Gay Bahamas: how to get the most of a Bahamas itinerary

Shimmering seas so azure it’s almost unfathomable. Picture-perfect pink sand beaches and swoon-worthy swimming wild pigs. A veritable colour chart of tropical fish and spectacular coral reefs. Welcome to the Bahamas, where over 700 islands combine to create the mesmerising setting for a never-ending array of sun-drenched adventures. Yes, the Bahamas are pricey, but sailing through some of the cleanest waters in the world to secret sandbars, rum punch in hand, is a sultry dream well worth making a reality. Get the most out of any Gay Bahamas trip with this Mr Hudson approved travel itinerary.

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LGBT situation in the Bahamas

Though the Bahamas are, generally speaking, welcoming of LGBTQ+ travellers, it’s essential to know that this is a country with a history of anti-homosexuality laws and where full protections for the gay community are yet to be legalized. Many LGBTQ+ activists are doing the groundbreaking work of promoting equal rights for all, and things are moving in the right direction. However, a very real stigma against the LGBTQ+ community means you won’t find any gay clubs or events, and it’s best to avoid PDA. On the positive side, gay couples are now welcomed at all of the large resorts and hotels, so rest assured you can still enjoy an idyllic island escape with the right precautions in place.

When to visit the Bahamas

Hurricane season runs from June through to the end of November. It’s still possible to visit the Bahamas during this time (just be sure to have travel insurance!), but you’ll run the risk of rainy weather impeding your endless ocean views. Mid-December to mid-April is peak season, with balmy temperatures rarely dipping below 60°F. Tides of visitors mean higher prices and busier attractions, but for a getaway that’s bathed in sunlight, it’s worth sharing your patch of paradise with a few other travellers.

Photo: Valentin Perret

Photo: Joseph Kellner

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Touchdown in the Bahamas, and you’ll have 16 major islands at your fingertips—each wildly unique and arrestingly lovely

How to stay safe in the Bahamas

When it comes to travelling in the Bahamas, the islands are a mostly safe destination, so long as you stay on the tourist trail. A rise in petty theft and armed robberies—largely the result of complicated social issues—is something of which to be aware, though. Most crime is targeted at other Bahamians (not tourists), but when exploring Nassau nightlife, it’s best to avoid the area south of Shirley Street. All in all, don’t flash valuables or leave items unattended on the beach and stay aware of your surroundings, and you can expect an unrivalled island vacation that’s all swaying palms and sugar-fine sands.

How to get around the Bahamas

Touchdown in the Bahamas, and you’ll have 16 major islands at your fingertips—each wildly unique and arrestingly lovely. The question then begs to ask: what is the easiest way to hop from sun-soaked beaut to the next?

Flying between destinations is comfortable with quick and convenient inter-island routes. Smaller regional airlines and private charter planes are both options, and flight times hover around 30 minutes, depending on the destination. (The longest route is gay Nassau to Inagua at about an hour and a half.)

If you prefer to soak in the big-time island thrills via the water, Bahamas Ferries runs frequent high-speed services between many major routes, most departing from the hub of Nassau. To travel to the Out Islands and other lesser inhabited locales, you’ll need to hire a boat or opt for an overnight seat on a mail boat (the latter of which is admittedly uncomfortable). For destinations like Paradise Island, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros, a water taxi can take you on the short run. Of course, private yacht charters are a hugely popular way to cruise from island to island. Should your budget permit, there’s no better way to experience the magic of the Bahamas than with the breeze in your hair as your captain shuttles you from one hidden cove to the next.

Photo: Allen Dewberry

Nassau Island (Days 1-3)

Think of the Bahamas, and chances are it’s swaying hammocks and pristine beaches that first come to mind. But before you make a beeline for the quiet solitude of a hidden cay, it’s worth allocating a few days in your Bahamas itinerary to explore the country’s thrumming metropolitan island—the at times gritty yet always spirited Nassau Island. the Bahamas’ only proper city is also its capital, an endless stream of colour, noise, and cruise-ship passengers—and the gateway to the rest of the country. There’s a real grittiness to Nassau, but within the hustle of this global tax haven are pockets of tranquillity, not to mention a humming arts and food scene.

