Islands of the Bahamas What is known for

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Fly to the Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS), the main hub for the Bahamas, with service on multiple airlines. nas.bs

Stay at the Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle Cay. It's a very charming, very clean, very relaxing resort on this quiet hideaway in the Abaco islands, greenturtleclub.com. The Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros Island has family-owned beachfront cottages and a dive boat to take you to Jean's Dream, coral gardens off the east coast, smallhope.com. On Eleuthera, stay at Cape Eleuthera's Powel Point Resort, an enclave of two-bedroom townhomes with awesome access to all the Exuma Sound has to offer (including offshore fishing, diving for all levels, charters to deserted cays), capeeleuthera.com. On Great Exuma, the Palm Bay Beach Club is a great place to stay in between rides down the Queen's Highway by motorcycle, palmbaybeachclub.com. In the Exumas, book a villa on the private Royal Plantation Island on Fowl Cay, which prides itself on personal and personable high-end service. fowlcay.com

Eat at Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar on Green Turtle Cay, home of the legendary Goombay Smash drink and stellar cracked conch and mac-and-cheese, missemilysbluebeebar.com. On South Andros, the Tiamo Resorts' new Culinary Experience lets guests learn to cook a variety of Caribbean-inspired dishes like jerked rack of lamb, tiamoresorts.com. On Long Island, enjoy a BBQ brunch (and a view of the Atlantic) on Sunday at Captain Jacks, a waterfront restaurant in the chic North Palmetto Point area. Don't forget to try the spicy conch salad! captainjacksbahamas.com

Live on Eleuthera, which means "freedom" in Greek, tropical wilderness still reigns, as seen in deserted pink- and white-sand beaches and in its blue waters, islands.com/eleuthera. Long Island is an old-school isle of farming, fishing & boat-building. Back roads lead to colonial ruins and secluded beaches. islands.com/live

Snorkel off North Bimini. To increase your chances of a wild dolphin encounter while in the water, remember this advice from the amiable folks at Bimini Undersea Adventures: The more you free dive, spin around and act like a fish, the more likely you'll be to end up looking a curious cetacean in the eye. The company pioneered wild dolphin encounters in Bimini 15 years ago, and their enthusiasm hasn't waned. Summer is the best time for locating resident Atlantic spotted dolphins in the shallow waters off Bimini, thanks to calmer seas, but the company will take out groups of six or more all year long. Encounters aren't guaranteed since it is up to the dolphins to choose when to visit and for how long. Rates from $129 for a half day, biminiundersea.com. Swim in an inland blue hole or over coral reefs on Andros Island, where more than 286,000 acres are protected as part of the Central Andros National Parks. island.com/snorkel

Relax on Little Exuma in the shin-high water of Tropic of Cancer Beach, past the overgrown plantation ruins and little village of Rolletown. On Cat Island, Greenwood Beach stretches for eight miles with no crowds. islands.com/exumas

See Educulture's Junkanoo Museum and street celebration in Nassau on New Providence Island. Watch the parade between midnight and 11 a.m. on Boxing Day, December 26, or on New Year's Day from 2 a.m. (when church lets out) to 11 a.m., educulturebahamas.com. On San Salvador Island, discover the cave at French Bay. A desperate pirate might well hide a chest of gold doubloons and ruby-encrusted crosses here, but it also makes a stunning place for a picnic. islands.com/nassau

Learn more at bahamas.com.