ACCESS ALL ISLANDS
More inter-island flights through the services of Sky Bahamas as well as the domestic airline Bahamasair make getting around The Islands of The Bahamas easier and more fun.
In addition there are lots of flights over from Miami and a new seaplane service, Tropic Ocean Air, founded by a US Navy Top Gun pilot, offers a regular service to Bimini, the closest island to the US.
FERRY ACCESS FROM FLORIDA: BALEARIA BAHAMAS EXPRESS – MIAMI TO BIMINI
The 356-passenger high-speed ferry, The Maverick, will commence a new service in mid November between the Port of Miami and Bimini with service on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A service from Port Everglades to Grand Bahama Island (FPO) commenced in December last year with the 463-passenger Pinar del Rio.
British and European tour operators are encouraged to use these new links to expand their programmes to include the splendid Out Island properties.
Islands such as The Abacos, Andros, Long Island, Eleuthera & Harbour Island and Grand Bahama Island are especially appealing to the traveller looking for a new island experience, be it luxury or barefoot chic, adventure or nature based, just a ‘fly and flop’ or an idyllic combination.
The specialist tour operator Bahamas Flavour offers the most comprehensive range of Out Islands and tailor-made itineraries. There are currently savings of up to £300 on a variety of Out Island packages. www.bahamasflavour.co.uk/out-island-packages
ARRIVING IN STYLE
On 16 October the opening of the new International Arrivals Terminal at Lynden Pindling International Airport marked the beginning of a completely new arrival experience for the visitors using the country’s major gateway every year.
The 226,000 sq. ft. International Arrivals terminal houses Bahamas Immigration and Bahamas Customs, a state-of-the-art baggage belt system, four restaurants, bars, lounges and six hotel reception lobbies.
The impressive three-story structure has barrel-vaulted ceilings and the curved roof design mimics ocean waves. The large overhangs also work to provide shade and reduce heat-gain.
Other key environmental advantages of the new facilities include rainwater collection, low-flush automatic plumbing fixtures and automatic building maintenance systems to control lighting and cooling.
Six stunning new art pieces from local artists have been installed in the light airy spaces of the new terminal as it is through art the LPIA truly reflects the spirit and beauty of the islands.
With two terminals now completed, work has already begun on the final stage in the $409.5 million expansion project— construction of a new Domestic and International Departures and Domestic Arrivals terminal. This stage is set for completion in the fall of 2013.
Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant & Cigar Factory is the new culinary Mecca of West Hill Street, Nassau. Graycliff’s new chocolate factory is about to open, adding another tasty reason to visit this classical Nassau property.
Tours will be given twice daily and guests can make their own chocolates. Gourmet chocolates and truffles will be available for purchase.
The Humidor Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse has been joined by Giotto Pizzeria and the Beer Garden. Giotto Pizzeria serves authentic Italian Pizzas in a state-of-the-art wood brick oven, pizzas cooked crisp to order in just a few minutes with all the beloved traditional toppings. www.graycliff.com
EVENTS AND EXCURSIONS
This classic race car event took place annually in the 1950s and 1960s and was revived last year with Sir Stirling Moss as the patron, as he is again this year.
He took part in the early events and has spent a lot of time in The Bahamas.
A third of the 2011 entrants came from Europe and plans are already underway for the transportation of more classic cars to join the fun this year.
The photographer Terry O’Neil took iconic great images from the original events and will again be photographing Speed Week 2012. www.bahamasspeedweek.com
BAHAMAS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 6-9 December
The 9th year of BIFF finds it going from strength to strength, attracting film submissions and special guests (and visitors) from around the world. Johnny Depp, Darryl Hannah, Sir Sean Connery – all have been honoured guests.
Bahamas International Film Festival is an audience friendly Film Festival with affordable films and events. Ticket prices start at just $3.00 and even the master classes for wannabe filmmakers are just $25.00. The Film Buff Pass is $200 giving access to every film.
