Last updated on January 13th, 2023 at 10:33 pm
Puerto Rico vs Bahamas – If you’re choosing between Puerto Rico vs Bahamas for your next Caribbean retreat, we’ll help you decide with the facts added in this post. Both the Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas each have their own charms. For us – we pick Puerto Rico. Find out more below, and see if you’ll choose the same!
Comparing Puerto Rico vs Bahamas
While the Bahamas is the perfect all-out Caribbean vacation with the crystal blue beaches, the hotels, and the beautiful island hops, Puerto Rico brings its own beauty to the table with its rich colonial heritage cities and all the nature and forest beauty you can find.
Let’s look at things to do in both countries, and help you plan your next best Caribbean vacation.
Where To Stay in Puerto Rico and Bahamas
You can access a dorm that can go up to €18-30. And while a hotel that is a double room in a budget can go up to €90.
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Things to do in Puerto Rico
Exploring Puerto Rico is a mix of discovering its heritage preserved in Puerto Rico’s capital and of course all of its natural beauty from the mountains, the forests, and the beautiful beaches.
Let’s look at the things you can do in Puerto Rico.
1. Old San Juan
Puerto Rico’s rich heritage can be seen and felt just by touring around the old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. Here you’ll see historic buildings, 500 of them. Five centuries of castles, churches, and restored buildings – it might just transport you back in time.
If you’re exploring San Juan and the San Juan National Historic Site, most of the preserved heritage suites and the fort will be in the San Juan National Historic Site while the San Juan town itself is beautiful on its own for walking around and seeing spaces for photographs.
2. San Juan National Historic Site
San Juan National Historic Site is a National Park in Puerto Rico housing some of San Juan’s top historic moments and colonial forts like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
3. El Yunque National Rainforest
When it comes to natural beauty, Puerto Rico is simply one of the top destinations that you can go to. Visit El Yunque National Forest, in Luquillo, Rio Grande.
Explore nature trails, and enjoy all these in the Rio Grande. El Yunque is one of the world’s natural wonders of the world and you’ll be in awe to witness it on your own.
4. Bioluminescent Bays
Seen in only some parts of the world, the phytoplanktons are water organisms that create a blue and glittering effect in the waters at night. This is what makes bays bioluminescent. In Puerto Rico, you can see the bioluminescent bays in Mosquito Bay, Vieques, in Laguna Grande (Fajardo) and La Parguera (in Lajas).
5. Cayo Icacos
Puerto Rico’s incredible beauty is just incomparable. You can visit the beautiful Cayo Icacos and experience its beautiful blue waters, and do activities like the catamaran, snorkeling, and enjoying a bit of some sun.
Cayo Icacos is a small uninhabited island that is reachable by water taxi from Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
Visit the Culebra for a beach trip in Puerto Rico and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can see a few beaches in Culebra Island in Puerto Rico: the Flamenco Beach, Zoni Beach, Playa Tamarindo and Playa Tortuga.
7. Cabo Rojo – Puerto Rico
If it’s wildlife that you want to see, then there’s no better destination to see and experience than Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge. In addition the wildlife that you can experience in Cabo Rojo, this island also has some of Puerto Rico’s and the whole Caribbean’s top beaches.
Cabo Rojo is 28 miles long, all coastline which gives you access to various beaches – Buyé and Combate for more family-friendly beaches that have restaurants close to them. If you’re looking for more remote beaches, then you can visint the La Playuela Beach.
8. Giligan’s Island
If you’re visiting Guanica, Puerto Rico never miss Giligan’s Island with all its natural pools.
9. Camuy River Cave Park
The Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy is a cave system in Puerto Rico. Add this to your things to do in Puerto Rico.
10. Cueva del Indio and the Seven Arches
Visit the beautiful destination in the city of Arecibo, Puerto Rico and see the Cueva del Indio and Seven Arches, and lavish in the beauty and things to do here – Caves, more nature and just incredible scenery.
