Nowhere on the planet screams tropical paradise quite like The Bahamas. Come here to dig your toes into the softest, whitest sand, plunge into aquamarine waters, kick back with a rum sundowner and binge on seafood.
What’s really unique about The Bahamas, is the swimming pigs who have captured the hearts of tourists from all corners of the globe.
But you might be thinking that this ecological oasis is a luxury destination, strictly for honeymooners and the mega-rich. Put those worries aside! With over 700 islands to choose from, there is an island to suit everyone’s vacation needs – you just need to know where to stay in The Bahamas.
That’s why our expert travel writers have scouted out the archipelago so we can tell you where to stay in The Bahamas to make sure your vacation is perfect. Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in The Bahamas for your first time, traveling on a budget, taking the whole family or seeking a retreat off the beaten track, we’ve got your back.
Let’s get started with the 5 best areas to stay in The Bahamas.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in The Bahamas
- Where to stay in The Bahamas the first time – The Exuma Islands
- Where to stay in The Bahamas on a budget – Nassau
- Best area to stay in The Bahamas for nightlife – Grand Bahama
- Coolest place to stay in The Bahamas – Cat Island
- Best neighborhood in The Bahamas for families – Paradise Island
- Paddle with the pigs at Pig Beach on Big Major Cay
- Dine on Bahamian Rock Lobster at Santana’s
- Swim with nurse sharks at Compass Bay
Table of Contents
- Where to Stay in The Bahamas
- The Bahamas Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bahamas
- #1 The Exuma Islands – Where to Stay in The Bahamas the First Time
- #2 Nassau (New Providence) – Where to Stay in The Bahamas on a Budget
- #3 Grand Bahama – Best Area to Stay in The Bahamas for Nightlife
- #4 Cat Island – Coolest Place to Stay in The Bahamas
- #5 Paradise Island – Best Neighborhood in The Bahamas for Families
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are the best places to stay in The Bahamas.
Best Hostel in The Bahamas: [email protected]
This airy hostel offers private rooms and dorm rooms. It’s a 15-minute walk to Downtown Nassau and 5 minutes to the Bay Street Marina. Lower bunks come with privacy curtains and security lockers are available.
There is a communal kitchen, a couple of hammocks and a free breakfast included making it one of the coolest places to stay in The Bahamas.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in The Bahamas: Cosy Tropical Abode/ Includes Breakfast!
This gorgeous apartment is located in a safe, commercial part of Nassau close to Arawak Cay and Junkanoo Beach – one of New Providence’s best neighborhoods. The host provides a complimentary breakfast and some other bonus treats.
You get a lot of space with comfortable furnishings and a fully equipped kitchen.View on Airbnb
Best Mid-Range Hotel in The Bahamas: Ocean West Boutique Hotel
Situated by the dreamy Cable Bay, this stunning mansion offers boutique rooms with phenomenal views of the ocean from the swimming pool. The location itself is very peaceful, but with plenty of nearby restaurants and it’s only a short drive from the airport.
Rooms are sophisticated and there is a bar onsite.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Bahamas
The Exuma Islands
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The Bahamas is made up of 700 islands, over 2,000 rocks and cays and 100,00 square miles of ocean boasting some of the clearest water on the planet. In fact, the astronaut Chris Hadfield famously observed that The Bahamas is the ‘most beautiful place on Earth’ when seen from space.
The northernmost islands of New Providence (home to Nassau) and Grand Bahama are two of the most populated islands, but no holiday in this astounding archipelago can be complete without venturing onto the uninhabited cays for a spot of snorkeling or diving.
All islands offer pristine beaches, watersports and aquatic life. All islands are shaped by their own distinct personality, culture and attractions.
If you’re wondering where to stay in The Bahamas for your first time, we give the Exuma Islands a big thumbs up for getting the best of the Bahamian spirit.
Scratching your head over where to stay in The Bahamas on a budget? You’ll be able to nab yourself a cheap room or dorm bed in Nassau, New Providence.
If you’re all about sipping rum late into the night and picking up some Bahamian dance moves, Grand Bahama is the best place to stay in The Bahamas for nightlife.
The secluded and under-developed Cat Island offers a genuine glimpse into Bahamian culture. With empty beaches and the chance to find some solitude, we think this is the coolest place to stay in The Bahamas.
