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Wildlife, carnivals and swimming pigs: welcome to the Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of the most tropical destinations in the Caribbean, but there's more to this island nation than sun, sea and beaches. The archipelago is fantastic for travellers seeking adventure, and the islands offer a variety of experiences, from wildlife encounters and underwater activities, to vibrant carnivals and a historic journey back in time.

Wildlife, carnivals and swimming pigs: welcome to the Bahamas

Pristine beaches, coral islands, and turquoise waters are some of the main reasons that travellers visit the stunning Bahamas. However, there’s more to this nation than pink sandy beaches and endless sunshine.

Made up of nearly 700 islands in total, the Bahamas has 16 main islands that are frequented by international travellers, and due to its adventure and cultural offerings, the nation is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination for all ages. Whether visitors are looking for wildlife encounters on land or under the sea, the country offers all of this and more including an array of activities, events, sights and attractions.

On the Big Major Cay island in The Exumas, tourists are invited to swim with the local residents – pigs. The pigs are wild but very friendly, particularly when visitors greet them with treats. They live freely on the island and spend their days soaking up the sunshine and swimming in the sea.

It’s not known how the pigs ended up on the uninhabited island in the Bahamas, but some locals say off by sailors who were planning to come back and cook them, while others say that there was a shipwreck and the pigs swam to the island for safety. Guided tours to swim with the cute pigs can be arranged through licenced operators.

Furthermore, bird watchers will love visiting the lesser-known island of Inagua, which is home to 80,000 flamingos. The beautiful pink birds live on the salt flats of Great Inagua National Park, along with approximately 140 other species of birds such as Bahama Parrots, pelicans, and hummingbirds.

Under the sea, snorkelers and scuba divers can visit the largest underwater sculpture in the world, Ocean Atlas. The 18-foot-tall, 60-ton female sculpture is located in the waters off the coast of Nassau and was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, a British artist scuba diving expert, photographer, and conservationist. Also, a marine reserve experience is developing in the Bahamas with the support of MSC Cruises.

For party-goers, the carnivals in the Bahamas are a must-see, and one of the most vibrant events is Junkanoo Carnival that is held in April and May. Bursting with live music performances, cultural workshops, and a lively parade through the streets of the capital Nassau, participants dress up in feathered outfits, singing and dancing along the way.

Hikers can enjoy the sights on Grand Bahama Island in the thriving Lucayan National Park on the south coast. Here lies one of the Bahamas most natural attractions, an underwater limestone cave system that is open to the public. Visitors can enter an underground network of caves and limestone caverns, where bats can be found cooling off from the tropical heat.

With islands including Bimini, Berry Islands, Crooked Island Mayaguana, Acklins, The Berry Islands, Nassau, The Exumas, Grand Bahama Island, and Harbour Island, holidaymakers will a wide range of places to visit and explore in the Bahamas.

British Airways has announced that it will be flying passengers to the Bahamas from July, 2016 on its spacious Boeing 777 aircraft, which offers twice the number of premium cabin seats, making a more comfortable journey for tourists. Also, San Salvador International Airport (ZSA), a small airport in the Bahamas is undergoing an extensive expansion and upgrade project, after it was damaged in a hurricane last year.

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