PUBLISHED December 22nd, 2020 06:00 am | UPDATED December 29th, 2020 12:21 pm
Blue skies, azure oceans and pristine beaches – The Bahamas have it all. Beyond the usual summer activities of swimming and lounging under the sun, the Bahamas is also rich in history and culture, not to mention it’s where you’ll find one of the biggest and most elaborate New Year festivals in the world. Kick back and relax as this edition of Wander From Home takes you to this quintessential Caribbean destination.
Get Up Close And Personal With Sharks
These majestic creatures are often admired behind the safety of glass walls in aquariums but hopping into their natural habitat is an otherworldly experience. One for the adrenaline-seekers and marine life enthusiasts, dive into crystalline waters with dozens of peaceful Caribbean Reef sharks for company. New Providence is the best place to encounter these apex predators – a few diving schools even hold feeding sessions where you can watch the sharks going at it from a reasonable distance.
Party Into The New Year At The Junkanoo Festival
The Bahamians certainly know how to welcome the new year with a bang, albeit this year’s celebrations being held on a smaller and virtual scale. Complete with eye-catching costumes, parades of flawless dance routines and lively beats on goatskin drums and cowbells, the Junkanoo Festival is the most-anticipated event of the year – think Mardi Gras meets New Year’s Eve. The street carnival of West African origins is a celebration of history and sees seven Junkanoo groups from the island jostling for the winning crown.
Cosy Up With The Swimming Pigs and Piglets Of Exuma
Amongst the tiny islands and sleepy cays of Exuma, the white sandy Big Major Cay is home to a gathering of adorable, furry creatures that come paddling up to you from shore in hopes of snacks and new friendships. That’s right – these are the famous swimming pigs. No one knows how they have come to inhabit what’s now known as Pig Beach, but tourists come flocking from all over to frolic with them in the cerulean ocean. For some cuddling therapy, the baby piglets roaming around on the shore are only too happy to oblige. Get your dose of cuteness through this video tour.
Explore The Medieval-Like Forts of Nassau
The history of the Bahamas tells rich tales of fights against pirates fiercer than Captain Jack Sparrow that date back to the 17th century. Stories of their brave heroics now rest within the walls of the Forts of Nassau. Fort Fincastle was built in 1793 on the highest point on New Providence Island to overlook the city of Nassau and protect the people against encroaching pirates. Hike up the 65-step Queen’s Staircase hand-carved from limestone to see a phenomenal sweeping view of the town below and the sky-blue ocean beyond it.
Adventure Awaits In The World Of Underwater Caverns
Hidden in the Lucayan National Park, Ben’s Cave is a gateway to passages and a winding cavern system that extends for almost nine miles underwater. Plunge into the ancient past brimming with stalactites, stalagmites, fossilised conch shells, bivalves, a flourishing ecosystem of fish and small crustaceans, and even remnants of the ancient Lucayan Civilisation. Sunlight reaches even the most remote parts of the cavern and the halocline allows a blurred effect, allowing a shockingly clear view through turquoise-blue waters and the mysterious world that lies within it.
Step Into A Progression Of Time At The Nassau Heritage Museum
Unlike others of its kind, the Heritage Museum of The Bahamas is actually a private collection of well-known British antiques collector Hamilton White, available for visitors to explore in the historic Mountbatten House. Every exhibit tells tales of culture and history of life on the island during the early 1900s to the present day. Browse through treasures from the days of Columbus, relics from the slavery and plantation era, artefact gathered from the era of pirates trawling through nearby waters and memorabilia from days of the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson.
Go On An Underwater James Bond Pilgrimage
Known as the Underwater Hollywood, the James Bond Wrecks is one of the most popular diving spots in Nassau. Go on a virtual double wreck dive consisting of diverse marine life weaving between artificial reefs blooming on the 90-foot Tears of Allah wreck from the iconic Sean Connery movie Never Say Never Again and the jungle gym-like Vulcan bomber from the iconic Thunderball film. Fans of the charming and suave 007 agent can also find an idyllic escape in the famous Thunderball Grotto, teeming with exotic ocean life, vibrantly-coloured coral and secret hidden entrances.
Tour John Watling’s Rum Distillery
The beautiful Buena Vista Estate houses the acclaimed John Watling’s Rum Distillery – named after a buccaneer known as the ‘Spirit of The Bahamas’ and also nicknamed Pious Pirate. This virtual walking tour sheds light on the inner working of rum factory that includes the rum-making experience right up to its bottling. And while tasting sessions remain elusive, you can still satiate your cravings for this robust spirit right here in Singapore.