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bahamas
Let’s take a look at the 5 best neighborhoods to stay in The Bahamas. They’re each a little different, depending on the type of experience you’re after.
There are 365 cays that form the tropical paradise that is the Exuma Islands, that’s one for each day of the year! Half of The Bahamas islands are in fact part of the Exuma archipelago.
If you’re looking for gleaming sand, azure waters, fresh seafood and cays teeming with wildlife, the Exuma Islands are for you.
The largest island is Great Exuma, and is where most of the accommodation can be found if you’re looking where to stay in the Exuma Islands. Besides the friendly locals, other residents of the Exuma Islands are turtles, stingrays, tiny sharks, iguanas and the famous paddling pigs.
Things to See and Do in The Exuma Islands:
– Go beach hopping on the white sand beaches; put the Tropic of Cancer Beach is top of your list
– Paddle with the pigs at Pig Beach on Big Major Cay
– Pick up rum cake and coconut bread at Mom’s Bakery
– Dive into the second-deepest sinkhole, Dean’s Blue Hole, on nearby Long Island
– Dine on Bahamian Rock Lobster at Santana’s
– Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto off Staniel Cay – Sean Connery paid a visit to film the 1965 James Bond flick ‘Thunderball’
– Meet the curious Bahamian Rock Iguanas of Allen’s Cay
– Take the boat over to Stocking Island and hang at the sociable Chat ‘n’ Chills
– Go diving in the protected Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
– Gorge on traditional Bahamian fish fry at Shirley’s Fish Fry Shack
– Swim with nurse sharks at Compass Bay
Best Airbnb in The Exuma Islands: Chambre privée appt neuf avec vue mer
This Exuma Islands accommodation is located in Flamingo Bay. The apartment has plenty of indoor space to wind down and cook a light evening meal, but the main attraction is the private beach and gorgeous pool area!
Your helpful host can also arrange any tours you might fancy checking out.View on Airbnb
Best Affordable Hotel in The Exuma Islands: Sapphire Garden Townhouses
These simple villas feature all the essentials for your Exuma Islands accommodation, including a kitchen, air conditioning and comfortable beds. There are a range of options available making the hotel suitable for solo travelers, couples or families.
Located a 15-minute drive from the airport.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Best Hotel in The Exuma Islands: Exuma Beach Resort
This 3-star hotel in The Exuma Islands has an outdoor pool, and it’s right on the beach so you get the best of both watery worlds. There is an excellent bar on site so you can get your rum fix. The resort has a range of rooms to suit different budgets.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
The capital of The Bahamas, Nassau, is located on the island of New Providence. With the majority of the flights into the tropical haven landing at Nassau, this is the gateway to The Bahamas.
If you’re looking for where to stay in The Bahamas on a budget, Nassau is the best place to start. Here you can find a handful of backpacker hostels and simple accommodation.
Nassau is also the historic heart of The Bahamas, with pastel-colored colonial buildings, ancient forts and fascinating museums. Nature lovers and thrillseekers can choose between watersports, diving and wildlife watching, whilst foodies will be more than satisfied!
Things to See and Do in Nassau:
– Tuck into an authentic fish fry at Arawak Cay on Sunday evening whilst local bands and Bahamian poets perform
– Dive with sharks in Stuart Cove
– Take a tour of the John Watling’s Distillery then relax with a tasting flight
– Clamber the 65 steps of the Queen’s Staircase to see Fort Fincastle
– Pick up Bahamian craft souvenirs at the Nassau Straw Market
– Savior cocktails in the rustic bars of Downtown Nassau
– Eat as much rum cake as you can at The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory
– Shiver yer timbers at the Pirates of Nassau museum
– Get a dose of Caribbean culture at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
– Scale the walls of Fort Charlotte
– Admire the marching flamingos at the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre
– Connect with nature at the Bonefish Pond National Park
– Pay a visit to the pink-hued Government House and Parliament Square
Best Hostel in Nassau: BahaSea Backpackers
BahaSea Backpackers is a family-owned backpacker hostel with two pools right on the ocean with a couple of reefs. If you still need convincing, they have two adopted swimming pigs who live on-site!
This Nassau hostel is found between Cable Beach and the airport. You can choose between private rooms and dorm beds.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Nassau: Serenity Studio
This eloquent studio is homely and stylish with a boutique finish. It’s equipped with a full kitchen and complimentary tea, coffee and fruits.
