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Colorful dolls at the Straw Market, Nassau

The Bahamas has successfully promoted itself as a destination for US jetsetters, and a lot of it is Americanised. Yet there are still places among its 700 islands and 2500 cays to disappear into a mangrove forest, explore a coral reef and escape the high-rise hotels and package-tour hype.

The 18th-century Privateers' Republic has become the 20th-century banker's paradise, at least on New Providence and Grand Bahama. On the other islands - once known as the Out Islands but now euphemistically called the Family Islands - the atmosphere is more truly West Indian.

You'll certainly be more in tune with the local environment, and have a less generic experience, listening to a rake 'n' scrape band in a bar on a backwater cay than sunning by the pool at a Paradise Island resort.

Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track
Getting Around
Further reading

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