The Bahamas has a colorful history. Derived
from the Spanish term 'Baja Mar' meaning
"shallow sea", The Bahamas are actually the crests
of a mountain range that emerged from the Atlantic
Ocean thousands of years ago. The first settlers
were the South American Arawak or Lucayan
'Indians', so called by Christopher Columbus as he
thought he had discovered the East Indies when he
landed on San Salvador in 1492. The arrival in 1647 of English settlers - called Eleutheran Adventurists - from Bermuda, escaping religious persecution, formed the foundation of Bahamas agriculture which is alive and well today. For the next 70 or so years, The Bahamas were home to famous pirates (e.g. Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham and Henry Morgan) who
lured unsuspecting ships into the shallow reefs,
then plundered and pillaged the vessels.
Under British rule from 1670, then a recognized
British colony in 1716, the Islands of The Bahamas
gave refuge to southern Loyalists fleeing America
following the Revolution. During Prohibition, the
islands prospered with their rum-running.
Following its repeal, The Bahamas became a way-
station during World War II and with the closing of
Cuba in the 1950s to the U.S., tourism developed
and currently rivals its Caribbean neighbors as a
top vacation destination. Earning its independence,
the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was established in 1969.
Click Map to Enlarge
VHR, WORLDWIDE is the leading travel company promoting accommodations throughout The Islands of The Bahamas. For more than 30 years, we have offered a wide variety of palatial estates, sumptuous villas, cozy cottages, value-priced condominiums, elegant townhomes, as well as private islands. Our Villa Specialists can book commercial and private air, arrange for cars and golf carts, provide fishing charters and boat rentals, set up tee times, secure hard-to-obtain dinner reservations, etc. for you. We know these islands intimately because we've been going there - and working closely with our friends and colleagues at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism - for over three decades.
It is with great sadness that we have been forced to temporarily suspend our 40 years managing the villas and condominiums in Treasure Cay and the other islands of the Abacos. Hurricane Dorian devastated the vacation residences - and the homes of our Bahamian friends, neighbors and the people who work for us - and it will be several years before the community will be viable once again.
In the meantime, we are supporting the efforts of Chef Jose Andres and his team at World Central Kitchen (www.wck.org). They were the first to land in Treasure Cay (on the tennis courts, no less, as the airport was underwater) immediately following this horrific storm, bringing 3,000 sandwiches to the survivors and rescuers. Since then, Chef Andres has set up multiple kitchens in The Bahamas, providing more than 1.5 million hot meals to the people remaining in the northern Bahamas.
We encourage you to donate (earmark Bahamas Relief Efforts) to World Central Kitchen as they continue to offer aid to our Bahamian friends, neighbors and colleagues. Click here www.wck.org for more information about their amazing rescue efforts.
Chef Jose Andres delivery food in The Bahamas
Abaco resident crying out for help.
Let's get something straight: The Bahamas are not located in the Caribbean Sea, thus they are not
'Caribbean'. They possess their own dynamic with a unique cuisine and culture. If you look at a map, you will see that the group of islands that make up The Bahamas sit in the Atlantic Ocean. Located just east and south of Florida's East Coast, and comprising 700 limestone isles and cays (pronounced 'keys' of which 23 are populated), the Islands of The Bahamas are scattered like precious pearls across a turquoise blue sea. These treasured islands - only 50 miles from the U.S. - have distinct personalities that appeal to a broad range of visitors. They key is finding the perfect island to meet your needs!
One common thread is the magnificent pink-white sand that is found on each and every island. The beaches of The Bahamas are perhaps the finest found anywhere in the world: talcum-powder-soft shorelines lapped by the clear turquoise Atlantic Ocean. A shell-seeker's delight! Serious anglers trek from across the globe to catch bonefish on the flats of Abaco, Andros and Eleuthera or go deepsea fishing for marlin, tuna, dolphin (mahi-mahi) and wahoo only a few miles offshore. The Bahamas' shallow waters offer the best conditions in the world for boating and sailing. Bahamian lobster is a spear fisherman's delight. We think there's no better place for the avid watersports enthusiast.
From the frenetic pace of Nassau and Paradise Island (New Providence) and the duty-free shopping mecca of Freeport/Lucaya (Grand Bahama) to the tranquil beauty and pristine beaches of the Family or Out Islands, there is something for everyone ...
... and there's no reason to pick just one. Your VHR, WORLDWIDE Villa Specialist can design a vacation combining two or more islands so that you have the opportunity to explore the varied personalities of this very special and beautiful destination and be the grateful recipient of warm Bahamian hospitality.
For those who seek the utmost of privacy, we are pleased to offer a selection of private islands available to the discerning few. We can also arrange for private air charters.
