Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »
The Perfect Gift for Travelers: Our #1 New York Times® best selling book »

Nassau, Bahamas

Primeval Forest National Park

Impressive sink holes fill this untouched old-growth forest in the Bahamas. 

The Primeval Forest National Park is a geological and botanical gem, tucked away in the bustling, commercial capital of the Bahamas. The ancient hardwood forest, which is largely untouched by humans, is one of the best preserved plots of old-growth woodland in the country.

From the early 1700s up into the 1970s, the logging industry within the Bahamas led to the mass exploitation of large hardwood trees. A shift in logging licenses, plus an increased awareness of the environmental importance of living, standing trees, finally slowed the culling. 

Pericles Maillis, the former president of the British National Trust, stumbled upon the undisturbed patch of forest that would one day become the Primeval Forest National Park as a boy. In the late ’90s, he led the initiative to protect the land. It’s a small park, only about 7.5 acres in total, but it serves as a mini time capsule of Nassau’s former evergreen, tropical environment.

The forest is filled with an array of pines, hemlocks, mosses, termite mounds, and even a fossilized conch shell. But the star attraction is the sinkholes. The impressive limestone caverns, some of which are up to 50 feet long and 30 feet deep, are scattered throughout the park. The sinkholes occur because of the abundance of water that causes the limestone, a highly porous rock, to weather. They’re easily accessed via a series of boardwalks, steps, and bridges. 

The park, which also has a small visitor’s center full of geological facts, was established in 2002.

Know Before You Go

Park hours are limited, so be sure it will be open when you go.