Hurricane Dorian can’t diminish the spirit of the islands—get a fresh perspective on this thriving cultural hub.
When to go: The dry winter months, when temperatures average 75 degrees, are the perfect time to experience some Bahamian sunshine. On Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day, the Junkanoo Festival—celebrating the Bahamas’ West African origins—takes place. From 1 a.m. on through the early morning, downtown streets are abuzz with parades of performers wearing colorful horned masks and dancing to the sounds of cowbells and goatskin drums.
Why go: Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern reaches of the Bahamas in 2019, but the dozen or so other islands in the archipelago were not affected. Nassau, with its popular resorts Baha Mar and Atlantis, and more low-key spots such as the family-owned resorts on Cat Island, are ready to welcome guests. To see the Bahamas in a completely new way, book passage on Virgin Voyages, the new cruise line from Richard Branson’s group. Virgin will launch its first ship, the Scarlet Lady, in April, and its inaugural season will include a full-day stop at Virgin’s new private Beach Club on Bimini in the western Bahamas.
Need to know: Nonstop flights are offered from many major U.S. cities. Travelers who want to island hop can catch a flight from Nassau’s airport using the inter-island air service Bahamasair or take one of the many charter boats and water taxis. The Bahamas has its own currency, but it is matched in value with the U.S. dollar, so there’s no need to exchange your money; change is usually returned in the same currency. —L.M. and Mekalyn Rose (AFAR Magazine, AFAR.com)