The neighborhood is peaceful and you can walk to nearby attractions and beaches and take the bus into Downtown Nassau. The studio and your superhost are highly commended!View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Nassau: Marley Resort & Spa
This friendly and comfortable hotel in Nassau is a short walk from Cable Beach. It provides beautifully styled rooms where comfort is key.
Little touches of luxury include the pool, spa, Jacuzzi and stunning ocean views. There is a tour desk to help you make the most of your stay.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
The northernmost and fourth-largest of the archipelago is known for its beaches, reefs and also its lively cities that ooze Bahamian culture and art, such as Freeport. Grand Bahama is our pick for where to stay in The Bahamas for nightlife.
Expect a kaleidoscope of Junkanoo colors and sounds, scrumptious daiquiris, beach bonfires and dancing into the night! Throughout the year you can expect festivals, parades and special events.
Grand Bahama was affected by the recent Hurricane Dorian, however, the island is on the road to recovery, hotels are open and tourists are welcomed warmly. During the day, you can dive into some ecotourism
Things to See and Do on Grand Bahama:
– Delve into the caverns of the Lucayan National Park. Grand Bahama’s star park features the largest underwater cave systems in the world
– Shop at the colorful boutiques in the Port Lucaya Marketplace
– Register to volunteer with the Hurricane Dorian relief efforts
– Hang out at Tony Macaroni’s Conch Experience for legendary hot dogs, roasted conch and a pina colada with a mesmerizing ocean view. Sunday night is jazz night!
– Party at the weekly Bonfire on the Beach – every Tuesday at Smith’s Point Beach
– Cool down with a frozen cocktail at Sparky’s at the Port Lucaya Marketplace
– Watch the game, tuck into hearty burgers and have a boogie at Red Beard’s Pub
– Chill at the Margarita Villa Sand Bar with live music
– Get an upmarket tropical cocktail at the Manta Ray Beach Club
– Find evening entertainment to appease anyone at Count Basie Square – sit outdoors with a cocktail at Rum Runners, watch street performers and boogie along with DJs
– Belt out karaoke at Neptune
Best Airbnb on Grand Bahama: Lovely one-bed waterfront apartment
This Freeport-based Airbnb gives a charming view out over the Bell Channel from your private balcony. The Spanish-style complex features palms, tropical foliage and a swimming pool.
The apartment is attractively decorated with a kitchen and spacious lounge. Walking distance to all the essential attractions and nightlife including the Lucaya Marketplace.View on Airbnb
Best Affordable Hotel on Grand Bahama: Flamingo Bay Hotel & Marina
This hotel in Grand Bahama has bags of fun, with an outdoor swimming pool and waterslide complex! There is a BBQ area for guests to enjoy as well as a restaurant and bar.
It’s a few minutes walk from Taino Beach and the Port Lucaya Marina, ideal for nightlife seekers.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Best Hotel on Grand Bahama: Bell Channel Inn Hotel & Scuba Diving Retreat
Those looking to dive by day and party by night, look no further than the Bell Channel – where you can lean on-site! The hotel also has a free shuttle service, tour desk and a 24-hour reception.
Rooms are spacious and comfortable, with a wide range of amenities and attractions found nearby.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Cat Island has neither swimming pigs nor a particularly high population of cats; the island was named after the pirate Arthur Cat who frequented the island to hide his treasure, rather than our feline friends. There are also no cruise ship ports, no hotel chains, and relatively low numbers of tourists.
Cat Island is one of the Family Islands, meaning it has been spared from commercialisation. Relatively untouched, this is one of the coolest places to stay in The Bahamas.
The island is a long and skinny 48 miles, accessible via a 40-minute flight from Nassau. You’ll find a scattering of family-ran guesthouses and Airbnb homes across the island, and most of the Cat Island accommodation is remote.
Things to See and Do in Cat Island:
– Spend lazy days lounging on deserted crescents of pearly-white beaches
– Wind down in beachside restaurants and listen to Rake and Scrape bands
– Dive for whitetip sharks or explore the wreck of the Santa Maria Theresa, a sunken Spanish battleship
– Visit the highest point in the whole of The Bahamas – Mount Alvernia! At 206 feet above sea level, a short and sweet hike rewards you with a medieval-style monastery called the Hermitage
– Head to Half Moon Cay for the opportunity to get up close to stingrays
– Pick up coconut bread, pineapple pastries and mango jam at Olive’s Bakery
– Have a true cultural experience by participating in the People to People initiative which pairs travelers with a Bahamian to enjoy a local experience together. Cat Island is one of the islands where the scheme is available!
