Discover a wild world close to home
Close to the mainland United States but worlds away, The Bahamas are so much more than bustling Nassau. Columbus would recognize some of the country’s 700 islands: wild and rugged with sea birds and sea turtles, dramatic limestone cliffs, and deserted beaches.
Little known to the world, remote outposts like Crooked Island and Mayaguana are havens for green turtles and flamingos respectively. Snorkel in turquoise lagoons, kayak in mangroves, and walk in nature preserves, encountering endemic and endangered wildlife far from human settlements.
There’s nothing passive about our expedition style. In the small atoll of Crooked Island, Acklins Island, and Long Cay, kayak in mangroves on the lookout for the sea turtles and pearly-eyed thrashers; snorkel over reefs among schools of amberjack and wrasses; and walk among the pastel-colored cottages of fishing villages.
On isolated and undeveloped Mayaguana, known as the Outback of The Bahamas, flamingos and iguanas might show themselves on a morning walk, and waters will reveal reef fish like blue tangs and princess parrotfish.
Long Island’s sizable lagoon is a stunning aquatic playground where we spend a day snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding near one of the world’s deepest blue holes. On a Zodiac cruise, discover the island’s caves and coves, cliffs and inlets.
Eleuthera’s spots for snorkeling and diving include reefs, coral gardens, drop-offs, and shipwrecks. Local ecosystems and flora are the focus of another adventure in the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve where trails traverse wetlands and a hardwood forest.
On Conception Island, a national park on an uninhabited island, look for tropicbirds and boobies on a hike, explore creeks in a Zodiac, and swim through groves of staghorn coral in the shallow waters of a protected cove.
Meet residents of a fishing village on Mayaguana, which is what the nation’s first residents, the Lucayans, called the island. Learn about the lost civilization of the indigenous people who numbered 40,000 at the arrival of Columbus and soon became extinct.
Eleuthera is an island of pink sand beaches and wild landscapes, first settled in 1648 by a group of Brits known as the “Eleutheran Adventurers” who were escaping religious persecution. Today, visit the innovative Island School, which uses a unique, hands-on approach to teach science, conservation, and sustainability to international and Bahamian high school students.
Tales of pirate raids, shipwrecks, and hidden treasure are woven throughout the archipelago, whose many islands, shallow water, and shipping lanes made The Bahamas a favorite lair for infamous characters like Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
With the small and nimble National Geographic Sea Lion as your base, plus the company of cultural specialists, historians, and the best expedition team in the business, discover little-known areas of a familiar destination.
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