Ahh the Bahamas! A mere 3 hour flight from Toronto and you are in Paradise, or in our case, Paradise Island.Nassau is the capital of Bahamas and its largest city. While small by North American standards, Nassau is a big city in the Caribbean. Nassau is a bustling town with plenty of available activities.
1. Shopping if that rocks your boat (no pun intended)
Straw market for trinkets and hand made souvenirs. Literally a few hundred meters from the ferry and cruise dock.
Bay and Shirley street shopping. Plenty of selection from watches, jewelry to pirate souvenirs.
2. Restaurants and bars. They tend to be overpriced but lots to choose from. You want french cuisine? They got it. You want local conch food, they got that too! Check out Hard Rock Bar for some cold drinks and a souvenir glass to take back on your cruise.Local bear is really good and inexpensive. Our favourites are Kalik and Sands.
3. Sightseeing. The colonial architecture and colorful buildings is fun to see. Parliament Square is an excellent examples of the colonial architecture of old Nassau. Right in the center of the city, humongous cruise ships are docked. Cruise ships come to Nassau 365 days a year. So you will see one 100%
4. Junkanoo Beach. The beach is literally ten minute walk from the cruise ship dock and you have white sand, restrooms and even a small bar. The vibe is great for unwinding. It does get deep fairly close to shore.
5.Pirate Museum. Located at King and George streets downtown and a nice small museum to take the kids to. Good place to learn about history of Bahamas. Can be a bit cheesy for adults. Has a gift shop too.
We found that Nassau is one of the safest cities we have visited in our travels. I am sure that there is petty theft and crime exists everywhere but Nassau appeared quite safe. This should put many families at ease.
Leave your worries at home and come to enjoy the hospitality of the Bahamas.
You can reach Nassau from Paradise Island (and vice versa) in three ways:
Cheap way: you walk… It is about 2-3 km walk and you will do so under scorching sun when you need to cross the bridge that separates Nassau from Paradise Island.
Tad more: you walk to the bridge and then take the ferry across. The ferry is 4$ one way and they leave every 30 min. The last one is leaves Nassau at 6pm. After that, you can walk or take the taxi.
The big spender: you take a taxi into the city. You will pay the fare, and 1$ for the bridge crossing each way. The traffic is almost at a standstill and in such small space, even parking is difficult.
The ferry. It is the best way to see the city at least once. At the bridge toll, take a right and you will see a sign that points to the ferry dock. There is a small booth for tickets and you pay $4 for each way. The tickets are given to the captain upon boarding and the ferry is loaded and leaves in minutes from arrival.
The ferry comes with a captain and a guide. The guide is a local guy that will show you the houses of the rich as you speed past them and give a little lesson on history of the island. At the end of the trip, you will be asked to tip.
On the way back, you will take the same ferry and most likely you will get the same guide who will ask you to tip again.
The ferry will take you past the celebrities’ houses, to the cruise ship port and right into the center of the city. A mere hundred yards will take you to the straw market and all your souvenir needs.
Nassau is far more than the few streets that are tourist congested. Once you get off Bay street, the hustle of the city fades away. Take the time to explore the surroundings and you will not regret it.
I love how clean the city is kept. The paint is fresh and it appears as if each building is showing off its colors. There are plenty of police to offer directions and safety. You can’t possibly get lost there.
While we found that majority of people prefer the confines of Paradise Island, Nassau is a bustling city with variety of activities to partake.
Clean, safe and easy to navigate, it should be on everyone’s to visit list.