One of the most visited islands in the Bahamas is Paradise Island, just 2.8 square km of land off the northern coast of Providence Island, accessible via two bridges from the Bahamas' capital city Nassau. Atlantis, a vast hotel complex and golf course, has found its home here and attracts millions of visitors annually from all over the world. As a result, you'll find there are a great number of activities and curiosities to visit and enjoy here. This picturesque haven has much to do in a small area and you can easily busy yourself packing everything in. But take some time to appreciate the surroundings and make use of the walks, and numerous clean and lengthy beaches, to live island life like the locals do. Slowly.
Divine beachesParadise Island has been the setting for many Hollywood films, including two James Bond movies. And you can see why, as its setting really is the stuff of fantasy. This small island is surrounded by vast expanses of beach, most notably Cabbage Beach to the north, where fine white sand underfoot leads to azure blue waves that kiss your toes and soothe those cares away. It's a similar story on the east coast, where Smuggler's Beach, well away from the hotel complex, offers you a get-away-from-it-all vibe. To the west you'll find Colonial Beach, where a pleasant stroll will take you to Nassau Harbour Lighthouse at the island's western limits, where you'll be convinced you're at the edge of the world.
Atlantis attractionsIf you're a day visitor to Paradise Island, you can buy a pass to access some of the facilities that are part and parcel of the Atlantis complex, with different passes covering different itineraries to suit your needs. Maybe you'll meet some of the planet's most intelligent animals at Dolphin Cay, an open-air, man-made habitat that's now home for 16 dolphins stranded during Hurricane Katrina. Or will you take to the slides, brave the rapids and ride the waves at Aquaventure, Atlantis' very own water park? Maybe Atlantis Adventures will fit the bill, as you snorkel or scuba dive, meeting stingrays or sharks on the way. And for deep-sea wildlife lovers, the complex of aquariums and lagoons will keep you fascinated, with venomous lionfish, piranhas, jellyfish and Moray eels all on display, plus interactive touch tanks to engage and inspire your mini marine biologists. So, dive down and explore on Paradise Island, where it's all waiting to be discovered.
The best of the restIt was Huntingdon Hertford, a supermarket heir, who bought Hog Island and changed its name to Paradise Island, with dreams of turning it into a holiday resort on a grand scale. With plans for some unique and fascinating attractions, he thought nothing of moving the cloisters of a 12th century French monastery wholesale to the Bahamas. The French Cloisters on the island were opened to the public in 1968 and still stand today, now with the addition of the Versailles Gardens, a slice of European history that you'll adore. It's a surprising structure to come across in the islands, so take those pictures and selfies, or the folks back home might not believe you.