– Sit back, relax, and do absolutely nothing at Da Pink Chicken
Best Airbnb on Cat Island: Carried Away
On a half-acre plot of land perched on a small bluff overlooking the sea, you’ll feel like you’re standing on the prow of a boat as you look down at the private beach below. With multiple porches and an outdoor shower, this Cat Island accommodation is that island retreat we all need to experience once!View on Airbnb
Best Affordable Hotel on Cat Island: Pigeon Cay Beach Club Hotel Cat Island
This top-rated hotel on Cat Island has a variety of rooms available to suit solo, couple of group travelers. Accommodation is simple and the resort is small enough to give you a slice of those castaway Cat Island vibes.
Make sure you make the most of the kayaks and paddle-boards!View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Best Hotel on Cat Island: Fernandez Bay Village
These rustic vacation lodgings are located on a private beach at the foot of Mount Alvernia. Each is decorated in a unique and charming style to make you feel at home.
The resort has its own restaurant and the ocean is so calm here you’ll feel like you’re in a pool.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
The enticingly named Paradise Island sits offshore from New Providence Island and connects to Nassau via two bridges. This pocket-sized island has some of the softest beaches and calmest waters in the nation, safe for even the tiniest water babies to gain confidence in the sea!
Half of the island is taken up by the Atlantis Bahamas Resort, making Paradise Island our number one for where to stay in The Bahamas for families. Rooms don’t come cheap, but we can vouch for staying at one of the smaller hotels and making a day trip or two to the resort.
Paradise Island has been used as a filming location for several James Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean movies, so it’s your chance to find out if the water really is that blue!
Things to See and Do in Paradise Island:
– Treat the family to a day at the Atlantis Resort for a day of swimming pools, aquariums, lagoons, beaches and an epic waterpark! You’ll get their adrenaline pumping
– Wander the sculptured Versailles Gardens and French Cloister
– Take scenic day cruises to nearby islands Athol and Rose Island
– Beach hop at some of the best beaches in The Bahamas! Add Arawak, Cabbage and Paradise Beach to your list
– Take a road trip out to the Nassau Harbour Lighthouse on the most eastern tip of the island
– Check out the mega-port of Prince George Wharf to get an eyeball of the cruise liners!
– Take your pick from waterside eateries such as the casual Green Parrot and upscale Dune
Best Airbnb on Paradise Island: GREAT LOCATION Walk to Atlantis, beach+bars!
This awesome Airbnb accommodates 5 guests in its tastefully decorated quarters. Guests of the condo have access to a communal courtyard and swimming pool.
There is a private patio and free parking, plus a few complimentary amenities to get you settled in. You’ll fall in love with this rose-colored complex!View on Airbnb
Best Affordable Hotel on Paradise Island: Comfort Suites Paradise Island
With deluxe amenities and a terrific outdoor pool, this hotel on Paradise Island also has a tour desk, gym, restaurant and bar on the premises. Particularly popular with families, the hotel offers babysitting services and connecting bedrooms.
All rooms come equipped with a minibar and hot drink making facilities.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Best Hotel on Paradise Island: Bay View Suites Paradise Island
This Paradise Island accommodation combines tropical delights with home comforts. You’ve got a swimming pool, gym and BBQ area on-site.
Rooms are comfortably laid out, come with a basic kitchen and are suited to families. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a babysitting service and free parking at the property.View on Booking.com View on HotelsCombined
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in The Bahamas
Whether you’re a backpacker on a shoestring or a family counting down the days until your summer vacay, whether you’re looking to make new friends and party or retreat into a tropical haven, you’ll find what you’re looking for in The Bahamas.
With swoon-worthy beaches, fascinating nature and unique Bahamian culture spicing up the food, museums and architecture, all wanderlusters will find themselves satisfied.
The Exumas is our top pick for where to stay in The Bahamas. Beaches, swimming pigs, world-class diving and some real Bahamian fish fry – the only thing you won’t love is having to leave. The Exuma Beach Resort is our recommendation on where to stay in The Exumas.
The laid-back, island vibes make this one of the coolest places to stay in The Bahamas!
While Bahamas can be very safe, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.