Things to do in the Bahamas
The Bahamas is 760 miles long, and composed of 700 coral islands – now this is definitely much bigger than Puerto Rico. With 4 international airports, and up to about 41 total airports in the whole country, there are various ways to get around, especially as the Bahamas is huge and you will most probably stay in an island for a short trip.
It’s a short trip from Miami which makes the Bahamas one of the most popular destinations for locals there.
You might think The Bahamas vs Puerto Rico is not a fair fight, but it is as they are both in the Caribbean and you might be picking a destination between the two for a special trip you’re planning.
Things to do when you’re enjoying a trip in The Bahamas
- Enjoy Caribbean beauty on Pink Sands Beach
- Swim with dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island
- Ride the slides at Paradise Island Water Park
- Go beachcombing and caving in the Lucayan National Park
- Shop till you drop in Port Lucaya Marketplace
- Check out the amenities on Cable Beach
- Tour Eleuthera Island from head to toe
- Sip coconuts at Tiki Bikini Hut
- Cruise Castaway Cay
- Devour the Fish Fry on Arawak Cay
- Take in the views from Stocking Island
- Dive the waters around Andros
- Meet the rays on the Stingray Adventure
- Spot the monstrous ships on Prince George Wharf
- Sample the delights of John Watling’s Distillery
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the activities that will make your Bahamian vacation a dream come true.
1. Nurse Sharks of Compass Cay
There’s nothing more popular than the nursing sharks in Compass Cay, Bahamas. Nurse sharks are just a mix of wild and beautiful. They are supposedly a predator species (because sharks, right?), however nurse sharks are these calm fishes just swimming by the bay and it’s just too tempting to take a picture with them, with the crystal blue Bahamas waters. Apparently you can even hear them make squealing sounds if you’re swimming near them.
Compass Cay is a private island in the Outer Exumas. From Staniel Cay, you will mostly need a bigger private boat to go to this island. Just be wary to not feel menacing to the fishes. Although it happens rarely, they can still bite/attack. Although nursing sharks are known worldwide as the quiet ones of their species.
2. Pablo Escobar’s Sunken Plane
Wreckage are popular dive sites and photography targets everywhere, and the Pablo Escobar Plane Wreck Dive Site is not immune to this. Divers and swimmers of all levels visit the area to take their viral Instagram shot, or even just to memorialize such a beautiful moment.
You will find the Pablo Escobar Plane Wreck Dive Site in Norman’s Cay, pretty far away from everything else so it’ll be an effort just to reach this area itself. This plane wreck is actually a sunken WWII military transport plane that was once used to help fuel Pablo Escobar’s cocaine trade to the United States.
A runway was previously built here to support the trade, however the accident happen in 1980. A Curtiss C-46 Commando, registration N355BY mislanding. You’ll see it in a shallow sandbank which can be an easy snorkel, and yes, very big and popular photography spot and Instagram viral shot when in The Bahamas.
3. Ocean Atlas
The Ocean Atlas just off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas is the world’s largest underwater sculpture. Created by Jason de Caires Taylor, the Ocean Atlas was created for coral colonization, and to stop tourists from going to some of the island’s endangered reefs.
The monument of Ocean Atlas, a girl statue submerged in water, is crafted from sustainable materials to help promote local coral growth. The art itself was created as a portrayal of humankind’s interaction with the natural world.
The Ocean Atlas is located off the west coast of New Providence in Nassau. Atlas is from Greek mythology, one of the Titans who was condemned to carry the heavens on his back for the whole of eternity.
4. Coco Plum Beach
Coco Plum Beach is another beautiful gem in the Bahamas. This white sand beach is located in the northeastern area of Great Exuma. This beach is also known for great shelling and sand dollars during low tide.
5. Pig Beach
If you search Bahamas pictures on the internet, you have probably seem The Bahamas crystalline blue waters, with a tourist, surrounded by cute pigs. Yes, this is the Bahamas popular, the Pig Beach of Exumas. The pigs can be found in Exuma’s Big Major Cay, which is an uninhabited island in the Bahamas. It’s really funny when you find out that these pigs are here, and no one knows how they started to be in the island.
