Honeymoon Guide: Bahamas, The Out Islands

WHY WE LOVE THEM

  • Hundreds of islands and experiences to choose from—including Harbour Island (a.k.a. Briland), home to barefoot luxury and colonial Dunmore Town; the sleepy and seriously remote Exumas; and tiny Bimini, with fab fishing.
  • Pink or white sand, green pines and mangroves; "blue holes" (water-filled caves); wreck diving; yachting and fishing
  • Ecotours galore, in which you can check out Great Abaco’s unique wild horses and parrots, get a gander at the Bahamian rock iguana or swim with dolphins and stingrays.

WHEN TO GO

Mid-December through mid-April is high season, so you’ll find bargains May through November—technically the rainy season, though hard rain isn’t usually a problem here, and hurricanes hardly ever happen.

WHAT TO PACK

Bathing suits, polarized sunglasses, sunblock, camera, U.S. passport, U.S. dollars in small denominations (widely accepted along with Bahamian dollars), binoculars (if you’re a birder). For evenings, "smart casual" clothing; a small number of the fancier restaurants request that men wear jackets at dinner.

WHAT TO BUY

Pink conch "pearls," Androsia printed batik fabric or clothing, hot-pepper sauce, Junkanoo and Bahama Mama dolls, natural sponges.

TOURIST INFO

Start out with the Ministry of Tourism’s toll-free Out Islands number (800-688-475-2637) or Web site (bahamas.com). Tourist offices in the United States are in Chicago (8600 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 1200; 773-867-3877), Los Angeles (11400 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 268; 310-312-9544, 800-439-6993), New York (60 East 42nd St., Suite 1850; 212-758-2777) and Plantation, Fla. (1200 South Pine Island Rd., Suite 775; 954-475-8315). In Canada, the toll-free number is 800-667-3777, and the office is near Toronto in Mississauga, Ontario (6725 Airport Rd., Suite 202; 905-672-9017). For Bimini information, you can also go to bimini.bahamas.com.

GETTING MARRIED IN THE BAHAMAS

You can apply for a license at each island’s Commissioner’s or Island Administrator’s office 24 hours after you arrive, and you should receive it the next day; the fee is $100. You’ll need your passport and proof of date of entry into the Bahamas (a passport stamp, airline ticket or immigration card will suffice). If you’re divorced or widowed, you’ll also need copies of the divorce decree or death certificate. If you’ve never been married, the authorities will want an affidavit to that effect from a local notary. For more information, call 888-687-8425.

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