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10 Things You Might Not Know About the Bahamas

 

1) Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island

Pink Sands Beach owes its pink sand to microscopic marine creatures called Foraminifera. As might be guessed, they have bright red or pink shells.

2) Mount Alvernia, Cat Island

Mount Alvernia is the tallest “mountain” in the Bahamas. It stands 63 meters or 206.7 feet tall. Originally called “Como Hill,” it was renamed Mount Alvernia after La Verna, a hill in Tuscany where St. Francis of Assisi experienced stigmata.

3) Underwater cave systems

Several thousand years ago, during the Ice Age, the sea level was 250 feet lower than it is today. Acid rain eroded the limestone that formed the islands and created hundreds of horizontal and vertical caves. When the glaciers melted, the caves were submerged.

4) The origin of the name “Bahamas”

“Bahamas” comes from the Spanish words “baja mar,” which means “shallow seas.” Bahamas’ waters actually vary widely in depth, but there are areas where it is less than 10 meters or 33 feet deep.

5) The indigenous people

The first people to settle in the Bahamas were an Arawak people called the Tainos. They lived in the Caribbean, but their ancestors had traveled north from South America.

6) Dean’s Blue Hole, West of Clarence Town, on Long Island

Dean’s Blue Hole is the deepest blue hole in the world, for it has a depth of 202 meters or 662.7 feet. A blue hole is an underwater sinkhole or vertical cave. They are usually circular depressions with steep walls, and they owe their name to the contrast between their dark waters and the lighter water of the shallows around them.

7) The national symbols of the Bahamas

The blue marlin is the national fish, and the flamingo is the national bird. The Lignum Vitae (Tree of Life) is the national tree, and the yellow elder is the national flower.

8) Distance from the United States

The Bahamas is the second closest non-contiguous country to the United States. There are 31 islands in the Bahamas, and the one nearest the United States is Bimini which is only about 50 miles from Miami. Only Russia is closer; Big Diomede Island (Russia) and Little Diomede Island (US) are only about 2.5 miles apart.

9) Versailles Garden, Paradise Island

The Versailles Garden is one of the most popular places for weddings. It is named after the gardens at Versailles outside of Paris. It is a formal garden like its namesake, but it smaller and more intimate.

10) Fountain of Youth, South Bimini

Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon learned from the Indians in the 1500’s that Bimini was the site of the Fountain of Youth.

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