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Private Islands picture in Bahamas
Castaway Cay picture in Bahamas
Dolphin Encounters picture in Bahamas
Disney Magic in the Bahamas picture in Bahamas
Coco Cay picture in Bahamas
Blue Lagoon Island picture in Bahamas
CocoCay's Straw Market picture in Bahamas
Half Moon Cay picture in Bahamas
Private Islands picture in Bahamas
Castaway Cay picture in Bahamas
Dolphin Encounters picture in Bahamas
Disney Magic in the Bahamas picture in Bahamas
Coco Cay picture in Bahamas
Blue Lagoon Island picture in Bahamas
CocoCay's Straw Market picture in Bahamas
Half Moon Cay picture in Bahamas

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Details

  • Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Whether you cruise or fly to the Bahamas, chances are you'll visit at least one private island during your stay. A few feature boutique resorts like Kamalame Cay and Fowl Cay Resort, while others (think: Blue Lagoon Island) offer activities like Segway tours and swimming with dolphins. Meanwhile, those who arrive by cruise ship via Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean International have access to their cruise line's private island. Each offers water sports equipment rentals, eco-tours, cabanas and more (for a fee).

Past visitors appreciated the various activities available at Blue Lagoon Island, especially the dolphin encounters. However, some cited poor service at the gift shop and bemoaned the no camera policy enforced at each animal experience. Travelers also praised cruise-affiliated private islands like Castaway Cay (Disney), CocoCay (Royal Caribbean) and Half Moon Cay (Carnival). Many described CocoCay as "paradise" and Half Moon Cay as "beautiful," while Disney cruisers said Castaway Cay was the highlight of their vacations.

Castaway Cay sits by Great Abaco, the largest island in The Abacos; CocoCay is next to Norwegian's Great Stirrup Cay in The Berry Islands; and Half Moon Cay can be found between Cat Island and Eleuthera. Each island is free to visit when traveling to the Bahamas with its affiliated cruise line, but extra charges apply for shore excursions and food, drinks and gifts purchased on-site.

If you do not choose to cruise to the Bahamas or stay at a private island resort, you can spend a day at Blue Lagoon Island. All activities on the island cost $49 to $249 per person. Rates include round-trip boat transfers between Paradise Island (which is about 2 miles away) and the property. To find out more, check out Blue Lagoon Island's website.

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#1 Beaches The Bahamas' year-round warm weather makes it a prime spot for a relaxing vacation in the sun, and some of the islands' best places to unwind can be found overlooking ... Read more » zxvisual / Getty Images

#2 Boat Tours Though you'll find many ways to spend your time on shore, one of the best ways to take advantage of all the Bahamas has to offer is to go ... Read more » Glowimages / Getty Images

#3 Diving & Snorkeling Beneath the surface of the Bahamas' waters lies a plethora of reefs and underwater caves and sinkholes teeming with aquatic animals, such as stingrays, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and Nassau grouper ... Read more » Danita Delimont / Getty Images

#4 Atlantis, Paradise Island (Paradise Island) Spread across much of Paradise Island, the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort complex is home to top-notch accommodations, a casino, a golf course and multiple restaurants. But the property's most ... Read more » Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Getty Images

#5 Lucayan National Park (Grand Bahama Island) There are three national parks on Grand Bahama Island, but this is the definitive favorite. A 40-acre spread of mangrove, palm and pine trees, Lucayan National Park also contains the ... Read more » Denis Tangney Jr / Getty Images

#6 Private Islands Whether you cruise or fly to the Bahamas, chances are you'll visit at least one private island during your stay. A few feature boutique resorts like Kamalame Cay and Fowl ... Read more » André Mellagi / Flickr

#7 Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (Eleuthera) Named for Leon Levy, a Bahamian with an interest in Eleuthera's plant life, this lush oasis is filled with native flora, ranging from ferns and orchids to mangroves and ... Read more » Courtesy of Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

#8 Queen's Staircase (New Providence Island) Occasionally referred to as the 66 steps (though only 65 are visible), this historic staircase spans 102 feet. It was carved out of limestone by roughly 600 slaves in the ... Read more » dnaveh / Getty Images

#9 The Glass Window Bridge (Eleuthera) For one of the most unique views in the Bahamas, travel along Queen's Highway to The Glass Window Bridge. This strip of land and road – which connects Eleuthera's ... Read more » mfrascella / Getty Images

#10 John Watling's Distillery (New Providence Island) If you need a break from snorkeling, boating or beach lounging, consider touring New Providence Island's John Watling's Distillery. This distillery is famed for its homemade rum, which ... Read more » Danielle Bauer / Flickr

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Private Islands picture in Bahamas
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Beaches picture in Bahamas
Boat Tours picture in Bahamas
Thunderball Grotto picture in Bahamas
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Lucayan National Park (Grand Bahama Island) picture in Bahamas
Private Islands picture in Bahamas
Leon Levy Plant Native Preserve (Eleuthera) picture in Bahamas
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The Glass Window Bridge (Eleuthera) picture in Bahamas
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The Bahamas' white sand beaches are popular havens for water sports and sunbathing, but its most photogenic are undoubtedly its pink sand beaches on Harbour Island and Eleuthera. zxvisual / Getty Images

Whether you want to lounge on a beach or snorkel in the Caribbean Sea, going on a boat tour is a great way to see all there is to see above and below the water's surface. Glowimages / Getty Images

Underwater caves are lit up by sunlight at this favorite snorkeling haven on Staniel Cay. A trip to this marine life respite means you'll swim where the stars have –Thunderball appears in two James Bond movies. Danita Delimont / Getty Images

It's hard to miss the towering pink buildings that make up Paradise Island's Atlantis, Paradise Island. Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Getty Images

Travel through mangroves along this boardwalk and you'll eventually reach Lucayan National Park's most popular attraction: Gold Rock Beach. Denis Tangney Jr / Getty Images

If you're sailing to the Bahamas during a Carnival cruise, odds are one of your ports of call will be Half Moon Cay, the cruise line's private island. André Mellagi / Flickr

Plant lovers can't miss the chance to stroll through Eleuthera's 25-acre Leon Levy Plant Native Preserve. Courtesy of Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

The historic Queen's Staircase links downtown Nassau to Fort Fincastle on Bennet Hill. dnaveh / Getty Images

The Glass Window Bridge, a narrow section of land and road on Eleuthera, features stunning Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean vistas. mfrascella / Getty Images

James Bond fans may recognize John Watling's Distillery from the movie "Casino Royale." Danielle Bauer / Flickr

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