The Bahamas is an archipelago of 29 islands, 661 cays and more than 2,300 islets in the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital is Nassau.

Gorgeous pink and white sand beaches, the shimmering blue waters of the Atlantic and a pleasant tropical climate created by the cooling trade winds of the Gulf Stream have made the island nation many people’s idea of an earthly paradise. At the very least, its name has become almost synonymous with summer holidays, beach fun, and friendly locals.

Bahamians have a reputation for being very warm and hospitable, ready to give visitors their first taste of the islands’ famed cracked conch upon arrival or regale them with folk stories and tales about life in the Bahamas.

Indeed, there is no better way to enjoy the islands than with a local friend or guide by your side to tell you where the best restaurants, clubs, beaches, and diving spots are. Bahamian seafood cuisine is one of the finest in the world—fresh crack conch drizzled with lime juice and spices, fresh fish boiled and served with grits, succulent land crabs and the Bahamian rock lobster. All these dishes are best savored with local beverages like Sky Juice (coconut water blended with sweet milk and gin), Switcher (a refreshing lime drink), or any of the world-famous Bahamian beers.

The Bahamas has become a hot market for real estate. Already, a wave of new property developments has reached even the outer islands. Although foreigners are not permitted to work in the Bahamas, investments are encouraged and economic residency is offered to anyone who invests more than $500,000 in the country. Commercial development on 32 of the country’s 35 inhabited islands is encouraged by granting tax incentives.