The Bahamas is made up of a chain of 700 islands in the West Indies, to the east of Florida. It used to be a British colony but gained independence in 1973, and remains part of the Commonwealth with the Queen as head of state.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 most interesting facts about The Bahamas.
1. Tourists outnumber locals in The Bahamas.
The economy of the Bahamas is heavily dependent on tourism and offshore finance. The tourism industry employs half the workforce and contributes almost half of the GDP. 80% of tourists are from cruise liners because the island can’t accommodate the 400,000 visitors that arrive each month. There are 3.7 tourists per resident every year, making the Bahamas one of 51 countries where tourists outnumber locals. After America and Canada, the Bahamas is the third most prosperous country in the Americas in terms of GDP per capita, a fun Bahamas fact.
2. Residing in the Bahamas is extremely expensive.
An interesting fact about Bahamas is that it is the sixth most expensive country to live in, according to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2020. Numbeo’s database takes user-contributed data about the costs of transportation, clothing, leisure activities, utilities, markets, and rent and ranks countries and cities in order of cost of living.
3. The Bahamas has higher levels of obesity than America.
Almost 50% of Bahamians are obese, and illnesses brought on by obesity claim more lives than violent crimes. The 2019/2020 budget allocated $300 million to healthcare, with a significant portion of that going to lifestyle-related diseases. Dr. Jerome Lightbourne, a renowned Bahamian pediatric cardiologist, regards it as an “imported disease,” saying, “We have had an influx of the western world, of mass-produced foods with steroids, pesticides, hormones, and the very popular fast foods.”
4. Pigs swim in the Bahamas.
Big Major Cay in Exuma, the Bahamas, is a small uninhabited island that is home to about twenty pigs. It is not known where the pigs originally came from, but anecdotal history has it that they were either left on the island by sailors who intended to return to eat them or that they survived a shipwreck and swam ashore. The pigs, who swim out to meet boats of tourists to be fed, have become a social media sensation. Visiting “Pig Beach” is now a Bahamas “bucket-list” attraction, an interesting Bahamas fact.
5. The Bahamas has won 14 Olympic medals.
The Bahamas has competed in every Summer Olympics bar one, since 1952. Winning a total of fourteen medals (all in athletics or sailing) makes it the fourth-highest medal winner per capita after Finland, Sweden, and Hungary. Bahamian “Golden Girl,” sprinter Pauline Elaine Davis-Thompson, competed in five Olympics. She won her first gold medal in her final Olympics in Sydney 2000, after the original winner, the American Marion Jones, was stripped of her medals for using steroids.
6. The Atlantis Paradise Island Aquarium is one of the biggest in the world.
The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort boasts the largest open-air aquarium in the world. There are fourteen lagoons and over 250 marine species.
7. Pink Sands Beach has pink sand.
Pink Sands Beach on the eastern Atlantic Ocean side of Harbor Island is 3 miles long and 50 to 100 feet wide. The pale pink color of the sand is due to the crushed shells of coral insects known as Foraminifera. Foraminifera are abundant single-cell organisms with holey red or pink shells, through which they extend pseudopodia. They attach themselves to the underside of reefs, and when they die, the wave action of the ocean crushes their shells and mixes them with the sand and coral of the beach.
8. Dean’s Blue Hole is the second-deepest blue hole in the world.
Blue holes are ocean sinkholes or caves formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks like limestone. An interesting fact about Bahamas is that the Dean’s Blue Hole near Clarence Town on Long Island, the Bahamas, is the second-deepest blue hole after China’s Dragon Hole. It is 660 ft deep, and the surface diameter is between 80 and 120ft but widens to a width of 330ft after 60ft. The cavern is protected from sea swells and wind, and visibility can reach up to 100ft. There is a broad diversity of marine life, and it is regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. The Vertical Blue freediving competition is held annually at Dean’s Blue Hole.
9. There is an island just for iguanas.
Bitter Guana Cay, or Iguana Island, is 86 miles north of Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. It is uninhabited by humans, and home to the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas. The species is about 3 million years old but is currently threatened with extinction. There are only about 5000 left, and their habitat is being continually eroded by tourism development. They are illegally hunted for consumption and sale as exotic pets. Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas are herbivores and can grow to between two and four feet long. They are relatively tame and will allow visitors quite close.
10. The Bahamas used to be a pirate haven.
Between 1703 and 1706, attacks from Franco-Spanish fleets resulted in the departure of British settlers from Nassau, New Providence Island. Without a government presence, the town was unofficially claimed by pirates, an interesting Bahamas fact. They formed a loose confederacy with governors and a code of conduct. The geography of the Bahamas, with its multitude of islands, cays, and islets, made it easy for pirates to hide themselves and their ships. Proximity to several shipping routes, including the well-used Windward Passage, allowed pirates to launch surprise attacks from the islands instead of heading out to sea in search of vulnerable ships. In 1718, Governor Woodes Rogers, who was appointed by George I to solve the pirate problem, arrived in Nassau. He dismantled the pirate stronghold through a combination of pardons, conflicts, and hangings.
The Bahamas is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
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