Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Idyllic islands are perfect for couples

In a nutshell…

An idyllic archipelago of 700 islands off the coast of Florida, the Bahamas make the perfect wedding backdrop with their pink clapboard houses, turquoise sea, and palm‐fringed beaches. Their stunning beauty is one of the reasons they have been used as location shoots for Bond movies from Thunderball to The World is Not Enough, and vodka martinis are as easy to come by as rum n’ coke. Old playground of the Astors and Vanderbilts as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Bahamas have the largest casino in the Caribbean at a themed resort called Atlantis, which attempts to re‐create Plato’s lost world.

Magnetic attractions

  • Shark diving at Walkers Cay Swimming with sharks is not everybody’s idea of fun but this is the latest craze for those seeking a thrill.
  • Nassau The capital is regaining some of its former glamour, with chi‐chi boutiques and cigar shops. Take a ride in a Surrey (with a fringe on top) past the 18th‐century colonial buildings and pretty pastel‐coloured buildings.
  • Atlantis Resort This $800m resort is nothing less than a re‐creation of the lost city of Atlantis. It contains the world’s largest aquarium, a shark‐infested waterpark, a man‐made lagoon and beach, 30 restaurants, several swimming pools and the largest casino in the Caribbean. Themed wedding, anyone?

Romantic rendezvous

  • Pink Sands resort On Harbour Island, with its pretty collection of pastel‐coloured clapboard houses and churches, this resort stands on a beach which is often described as the most beautiful in the world. It’ll look even better once you’ve got a cocktail in your hand.
  • Versailles Gardens Part of the Ocean Club resort, these gardens are a popular choice for wedding ceremonies. Get spliced here and you will be surrounded by statues of Napoleon and Josephine, fountains and elegant 14th‐century French cloisters.
  • Bimini island A favourite spot of Ernest Hemingway, whose drinking haunts are still doing a roaring trade.

Love bites and love potions

As well as an abundant supply of tropical fruit to indulge in, conchshellfish, in the form of conch chowder or conch fritters, is a common feature on the Bahamian menu. Eat plenty ‐‐ it’s known for its aphrodisiac properties. The Bahama Mama makes a great rum cocktail, and if you’ve got the taste, head for the Bacardi distillery near Nassau and the inevitable tour’s end: unlimited quaffing. For celeb‐watching head for The Sun And…., where you’ll eat French cuisine with a Bahamian twist, or watch the Harbour Island sunset from The Landing Restaurant.

Propose here

Harbour Island, on an idyllic stretch of white sand and turquoise sea called Love Beach. Could you get more appropriate?

To get you in the mood

For typical Bahamanian sounds, look out for CDs by local artists like Tony Mckay or KB. The picture‐perfect islands have provided many a setting for James Bond and his movies, notably Never Say Never Again. Parts of mermaid movie Splash were filmed here too, with Daryl Hannah frolicking in the waters around the Porpoise Pen Reefs.

For a good read, chose from Hemingway’s partly autobiographical Islands in the Stream; Desmond Bagley’s thriller Bahamas Crisis; or This Life, the autobiography of Sidney Guess‐Who’s‐Coming‐to‐Dinner Poitier. Its early chapters detail the actor’s childhood days growing up on Cat Island.

Language of love

English is the official language here.

Give me skin bro! = congratulations!

Stags and hens

The casino at the Atlantis resort is divided into the temples of the sun, moon and hanging gardens, and each has a huge glass sculpture over its entrance. You can play blackjack and roulette all day and night here if you’ve got the cash.

If you have divers in your party, why not do the Bond Wrecks? You can swim down and see the Tears of Allah wreck, where Bond eluded the Tiger Shark in Never Say Never Again, together with other leftovers from underwater Bond filmshoots.

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