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The Bahamas: An Island for Every State of Mind
Published Sept./Oct. 2005

By AAA National

The islands of the Bahamas are spread out like gemstones amid the gleaming turquoise waters of the Caribbean. This chain of more than 700 islands encompasses 100,000 square miles of unspoiled coves and powder sand beaches. Each “cay” (or island) offers a unique experience.

The capital of the Bahamas, Nassau, exudes Old World charm and modern vitality. This bustling city is an ideal starting point to begin a tour of the island’s many attractions. The pure white sands of Cable Beach are the perfect spot to unwind to the rhythm of gentle trade winds by day. By night, amp up the pace at the glittering Crystal Palace Casino located at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. Ensure a romantic interlude at the all-inclusive Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort & Spa, an elegant couples-only retreat with luxurious accommodations and first-class service.

Three miles from the capital, Paradise Island is a chic and sophisticated haven of dazzling properties and unspoiled natural beauty. Once the privileged refuge of the elite, Paradise Island now showcases some of the most impressive hotels in the world. More than a resort, Atlantis is a magical city on the sea where every detail is meticulously crafted to enchant even the most discerning eye. Encompassing 14 acres, this complex devoted to the wonder of the undersea world houses the largest marine park in the world, with more than 500,000 tropical sea creatures as well as thrilling water rides, pools, snorkeling lagoons, and educational installations.

Located only 75 miles from the Florida coast, Freeport is the second largest city in the Bahamas. Along with its sister city, Lucaya, to the south, Freeport provides enough beaches and water activities to satisfy the most demanding of sports enthusiasts. The island is fringed on all sides by coral reefs, making it a favorite destination for scuba divers as well as a graveyard for unlucky ships. From Spanish galleons to modern freighters, wreck diving is an island specialty. Among the many quality accommodations, the Sheraton Lucaya is an excellent launch pad to adventure.

The supposed site of Columbus’ first landing in the New World, “Bahama” is derived from the Spanish phrase baja mar, meaning shallow sea, a reference to its numerous picturesque inlets and lagoons. Renowned for its year-round mild climate and guaranteed sunshine, its close proximity to the United States is yet another reason for AAA members to plan their first trip of discovery to this enchanting archipelago … or for repeat visitors to explore such “off the beaten track” destinations as Eleuthera and Exuma.



Above: The Exumas are comprised of 365 cays and islands stretching more than 120 miles in the Bahamas. ©The Bahamas Office of Tourism

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