LGBT Getaways in the Bahamas

LGBT Getaways in the Bahamas

There are few places whose names immediately evoke images of pristine beautiful sea, sand and sky like that of The Bahamas. This archipelago of over 700 islands, islets and cays is a vacationer’s paradise and one of the world’s foremost travel destinations.

Over half of the Bahamian population is employed in the tourism industry, which itself accounts for over 60% of the nation’s GDP. About 6 million tourists visited The Bahamas in 2016, of which the vast majority – 70% – arrived and left on cruise ships.

Although The Bahamas are not a specifically LGBT-friendly travel destination, it is gradually adopting a more inclusive stance. Same-sex sexual relationships are legal and have been since 1991. Gays and lesbians are allowed to serve in the armed forces. On the other hand, the legal age of consent for same-sex sexual contact is 18 years but 16 years for heterosexual relationships. The law does not recognize same-sex couples.

Because of the large number of foreign tourists from diverse backgrounds and ways of life, the average Bahamian is not offended by same-sex couples. This is particularly true of those employed in the tourism industry. Same-sex visitors would still be advised to refrain from overt displays of affection in public places outside of resorts and hotels.

The Bahamas are best enjoyed under the sun, the open sky and under the sea.

The crystal clear blue waters are a spectacular medium through which to explore the rich marine life. If you would love to just explore a magical underwater world, Thunderball Grotto is the place to go. Featured in two James Bond movies, this scuba diving and snorkeling draw is an underwater maze with gaps in the coral and stone that allow rays of sunlight to shine through and illuminate its interior. It is varied enough to be perfect for both novices and advanced enthusiasts.

If you prefer your water adventure to be based around interaction with marine life, the waters around the Grotto are a spectacular hunting ground. Otherwise, the Dolphin Experience of Grand Bahama Island might be the way to go. The bottlenose Atlantic dolphins here are kept in humane open-water pens and are well-trained and cared for by an experienced team of professional staff.

For an insight into the rich cultural history of the Bahamas, the Christ Church Cathedral is a ’godsend’. The main structure dates back to 1670 and major restoration works were conducted in the 1990s. The mahogany pews, mesmerizing stained glass windows, intricately carved stone murals and breathtaking architecture are works of art unto themselves.

Gain some perspective of the native culture as well with the Junkanoo festival. Held across the Bahamas on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and again approximately half a year later in the summer, it is very similar to the Mardi Gras of Brazil, but tamer. The parade of elaborately-costumed participants goes from 2 10 a.m., and is preceded and followed by lots of partying, singing, dancing and revelry. The mystical call of conch-shells reverberates through the streets accompanied by the thump of goatskin drums. All visitors are welcome to participate.

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