bahamasThe Bahamas is a group of over 700 islands (including some very small ones) in the West Indies. It has been an independent country since the 1970s, but it is still part of the Commonwealth and technically ruled over by the British Queen. Its colonial heritage means that the official language of the islands is still English, and the widely-spoken English has been a key factor in helping the country to flourish and become a favourite with tourists from the United States.

The two biggest islands in the Bahamas are Grand Bahama and New Providence, where the capital, Nassau, is situated. Over half the population is employed in tourism, and the two largest islands especially, for better or worse, feel like one big tourist resort. If you prefer your holidays to be comfortable, then stick to the bigger islands, and if you want more of an adventure, try the smaller ones.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you won’t see anything traditional if you go to the largest islands. On the contrary, Bahamians are very proud of their traditions. Their traditional music styles tend to involve large brass bands, and you will often find brass bands playing in the streets. Traditional foods include pineapples and crabs, which are eaten at large festivals around the time of the harvest.

People in the Bahamas are also very fond of regattas, enjoying boat racing and other boat-related pastimes, as well as sports like cricket and athletics. On the smaller islands, traditional arts and crafts are still practiced, largely for sale to tourists nowadays, meaning that you can get very beautiful hand-woven baskets and other items for a very good price in some places.

However, if you do go to visit the Bahamas, make sure that there aren’t any hurricanes predicted in the area in the near future. The Bahamas was struck by hurricanes in 1992, 1999, 2004 and 2005, and many people lost their lives.