Where All Things Are Possible
When the Spanish set foot on Grand Bahama in the 1490s they were so amazed by the white sand beaches and turquoise shallows on the southern shore they named the island “Gran Bajamar”. It is not just the sea that makes Grand Bahama great. Preserved to perfection is a 100 acre Pine Forest at The Rand Nature Centre; a 2000-foot trail winding through the natural coppice and pine barrens gives a glimpse of what the island may have looked like to its first people, the Lucayans.
Stroll through the Garden of the Groves and spy plants, flowers and birds you won’t see in Northern climes. Explore the largest and most intricate underwater cave system in the Bahamas. All of these sites and more are located in Grand Bahama, the northernmost Bahamian island, visible in lights from the east coast of South Florida.
Grand Bahama had a scandalous history before it became home to Puritan settlers and plantation owners fleeing America and Bermuda to find freedom in a new world. Pirates kept the island company after it was left vacant by the Spanish for nearly 200 years. They forcibly removed the Lucayans to mine gold and silver in Hispaniola and pearls in Trinidad, wary of the great reefs that could tear open the hulls of ship, rippling just under the surface of Grand Bahama’s great shallows.
Life didn’t work out so well for the plantation owners, who after the abolition of slavery in 1834 left the island to formerly enslaved Africans, who founded settlements like Pinder’s Point, Russell Town and Williams Town. By the middle of the 20th Century, local inhabitants only numbered 500.
Until 1955 when an American investor named Wallace Groves introduced his vision for a thriving island, and freeport. Freeport, the industrial capital of Grand Bahama was born. Since then, the population has soared to 50,000, making Grand Bahama the second most populated island in the Bahamas, and a place where Bahamians and visitors alike can bring dreams to life.
Shop at Port Lucaya Marketplace for Bahamian crafts and European fashion; visit the local fish fry at Smith’s Point and savour fried fish seasoned with lime and goat pepper; immerse yourself in the colorful glamour of Our Lucaya, tossing caution to the wind at Treasure Bay Casino; dive into the local music scene at Count Basie Square, where the sounds of local artists and traditional Rake ‘n Scrape will open your senses to a whole new world of rhythm and rhyme.
Stop in at one of the many pubs and clubs at Port Lucaya Marketplace, like Shenanigan’s where you’ll find Dublin Draft Guinness, or Rum Runners, home of coconut rum and a satisfying array of coconut flavored drinks; party with locals at Club Amnesia; or just find your own sweet spot on one of Grand Bahama’s many beaches and watch as dreamtime and daytime mingle, and what you may have thought was impossible, seems possible after all.