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Anyone in search of the perfect beach might very well start with the Islands of The Bahamas, whose relatively small land mass belies the sheer quantity of its beachfront. With the vast majority of the islands shaped like slivers, one imagines two gorgeous stretches of beach separated by the most perfunctory of inlands. And indeed they are gorgeous and unbelievably white, with sand so fine it feels soft to the touch. Those in search of something really special should check out Harbour Island's rose-colored sands, off the coast of Eleuthera. The beaches of The Bahamas are often coupled with shallow transparent water for hundreds of yards out to sea, rising gently to sandbars before finally dropping into the depths.
Beaches are of two types in The Bahamas - the activity beach and the deserted beach. On an activity beach, of which Cable Beach in Nassau is the prime example, you'll find tons of things to do, and every service will be at your fingertips. Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment - if you can think of it, you'll probably find it here.
On the other hand, you won't be able to find any of that on the deserted beaches - but then, that's the whole idea. About 80 percent of the beaches of The Bahamas, if not more, are isolated: meandering ranges of virgin sand, warm under your bare feet. There won't be any motorboats or crowds, so you can enjoy the most subtle nuance of the surf's music in peace. Look to either side of you - the only colors in the world will be infinitely varied shades of blue, green and white. Bring along some chilled coconut water and fresh, sweet mangoes and make a day of it, or a week of it, or . . .
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