Romantic getaway: The Grand Bahamas

by Wo
Dec 17, 2009 at 12:25 a.m. ET

With its tropical climate, beautiful white sand beaches, and fresh seafood, Grand Bahama Island is perfect for a low-key getaway or budget honeymoon. Although many vacationers flock to the popular tourist hubs of Nassau and Paradise Island, Grand Bahama is a hidden gem.

I'm floating in the most beautiful Bahamian waters of the Atlantic. Big beams of sunlight illuminate schools of parrotfish. The Atlantic, big, intimidating, cobalt blue, gradually gives way to baby blue with shades of azure, streaks of turquoise, secretive swirls of cerulean. The water is of such clarity it's like a huge aquarium -- shadows of fish darting through emerald. The water is so blue and so calm it hardly seems real. I savor the quiet as the sun sits in a brilliant blue sky among decorative clouds.


Grand Bahamians are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Some swear by the serene spirit of Abaco's stretches of perfection, others by the more rugged Exuma Cays. Two factors, however, point to Grand Bahamas: the hours of gorgeous privacy and a mineral structure that's created the most 'white gold' of sands.


It's not just the soft white sands that make the Grand Bahamas palm-fringed beaches so attractive. The surrounding coral reefs ensure that the shallow water is blissfully turquoise. The islands are thought to have been the first calling point in the New World for Columbus; but they remain well away from the main Caribbean beat, which means a delicious seclusion can be found on the out islands. Bahamas, from the Spanish 'baja mar,' means shallow sea; large white sandbanks spread just below the surface.


WestJet has now launched their new non-stop service between Toronto, Canada, and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. One-way fares, available in both directions on non-stop flights only, are available from $99, plus applicable taxes and fees. Fares are available by calling WestJet's Sales Super Centre at 1-888-WESTJET(937-8538), your preferred travel agent or by visiting WestJet Vacations offers customized vacation packages for most of WestJet's scheduled destinations, including packages to Freeport starting at $869, plus applicable fees and taxes, for a seven-night stay.


Soft Adventure Perfection: Mangroves Kayak Day Trip

Grand Bahama Nature Tours, based in Freeport, Bahamas, has been one of the leading eco-tour operators on Grand Bahama Island for the past fifteen years. They offer kayaking, snorkeling, biking, hiking, jeep and bird watching tours. All tours involve light to moderate activity and are fully guided by friendly, highly trained, professional staff. Most guides are natives of the Bahamas and the Freeport area who take pleasure in acquainting visitors with the history and culture of the islands.

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