Bahamas: Welcome to Paradise, literally

Could "Hog Island" ever have attracted so much attention?
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Paradise Island, Bahamas

THERE YOU ARE SITTING STRESSED OUT in your office when paradise has been a flight away this entire time. Once known as “Hog Island,” this increasingly popular destination in the Bahamas was renamed “Paradise Island” in what would seem to be a presumptuous rebranding effort. But visit and you’ll see that it really wasn’t that far off the mark.

> Stay – The centrepiece of any family vacation to Nassau will include the Atlantis island resort. The pink towers set on Paradise Island are a major draw for young families and cruising tourists. Beaches, water slides, lazy rivers and an aquarium anchor rooms of various sizes and styles. If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious and relaxed, try the five-star Graycliff hotel. The building, listed on the National Register of Historic places, boasts a chocolatier on site and an impressive cigar company. Owned by Italian immigrants to the islands, the pizzeria and nearby gelato offerings are both worthy of a lunchtime stop, even if you can’t stay. www.atlantisbahamas.com; www.graycliff.com

> Understand – More than four million people visit the Bahamas each year, but very few take the time to get to know the island’s culture or sample its local cuisine. Alanna Rodgers has changed that with her popular Bites of Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking tours that are about so much more than the food. The three-hour culinary adventure runs daily and includes at least six ample food and drink tastings, along with an informed explanation of the sights you’re seeing and bites you’re tasting. Best of all: no guilt! You’ll cover 2.2 kilometres as you walk between stops. www.trubahamianfoodtours.com

> Explore – Save a day for the soft sand, smooth rocks and beautiful turquoise-streaked waters of Rose Island. The 11-acre, family-owned retreat is offered as a day trip with Sandy Toes outfitters. Relax, you won’t find any hard sell here. (The affordable massages and heavy-pour drinks tend to sell themselves.) Instead, just an afternoon of fun and adventure. Snorkel off the dock with a guide, dine on a barbecue chicken lunch or take in the view from under a thatched palupa. Stress? What stress? www.sandytoesbahamas.com

Heather Greenwood Davis is a lawyer and contributing editor at National Geographic Travel. Reach her at heather@globetrottingmama.com.