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Freeport, Bahamas

If you're looking for an authentic island experience, you will love the endless beaches and laid-back attitude of Freeport and Grand Bahama Island. You're also in luck if you demand fine dining, tropical cocktails, great shopping and vibrant nightlife. Grand Bahama Island is one of the northernmost of the Bahamas' 700 islands, and one of the largest as well. It is a long, narrow, low-lying garden island, blooming with bougainvillea flowers as bright as the colourful clapboard houses in its charming fishing villages. All along its coastline, palm trees and Australian pines line white-sand beaches washed by the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It's those breathtakingly blue waters that first catch your eye as you approach the airport in Freeport.

Most of the island's hotels and resorts can be found just a few minutes away in the graceful waterfront community of Lucaya. Seahorse Road splits Lucaya into the Port Lucaya and Our Lucaya subdivisions. The marina and market are on the Port Lucaya side, while the majority of the hotels, resorts and casino are on the Our Lucaya side.

Grand Bahama Island also has plenty to offer beyond the resorts, including terrific fishing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Some of the best experiences are the back-to-nature ones, especially in Lucayan National Park. Here you can kayak through silent mangroves, go spelunking in spooky underwater caves and hike through several distinct geographical regions.

Everywhere you go, there is music, whether it's birdsongs from the 2,000 species that call Grand Bahama Island home, or the local rake and scrape folk bands popping up at any social occasion. And every occasion here is a social one. The friendly locals use any excuse to fry up some conch fritters, pop open a local Sands beer and welcome you to the party. Then again, if you crave the solitude of a silent beach and the company of your own thoughts, Grand Bahama Island can offer that, too. It's your call. After all, this is the island of "just enough" – of whatever it is you want most.

top hotels

Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

Grand Lucayan Resort Bahamas

places to see

Browse around at Port Lucaya Marketplace - Freeport’s main shopping destination has moved from the International Bazaar downtown to this cheerful collection of shops, bars and restaurants in the Lucaya resort area. In the middle of the action is Count Basie Square, featuring live music nightly. Surrounding it are a dozen island-style buildings where you can find high-end, duty-free goods like china, crystal, watches, beachwear, designer handbags and fine jewelry. Pick up a daiquiri to go as you browse, and be sure to visit the straw market next door for Bahamian souvenirs. Worked up an appetite? Luckily, many of Freeport’s best restaurants and liveliest bars are right here, too.

Go underwater with UNEXSO - The crystal-clear waters around Grand Bahama Island offer some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving in the world. And there’s no better way to experience them than with the expert guidance of the Underwater Explorer Society, or UNEXSO, located at the Port Lucaya Marina.Its guides take you on a quick 30-minute boat ride to the reef cities where you can explore shipwrecks and gaze at the magical beauty of the deep. Be one with nature at the Garden of the Groves Wander through this 12-acre botanical garden featuring waterfalls, pools, fountains and a charming chapel. The little ones will love the playground, while soul-seekers find peace in the healing garden with its meditative labyrinth. Visit the onsite arts and crafts village to shop for authentic Bahamian souvenirs. And be sure to stop at the cafe for some of the best burgers on the island.

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