When Christopher Columbus in 1492 set out to discover the New World, he first landed on the island in unknown archipelago and named it San Salvador. Looking at the water surface in front of him, he excitedly said, “Baha Mar”, which means “shallow water”. Thus, the archipelago was named – the Bahamas, and other called it “divine string of pearls”. They are located in the Atlantic Ocean, in front of the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, between Florida and Cuba, a hundred kilometers from Miami.
The archipelago consists of 700 islands of incredible beauty and because of that they tickle the imagination of people from all over the world since the days of Columbus. They came in different intentions and stayed a few years or a few centuries. There were conquerors, settlers, traders, explorers, adventurers and fugitives from the law. In 1973 the Bahamas became an independent state within the Commonwealth. Bahamas stretch for 1,200 kilometers and are located at low altitude. There grows more than 1,300 species of trees and plants, and Bahamian mahoganyis best known, which is under state protection.
Many species of animals live in the Bahamas also, and a few special reserves protect 230 species of birds. It is not necessary to speak about underwater world, because the sea is simply full of diverse life, which is difficult to describe in words.
Only when a man dives into the realm of Poseidon, not far below the surface, he can see all the divine qualities of Bahamas. There are also about 2,400 coral reefs surrounded by crystal clear and transparent waters. Large group of dolphins and hundreds of species of colorful and unusual fish swim in those waters.
On the island of New Providence is the capital of Nassau, which is pretty much center of the Bahamas. Grand Bahamas Island is the second tourist destination in terms of popularity. It has a beautiful beach with white sand, lush subtropical vegetation and extremely interesting features. Group of Abacoislands are the mainland’s second-largest and they are called capital of the sailors’ world. On the central island Abaco, the city of Marsh Harbor, was built to look like English cities, and it attracts people who want to enjoy the peace and quiet.
From here you can jump to the island of Eleuthera with pink sand, or visit Acklins island on which Columbus was looking for treasure, and found only endless fields of jasmine. Apart from the main tourist islands, an archipelago conceals a number of smaller islands, which are miracles of nature. Berry Islands are a paradise for fishermen and are fully insulated. The group consists of 30 islands in amazingly clear sea and has wonderful beaches and gentle gulfs, which are especially popular among owners of large yachts.
Cat Island is considered by many the most beautiful with its Alvernia Mountain whose peak dominate the Bahamas. Inagua Island is home to about 80,000 West Indian flamingos. This endemic bird is a trademark of the Bahamas, and almost the entire island is declared a national park. Mayaguana Island, whose name remained since Avarik-Indians, is completely isolated and attracts diving enthusiasts. Season is from December to April. The air temperature is constantly pleasant, and year has 320 days of sunshine.
The warmest time is in June, July and August, when the air temperature is around 32 degrees Celsius. Bahamas are now one of the most visited places of the international jet-set, powerful bankers and financial magicians, and wealthy tourists. Staying on the islands is not cheap, but it is worth every cent.