Lucayan National Park: What to See and Do
Grand Bahama Island is a haven of natural beauty and Lucayan National Park exemplifies the lush green landscape that The Bahamas has become known for. The Park covers 16 hectares (or 40 acres) of pristine pine forests, mangroves, coral reefs, creeks, and even the world-famous Gold Rock Beach. Discover more about this fascinating ecosystem in this blog, or if you want to check it out for yourself, take a look at our Day Under the Bahama Sun tour.
About The Park
All varieties of Bahamian vegetation are represented in Lucayan National Park as well as one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world, with over six miles of tunnels having been charted. But that isn’t the only thing that makes the Park so impressive!
In the late 1970s, a curious biologist was scuba diving in Ben’s Cave and discovered a unique centipede-like organism that would become not only a new species but a new class of crustacean in itself. The Remipedes, as it is now known, has existed in Grand Bahama’s caves for millions of years and has evolved to adapt to the dark, underwater environment.
In 1986, the caves were discovered to be the burial place of the six indigenous Lucayans, the original inhabitants of The Bahamas, who may have been completely eradicated by Spanish colonists during the 15th and 16th centuries by way of disease, forced labor, or expatriation. Due to the low oxygen levels in the caves, the remains were well preserved.
The significance of the Park was formalized in 1982, when the Bahamas National Trust signed a 99-year-lease, taking control over the environment. Not long after, in March 1983, the Park was closed to everyone except scientists and qualified divers with permission, to allow for the area to recover until 1985. With an expansion in 2015, the Park has become the 2nd most visited national park in The Bahamas.
What To See & Do
Today, there are a wealth of activities and sites within the park. The two entrances to the tunnels: Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound are open to the public, however, swimming in the caves is prohibited and a special permit is required for diving. Take note, the caves are off-limits during hibernation of the local bat species in the winter months. Beyond the caves, the park is filled with crisscrossing boardwalks and nature trails that weave through the mangroves and extend to the famous Gold Rock Beach, sometimes referred to as “the welcome mat of The Bahamas” and easily one of the best beaches on Grand Bahama Island. On the beach, you can find picnic tables to enjoy a lunch with views out to the stunning turquoise ocean while the breeze brushes by.
Within the mangroves, there is also a large array of wildlife to feast your eyes on, from the saltwater fishes that call the roots home, to the birds relaxing on the undulating water, and the waterfowl scavenging among the airborne roots. Take a Lucayan National Park tour if you’re staying on the island or even if you’re looking for the ultimate Freeport, Bahamas shore excursion. There is an abundance of wildlife waiting to be discovered, from the birds singing in the trees, the parrotfish grazing on the algae along the reefs, or you may even catch a glimpse of migratory bats cooling off in the dark caverns during the summer. This is the ultimate Freeport, Bahamas tour! Get in touch with us and we can help organize a perfect Grand Bahamian escape.