Some stories will say they were left there by some sailors to be cooked later, and others say they swam to the island from a nearby shipwreck. However these cute creatures started to stay in the island, now they are there living an easy life, and becoming popular around the world, one vacation day at a time.
6. The Musician
The Musician is another full scale statue in the Bahamas that is popular and well sought out for photography sessions. It’s a mermaid and a piano sculpture. The piano left underwater by David Copperfield. You’ll find this photography gem in Rudder Cut Cay, in The Bahamas.
7. Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill
The Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill is considered one of the best beach bars in the world. And of course, it is in The Bahamas. But what makes the Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill one of the best?
The Bahamas is one of the most popular destinations for vacation in the world, and celebrities and high profile people go a lot here, too. Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill has such an amazing location that just very near the beach bar itself is just a wide uninhabited beach, white sand and crystalline blue waters, with a lot of healthy reef that you can easily snorkel to when you’re looking to spend some time and do an activity. This area of the Bahamas in Great Guana Cay, Abaco Islands.
Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill itself of popular, colorful and vibrant. And if you’re looking for a celebrity spotting? You’ll mostly be lucky visiting here. Definitely one of the best places in the Bahamas (and in the world), for a beach party.
They serve international and delicious Caribbean and Bahamian cuisine and you can easily order cracked conch, jumbo fried shrimp and sauteed grouper here. If you are visiting on a Sunday, they have their ongoing and very popular pig roast buffets and this always draws a big crowd.
8. Glass Window Bridge
The Glass Window Bridge of The Bahamas is that breathtaking view where you can actually see the separation of the Atlantic ocean on one side of the road and the Bight of Eleuthera (people often mistake the side of the Caribbean Sea) on the other side. These two beauties are separated by a 30-feet wide strip of rock.
This bridge is actually given the name, The Narrowest Place on Earth. This bridge is located in Queen’s Highway, which runs the length of Eleuthera.
The original stone arch has been destroyed by hurricanes, bur the bridge name continued. This bridge connects the North Island to the South Island, and a few times strong waves can hit it unexpectedly, so driving cautiously in this small strip of bridge is highly suggested.
9. Tiger Beach
Now going to the West End of Grand Bahama Island, we look at the infamous Tiger Beach, where scuba diving with sharks are very popular. The Tiger Beach is one of the few places in the whole world where you can actually dive with Tiger Sharks. The exact spot where you can actually find several species of sharks is about 20 miles off the West End coast.
Before adding Tiger Beach to your itinerary, check in with your dive company and diving instructors if they will require you to have a diving certification. Some companies might require you to have the open water certification while others will require you to even have the advance open water certification.
The waters in the Bahamas are warm all throughout the year which makes booking the Tiger Sharks dive experience doable any time, however a lot of people prefer October to January which is the breeding season of the Tiger Sharks. This is a time where a lot of the sharks will be circling around. The reef in this area is also incredible, so you’ll see more amazing marine life, in addition to the sharks, even possibly dolphins!
10. Atlantis Paradise Island
Atlantis Paradise Island is the most popular vacation resort in the whole of The Bahamas. Atlantis Paradise Island is home to the largest open-air habitat in the world with 14 lagoons, and 50,000+ aquatic animals of roughly over 250 marine species. It’s a popular destination not only for families, but even to all types of travelers. It has a 141-acre Aquaventure for lots of water slides and fun activities and have lots of snorkeling excursions.
The Atlantis Paradise Resort is located on Paradise Island in The Bahamas, which is just across the bridge from downtown Nassau.
You do have a few price options when staying here, with current room rates starting at $189 per night. It can be quite pricey, however, The Bahamas is really known as an all-out vacation destination so definitely something to plan properly with the whole family or with your whole crew.
11. Pink Sand Beach
Pink Sand Beaches – now that’s something unique and definitely Instagram and photography worthy! The Pink Sand Beach in The Bahamas is found along the eastern Atlantic Ocean side of the Harbour Island. What makes this sandy beach pink? The pink color comes from microscopic coral insects, Foraminifera, which have a bright pink or red shell full of holes.