Nassau was the heart of the Golden Age of piracy, so it’s fitting that John Watling’s Distillery gets its name from a pirate and produces their beloved libation of choice. Visit to try four signature rums, each only available in the Bahamas. Panoramic harbour views and century-old olive trees around the historic property are a bonus. To get a glimpse of burgeoning Bahamian artwork, stop by the Doongalik Studios, nestled amongst lush gardens. The exhibition showcases the work of local artists and is a driving force in the contemporary art scene. Continuing with the best things to do in Nassau is a walk through downtown, some 20 square blocks of centuries-old monuments, colourful murals, and cutting-edge museums. Once you’ve had your cultural fix, head across the bridge to experience the powder-white beaches of Paradise Island. Palm-fringed Cabbage Beach and Paradise Beach are doused in extravagance, but hidden amongst the sprawling resorts and casinos are stretches of sandy seclusion.

Photo: Spenser Sembrat

Photo: Jared Rice

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When it comes to the most idyllic beaches in the Exumas, Norman’s Cay is a handsome hideaway that once served as Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder’s personal property

The Exumas (Days 4-6)

Planning a trip to the Bahamas isn’t complete without The Exumas, a treasure trove of isolated beaches, world-class diving, and gobsmacking luxury. Comprised of over 300 islands and cays, The Exumas are divided into three main areas: Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and The Exuma Cays. Each region has a unique flair and offers up mesmerizing natural attractions; sailing across the glassy water from cay to cay is an experience like no other.

Major Cay is synonymous with The Exumas for many; the island was made famous for its welcoming committee of swimming pigs. The origins of how these cute creatures made it to the island is up for debate, but whether they were left behind by sailors or intentionally placed here, watching the pigs wade about in crystal-clear water is undoubtedly a sight to behold. Divers and snorkelers alike won’t want to miss Thunderball Grotto, a mesmerizing underwater cave system teeming with colourful reefs and darting fish. James Bond fans might recognize it from the 1965 film of the same name. Then there’s the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first land-and-sea reserve in the world; expect a postcard-perfect wildlife refuge with breathtaking scenery both above and below the water. Staniel Cay is a charming village and an excellent hopping-off point for exploring the natural preserve.

When it comes to the most idyllic beaches in the Exumas, Norman’s Cay is a handsome hideaway that once served as Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder’s personal property. Come for the 10 miles of secluded white-sand beaches. Pelican Beach is the longest—and to many the most beautiful—beach in the Exumas. Last but certainly not least is Three Sisters Beach, with its legendary rock formations that bring good luck and romance.

Photo: Lisa Larsen

Photo: Jakob Owens

Eleuthera & Harbour Island (Days 7-10)

Next up on what to do in the Bahamas is a trip to Eleuthera & Harbour Island. The stuff of fairytales, Pink Sand Beach is beloved for its soft rose hue, a natural phenomenon caused by broken down coral and crushed shells. Take a stroll down the three miles of uninterrupted pink sand, and you’ll quickly understand why this beach regularly tops lists for best in the world. The magical encounters continue with a stroll past Harbour Island’s quaint pastel-coloured clapboard houses. The New England-style architecture is a testament to the island’s many loyalist settlers from the 1700s—and the lemony yellows and sea green buildings draped in bougainvillaea make for excellent Instagram fodder.

Just a five-minute ferry ride from Harbour Island is pencil-thin Eleuthera. Here you’ll find an additional 35 miles of blush-coloured sands alongside unpretentious five-star resorts—all set to a backdrop of undeveloped rolling green hills. The highlight of any visit to Eleuthera is the Glass Window Bridge, a strip of rock with bright turquoise waters on one side and the deep, rich blues of the Atlantic on the other. The contrast between the two is truly a marvel. From here, saddle up on an inviting veranda fringed with powdered sugar beaches and while away an afternoon to the sounds of gently lapping aquamarine water. When the sun slips below the horizon, the relaxation continues with fish fries and bonfires beneath a blanket of stars. Oh, and don’t miss biting into a juicy local pineapple; they’re some of the sweetest in the world.

Photo: Isaw Company

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