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A literal paradise for divers, anglers, and sailors, Long Island is the hidden gem of the Bahamas. Known as the most scenic island in the entire country, it boasts brilliantly colored coral reefs, picturesque beaches, and oceans teeming with life. Here, island life prevails, dictated by the rolling ocean, with the main activities including sailing, fishing, scuba diving, free diving, and snorkeling. You’ll need a few hours’ rest and recuperation between adventures, probably sunbathing in the balmy temperatures.
This secluded oasis offers 80 miles of lush, untamed greenery and unspoiled sparkling waters. The east coast features rugged cliffs and endless caves, while the quieter west coast offers expanses of white sand and turquoise sea and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Adventure awaits divers at Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest underwater sinkhole in the world. Foodies won’t be disappointed either: The island’s best-known delicacy, conch, is a delicately flavored seafood available in every form imaginable. Just 45 minutes from Nassau by plane, Long Island offers a laid-back and authentic Bahamian vibe that you can’t help but love.
Getting to Long Island is easier than you may think. For many travelers, it’s just two flights away. Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in New Providence is the most likely destination for international arrivals. From there, it’s a 45-minute hop to one of the island’s two airports, Stella Maris (SML) and Deadman’s Cay (LGI). Once on Long Island, visitors can rent a car or use a local taxi service to get around. Navigation is easy, with just one main road, the Queen’s Highway, running the length (around 80 miles) of the isle. For an even more relaxing way to get around, visitors can opt for a guided boat tour taking in the island’s hidden beaches.
Not far above the equator and smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Long Island offers warm tropical weather all year long. Temperatures generally stay within a narrow band of warm but not too hot, as is typical of a Caribbean island. Even on “chilly” nights, a long-sleeved shirt will suffice — no need for a winter coat here! The best time to visit for warm-weather activities is between late November and mid-May, while the peak travel season ranges from mid-December to mid-April. The low season is more humid and cloudier, but visitors willing to risk a little more rainfall will find the island even more tranquil than usual. Be aware that the Atlantic hurricane season ranges from June through November. The island does fall within the hurricane belt, although serious storms are rare.
Perhaps the island’s biggest draw is Dean’s Blue Hole, the second-deepest underwater sinkhole in the world, which plunges to an awe-inspiring depth of 663 feet. With exceptional visibility, divers will love this paradise with its incredible untouched reefs and vast variety of tropical sea life. Travelers not wishing to descend into the depths can safely enjoy the beauty of the blue hole from the waist-deep surrounding water, and the sheltered nature of the bay makes it ideal for novice swimmers and kids.
For lovers of history, Long Island features the oldest church in the country. Now a romantic ruin, the vast stone building is thought to have been built by the Spanish in the 17th century. The picturesque structure makes the perfect backdrop for an island sunset.
The largest cave system in the Bahamas, this complex of passageways, some more than 45 feet wide, features a host of stalagmites, stalactites, and other fascinating rock formations. The caves are also home to a bat colony that comes alive around dusk. The property’s owner provides a guided tour and flashlights to ensure you don’t need to worry about getting left behind in the dark.