THE ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT
‘Alex’ as she is known, is the magnificent green-sailed tall ship offering 3-hour windjammer sailing tours off Grand Bahama Island at US$89 per person and suitable for all the family. www.grandbahamanaturetours.com/tour7Tickets
DISCOVER SAN SALVADOR
The island of San Salvador, discovered by Columbus in the 15th century, is familiar to divers looking for new marine experiences and now a new tour company Lagoon Tours is offering a range of eco adventures including nature walks, bird watching, kayaking, snorkeling and bonefishing.
A NEW DIVE SITE FOR ANDROS
Small Hope Bay Lodge has created a new dive site. Owner Jeff Birch heard from a friend about a plane wreck in The Berry Islands.
The plane, a single prop Cessna, was headed for the junkyard, but Jeff thought it would make a great wreck dive. The Small Hope Bay team brought the plane home by boat and after a little body work it was ready to be sunk.
The perfect site was scouted – a place great for beginning divers as well as more experienced ones.
The wreck now sits on a small sandy patch among beautiful coral gardens.
The Landing Strip site is 35-50 in depth and has small, scattered sand patches.
Already lots of queen angel fish, barracuda and groupers have been spotted. www.youtube.com Title: A new wreck at Small Hope Bay Lodge
Situated right along the Andros Barrier Reef and the Tongue of the Ocean, Small Hope Bay is a prime location for all kinds of great dives. As well as the new plane wreck there are two other shipwrecks plus caverns, shark dives, inland and ocean blue holes, walls and more. www.smallhope.com
The Cove Eleuthera – always a lovely property on Eleuthera, The Cove is now under new ownership and will re-open an extended and completely refurbished resort this month offering a total of 52 guest rooms. One and two bedroom suites, private cottages and 3 bedroom family villas all with wifi and a/c etc. Press release and images available from www.coveeleuthera.com
Hope Town Harbour Lodge, the largest property in Hope Town on Elbow Cay in The Abacos with just 18 rooms, has been bought by UpSouth Resorts owned by Mike Hartman, who is also the new General Manager. Hartman is at the helm of the enhancement and renovation programme of this popular island property which has long been the hub of Hope Town activity. www.hopetwonlodge.com
In addition there will be a new pool, a weights room and a new banqueting space to enhance the property to a 42-room 4-star hotel.
Baha Mar Unleash the Spirit
The new $3.5billion development of Baha Mar which will rejuvenate the Cable Beach area of Nassau is scheduled for completion in late 2014. The latest imagery highlights the four key hotel brands – Sheraton, Morgans, Grand Hyatt, Rosewood plus the Baha Mar Resort & Casino.
www.youtube.com – Title: BahaMar, Welcome to the new Riviera, Nassau Bahamas
‘COME CELEBRATE WITH US’
The Islands of The Bahamas celebrates its 40th year of Independence on July 10th. July’s Independence events will make it a great time to visit as Bahamians enjoy a party and welcome visitors to join in.
There are more than twenty different sailing regattas around the islands. The most famous, the Family Island Regatta in The Exumas, is being renamed THE NATIONAL REGATTA, celebrating 60 years of Bahamian sloop sailing.
THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Following on from Olympic fever – Team Bahamas trounced the US relay team in the men’s 4x400metres and won their first Olympic Gold in men’s track and field. The IAAF Council has created a new competition called the “IAAF World Relays” with the first editions taking place in Nassau, Bahamas in May 2014 and 2015.
The new two day competition will bring together the world’s best athletes, with a schedule that includes the traditional 4x100m and 4x400m events but also 4x200m, 4x800m and 4x1500m. It is expected that the World Relays will be used to qualify some teams for the World Championships and Olympics.
‘BAHAMAS’ STEAMS AHEAD
The Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS), a Registered Charity based at Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR), has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the project to restore to running order its 1934-built ‘Jubilee’ class 45596 main-line steam locomotive called ‘Bahamas’.
The engine was the last steam engine to be used by British Rail in its attempts to improve the performance of its fleet of steam engines.
This involved the fitting, in May 1961, of its unique double chimney and blastpipe.
“What started with The Rocket in the 1820’s ended with Bahamas in 1961”
For further information on The Islands of The Bahamas visit www.bahamas.co.uk