Bahamas – Jan 2014

My wife and I were fortunate to have an opportunity to visit friends in the Bahamas in January 2014.  It was the first trip for both of us to this lovely group of islands off the south coast of Florida and the north coast of Cuba.  January is a nice time to visit, temperatures were comfortable, in the low to mid-twenties most days.  We visited Eleuthera, the Exumas and New Providence (where Nassau the capital is).  Without question, the best feature of the Bahamas, apart from endless beautiful beaches, were the people.  We found the Bahamians to be friendly, easy going, and genuinely welcoming.  On the negative side, it is an expensive place, both for residents and tourists.  We found the cost of accommodation and food to be quite a bit higher than what we would pay for comparable quality in either Canada or the US.  We were surprised at the lack of recycling, energy efficiency initiatives (e.g. solar water heaters, wind power, fuel efficient cars etc.), and general environmental awareness.  The Bahamas have several large nature parks (both marine and terrestrial), unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the larger ones, perhaps on another trip.  On Eleuthera the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (near Governors Harbour) is worth a visit.   Much of the development we saw appeared to be haphazard and not particularly well designed/managed from an environmental perspective, particularly in New Providence. I’m a keen amateur photographer, and wished I’d brought a longer lens with me specifically for bird photography (click on this link to see some of my photos).  We saw over 30 different species, but it was difficult to shoot many of the smaller birds with my 80-200 mm.  We had an excellent 1/2 day birding experience with Carolyn Wardle in Nassau.  Carolyn runs a company called Bahamas Outdoors Ltd., has lived in the Bahamas since the early 1960’s, is an experienced birder and we would highly recommend her for birding, hiking, cycling etc. in New Providence.