Bound for the Bahamas

Destination Articles

After a two-year hiatus, I will add another country to my list of visited destinations at the end of this year. That’s right we are off to the Bahamas over the Christmas and New Year break and I couldn’t be happier.

Lisette and I had been throwing around a few ideas over the last couple of months on where would be best to go and finally decided on the tropical paradise that is the Bahamas.

Our criteria for selecting a holiday destination:

  • Must be somewhere warm (preferably a beach location)
  • Try to include a major festival or event
  • Somewhere in the Americas region (i.e. not Asia, Europe or Africa)
  • Somewhere we could use or earn Frequent Flier miles
  • Somewhere we haven’t been

Based on these criteria we narrowed our search down to five different options:

1. Costa Rica – For an eco-friendly trip and to catch the San Jose Carnival

2. Miami – For the beaches and the amazing New Year's Eve Parties

3. Oaxaca – For the culture and Night of the Radishes Festival

4. Jamaica – For an all-inclusive resort and relaxation (no festival)

5. The Bahamas – For the beaches, diving, food, culture, and the Junkanoo Festival

The Bahamas came out on top since I was able to pick up some reasonably priced flights with United Air and managed to score a great deal on accommodation. Ended up splitting the time between Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama and Nassau on the island of New Providence.

Now all we have to do is wait a few months to enjoy these gorgeous white sandy beaches while sipping on a colorful cocktail with a miniature umbrella in it. Hopefully we get to check out a beach like the one below:

White sandy beach
White sandy beach

One of the activities we always like to throw in whenever we travel to a tropical island is scuba diving. Lisette has completed her PADI certification and has dived the Great Barrier Reef, Borneo, the Philippines, and Bali to name a few.

Me on the other hand, well I struggle with claustrophobia which limits my diving ability. Will have to see how I go when we arrive since my previous attempt off Boracay didn’t go so well.

Another exciting consideration is booking a Bahamas fishing charter to add a thrill to this island adventure.

Scuba diving in the Bahamas
Scuba diving in the Bahamas

What we are both really excited about is the Junkanoo Festival on both Boxing Day and New Year's Day. This carnival-like parade through the streets happens throughout the country on each of the islands with the largest parade being in Nassau.

The origin of the word “Junkanoo” is rather obscure. Some people believe it comes from the French “L’inconnu” which means “the unknown,” in reference to the masks worn by the paraders. Junkanoo may have West African origins, as the costumes and conduct of the masqueraders bear similarities with the Yoruba Egungun festivals.

It is believed that this festival began during the 16th and 17th centuries. The slaves in The Bahamas were given a special holiday around Christmas time when they would be able to leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate the holidays with African dance, music, and costumes.

Bahamas Samurai at the Junkanoo Festival
Bahamas Samurai at the Junkanoo Festival
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Michael Glass

Michael is the founder of Backpacker Travel. He also runs walking tours in San Francisco and is a freelance travel writer. Michael is extremely passionate about travel and loves to explore festivals around the world.

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