Moon Bahamas


By Mariah Laine Moyle

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Turquoise waters, pristine beaches, world-famous rum, and a culture that welcomes you with a smile: Soak up the sun and fun with Moon Bahamas. Inside you’ll find:
  • Flexible itineraries, from a Nassau getaway to a week of island-hopping, including day trips to the Out Islands
  • Strategic advice for travelers looking for family fun, romance, nightlife, water sports, and more
  • Must-see highlights and unique experiences: Go diving to see shipwrecks, underwater sculptures, and coral reefs, snorkel with sharks, or swim with friendly pigs. Spot wild pink flamingoes, climb to a historic stone monastery at the highest point in the Bahamas, or visit the iconic Hope Town Lighthouse. Relax in an oceanfront bungalow, sip cocktails made from local rum, and hang out with locals at a fish fry
  • Honest recommendations from Nassau local Mariah Moyle on when to go, where to eat, how to get around, and where to stay, from guest cottages and beach bungalows to luxurious resorts
  • Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout
  • Background information on the landscape, climate, wildlife, and history
  • Handy tips for families with children, LGBTQ travelers, seniors, and travelers with disabilities
Experience the real Bahamas with Moon’s practical tips and local know-how.

Looking for more island adventures? Check out Moon Aruba, Moon Bermuda, or Moon Jamaica.


the swimming pigs of The Exumas

a sailboat in The Abacos

DISCOVER The Bahamas


Planning Your Trip



Nassau Getaway



Excursions from Nassau




Island Hopping in The Abacos


After spending a year on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly described The Bahamas as “the most beautiful place from space.” Come down a little closer to earth and you will find these 700 islands do not disappoint. From hot-pink bougainvillea and chartreuse coco plum to the sea’s vast ranges of turquoise, teal, and cobalt, it seems Mother Nature gave herself permission to express her wild artistic side in this corner of the world.

Immerse yourself even deeper and you will find that the islands’ vibrancy extends far beyond the beauty of the landscape, expanding into the hearts of the people themselves. From the lively metropolis of Nassau to sleepy settlements throughout the Out Islands, you will be welcomed with genuine smiles and open arms. Whichever region you choose as your destination, be prepared to be captivated with friendly locals who are bursting with pride to show you their island and all its splendor.

Nassau and Paradise Island are by far the most visited, offering endless options: a balance of beaches, nightlife, casinos, shopping, and recreation. But you haven’t experienced the “real” Bahamas until venturing into the Out Islands, each one with its own unique offerings.

Unwind and escape. Dive in and let loose. Immerse and explore. The deeper you venture into The Bahamas, the more rewarding your experience will be.

reef shark.

pink flamingos at Ardastra Gardens, Nassau


1 Blue Holes: Explore the mysterious depths of The Bahamas’ blue holes. Dean’s Blue Hole (click here) and those found in Andros (click here) are some of the best.

2 Discover Atlantis: The world-famous ocean-themed resort, situated on the stunning Cabbage Beach, has endless entertainment for the whole family (click here).

3 Cross the Glass Window Bridge: At Eleuthera’s narrowest point, a single-lane bridge divides staggeringly contrasting bodies of water—the deep, dark blue Atlantic and pale turquoise of the Caribbean side (click here).

4 Take in the Views at Elbow Cay Reef Lighthouse: This iconic candy cane striped lighthouse in The Abacos is one of the last manually operated lighthouses in the world (click here).

5 Meet the Swimming Pigs: Visitors from all over the world come to the remote Exumas islands to see these national celebrities up close (click here).

6 Diving & Snorkeling: Explore shipwrecks, sculptures, coral reefs—and dive with sharks (click here and click here)!

7 Junkanoo: This boisterous cultural parade features intricate handmade costumes, music, and dancing (click here).

8 Feast at the Fish Fry: A few simple huts serving traditional Bahamian food make for a tasty, authentic experience. Stop by Arawak Cay (click here) and Smith’s Point (click here).

9 Hike to The Hermitage at Mt. Alvernia: At 206 feet, Mt. Alvernia on Cat Island is the highest point in The Bahamas. Climb all the stairs to the top and admire Father Jermone’s work (click here).

