Six Things You Don't Want To Miss When You Visit The Bahamas

Whether you are chartering a yacht to the islands visiting a port-of-call off of a Caribbean cruise, there are some things you won't want to miss in the Bahamas. The Bahamas consists of 700 islands that stretch from Florida to Haiti, with a variety of cultures and influences that make them each distinctive. Check out some of the reasons visitors return again and again to the Bahamas:

The shopping. When visiting the Bahamas, check out the shops and stores. If you are looking for inexpensive souvenirs or local art, take a trip to the area straw markets, which are often set-up near the waterfront on some of the islands, including Freeport or Nassau. For a more refined shopping experience, visit some of the jewelry stores on the islands as this region is rich in gemstones, including diamonds and tanzanite.

The authentic rum punch. When you think about the Bahamas, you should think about the tasty and refreshing rum punch. This is a popular drink that is made even more authentic with the Bahama's own golden rum, Nassau Royale, and a touch of nutmeg. Take home a bottle of this native rum but be sure to claim it on your customs declarations, as North American travelers are permitted to take home a liter of rum without paying a duty.

The vanilla. The Bahamas is also the best place to buy pure vanilla extract. The price is less than what you would pay in the US grocery stores, and it is typically concentrated with rum which gives the vanilla a distinctive and delicious flavor. Look for vanilla bean, too, when shopping in the culinary stores and kiosks on the islands.

The European influence. Something else that draws visitors to the islands is the European atmosphere. Since St. Maarten is half-French and half-Dutch, a trip to this island is like taking a trip abroad, while traveling only a few miles from one side of the island to the other. From the authentic French bakeries with pastries and breads to the Dutch-owned casinos that rival Monte Carlo, a trip to the Bahamas destination of St. Maarten is an international experience.

The carriage rides. The best way to see any of the islands in the Bahamas is by carriage. Horses are lined up under a shelter, typically near the waterfront, to pick up travelers and give them a carriage ride and tour of the island. The sound of the horse's hooves on the cobblestone streets makes an experience that you will fondly remember long after you return home.

The linens. Textiles are a popular item that is frequently exported from the Bahamas to other parts of the world, so buying fabric, sheets, and bedding when visiting can be a money saver. Want to take home something extra special? Look for the rich, soft bamboo linens that are very popular and affordable in many Bahama locales, including Nassau.

If you are heading to the Bahamas, you are in for a treat; take time to look for these six things during your stay! The history and diversity of these tropical islands makes it a visitors' paradise, with a rich culture and unique experiences that you will remember for a lifetime. For more exciting features of the Bahamas, click here.