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Welcome to paradise! The Bahamas boasts an impressive 700 islands, many just waiting for another Christopher Columbus to do the discovering. Explore your aquatic side as you enjoy the sun, surf, and ocean depths that make up the Bahamas. Relax on the beach with a couple of drinks, rum of course, and try to muster up the energy to go fishing, windsurfing, boating, flying, or any other activity that you could possibly think up. End your day at a local restaurant with some fresh seafood and a Royal Bahamian Potcake puppy to keep you company. Sound good?
No matter what kind of gap year you are looking for, you will be sure to find it in the Bahamas. Want to volunteer with ecotourism? Your trouble will be narrowing down what aspect of ecotourism you most want to tackle. Interested in an extended break from the world? Plop down in a hut on a beach and feel free to lose track of time. Love animals? Work with a local shelter in order to make sure that these deprived animals get the love and attention that they deserve.
If you have ever wanted to travel the world, then teaching English is a good route to explore. There are TEFL and TESOL courses that you can take in the Bahamas which will also locate jobs for you. Teaching English allows a lot of flexibility and who could say no to long school breaks?
With such a pristine environment, the government works hard to maintain the fragile ecosystem in the Bahamas. There are tons of ways that you can pitch in and help with this effort. Lots of companies offer ways to see the islands and the numerous national parks. This is a way for you to explore this amazing country in an environmentally responsible manner.
Hand-in-hand with ecotourism is volunteering your services at various organizations in the Bahamas. The various animal shelters especially could use furry creature lovers to help out. There are quite a few to choose from. Plus, you never know what you might adopt! If you enjoy scuba diving, there are opportunities to assist in monitoring underwater environments. There are also sea turtle organizations that could use an enthusiastic helper.
If you are a fan of watersports, then hop on the next plane. You can engage in pretty much every imaginable activity that might set your adrenaline pumping. Bungee jumping, learning to fly a plane, and diving some wrecks are just a few of the fun-filled adventures that you can explore during your gap year.
The whole point of a gap year is to be flexible and to figure out exactly what you want to do with your time. If a few of the different options listed above piqued your fancy, then combine a few or all of them in your gap year. Learn what you enjoy most and what avenues you might want to pursue in the future. Here are some tips to help you get started with your gap year in the Bahamas.
The cost of living in the Bahamas varies widely depending on where you live and during which months. If you decide to live in an extremely touristy area, you will be charged for this luxury. Prices are on par with the US. The tourism board recommends that visitors have approximately $200 a day. However, this is the price for tourists, so you can likely get away with a more modest budget by staying away from the expensive restaurants and bars. Keep in mind that most food is imported since these are a series of islands.
Bahamians are a largely Christian population. English is the official language; however there is a creole dialect which is also spoken.
If you are interested in holistic medicine, there is a culture of "bush medicine" which can be found in the Bahamas. Some hotels and tour agencies can actually arrange bush medicine tours which will take you out to explore the indigenous plants.
Junkanoo is a street festival that should not be missed. This carnival takes months to prepare and is filled with fun costumes and body-swaying music. It occurs on Boxing Day (December 26), New Year's Day, and a couple of times during the summer months.
While the Bahamas is a developed nation, the State Department has issued a warning for theft and armed robbery. This warning is especially applicable to high tourist areas like Nassau. There are fewer incidences on the outlying islands. Make sure to watch your surroundings at all times and keep your valuables hidden in various safe places.
There are certain islands and areas where you can drink the tap water. Make sure to research where you are staying ahead of time in order to avoid food poisoning and possible water-borne illnesses.
The Bahamas has a hurricane season which lasts from June to November.
You cannot go wrong with the Bahamas. This is a country which has so much to offer if you just take the plunge. Learn all about marine biology or the art of rum mixology. Spend the year diving, waterskiing, and exploring bush medicine. You will leave this year armed with a load of new experiences and a nostalgia for beach paradises.
Cecilia is a Third Culture Kid who is currently based in Alanya, Turkey. She has lived in plenty of countries, like China, India, the U.S., the Philippines, and Turkey, and visited plenty more. She has backpacked around the Tibetan Plateau, Western China, and Northern India. She still can't believe her good fortune at living on the Mediterranean. Follow her adventures on her blog and find her on twitter @unsettledtck.
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to a gap year in the Bahamas? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.