Located in the Atlantic Ocean are 100,000 square-miles of shoals and Banks, where the waters are warm, tranquil blue and clear. Out of these shoals and banks rise more then 700 islands and cays fringed with inviting beaches. This place is called "The Bahamas".
The Bahamas enjoy an ideal location at the crossroads of the Americas. It consists of a string of 700 islands and cays extending across an area of about 80,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean. The northernmost island. Grand Bahama lies only 50 miles from the coast of Florida and the coral archipelago stretches south to the doorstep of the Caribbean Sea just above Haiti and Cuba. This location offers easy access to the huge consumer market of North, Central and South America.
The capital city of Nassau is on the island of New Providence. Freeport, the second largest city, is situated on Grand Bahama. Islands in the archipelago other than New Providence and Grand Bahama are known as the Family Island.
The three main income-producing areas in The Bahamas are tourism, financial/real estate (including banking) and construction. The Central Bank of The Bahamas, established in 1974, is the central financial institution. The agricultural and industrial sectors are relatively smaller industries.
The Bahamas' well-developed economy is driven largely by tourism, which accounts for approximately 60% of the nation's $4.8 billion gross domestic product, and a rapidly expanding financial service industry. The balance of economic output comes from retail and wholesale trade, fishing, light manufacturing and agriculture.
The government funding is mainly obtained from import tariffs/duty. There is no income tax and no substantial property tax. There are annual fees for licenses of businesses, vehicle registration and inspection fees and other important fees to assist with departmental funding.
The Bahamas became an independent nation on July 10, 1973. They are a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and have retained the British Monarch as the head of state. The Queen of England is represented by the Governor-General of The Bahamas.
The Bahamas offers many more Islands and Cays each of which is unique and has its own special personality. The Family of Out Islands offer a quiet, relaxing way of life which is a big difference from the fast-paced lifestyle on the Islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama.
Nassau as the nations capital, is the center of industry, commerce and communications. There remain well-preserved colonial buildings, attractions, duty free shopping, pristine beaches, wonderful cuisine and cultural activities. The Straw Market fire in 2001 has removed a world famous tourist attraction and formerly the largest center of its type within the Caribbean.
Paradise Island boasts gorgeous beaches, luxury hotels, the largest casino within The Bahamas and first class entertainment.
Grand Bahama is a stone's throw off the Florida coast, is known for its miles of canals, white powdery beaches, wide streets, infrastructures, quality healthcare, dazzling casinos, night time entertainment, international and local shopping, superior scuba diving facilities as well as land and sea sports. Its an ideal spot for Bahamian living, with daily international flights, marinas and year round sun. Grand Bahama offers the largest deep-water container port in the Caribbean.
Andros Island is the biggest of all the Islands but the most sparsely populated. It is a large bone fisherman attraction and has the world's third largest barrier reef, which is over 140 miles long. It offers superior diving and is home to Androsia Batik. Many small and friendly business establishments thrive there as well as offering a home to many fisherman.
Abaco Island has naturally protected waters and many cays, which make them a favourite to yachtsmen and fishing fanatics. There are excellent marinas, guides and boats for hire as well as a championship golf course in Treasure Cay. A tradition of boat crafting has been down the generations.
The Biminis are recognized as one of the champion fishing areas of the world for their abundance of game fish. Championship tournaments are held there year-round.
Eleuthera offers many unique and interesting settlements, each quiet. Of interest are Harbour Island with its pink sandy beaches and New England cottages. Similary different and unique is Spanish Wells. Folks from the busier islands can really enjoy a relaxed visit anywhere in Eleuthera. It is also home to the Pineapple festival each June in Gregory Town.
The Exumas are a pleasurable experience for anyone! Some of the bluest waters and appealing seascape can be found here. Because many of the Exuma cays are reached only by sea, boaters find island hopping in and around the Exumas a pleasure.
There are so many other intriguing Islands on which one can find tranquility, hospitality and serenity. The mysterious and superstitious Cat Island, has a claim of being Columbus' original landing site in the New World.
San Salvador is also believed to be the place where Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World on October 12, 1492. The island was originally named Guanahani by its first descendants, the Lucayan Indians. The isand is small but scenic and beset by superb beaches and reefs, it is an ideal place for snorkeling, diving and fishing.
Long Island was the third Island to be discovered by Christopher Colombus in 1492. In his diary, Christopher Columbus is said to have described Long island as 60 miles long, fringed with beaches on one side and cliffs on the other. It holds excellent sites for diving and snorkeling.
Crooked Island has a natural beauty and possesses fair weather cruising ground. Offering several fine harbours, miles of creeks and tidal flats exceptional for tarpon and bonefishing.
Acklins Island is long, narrow and hilly with numerous caves and bays along its western shore; a ferry provides transportation from Acklins Island to Crooked Island. They both are enclosed in a shallow lagoon known as the Bight of Acklins. The Bight of Acklins is a safe cruising ground for shallow-draft vessels.
Inagua is the third largest island and is the southernmost in The Bahamas. It is mainly low and flat. The Morton Salt Company produces around a million pounds of salt annually from there. Inagua is also a refuge of one of the world's largest colonies of flamingoes in the world. It also offers a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers.