As she delivers a bright orange Bahama Mama cocktail that looks like a liquid sunset, the waitress at the Bimini Big Game Club Resort wails: ‘It’s so cold today!’ You could have fooled me.

Bahamas: Below 75 degrees (24c) are considered to be freezing. Residents of the Bahamas wear woolly hats, and drink hot chocolate.

It’s a hilarious sight if you’ve just flown in from grey and chilly Britain, eager to frolic amid the cheerful nation’s abundant white-sand beaches and sea as smooth as glass. This stunning sprinkling 700 islands and 2400 cays extends south-east of Florida for 760 mile. Its highest point is Cat Island at 206 feet.

Now it's easier to go island-hopping in The Bahamas thanks to a new twice-weekly flight from Heathrow to Nassau

A new, twice-weekly flight connecting Heathrow with Nassau makes it easier to travel to the Bahamas.

Memories of the Bahamas’ 325 years as a British colony, which ended with independence in 1973, linger on in driving on the left and the Queen’s role as head of state, but the abiding influence is from moneyed America.

Uncle Sam’s well-off residents come here to dive, fish and party in safe archipelagos that are culturally but not geographically part of the Caribbean.

‘We Bahamians love to dance,’ a tour guide tells me with a wink and a waggle of her hips, and they drink too. I’ve never seen a place with so many liquor stores.

Tropical: The 3,805-room Atlantis Paradise Island resort (pictured) is just one of the gargantuan hotels in The Bahamas

Tropical: The Atlantis Paradise Island hotel (pictured), which houses 3,805 guests, is only one of several extravagant hotels found in The Bahamas.

Pictured above are the bright dwellings on Elbow Cay, which is set on the isle of Abaco

Above are Elbow Cay’s brightly lit dwellings, located on Abaco’s isle.

The new, twice weekly flight between Heathrow and Nassau on Virgin Atlantic has made it easier to get there. This new service, which was launched two weeks ago, complements the six-days-a week British Airways service that is based at the airport. This well-run entry point is a must-see for many visitors. It has a cruise-ship terminal and casinos. There are also golf courses, hotels, and a casino.

The Out Islands, collectively called the Bahamas’ soul, are accessible by boat and plane. Here’s our pick of the best.


Nigel recommends visiting the Bimini Big Game Club Resort on the Bimini isles. Pictured is North Bimini

Nigel suggests visiting the Bimini Big Game Club Resort, on the Bimini Islands. North Bimini is shown. 

Just 50 miles from the East Coast of Florida are North and South Bimini, which can be reached by jet-ski.

Bimini Big Gaming Club Resort has a bustling marina, blue and yellow cottages, set in lush grounds. This is the ideal place to remember the period when Ernest Hemingway fished, drank and wrote books.

Don’t try to swim. The water’s full of sharks. You can snorkel at Radio Beach, where there are amazing sands. There you will find Bimini Road. This mysterious run of underwater stones is believed to be a road to Atlantis.

DON’T MISS: Dolphin House, an exuberant three-storey art house that island historian Ashley Saunders has been building from beach finds and upcycled materials since 1993 (

Book IT Doubles from £190, room only ( Western Air flies from Nassau, from £171 return (


Valentines Resort, pictured, is at the heart of the party on Harbour Island, with clapperboard houses in sugar almond hues

Valentines Resort (pictured) is located on Harbour Island at the center of the celebration with clapperboard homes in sugar almond colors

Travel Facts 

Virgin flies from Heathrow to Nassau from £609 return ( Fully vaccinated travellers need to submit a negative antigen test prior to arrival and buy a £38 health visa which includes Covid-19 insurance ( provides more details.

Harbour Island boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, a three-mile stretch of pink sand, soft and unspoilt, that runs along the length of Harbour Island. 

Kim Kardashian and Serena Williams were seen recently relaxing in this stress-free island, where the golf carts are the king and restaurants bustle with rich families enjoying bouillabaisse or rum cakes with papaya.

Valentines Resort is at the heart of the party with clapperboard houses in sugar almond hues, plus there’s a pool, marina and loungers on Pink Sands Beach.

DON’T MISS:Harbour Island has a great nightlife scene. Seek out Daddy D’s club and Gusty’s Bar with its sand-covered floor (

Book IT Seven nights departing on January 15, 2022, from £2,099 pp, room only, including flights to North Eleuthera via Nassau (


The Bahamas offers many luxury hideaways that make for a romantic getaway. Kamalame Cay (privately owned) is one of the most accessible. It’s located on the eastern coast of Andros. This resort is just 30 minutes by speedboat from Nassau.

The white, shingle-roofed cottages on stilts that are strung along the three-mile stretch of sandy beach have an ocean view deck, kayak and paddleboard. The world’s third largest barrier reef is on your doorstep and the farm-fresh cuisine runs from lobster rolls to a spicy Bahamian chicken curry made with coconut milk.

DON’T MISS: The resort’s dreamy spa is built over the water, offering blissful massages to a backdrop of lapping waves and a soft sea breeze (

Get your BOOKING NOW! Five nights departing on February 7, 2022, from £2,350 pp B&B, including flights and speedboat transfers (


Blue holes are a Bahamas speciality - on Eleuthera, seek out Sapphire Blue Hole near Preacher’s Cave, pictured

Blue holes are a Bahamas speciality – on Eleuthera, seek out Sapphire Blue Hole near Preacher’s Cave, pictured 

All You Need To Know

All travellers who are fully vaccinated should take an antigen test in the 5 days preceding their arrival. Travellers 12 and older who are not vaccinated must have a PCR test completed within 5 days of arrival. They also need to complete daily questionnaires about their health. Unvaccinated travellers who stay for more than 5 days must take an antigen test. requires that you also complete an online travel visa application. For more information, go to

This is a 110-mile slither of land linked by a long and often empty road known as the Queen’s Highway. Settled in 1648 by English Puritans who named it after the Greek word for ‘freedom’, it has an Outback feel with sleepy settlements, pineapple farms and a scenic brilliance born of it being caught between the deep blue Atlantic and milky green Exuma Sound.

The Other Side, a resort in the northern part of North Carolina, is eco-friendly and offers organic food, an overwater swimming pool, and various glamping options.

DON’T MISS:The Bahamas is known for its blue holes. These beautiful pools of saltwater or freshwater, surrounded by limestone rocks are inviting to be jumped into. Seek out Sapphire Blue Hole near Preacher’s Cave where the drop is around 35 ft followed by a scramble back up by rope ladder.

Book IT Seven nights departing on January 12, 2022, from £3,725 pp, all-inclusive, including flights to North Eleuthera via Nassau and speedboat transfers (


Great Inagua, located 50 miles from Cuba is the most southern island. It has 140 species of migratory and native birds and makes it a great destination for birdwatchers. Its national park is home to 70,000 Caribbean Flamingoes, which are the star attraction. Their courtship dances are beautiful all year.

You have to book in advance as there are only a few flights available. The simple accommodation includes the colourfully painted Enrica’s Inn in the capital, Matthew Town.

DON’T MISS: The photogenic ‘Salt Alps’, mountains of salt from a factory that has been harvesting the mineral since the 1930s.

Book IT Seven nights departing on March 19, 2022, costs from £1,469 pp, room only, including flights via Nassau and four nights on Great Inagua with two days’ guided birdwatching (

Explore Nassau

Stay in Nassau, pictured above, for a couple of nights before joining a cruise or moving on to another island

You can stay in Nassau (pictured above) for two nights prior to embarking on a cruise, or going on to another island.

Life and soul: A fun-packed festival parade - known as the 'Junkanoo celebration' - in the Bahamian capital

Life and soul: A fun-packed festival parade – known as the ‘Junkanoo celebration’ – in the Bahamian capital 

It is well worth spending a few nights in the capital of Bahamian before you embark on a cruise, or move to another island.

The treat includes a charming, hand-painted pool in tropical gardens. There are also delicious food and excellent service in the smart dining room.

