About Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama.....island life with modern amenities.
Grand Bahama Island, the fourth largest of The Islands of The Bahamas, gets its name from the Spanish “gran bajamar” – meaning “great shallows” – for its many flats and shoals in the waters off the island.
The island rambles on for 96 miles, rimmed with cities, villages, and cays that offer lasting evidence of the many different people and cultures that have called Grand Bahama Island home.
Early in its history, Grand Bahama Island was virtually uninhabited for almost 300 years. However, with the development of Freeport/Lucaya in the 1950s, and because of the island’s location just 60 miles from the east coast of Florida, it is now one of the most visited of all the Bahamian islands.
An existing population of approximately 50,000 with recent investments of well over $1 billion, Grand Bahama has a bright future. Grand Bahama Island already has a solid base of amenities for its residents. In addition, the strong tourist base supports a wide variety of retail, dining, and entertainment facilities that would not otherwise be justified by its population.
Airport. Grand Bahama has the largest private airport in the world. Its 11,000 foot runway is capable of handling the largest jets in use today, and its systems facilitate safe approaches, landings, and take-offs regardless of weather conditions. Several carriers, including Silver Airways, American Airlines, Bahamasair and Westjet, offer many daily departures and arrivals between the Grand Bahama and Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta as well as other North American cities.
Beaches. Grand Bahama Island’s rambling, reef-protected shoreline and cays are filled with numerous powdery white-sand beaches. The premier beach on the island is secluded Gold Rock Beach, which is a must-see at low tide when it unfolds its signature “welcome mat.”
You can generally find two kinds of beaches on Grand Bahama Island, the “activity beach” and the “secluded beach.” Each is captivating for its own reasons.
At the activity beaches, you’ll find a multitude of fun and games, including jet skiing, snorkeling, and windsurfing.
Half the fun of secluded beaches is discovering them. The best hunting grounds are on the southwest and southeast sides of the island. Following the main highway either west or east, you’ll come across miles of empty sand soon enough.
Boating. Some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of sea surround Grand Bahama Island. The island has several world-class marinas, many of them fully equipped with electricity hubs, waste-disposal units, and fuel stations. Two excellent marinas are located a short distance from Cape Hope’s properties: Grand Bahama Yacht Club with 125 slips in a private gated community and Port Lucaya Marina located in the “action” area of Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Dining. Grand Bahama boasts dining options ranging from simple to sumptuous. Conch salad, The Bahamas famous dish, is available in restaurants or roadside. “Crawfish,” as it is called in the islands, or Spiny Lobster, is another major tradition. This clawless lobster is considered a delicacy, and is plentiful in the surrounding waters. You’ll find it on almost every menu. In addition to native fare, there are other restaurants ranging from simple to elaborate.
The world famous Flying Fish Restaurant (ranked among the best restaurants in the world) is located in Lucaya, a short distance from our neighborhood.
Diving. Grand Bahama Island’s reputation as a diver’s paradise has been growing ever since the earliest episodes of “Sea Hunt” were filmed here. Elaborate coral gardens, playful dolphins, and beckoning blue holes—these are images of the “other” Grand Bahama Island, ones that live beneath a shimmering blue surface that sprawls outwards from the beaches.
Grand Bahama Island is of course also famous for its “blue holes”—spectacular azure portals in the reefs through which you can descend, surrounded by reef wall on all sides. Part of the reason for the dense and unique reef structure is the massive limestone base on which Grand Bahama rests, a phenomenon that also accounts for what is perhaps Grand Bahama’s most extraordinary submarine feature: the second largest underwater cave system in the world. Located in the Lucayan National Park, the caves are still being explored, and there are numerous special dive programs that can take you into them.
Ecotourism. Grand Bahama Island is an ecological wonder waiting to be discovered. While there are miles of beaches, you’ll also find miles of park trails. West End and East End both offer exploration possibilities – not to mention Grand Bahama’s national parks, the underwater cave system, horseback riding on the beach or kayaking through the mangroves.
Fishing. Grand Bahama Island is considered one of the premier destinations in the world for sport fishing. Marlin, sailfish, blue, and yellowfin tuna, bonefish, or barracuda are plentiful in the waters surrounding Grand Bahama.
One of the world’s best game fish—the bonefish—not only likes the waters of Grand Bahama Island, but is more at home here than anywhere else in the world. Pelican Bay Bonefishing offers daily fishing packages with some of the best guides in the Bahamas.
Golf. Grand Bahama Island averages seven hours of completely sunny skies per day, and rain seldom lasts for longer than it takes to get under cover—even during the rainy season. Grand Bahama boasts three excellent championship golf courses.
Medical Care. Rand Memorial Hospital is a government-operated 90-bed community type hospital. There are also several private medical clinics with a total of over thirty physicians and dentists. For major long-term medical care, Miami is only half an hour away.
Road System. The extent and quality of the road system in Freeport is tremendous. Because the Freeport area has been under private control and development by DEVCO (a joint venture between the Grand Bahama Port Authority and Hutchison), its road system is of a far higher quality than would normally be expected in an island environment. DEVCO has built over 200 miles of wide roads in broad rights-of-way, the more important of which are designed as boulevards with landscaped medians. Both roads and roadways are kept meticulously maintained and litter-free. The resulting visual effect is very different from what is typical on other Caribbean islands.
Schools. The British school system provides the model for education in the Bahamas. There are many schools on the island, both private and public, providing instruction from the preschool through the high school levels. Of significant note is the Lucaya International School which provides an excellent opportunity for internationally recognized education on the island. The Lucaya International School has classes ranging from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The school is accredited by both the New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). LIS is also an International Baccalaureate World School and is authorized to offer both the Primary Years and IB Diploma Programmes. The International Baccalaureate Diploma is recognized by top universities around the world as signifying a premier education.
Shopping. Perfumes and fragrances, crystal, leather goods, jewelry, fine linens and tablecloths, watches and clocks, photographic equipment, china, binoculars, and telescopes are all duty free. The best shopping is at the Port Lucaya Marketplace. Boutiques and gift shops are also found in the downtown area and at most major resorts.
Everything from duty-free products to local arts and crafts, wood, straw, shell and clothing creations are readily available. A wide variety of produce and grocery items can be found at local Food Stores throughout the island. There are a number of American-style supermarkets on the island.
Telecommunications. Grand Bahama, through Cable Bahamas and the Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC), has high speed internet and telecommunications readily available. Businesses can lease bandwidth at reasonable rates — and individuals have broadband internet available at most homesites. BTC and Cable Bahamas (through subsidiary aliv) offers high-quality cellular phone service throughout the island.
Water Availability. Water is yet another fundamental in respect of which Grand Bahama is particularly fortunate. Most islands in the Caribbean area suffer from inadequate fresh water resources to accommodate substantial populations, not to mention the needs of tourists for irrigated golf courses, swimming pools, and ornamental water features. Grand Bahama Island, on the other hand, lies atop a vast natural aquifer with fresh water lenses up to 60 feet in depth. It is estimated that there is enough fresh water throughout the island to supply a population of about 300,000.
Watersports. One of the features of Grand Bahama Island is the emerald green water. Not only is the water beautiful, but it’s also ideal for a variety of water sports.
The island’s distinctive coral and reef formations also make the clear, often-shallow water remarkably more rewarding for snorkelers.
Several hotels throughout Grand Bahama Island have beach water sports operators who can equip you with the right gear for any activity.