The Bahamas offers some of the most favorable sailing conditions for Caribbean Charter Yachts. The Bahamas boasts more than 700 islands and 2,400 cays offering lovely pearly white sand beaches, and warm shallow waters untouched by human civilization. The cluster of islands is also home to some of the barrier reefs that are made from a corals formed over several thousand years ago. The reefs offer natural protection from the lashing waves of the open sea and they also provide shelter to many small marine species and 100 miles of relaxed cursing. The islanders are as warm as the water, and are well known for their laid-back friendliness and hospitality.
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The residents of this chain of more than 100 islands know that there's another world out there, but don't necessarily care to abandon theirs, which is a little more traditional, slow-paced, and out of the way than most alternatives. Here you'll feel content in an uncrowded environment, yet still have access to whatever level of accommodations and services you desire. Ecotourism is popular, and aficionados have revitalized exploration of Abacos' Caribbean pine forests, which are home to wild boar, wild horses, the rare Abaco parrot, and myriad other bird and plant life. Hiking and biking through these forests and along abandoned beaches at the forest's edges are popular activities. Sea kayaking in pristine protected areas also provides a rewarding sense of adventure, and more conventional activities such as golf, tennis, and beach volleyball are available, too. But if you don't feel like doing anything at all, that's also a highly rated activity.Of course, this is the Bahamas, so you shouldn't neglect activities happening in one of its most magnificent assets—the water. Snorkeling and diving have long been staple activities for visitors. Abaconians are proud of their marine environment and have worked with the government to protect some of the more vibrant reefs. The islands' calm, naturally protected waters, long admired for their beauty, have also helped the area become the Bahamas' sailing capital. Man-O-War Cay remains the Bahamas' boatbuilding center; its residents turn out traditionally crafted wood dinghies as well as high-tech fiberglass craft. The Abacos play host annually to internationally famous regattas and to a half-dozen game-fish tournaments. From island-long stretches to strips as short as your boat, with powder-white to pink to warm-cream sand, the roar of the surf or the silence of a slow-rising tide, the Abacos have a beach suited to everyone's liking. And most likely, you'll find a secluded spot to call your own. Oceanside beaches are long expanses of white powder that change their form throughout the year depending on the surge brought in by weather. Beaches sheltered from strong winds, on the lee sides of islands, are small, narrow, and stable. Trees are taller on the lee sides of the islands and provide shaded areas for picnics. On the outer cays beaches make popular surf spots and snorkel sites, with the barrier reef running along the shore. Most Abaco beaches are secluded, but if you're looking for a beach party, head to Great Guana Cay for the Nippers's Sunday pig roast.
GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
Natural beauty conspires with resort vitality to make Grand Bahama Island one of the Bahamas' most well-rounded, diverse destinations. In its two main towns, Freeport and Lucaya, visitors can find what the more bustling Nassau has to offer: resort hotels, a variety of restaurants, golfing, duty-free shopping, and gambling. But unlike New Providence, the touristy spots take up only a small portion of an island that, on the whole, consists of uninhabited stretches of sand and forest. Outside of the commercial-and-resort area, fishing settlements remain, albeit now with electricity and good roads. The East End is Grand Bahama's "back-to-nature" side, where Caribbean yellow pine–and-palmetto forest stretches for 60 miles, interrupted by the occasional small settlement. Little seaside villages with white churches and concrete-block houses painted in bright pastels fill in the landscape between Freeport and West End. Many of these settlements are more than 100 years old.
CENTRAL BAHAMASNEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND
Nassau, a bustling town on New Providence Island and the capital of the Bahamas. It is the place to board your caribbean charter yacht. If you like shopping and great nightlife, it has an enviable array of boutiques, restaurants, glitzy casinos, and sophisticated hotels.
Paradise Island is an extravagant world. Until 1962 the island was largely undeveloped and known as Hog Island. In 1994 South African developer Sol Kerzner transformed the existing high-rise hotel into the first phase of Atlantis. Many years, a number of new hotels, a water park, and more than $1 billion later, Atlantis has taken over the island. From the ultra-exclusive Cove to the acclaimed golf course, it's easy to forget there's more to Paradise Island. Despite the hustle and bustle of the megaresort, you can still find yourself a quiet spot on Cabbage Beach, which lines the northern side of the island, or on the more secluded Paradise Beach west of Atlantis. Aptly renamed, the island is a paradise for beach lovers, boaters, and fun seekers.
