in the middle
There are plenty of reasons why the Bahamas have become synonymous with sun, sand and sea. Just take Eleuthera and its coral-coloured beaches or secluded Exuma, where grass-topped dunes poke above the warm swells. There's history here too - you can easily imagine the pirate ships flitting in and out of the rocky coves around Abaco, or the British naval frigates moored up against New Providence. And you can certainly still smell the buccaneers in the rum dives of Nassau.
Search dealchecker for the top Bahamas hotels to take to the shimmering seas, see pink flamingos on Mayaguana and pink sands at Current Cut, dive into underwater caverns on Grand Bahama, and sip rum punch by the pool on Paradise Island.
Cruise shippers and millionaires, fashionistas and A-listers all meet between the duty-free streets of Nassau. The most popular entry point to the Bahamas, this capital is a swashbuckling medley of pirate museums and colossal colonial forts. Meanwhile, Bay Street has everything from high fashion emporiums to craft stores, and Paradise Island to the north is home to the sprawling Atlantis Resort come theme park extraordinaire.
Eleuthera is the island of love and romance, balanced out with a dash of adventure for good measure. Running for more than 100 miles through the Caribbean Sea, it's got the pink sands of Poponi Beach, appropriately named Alabaster Bay, and the roaring surf swells of Gregory Town.
Freeport – the largest town on Grand Bahama – comes fringed with the coastal district of Lucaya. A hotspot for opulent and luxurious accommodations that spill out onto cotton-white sand from Tanio Beach to Coral Beach, it's perfect for the sun seeker.
Paradise Island, located just off the northern coast of New Providence and within easy reach of Nassau, is certainly worth a stop-over. Complete with an acclaimed aquarium, an adrenaline-pumping water park, oodles of infinity pools and cocktail bars, the home of the Atlantis Resort is great for families and couples alike.
Search for cheap hotels in the Bahamas' outer Abaco Islands if you want to make the most of the sea. This is where lagoons full of stingrays carve through the cliffs, where little beachside cabanas serve up Bahamian curries on the dunes, and where Elbow Cay lurks nearby, rife with pirate history and English-style streets.
Holidaymakers heading for the Bahamas should also be sure to get their fix of local culture. Sobering museums like the Pompey Museum of Slavery can be found in Nassau, while Fort Fincastle and Charlotte offer a glimpse of the military past of the archipelago.