Here's a quick overview of the islands where VHR, WORLDWIDE offers homes for rent (click on maps to enlarge):
The Abacos are a boomerang-shaped group of islands and resorts with names like Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay, Marsh Harbour, Man-O-War Cay, Guana Cay and the private island, Scotland Cay. Spanning 120 miles in the Northern Bahamas, they are considered the sailing and yachting capital of the world. Also well known for deepsea fishing. There is an Annual Billfishing Tournament held in Treasure Cay each May/June. These islands are also collectively renown for their outstanding beaches and wonderful shelling!
The Bimini Islands, only 50 miles from Miami, are known best for big game fishing. Ernest Hemmingway was a frequent guest, and this is where the ruins of mansions and sugar plantations of barons Perry Cavelle and Cornelius Hanna may be found. The region is big on boating, wild dolphin sightings and the legendary freshwater wells (including the Fountain of Youth); the mythical Lost City of Atlantis is said to be found here.
Cat Island, 50 miles long and only 4 miles wide, is about mid-way in The Bahamas chain. Situated 130 miles southeast of The Bahamian capital of Nassau, this quiet and relaxing island is known for its beautiful private beaches that are favored by honeymooners and others seeking seclusion. The south end of Cat Island is known for world class wahoo and sport fishing. There are numerous caves and blue holes along the length of the island. This mystical island's rolling hills are the highest elevation in The Bahamas. Climb to the top of Mt. Alvernia where you can get a bird's eye view of a scaled replica of The Hermitage, a 12th-century monastery steeped in history and not to be missed! Historic buildings (and the boyhood home of Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier) can also be found in Arthur's Town. Ten miles of incredibly beautiful pink-white sand makes up Fine Beach, aptly named. Deveaux Mansion and nearby ruins dominate the coastline.
Eleuthera's claim to fame is her miles of spectacular, unspoiled pink-white sandy beaches. Divers enjoy an unusual site for the region: a train wreck! In a bygone era, this island boasted pineapple farms and a chicken hatchery. The quaint Colonial settlements are awash in pastel colors whose backdrop is the magnificent turquoise Bahamian waters. One main road - Queen's Highway - runs the length of the island. Two small islands off the northern tip are Harbour Island - called "Briland" by the locals - boasting the pinkest sand found anywhere, and her sister cay, Spanish Wells/St. George's Cay. Just offshore from Savannah Sound, midway down the island, is the very exclusive (and gated community of) Windermere Island.
The Exuma Islands include 365 isles and cays stretching over 120 miles. The main islands are Great Exuma at one end and Little Exuma on the other. Their central location in The Bahamas chain makes them a good choice for cruising in a yacht. The Exumas offer a wide variety of accommodations, from quaint beachside bungalows to more elaborate villa resorts, and a bevy of private islands.
Grand Bahama Island is home to Freeport/Lucaya, one of the more familiar
regions of The Bahamas, and West End, the closest point to American soil. If you're undecided which Bahamian island to choose, then Grand Bahama might be your best bet because there’s something for everyone here. With a distinct mix of historic appeal, modern attractions and ecological wonders, and boasting one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems, three national parks, endless beaches and crisp blue water, Grand Bahama Island has it all.
Long Island is in the Southern Bahamas, about 150 miles southeast of Nassau. This 80 mile-long island is made up of high cliffs and rolling terrain, peaceful coves and secluded beaches, dotted by quaint settlements and small farms. Divided by the Tropic of Cancer and bordered by two strikingly different coastlines - one with powder white beaches and the other comprised of rocky headlands that descend directly into the sea - this island's fascinating caves, azure bays, towering cliffs and rolling hills are in direct contrast with the more tropical landscape and shorelines found elsewhere in The Bahamas. Noted for its superb snorkeling, scuba diving and bonefishing conditions, this is the place where avid underwater enthusiasts come to swim, safely, with Caribbean Reef Sharks at Shark Reef.
New Providence Island is the official name of the island where the capital city of Nassau is located. Visitors will find a plethora of dining options, from the 'down home' fish shacks under the bridge to Paradise Island to some of the best fine dining in the islands. Here you will also find an extensive array of duty-free shopping, casino gambling, and glittering nightlife. Oh, and of course, more of those beautiful Bahamian beaches!
Paradise Island is home to the massive resort complex called Atlantis. This barrier island to New Providence (Nassau), formerly known as Hog Island, is accessed by two bridges. Cabbage Beach is considered one of the best sandy shores in The Bahamas. While most of the island is dotted with hotels, there are villas tucked away just steps from the sea or secluded among beautiful subtropical gardens. Like Nassau, Paradise Island boasts an abundance of gourmet restaurants, duty-free shopping, gambling, and evening entertainment.
Private Islands are many vacationer's ultimate dream ... total seclusion, your
own little kingdom for a few days, maybe a week or more. Private islands are ideal for weddings, reunions, and corporate functions in addition to the most exclusive of family vacations or fun with friends. VHR, WORLDWIDE is pleased to offer a few of these special gems in The Bahamas.