| Grand Bahama Island, fifth largest island in the chain of Bahamanian Islands, is one of the most northern islands as well as closest island to Florida's coastline. West End to just past Sweeting's Cay the island stretches 96 miles through the turquoise blue waters of the Bahamas.|
Living off conch and fishing, the Siboney Indians were living on Grand Bahama Island 7000 years ago. Replacing these first inhabitants were the Lucayans or Arawaks who originally came from the Amazon Jungle. Little is known about the Lucayans but artifacts indicate advanced political and social structures. Enslaved by the Spanish in 1492, the Lucayans were taken to Cuba, Hispaniola and Margarita, Venezuela.
Named "Gran Bajamar" by these conquerors, Great Shallows was simply ignored after its people were gone. Becoming known as a treacherous place to port due to shallow reefs, the few remaining inhabitants often lured ships to wreck by intentionally misplacing lanterns. After the British took over the Bahamas in 1670, Grand Bahama became well known to pirates including Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.
After the British had gained back control over pirates, Grand Bahama Island was quiet until the American Civil war in 1861. Because of an embargo and Union blockade of sugar and weapons, smuggling became commonplace at hefty prices. Close to 100 years later, Prohibition brought the construction of warehouses, distilleries and bars into Grand Bahama. It wasn't until the rise of tourism that the island raked in profits once again.
During the time of limited attractions and no formal accommodations, Wallace Grove had a vision. A resident of the island since the 1940’s, Grove knew that Grand Bahama Island would be a prime tourist destination due to its close proximity to the United States. The town of Freeport was the result of Grove approaching the government with his plan to build a tourist town. 1955, the Hawksbill Creek Agreement was signed.
Locate a business here and find that tax breaks and legal incentives are well worth the effort. With no taxes to pay on personal or corporate income, capital gains, dividends, royalties, sales, inheritance and payroll, 10 separate acts were incorporated to support business ventures.
As the largest industrial center on the island, Freeport is a 200 mile tax-free and free trade zone. Additional advantages include the construction of a container transhipment terminal for manufacturing and assembly plants. Convenient air transportation to and from the island is provided by Grand Bahamas International Airport located a short 3 miles from Freeport.
Attracted by numerous island-style activities, tourists flock to Grand Bahama Island for the beach, nightlife and shopping. Plan a day at beautiful Paradise Cove Beach and find a snack bar, Reggae Music and plenty of water activities. Snorkel or rent a glass bottomed kayak to view exotic reef fish. Charter a boat to one of many private islands for a romantic evening under the stars.
Take a tour of Lucayan National Park, a 40 acre land preserve. Trails and walkways lead through a forest with pools of marine life.
For an evening out, the neighborhood pubs are friendly and cozy establishments to enjoy a cold beer or glass of wine. If more action is desired try some luck at the casino.
Find competitive prices from all over the world on merchandise at Port Lucaya. Creatively carved native artwork and hand woven baskets show that the people of Grand Bahama Island take pride in their work.