators result in Captain Invoice’s Gap, the place a swimming deck encourages guests to take the “Leap of Religion” into clear, 100ft(30m)-deep blue water. Past, and more durable to succeed in, is Cousteau’s Gap, named for iconic French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

Planning tip: Wild Andros is a haven for birds. Watchers ought to convey their binoculars and hope to see a Bahama oriole or shy nice lizard cuckoo.

A wooden walkway for visitors to Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas, Caribbean, North America
Lucayan Nationwide Park has wood walkways that enable guests to cross by pristine mangroves, pine forests and underwater caves © Karuna Eberl / Shutterstock

Lucayan Nationwide Park has the perfect underwater caves

 1.25 mile (2km) spherical journey; 2 hours (with stops); simple

Named for the indigenous inhabitants of the Bahamas, Lucayan Nationwide Park on Grand Bahama is the second-most well-liked within the islands (after Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park). Finest recognized for its system of underwater caves, one of many world’s longest, the park additionally bears traces of the unique Lucayan folks, and showcases biodiversity from all six of the vegetation zones discovered within the islands.

At solely 40 acres (16 hectares), the park doesn’t lend itself to lengthy hikes. Its system of boardwalks and trails, nonetheless, permits guests light-footed entry to pristine mangroves, pine forests and two underwater caves – Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave, the place the pre-Columbian stays of six Lucayan Indians had been found. Viewing platforms take guests to the lip of the freshwater caves, although swimming just isn’t allowed.

Planning tip: Pack your swimwear and funky off at Gold Rock Seaside. 

A Cuban Amazon (Amazon leucocephala) parrot, also known as the Abaco parrot
Abaco Nationwide Park incorporates a couple of third of the whole inhabitants of the endangered Abaco (or Cuban) parrot © kingma images / Shutterstock

Abaco Nationwide Park affords the perfect hen watching 

3 mile (5km) spherical journey; 2 hours; reasonable 

Abaco Nationwide Park sits on the excessive southern tip of Nice Abaco, a spotlight of the crusing mecca generally known as the Abacos. Based in 1995, this quiet, 20,500-acre expanse of forest protects threatened species such because the Abaco parrot. An estimated 1000 of those emerald-and-rose-feathered birds stay within the park, constituting virtually a 3rd of their total inhabitants.

However the parrot just isn’t the one hen taking shelter among the many pine forest and copses of this little-visited pure sanctuary. Sparsely marked mountain climbing trails take guests deep into its expanse, the place they could see glimpses of 4 different endemic birds – the Bahama yellowthroat, Bahama warbler, Bahama swallow and Bahama woodstar hummingbird.

Planning tip: Base your self in Hope City on fairly Elbow Cay. From right here it’s a brief water-taxi experience to Nice Abaco’s Marsh Harbor, the place a rental automotive can whisk you south to the park, on the finish of the island’s solely freeway.