10 Fishing: The Bahamas are a dream for fishing enthusiasts. The Abacos (click here) and Andros (click here) are the most popular destinations.

Planning Your Trip

Where to Go
Nassau and New Providence

Visitors flock to the capital city of Nassau and neighboring Paradise Island for nightlife, restaurants, beaches, and water sports. Downtown Nassau offers a variety of options for the foodies and history buffs and hosts the largest celebration of Junkanoo in the country. Atlantis on Paradise Island draws families for its endless options of activities. The Fish Fry at Arawak Cay offers visitors a taste of Bahamian culture and cuisine. The quieter area of Cable Beach and Western New Providence have fantastic upscale dining options, boutique hotels, and less crowded beaches.

Pineapple Air offers flights to select Out Islands from Nassau.

Freeport and Grand Bahama

Although Freeport, the capital city of Grand Bahama, may have seen the height of its glory in the 1960s when it was home to a booming financial sector and shipping ports, it still maintains a lively feel, with shopping, nightlife, and world-class dining. Where it differs from Nassau is the chance to escape into nature just outside the city. Visit Lucayan National Park and the Rand Nature Centre for brushes with wildlife, and UNEXSO Dive Center for spectacular snorkeling and diving.

The Abacos

A haven for sailing and sportfishing, The Abacos attract regular visitors from neighboring Florida for an easy weekend getaway. Marsh Harbour, the third-largest city in the country, offers all the amenities but with the trademark laid-back barefoot Abacos vibe. Use Marsh Harbour as a starting point to explore the many islands and cays throughout the Abacos, each with their own unique charm. Visit the Elbow Cay Reef Lighthouse in colonial Hope Town, or bask in the sunshine on Treasure Cay Beach.

Eleuthera, Harbour Island, and Spanish Wells

Eleuthera is one of the most accessible Out Islands, but feels a world away. The 110-mile-long island has charming settlements, stunning rock formations, and remote beaches. Skip over to Harbour Island by water taxi and cruise around in a golf cart while admiring the colorful colonial cottages along the picturesque harbor. Dine at some of the best restaurants in the country, overlooking the three-mile stretch of Pink Sands Beach. Traditionally a fishing village, Spanish Wells has seen major growth in recent years. New restaurants, bars, and boutique accommodations make Spanish Wells the new “in” place to vacation.

The Exumas

If you want to get lost in the beauty of The Bahamas, head to The Exumas. Use George Town as your starting point to explore these beautiful and rugged islands. Fly into Staniel Cay to visit the famous swimming pigs, snorkel Thunderball Grotto, and pet the friendly nurse sharks at neighboring Compass Cay. The best way to explore these islands is by boat, but don’t worry—boat rentals and excursions are readily available.

Bimini, Andros, and The Berry Islands

Bimini has recently seen a burst in economic development with the opening of Resorts World Bimini. The resort has a casino, numerous dining options, and a sizable marina that can accommodate megayachts. The island is frequented from South Florida for deep-sea fishing and boating. Andros is dotted with quaint bonefishing lodges and is a playground for birders and blue hole enthusiasts. The Berry Islands are the perfect romantic escape with no shortage of pristine secluded beaches.

The Southern Bahamas

These remote islands possess a rustic charm. Many visit in search of an authentic experience of the real Bahamas. Long Island is home to the famous Dean’s Blue Hole, the world’s second-deepest known blue hole. Cat Island is known for diving, plantation ruins, and Mount Alvernia—the highest point in The Bahamas. San Salvador offers boutique resorts and an untouched landscape. Inagua draws birders for its wide variety of birdlife, most notably as home to the largest breeding colony of West Indian pink flamingos in the world. Acklins and Crooked Islands are for flats fishing and those looking to get well off the tourist track.

Know Before You Go
When to Go

High Season kicks off around U.S. Thanksgiving at the end of November and winds down in May. The major spikes in visitors are at Christmas and New Year’s, Easter weekend, and academic spring breaks throughout March and April. Hotels are at their peak rates during this time and are typically fully booked well in advance, especially in popular Out Island destinations, so advance planning is necessary for these times. If you plan on visiting an Out Island at any time of the year, pay attention to events such as regattas, Junkanoo, and long holiday weekends. It may be a challenge to book a domestic flight at the last minute, and room rates are at their peak.

