Like Nassau and Paradise Island, the island of Grand Bahama is now a successful tourist destination, attracting a great many visitors to its shores every year. Its capital, Freeport, is located at the southern end of the west coast and is the second largest city in the Bahama Archipelago, but if you're looking for the administrative buildings, don't panic - they have all been painted pink, which makes them easily identifiable! It is in Port Lucaya though that you will find all the tourists. Indeed, this area is devoted especially to them, with a plethora of souvenir shops and a large marina which is as busy by night as it is by day, and the small buildings here have been designed to reflect the Bahamian style - colourful, friendly and welcoming. There are also some superb beaches in this area, including the one at the Lucayan National Park nature reserve.
A trip to Port Lucaya and the International Bazar, both of which have been built in the form of little Creole villages bustling with restaurants, bars and shops (local shops and prestigious brand boutiques) are bursting at the seams with tourists and locals.Don't forget to try out one of the many diving centres in the area, where you can even swim with the dolphins!
The island has two national parks, namely the Peterson Cay National Park and the Lucayan National Park. the latter covers 40 acres and is home to a superb mangrove swamp that you can explore by kayak, a series of bat caves and even a beautiful white sand beach. Most of the excursions offered here give you the opportunity to enjoy a picnic in the shade of a straw hut, and if you're lucky, you might even get a racoon to come and eat out of your hand.
Don't forget your suncream as the sun takes no prisoners here! The gentle breeze which can be felt throughout the day means that you don't always realise just how hot it is. Remember your insect repellents, too!
The Bahamian people are extremely friendly, so don't be afraid to smile back!
As is true of many of the islands in the archipelago, you will have the opportunity during your stay here to sample the famous peas n' rice, the national dish consisting of lentils and.....well, rice! The conch fritters, a seafood speciality found everywhere in the Bahamas, are also worth trying.
Grand Bahama is home to a large number of boutiques where you can buy well-known brands at tax-free prices, with watches, jewellery and perfume being particularly worthwhile purchases. Of course, there are also plenty of local souvenirs to bring back with you!