These creatures live on the underside of the reefs, like the nearby Devil’s Backbone, on the sea floors, beneath the rocks and in the caves. The good thing is that the sand in Bahamas Pink San Beach is always cool so that at any time of the day you can walk around barefoot, on this beautiful beach.
12. Chat N Chill
Chat N Chill is another popular restaurant in The Bahamas, and you might just want to add it to your Bahamas experience. Enjoying amazing Caribbean cuisine while close to activities like feeding stingrays swimming across the shore and watching Chat N Chill staff crack and remove conch to make fresh conch salad are just some of the things you can enjoy here.
Located in Stocking Island, add the Chat N Chill to your itinerary if grills and beach bars are something you wanna experience in the breathtaking Bahamas Islands.
13. Queen’s Staircase
The Queen’s Staircase also known as the 66 steps, is one of Nassau’s major landmarks. It is located in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex in Nassau. Just the history around this staircase is pretty surprising as it is made from solid limestone rock by slaves between 1793 and 1794 and it is said that it provided a direct route from Fort Fincastle to Nassau City. The Queen’s Staircase is named after Queen Victoria of Britain.
14. Thunderball Grotto
With Bahamas blue waters come a very beautiful cave system, which is the Thunderball Grotto Bahamas. This underwater cave can be found just west of Staniel Cay and is popular for diving, snorkeling, and wading. There is so much exotic marine life here, and what makes it very interesting is its small, hidden entrance. When going here, it is advised to enter the cave during ebb tide or at low tide time, when snorkeling gear is optional,
15. BLUE LAGOON BAHAMAS –
Blue Lagoon Island is a private island located 5 kilometers far from Nassau. The most popular activity at Blue Lagoon Island apart from enjoying the white sand beaches is watching dolphins and sea lions. If you are traveling with kids the inflatable water park is waiting for you.
16. HARBOR ISLAND
Harbor Island is popular in Bahamas because of its pink sand beaches. Harbor Island is full of resorts where you can stay, enjoy activities during the day, eating at restaurants and sip cocktails at night. Prices are expensive and Harbor Island is a unique place in the Bahamas.
Nassau is the capital of Bahamas and landing point. Most of the visitors are coming by flight or on a cruise. Nassau apart from shopping, museums and nightlife is the best starting point to visit and organize day trips. You can also go out and enjoy local food in the restaurants at Nassau.
18. LITTLE PIPE CAY
If you’re planning an even extra luxury in the already luxurious and beautiful Bahamas, you might just want to spend it in Little Pipe Cay – a 38-acre private island retreat in the Bahamas. To get here you’ll need to take a seaplane from the airport of Nassau. Get ready for some barefoot luxury, a retreat and to be just away from everything and be surrounded by complete beauty.
19. Tour Eleuthera Island
Best Time to Visit Bahamas
In Bahamas the summer (December to April), there are fewer rains than normal. In their winter (May to November), the rains are almost non-stop. For most tourists best time to visit the Bahamas is from December to April because of easier transport.
Cash and ATMS in The Bahamas
The currency of the Bahamas is called Bahamian Dollar and as of now, $1 USD is worth 1 BSD Bahamian Dollar. If you are bringing USD you can use them while traveling around the Bahamas no need to exchange them in the islands.
Bank or debit cards in an ATM are the recommended way to access your funds while traveling in Bahamas. Know real-time currency exchange here!
Where to Stay in the Bahamas
There are dormitory rooms that you can rent the bed for as low as $30 USD a night if you want the cheapest option. AirBnb is also available, mostly for about $40-60 USD a night.
Double-room hostels can cost up to $60-80 USD a night while mid-range hotels cost more or less $120 USD a night.
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Final Thoughts: Which is Better Puerto Rico vs Bahamas?
You will never go wrong for any vacation in the Caribbean, and definitely not with a fight between the Bahamas vs Puerto Rico but for this comparison, we pick Puerto Rico as our winner.