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Sunday, January 11, 2009


The quiet coves, sheltered bays and crowd-free beaches of the Bahamas offer visitors the intimacy of a secluded retreat within a surprisingly expansive archipelago. Twice the size of Spain, the Bahamas is actually made up of over 700 palm-fringed isles.Totally tropicalNamed from the Spanish baja mar, meaning 'shallow sea', the Bahamas is blessed with clear, turquoise waters that are home to ancient shipwrecks and a rainbow of coral reefs teeming with fish. Pastel-coloured seashells and clapboard houses painted in bubblegum hues sit amidst a tropical landscape dotted with vibrant blooms. On many of the Bahamas' most unspoiled coastal stretches, empty beaches offer total tranquillity with the occasional squawking of an exotic bird and gently lapping waves the only distraction.Plenty to doFor a change of pace, head to one of the islands' bustling straw markets to haggle over spices, ceramics, handicrafts and local art. Enjoy diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and parasailing or take to the fairways of a world-class golf course for ocean-facing holes