Low Season starts in August when children head back to school. The heat intensifies, and the threat of hurricanes loom. Most hotels and restaurants shut down in the Out Islands from September until around U.S. Thanksgiving at the end of November. Rates are at their lowest during this time, if you can find a hotel that’s open. Nassau doesn’t see much of a change in rates, however, since travelers continue visiting year-round. It’s an extremely quiet time of year in the islands, so be prepared for relaxation. If you seek diversions, this may not be the best time to visit.

The winter months can be cool, as there are regularly passing cold fronts pushing down from the northeast, but it’s still warmer than most northern locales, so most visitors don’t mind. Keep in mind the farther north you are, such as The Abacos, the cooler it may be. Farther south is significantly less affected by northern weather and can be much warmer, as in The Exumas and Long Island.

The summer months bring heat, stifling humidity, and the wet season, with daily afternoon thunderstorms, but if you prefer beaches all to yourself and warmer ocean temperatures, you’ll enjoy a trip during the summer, when you can find the most discounted rates at hotels, if they are open.

Peak hurricane season is August-September, and in recent years there have also been several major hurricanes as late as October. When planning your vacation and looking for diversions, be aware that many resorts, restaurants, and gift shops in the Out Islands shut down August-November. You may find a resort or two open, but not a lot of restaurant options except for local cuisine.

As with most subtropical island locales, come prepared for coastal weather. Full rain regalia may not be necessary, but a long-sleeved shirt or shawl is helpful year round.

Passports and Visas

A valid passport and a return ticket are required. If you arrive commercially but plan on departing the country via boat or private flight, you may need to provide written documentation, a flight plan, or a cruising permit upon airport check-in or Bahamas immigration; otherwise you may be required to book a return ticket on the spot.

Visas are not required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders. If visiting for any purpose other than tourism, you must contact the Department of Immigration prior to your visit.


There are no vaccination requirements when traveling from the United States or Canada; however, if you are traveling from or have visited a country with a risk of yellow fever, you need to present a vaccination certificate. This includes a long list of countries in Africa and South America. Check with the Department of Immigration or at for an updated list.


Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau is easily accessible by direct flights from major cities in the United States and Canada, as well as London, several Caribbean islands, and Central America. Visitors fly into the international airport or by charter to one of the two private airports in Nassau.

For interisland travel, each island region has one or more airports with daily commercial flights from Nassau on Bahamasair and other domestic airlines. A number of the Out Islands can be accessed by direct flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale as well. Locals often travel by Mail Boat (freight boats serving all of the Out Islands), and some islands also have the Bahamas Fast Ferry from downtown Nassau.

Nassau is easily navigated by catching a taxi or jitney (bus). The jitney is by far the most economical mode of transit, and many locals use these buses for their daily commutes. I wouldn’t recommend using them if you are in any hurry, but it’s a great option for seeing a bit of scenery. Jitneys are privately owned and don’t operate on a fixed schedule.

There are international rental car companies in Nassau, but be prepared to drive on the left side of the road. Many Out Islands have golf-cart rentals, which is a fun way to explore smaller communities like Harbour Island, Hope Town, and Treasure Cay. To explore the larger islands, organize a car rental prior to your visit.

Nassau Getaway

If you decide to stay in Nassau, there is plenty to keep you entertained. Most of the resorts are on loungeable beaches, but this itinerary will keep you busy.

Day 1

Plan for a mid-morning arrival at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau and head downtown. You’ll be weary from travel, so grab a cold beverage and a bite at the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay and settle in for a warm Bahamian welcome. After lunch, head to The British Colonial Hilton Nassau hotel to drop off your bags and get your bearings. Take a stroll along the wharf at Woodes Rodgers Walk and Bay Street, stopping along the way to pick up souvenirs. Make your way down to Junkanoo Beach and saddle up to the Tiki Bikini bar, watching the tourists play beach volleyball. For dinner, head over to Lukka Kairi for upscale Bahamian flavors and live music.

