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About Grand Bahama

Information for Caribbean Vacations in Bahamas

Discovered as a result of Ponce de Leon's quest for the "Fountain of Youth" in 1513, Grand Bahama Island is the fourth largest island of the Bahamas Islands and got its name from the Spanish "gran bajamar”, or great shallows, due to the many flats and shoals in the waters off the island.  Grand Bahama Island is located  just 55 miles off the coast of Florida and is  rimmed with cities, villages, and cays that offer samples of the many different cultures that have called Grand Bahama Island home.

About Bahamas | Bahamas History | Bahamas Culture | Grand Bahama

Grand Bahama Island was virtually uninhabited for most of the history of the Bahamas, with a population of only about 500. However, with the development of Freeport/Lucaya in the 1950s, and because of the island’s location just 55 miles from the east coast of Florida, it is now a favored vacation destination for people from around the world.  Grand Bahama Island allows visitors to combine a cosmopolitan vacation at a world-class resort with the charm of historical fishing villages and ecological treasures. It has one of the world's largest underwater cave systems, endless beaches, emerald green water and abundant marine life.

Recent archaeological finds along the eroding beachfront of Deadman’s Reef have helped to answer many questions about the early history of Grand Bahama. Many artifacts belonging to the Lucayan Indians, such as hearths, animal bones, pottery pieces and shell beads, were unearthed from the dig and dated back to around 1200-1300 AD. In another location, the bones of pre-Columbian Lucayans were found in an underwater cave system, indicating an ancient burial site. These discoveries helped to confirm that the Lucayans were among the first settlers of Grand Bahama Island.

Freeport/Lucaya is the largest city on Grand Bahama Island, but there  is more than just the city, with  its casinos, resorts, and tropical entertainment. Outside the city, Grand Bahama is an entire island filled with gorgeous beaches, natural wonders (including one of the world's largest underwater cave systems), and three national parks. There are small towns that seem to sleep in time, each with a rich history to discover.

The picturesque fishing village of West End is the oldest city on Grand Bahama Island and is the official capital. It is located 25 miles from Freeport, on the westernmost tip of the island, as the name implies.  West End's economic boom was during the Prohibition era in the United States.  West End became a smugglers base, with warehouses and bars springing up almost overnight, and you can see some of their ruins along the waterfront road. West End was the waypoint where liquor from Canada, England, and Nassau was stored before being ferried over to the States. 

You can generally find two kinds of beaches on Grand Bahama Island.  At the more frequented beaches, you'll find a multitude of fun and games, including jet skiing, snorkeling, and windsurfing. For those seeking a less hectic vacation, secluded beaches can be found for quiet relaxation. The best locations for these are on the southwest and southeast sides of the island. Follow the main highway either west or east, you'll come across a deserted beach soon enough.

Grand Bahama Island is the second most popular tourist destination in the Bahamas with long stretches of deserted white sand beaches, inviting hotels, a casino, night-time entertainment and world-class scuba diving facilities. Freeport is the resort center of the Island and is filled with activity. On the eastern and western ends of the Island are serene and quaint settings and finding hide-away spots is not uncommon.









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