POPULAR BAHAMAS PORTS OF CALL
Nassau, the capital of New Providence Island in the Bahamas, is a majestic, scenic adventure that you do not want to miss. Nassau has an attractive harbor, a colorful blend of old world and colonial architecture and a tourist destination, with a reputation for relaxing days and an exciting nightlife.
The city has a population of 210,832, nearly 70 percent of the entire population of the Bahamas (303,611). Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 92 degrees Fahrenheit, and the winter months have daytime temperatures between 68 and 80 F, rarely falling below 50F.
The city's proximity to the United States (180 miles east-southeast of Miami, Florida) has also contributed to its popularity as a vacation spot, especially after the banning of American travel to Cuba. The world famous Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island accounts for more tourist arrivals to the city than any other hotel property. The mega resort also employs over 6,000 Bahamians, the largest outside of government.
Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas, is an extraordinary destination. The white-sand beaches and friendly locals are only the beginning of this tropical paradise. The island is just 50 miles off the coast of The Bahamas is the most geographically complex nation in all of the Atlantic. A coral-based series of islands, it seagoing vessels in the area for centuries. Grand Bahama Island is a significant portion of the 100,000 square miles of dry land that comprise The Bahamas. Before the 1950s, Freeport was a pinewood forest and was nearly uninhabited. Tourism was all but nonexistent. It took only one man's vision to make Freeport the tourism mecca that it is today. Wallace Groves felt that this quiet island could be completely transformed into a miniature Miami, and was he ever right! Today the island features high-rise hotels, a giant casino, outstanding dining facilities, marinas, and so much more.
In 1964, Great Britain granted The Bahamas internal rule. After centuries of colonial rule, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas took control in 1973, at which time the fledgling nation drafted its own constitution but remained tied to Britain to a certain extent. The island has remained in the British Commonwealth, and the British monarch continues to be its head of state. The Bahamas has a two-house Parliament, in accordance with the policy of Great Britain. A Bahamian general, appointed by the Queen, represents the Crown. The throughout the area. Be certain to ask them any questions you may have about their wonderful beaches, extravagant dining facilities, and wide array of water sports
Key West and the Florida Keys
When The Ancient Mariner complained, "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink," he could well have been speaking of the Florida Keys. This 100-mile-long chain of tiny islands is completely surrounded by water, none of which is potable. Ah, but the views are spectacular! From the southern-most point in the continental United States you can watch both the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset over Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Snorkeling, swimming, bird and loggerhead turtle watching are all excellent here.
This is the self-proclaimed Conch Republic that "seceded" from the US in 1982 to protest the government's establishment of roadblocks to search and question everyone leaving the Keys. The secession ceremony was held in Mallory Square, the new Conch Republic flag was hoisted, and the rebels tossed a stale loaf of Cuban bread into the air - a token "shot" declaring war against the United States. Next they handed out passports to the citizens of the Conch Republic, "surrendered" to the US (to gain eligibility for foreign aid), and then they
partied. That week-long celebration has become an annual event.
It's easy to understand why Ernest "Papa" Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet fell in love with the Keys. Go ahead, come on down. And don't worry about those roadblocks - they disappeared long ago!