Nassau (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Bahamas is your ticket to paradise, with sandy beaches, clear blue waters and islands just waiting to be explored. Located not too far from Florida, this chain of over 700 islands and 2,400 smaller cays offers something for everyone. Want to kick back on the beach? You've got endless options. Looking for adventure? Dive into the underwater world of coral reefs or explore the local towns and rich history.
The Bahamas has a year-round tropical climate so there's never a bad time to visit. The weather is a bit cooler and less humid between December and April. It's a great time to try out water sports or just relax by the ocean. For those considering a trip during the hurricane season (June to November), rest assured that modern forecasting allows for ample preparation. Many find this period offers fewer crowds and some incredible deals, enabling a more exclusive experience of the islands' captivating charm.
While the Bahamas has long been a popular tourist destination, it has become even more popular with kosher tourists over the past couple of years. With an active Chabad House and opening of a kosher restaurant and food truck, it makes for an easy and convenient kosher vacation. Read on for all the details about a kosher vacation on this popular tropical island. Welcome to paradise!
The Bahamas (Photo: Envato)
Jewish community and kosher food in the Bahamas
The Bahamas has more to offer than stunning beaches and clear waters; it's also home to a unique and rich Jewish history. This history goes back to the 17th century, and though the community is small, its influence is significant. The British began settling in the Bahamas in 1620, but the Jewish community didn't start to grow until later. Over time, Jewish families became key players in the islands' business and civic life.
The Jewish population in the Bahamas has grown over the past 40 years, mainly made up of retirees and those coming for business opportunities. Chabad of the Bahamas has developed the first Jewish community on the island. They serve as the main hub for Jewish life, offering religious services and educational programs for adults and children.
Rabbi Bluming, the Chabad rabbi in the Bahamas, came to the Bahamas 10 years ago. He works with the local Jewish community as well as the many tourists who visit the island each year. TJT spoke with Rabbi Bluming about the local Jewish community and the kosher food scene on the island. Rabbi Bluming’s goal is to “bring Judaism to every Jew, a sense of community, connecting Jews to each other and to their Jewish heritage.”
The Bahamas has always been a popular vacation destination due to its close proximity to the U.S. and Canada. Since the opening of Cinko Asian Latino Grill, the kosher restaurant in the Hyatt Baha Mar, there are many more kosher tourists coming to the Bahamas. Rabbi Bluming said that while they always had minyan on Shabbat, they didn’t usually have minyan during the week but since the opening of the kosher restaurant, they usually have daily minyan 3 times a day. It is always best to check in advance because the minyan depends on the amount of tourists at the hotel. The Hyatt Baha Mar also operates the Knosh dairy food truck on the beach by the hotel. It is open for breakfast and lunch. The kosher food options have been a tremendous draw for kosher tourists to the island.
Rabbi Bluming: “The hotel really goes out of their way to make frum people comfortable. They provide a table for shabbat candles and a magnet to put on the door on Shabbat - for the locks. The hotel has kept the kosher restaurant at the mid-level price range to make it more affordable. The restaurant is open on Friday nights for Shabbat dinner for those who register and offers a boxed lunch for Shabbat day. The restaurant serves around 350 people each night so it is best to make your hotel reservations when you book your hotel room. The hotel has kosher room service which is packaged meals from the restaurant. ”
Atlantic spotted dolphins (Photo: Shutterstock)
Top-Rated Tourist Destinations and Activities in the Bahamas
- Atlantis Paradise Island: A mega-resort featuring a water park, casino and Dolphin Cay where visitors can interact with dolphins.
- Nassau: The bustling capital, filled with mega resorts, shops and entertainment complexes.The Chabad house and kosher food are located in Nassau.
- Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park: A protected paradise for nature lovers with pristine beaches, clear waters and abundant marine life for snorkeling, diving, and boating.
- Harbour Island: Famous for its pink sand beaches, this picturesque destination offers water activities and a charming town for you to explore.
- Aquaventure Water Park: Located on Paradise Island, it's a family-friendly attraction with water slides, a lazy river and a kids' play area.
- Queen's Staircase: A historic landmark in Nassau with 65 steps carved from limestone, reflecting the island's colonial past. It's a popular spot for both history enthusiasts and visitors looking for a tranquil place to reflect, with the gentle sound of a nearby waterfall adding to its charm.
- Lucayan National Park: Located on Grand Bahama Island, this park offers various hiking trails through mangroves, pine forests and sand dunes. Explore the underwater caves and enjoy bird-watching in this unique blend of ecosystems.
- Primeval Forest: Situated on New Providence Island near Nassau, the Primeval Forest is a fascinating natural reserve. Walk through this ancient forest, filled with towering trees and rare plant species, for a tranquil escape from the more touristy areas of the Bahamas.
- Blue Lagoon Island: A private island perfect for swimming with dolphins, snorkeling and beach relaxation.
- Pirates of Nassau Museum: An engaging museum in Nassau with interactive exhibits on piracy history in the Bahamas. Visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the thrilling world of pirates, exploring everything from life aboard a pirate ship to the legendary figures who once ruled the Caribbean seas.
- Glass Window Bridge: A natural wonder on Eleuthera Island that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This narrow strip of rock and road is all that separates the dark blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side from the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea on the other. The contrast is so stark that it appears almost as if you're looking through a "glass window."
- Beach Relaxation: Unwind on the world-famous white sandy beaches like Cable Beach or Treasure Cay.
- Snorkeling and Diving: Explore the breathtaking underwater world of coral reefs at locations like Andros Barrier Reef or Thunderball Grotto.
- Water Sports: Enjoy kayaking, jet skiing, windsurfing, or parasailing for an adrenaline rush.
- Fishing Adventures: Try your hand at deep-sea fishing in the abundant waters surrounding the islands.
- Golfing: Tee off at some of the Caribbean's most beautiful golf courses, like the Ocean Club Golf Course on Atlantis, Paradise Island.
- Cruises and Boat Tours: Take a scenic boat tour or romantic sunset cruise to see the islands from a different perspective.
These attractions capture the diverse and vibrant character of the Bahamas, appealing to various interests and age groups. Whether exploring the rich history, relaxing on the renowned pink sands or seeking adventure in the crystal-clear waters, the Bahamas promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.
Cruise ship stopped at the Bahamas for a day at the beach (Photo: Envato)
The Bahamas offers a vacation of relaxation and adventure, all wrapped up in one stunning tropical destination. Here, you can lounge on soft, sun-kissed beaches with a refreshing drink in hand or take the plunge into crystal-clear waters for a thrilling water sports experience. Explore nature in lush national parks or immerse yourself in the islands' vibrant history at fascinating museums.
What can be better than a tropical vacation without having to worry about kosher food? Be sure to make your reservations at the kosher restaurant as soon as you book your vacation. Check out TJT's guide to kosher and Jewish life in the Bahamas. You dream vacation, complete with kosher delights, is waiting for you in the Bahamas.
Come make memories that will last a lifetime in this Caribbean haven!