Calm waters and cooling tradewinds have rightfully earned The Bahamas an international reputation for sailing, with regattas and races held year-round. The islands are actually the birthplace of the Gulf Stream, a phenomenon that also accounts for their astonishing variety and abundance of marine life. Legendary gamefish draw sport fisherman in search of the "big one," and more than 50 international fishing records have been set in these waters. The great writer / fisherman Ernest Hemingway considered the Bahamian island of Bimini a home. The same conditions that make these islands so amenable to sailors and fisherman draw visitors to the vast and diverse underwater parks. With more than 5 percent of the planet's reef mass, The Bahamas offer inexhaustible pleasures and challenges to snorkelers and divers. The natural beauty of the water extends to the thousands of miles of shoreline, which has some of the world's most stunningly beautiful and unsullied beaches. From the pink sands of Harbour Island and Eleuthera to the deserted strands of the Exumas and San Salvador, there is a lifetime of beaches to experience. Further inland are gardens and National Parks with rare and endangered species, such as the exotic Abaco Parrot and the Bahamian Iguana.
Although The Bahamas are as diverse and numerous as the days of the year, the reassuring unifier is the charm and hospitality of its people. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism offers a People-to-People programme; an opportunity for visitors to experience a genuine and informal taste of Bahamian hospitality and culture. Volunteers holding interests similar to yours give you a taste of Bahamian life and potentially a lifelong friendship. Bahamians will be more than happy to introduce you to the richness of their history, folklore, culture and cuisine. Over a succulent dish of cracked conch and guava duff, you'll hear tales about the nefarious pirate Blackbeard and the mysterious blue holes of Andros. They'll tell you about the original Eleutheran Adventurers, the playful the Junkanoo troupes.