Eleuthra is the ultimate escapes. Simple luxury resorts are the norm, deserted expanses of white- or pink-sand beaches are your playground, and islanders are genuinely friendly. Although the low-key, relax-and-relax-some-more island vacation isn't for everyone, Eleuthera is the place to go when you need to recharge your batteries. Seclusion, sun, and starry skies. Eleuthera was founded in 1648 by a British group fleeing religious persecution; the name is taken from the Greek word for freedom. These settlers, who called themselves the Eleutheran Adventurers, gave the Bahamas its first written constitution. "Adventurers" has taken on new meaning as a clarion call to sailors, tourists, and, more recently, retirees looking for adventures of their own. Largely undeveloped rolling green hills and untrammeled sandy coves, along with sleepy 19th-century towns, offer an authentic Bahamas experience that is quickly disappearing. The island is among the prettiest in the Bahamas, with gentle hills, unspoiled "bush" (backwoods), and gardens of tumbling purple lantana and sky-blue plumbago. Hotels and inns are painted in the shades of Bahamian bays and sunset, which is best watched from the comfort of inviting verandas and seaside decks. A quick trip in the dinghy will get you a bit more action to Harbour Island, Eleuthera's chic neighbor. With its uninterrupted 3-mile pink-sand beach, top-notch dining, and sumptuous inns, the island has long been a favorite hideaway for jet-setters and celebrities. For splendid beaches with few, if any, tourists, head to Spanish Wells, a quiet, secluded island. The sand is for bonfires, celebrity-watching, Friday-night fish fries, dancing, and music, as much as it is for afternoon naps and stargazing. Tranquil coves' sparkling white sand are as calm as a pool on the west side of Eleuthera, while the Atlantic's winter waves challenge skilled surfers on the east side, which has long stretches of pink sand. On Harbour Island, pink sand is on the ocean side and the white-sand coves face the calm channel. Home to shells that tumble in with every wave and starfish resting just offshore, the island's occasional glitz can't compete with the beaches' natural beauty.
The Exumas are known for their gorgeous 365 cays—most uninhabited, some owned by celebrities, some no larger than a footprint less sandbar. Get the wind and sea salt in your hair as you cruise through the pristine 120-mile chain. The water here is some of the prettiest in the world, and comes in every shade of blue and green; beaches are dazzling white. Combine that with fresh seafood and friendly locals, and you have yourself one of the best vacation destinations in the Bahamas.A charter stop here revolves around uncrowded beaches, snorkeling, fishing, and enjoying a freshly caught dinner at an outdoor restaurant by the beach.
Legends loom large (and small) on these northwestern Bahamas islands. On Bimini, you'll hear about the lost underwater city of Atlantis, Ernest Hemingway's visits, and the Fountain of Youth. Tiny birdlike creatures known as chickcharnies are said to inhabit the pine forests of Andros Island. On both islands, along with the Berry Islands, bonefishing has made legends of mere men.Despite the stories, Andros, Bimini, and the Berries remain a secret mostly known to charter yacht captains. These islands stash their reputation for superlative bonefishing, diving, blue holes, and other natural phenomena away from the glamour of nearby Nassau, just minutes away by plane but a world apart. Historic for its Hemingway lore and deep-sea fishing records, North Bimini has been transformed into a busier island by Resorts World; its casino and new Hilton hotel are fed with hundreds of golf-carting tourists that buy packages on the Bimini Superfast cruise ship. Although Andros is the largest Bahamas island, it is mostly uninhabitable and largely undiscovered. In fact, it offers only three notable resorts and a dozen or so bonefishing lodges. The 30-some cays of the Berry Islands are less known still, in spite of gorgeous, secluded beaches and superb snorkeling and fishing. Plan your trip here as an adventurer.
TURKS AND CAICOS
The Turks and Caicos are made up of more than 40 islands cast upon breathtakingly beautiful cerulean waters. Although white, soft-sand beaches and calm, warm waters are shared among all the islands, their landscapes vary. The flatter, more arid islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Pine Cay, and Providenciales are covered with low-lying bush and scrub, whereas the islands of Middle Caicos, North Caicos, and Parrot Cay are greener, with more undulating landscapes. In addition to these eight inhabited islands, there are the many smaller cays and uninhabited East Caicos that help make up this southern tip of the Lucayan Archipelago, just 575 miles southeast of Miami on the third-largest coral reef system in the world.
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