Day 2

Rise early and grab a coffee at Biggity. Make your way to Christ Church Cathedral to meet up for the three-hour Tru Bahamian Food Tour, where you’ll sample Bahamian cuisine at a local restaurant. You’ll get a great overview of the history of downtown Nassau and its prominent historical buildings. After your tour, make your way to Queen’s Staircase, walking up the impressive hand-carved stairs through limestone rock up to Fort Fincastle. If you’re getting weary of the heat, pop into the Pirates of Nassau Museum as a cool reprieve and learn about the history of pirates in Nassau. Make dinner reservations at Graycliff Restaurant if you’re feeling like splurging for formal dining. After dinner, catch live music at Pirate Republic Brewing Company and sample draft beer at the country’s only craft brewery.

Day 3

There’s still more to discover downtown, so visit a few more cultural sights. Spend the morning lounging on the beach and then get to Fort Charlotte by 11:30am to watch the firing of the cannons, or take a guided tour. Make your way to nearby Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre to watch the Marching Flamingos for the afternoon show. Don’t miss the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Then walk next door for a tour of John Watling’s Distillery, with artisanal rum and vodka. After your tour, hang out for a few drinks at the Red Turtle Tavern.

cannons at Fort Charlotte

Day 4

Cool off at Atlantis’s 141-acre Aquaventure waterslide park. Cross the bridge from downtown Nassau onto Paradise Island to explore this vacation wonderland. Purchase an Atlantis day pass or check in to one of the Atlantis hotels for full access. The water park alone can entertain, but there’s plenty more to explore. Cruise around The Dig, and the many outdoor lagoons. Settle under the shade of a lounger on the gorgeous stretch of Cabbage Beach. There are plenty of options for lunch and dinner throughout Atlantis and the Marina Village. Consider booking a table at Bahamian Club. If you’d like to venture a few minutes away, make reservations at Dune at The Ocean Club.

With More Time

For the adventure seekers head out with Stuart Cove for an exhilarating shark dive, reef dive, or wreck dive. Alternately, book a day trip with Powerboat Adventures and head out to The Exumas to safely watch a shark feed from the beach, pet stingrays, and feed iguanas. When you return to the dock, grab drinks and a casual dinner at nearby Green Parrot Hurricane Hole.


Make your way toward Cable Beach and check into the Baha Mar resort. Settle into one of the seven tropical pools, or make your way to the BEACH Sanctuary, where you can get into the water with nurse sharks, rays, and turtles. Check into the luxurious ESPA for a signature spa treatment, or book a round at the Royal Blue golf course and meet at the Royal Blue Tavern for happy hour. For evening diversions, try your luck at the Casino, or keep an eye out for events at the Current, where you can view works by local artists. Reservations are recommended at most restaurants, so plan ahead.

Cable Beach


Hire a taxi or rent a car for the day to explore Western New Providence.


On Sale
Mar 12, 2019
Page Count
350 pages
Moon Travel

Mariah Laine Moyle

About the Author

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mariah Laine Moyle lived on all four corners of the United States before hopping on a sailboat heading towards the Caribbean islands in 2008. She wasn’t far into her journey when the Bahamas sidelined her with its raw natural beauty and vibrant people – one island person in particular, would eventually become her husband, giving her a reason to stay indefinitely. She has been living and traveling throughout these islands for nearly ten years, working on remote private islands of the rich and famous in the Exumas, and spending 2 ½ years in chic and colorful Harbour Island before relocating to the “big city” of Nassau in 2016.

Dedicated to sharing her love of her adopted island home, Mariah created Out Island Life, a website and blog for those looking to buy, build, travel or relocate to the Bahamas. She writes captivating articles as she recaps accounts of her sometimes blissful, oftentimes crazy island existence, along with relevant information for Bahamas-enthusiasts. After completing the first edition of Moon Bahamas, she is now focused on writing a memoir and freelance writing for international travel publications. In her free time, she continues to explore and discover the 700 islands of the Bahamas.

When she isn’t writing or traveling, Mariah teaches yoga, hosts retreats, and enjoys kiteboarding, paddlesurfing and taking her three rescue Potcakes (island dogs) for long walks on empty beaches. You can learn more about The Bahamas at or follow her island adventures on Instagram @mariah.laine

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