The Bahamas encompasses more than 700 islands and upwards of 2,000 rocks and cays, stretched out over hundreds of square miles in the Atlantic Ocean. It's no wonder, then, that an archipelago this massive is home to more than its fair share of stunning beaches, coral, reefs and incredible swimming and snorkeling. While jellyfish are often present in the warm coastal waters here, it's possible to swim and snorkel safely alongside these sea creatures, as long as you take necessary precautions and know how to treat stings.

Best Beaches in the Bahamas

While there are literally thousands of options to choose from when it comes to beaches in the Bahamas, there are a few that stand out. Harbour Island, with its famed Pink Sand Beach, is a must-visit, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. While you may encounter some jellyfish schools on Harbour Island, particularly during the summer months, swimming and snorkeling are safe and easy here and you shouldn't be overly concerned with getting stung. After a day of fun in the sun, be sure to hit up the Queen Conch, a family-owned restaurant where the fresh conch salad is legendary.

Another favorite beach is Pig Beach on Big Major Cay, where you don't necessarily have to worry about swimming with jellyfish, but you may bump into a swimming pig or two. Keep in mind that, while there are several "pig tours" to other less remote locations, the real deal can only be found at Big Major Cay.

If it's surfing you're into, check out Surfer's Beach on Eleuthera. Be sure to pack a wetsuit, and before getting out on your board for the day, check out the beach for signs of jellyfish. Steer clear from any areas with pieces of jelly on the sand to avoid getting stung in the water.

Treatment Tips for Jellyfish Stings

Don't let the presence of jellyfish stop you from snorkeling and swimming in the Bahamas. Not all jellyfish sting, and in the event that there are more jellyfish in the water than normal, lifeguards will typically warn swimmers. The majority of jellyfish stings aren't severe, so don't worry too much if you do get stung. Expect to feel an immediate burst of pain and some burning; you'll also likely see red welts appear on the affected area. Contact a local health professional immediately if you or the person who's been stung display signs of a serious allergic reaction, like problems with breathing. Otherwise, jellyfish stings can be treated by rinsing the area with seawater. Note that you shouldn't use vinegar or baking soda on jellyfish stings in the Bahamas. For stings that occur in the oceans of the North Atlantic, this can actually make symptoms worse. A hot bath or cold pack can help alleviate the sting, and be sure to pick up a tube of hydrocortisone cream or another type of anti-itch cream at a local pharmacy.