This may be where the New World began. For some years, it has been believed that San Salvador is where Christopher Columbus left his first footprints in the Western Hemisphere, although some scholars strongly dispute this. The easternmost island in the Bahamian archipelago, San Salvador lies 322km (200 miles) southeast of Nassau. Much of its area -- 163 sq. km (63 sq. miles) -- is occupied by water: There are 28 landlocked lakes on the island, the largest of which is 19km (12 miles) long and serves as the principal transportation route for most of the island's population of 1,200. A badly maintained 64km (40-mile) road circles the island's perimeter. The island's highest point is Mount Kerr, at 41m (135 ft.).

The tiny island keeps a lonely vigil in the Atlantic. At South West Point, Dixon Hill Lighthouse, about 50m (164 ft.) tall, can be seen from 31km (19 miles) away. The light is a hand-operated beacon fueled by kerosene. Built in the 1850s, it is the last lighthouse of its type in The Bahamas.

Except for the odd historian or two, very few people used to visit San Salvador. Then Club Med Columbus Isle opened, and the joint's been jumping ever since -- at least, at the Club Med property. Away from there, San Salvador is as sleepy as it ever was, though it's been known for years as one of the best dive sites in The Bahamas. The snorkeling, fishing, and lovely beaches are also excellent.