The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is located in an elegant mansion built in 1860s. Fort Fincastle was constructed in 1793, and has stunning views of the port.

DON’T MISS: A tour of Graycliff’s wine cellar, which is home to 275,000 bottles — the third largest collection in the world. Pride of place is given to a German dessert wine from 1727, the oldest drinkable bottle in the world, which is on the wine list for £150,000.

Book IT Double rooms from £413 B&B (

The all-inclusive’s sunkissed beauty: Sandals’ two resorts in the Bahamas will be updated to mark the hotel chain’s 40th birthday

The young man at the speedboat controls reduced the power of the massive dual outboard motors to idle so his passengers could gawp for a moment at what music-star wealth can buy — in this case a private island with helipad in the Bahamas.

I’d never heard of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, but the couple with whom I shared a bench seat hailed from Florida and told me McGraw and Hill were country and western royalty.

The Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort was my choice for a stay on Great Exuma Island. There was plenty to drink: manicured gardens and 11 restaurants. The beach is not too bad.

Jewel: A dip in the pool at Sandals Emerald Bay, a hotel that is surrounded by palm fronds and fronts a mile-long beach

Jewel: Take a dip at the Sandals Emerald Bay pool, which is flanked by palm fronds. It also fronts on a mile of beach.

Exumas is a 120-mile-long chain of coral islands and cays that runs south from New Providence.

There were 9 passengers on the day and 2 crewmen. The cold Kalik and Sands local bottled beer provided a comfortable resting spot for my feet. You could see the ocean clearly from far away, but it was also blue closer up. The islands and cays were more pale than you would expect, with white sand. This was an unforgettable trip.

What about my hotel? Well, it was clean and smart — and just 35 minutes away from Nassau by Bahamas Air. It is situated on 500 acres and includes a mile of beach with tranquil waters. Here you can enjoy kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling.

So too, further out, does scuba diving from one of the resort’s shiny speedboats. You can explore many beautiful coral reefs, caves, and wrecks. The resort also has an excellent PADI-certified dive shop.

The Exumas are a 120-mile-long chain of coral islands, islets, cays and sandbars. Pictured is a beach on Great Exuma island

Exumas, a chain that stretches 120 miles, contains coral islands, cays, islets and sandbars. The beach at Great Exuma is shown in the picture

Travel Facts

Five nights at Sandals Royal Bahamian and five nights at Sandals Emerald Bay cost from £3,915 pp, based on two people sharing a Club Level room all-inclusive, with resort transfers, British Airways economy flights from London Heathrow to Nassau departing on February 13, 2022, returning from Georgetown, and inter-island flights (, 0800 597 0002). 

More information at

Like all Sandals hotels, it is all-inclusive, with 249 rooms ranging from Love Nest villa suites (complete with a butler and a private pool) to beachside Prime Minister Honeymoon villas (also serviced by butlers and with traditional, colonial-style mahogany furnishings) and more modern-looking Beach House rooms — no butlers, sadly, but set in pretty tropical gardens.

There are so many options for dining. Among the 11 restaurants are an Italian, an Indian, a French brasserie, a Jerk Shack (serving Caribbean dishes) and the Drunken Duck, a British pub-like place where the blurb promises you can ‘discover the heart of England’, if you really want that.

Two resorts are available at Sandals in Bahamas. One is in Nassau at the Royal Bahamian. This resort has undergone a complete makeover due to the slowdown caused the pandemic. It’s scheduled to reopen on January 27.

The ‘royal’ comes from Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson having stayed in one of the resort’s older buildings that used to be part of the exclusive Balmoral Club. There are pictures of the King Emperor looking slightly grumpy in front of the Governor’s Residence, as well as one of him inside appearing furious after losing at cards to the woman he loved.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sandals. It was founded by the larger-than-life Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who pioneered all-inclusive hotels in the region — and who died in January. Adam Stewart is the current owner of the firm.

All these years on, I can report it’s still going strong — free drinks and a free spirit, too.

Jeremy Clarke