International Bazaar, Grand Bahama Island
The International Bazaar has to be at least 35 years old by now, and it shows. Once a vibrant gathering spot off Ranfurly Circus, this tourist destination has fallen on hard times. Billed as a mecca for shopping and dining, it is neither. Just take some pictures and leave.
Unique Suggestions: Take a memorable picture of the torii-gate out front. Stroll what could be a cross between a theme park and a Hollywood back-lot. Each section you pass through represents the architecture and flavor of a different country. Unfortunately, few of the shops match the theme of their country.
There are only a handful of restaurants at the Bazaar worth visiting nowadays, and none offer Bahamian food. The cuisine here is, at most, average, with a choice of Japanese, Chinese, faux-French (they have French Dip), ice cream and hot dogs. If you're looking for a bar, you're pretty much out of luck, except for a disreputable late-night disco near the employee parking lot.
Adjacent to the Bazaar is a very average straw market. There are some good duty-free buys on watches and perfume in the adjacent shopping mall. Liquor store prices here are higher than downtown.
In the enclosed mall next door, you'll find travel agencies, music and video stores, a newsstand, drugstore, and boutiques.
Fun Alternatives: The better restaurants are in Lucaya (for familiar and expensive food), or in the outlying areas and downtown (for local dishes). Plus, there's Burger King and Pizza Hut in several locations.
Shopping for your necessities (food, liquor, beach supplies) is best done in downtown Freeport. I heartily recommend LMR Drugs on West Mall Drive, next to the Grand Union supermarket. There is an excellent farmers market across West Mall from LMR. Buy your liquor at one of the wholesale/retail megastores on Queens Highway near the airport.
If you need swimsuits or clothing, your best bet will be the high prices of the hotel stores in Lucaya.
The International Bazar is located away from the main tourist areas and and is becoming very run down since Hurrican Wilma caused serious damage to the area around the Bazar. The few shops that still exist are not are in disrepair and not really worth wisiting. The hotels that surrounded the area are now closed down.
Fun Alternatives: Just stay in Lucaya or go to Lucaya National Park instead.
The International Bazaar was probably a nice place at one point--filled with shops and restaurants. However, since the hurricanes, it is like a ghost town and isn't really worth the visit unless you want to be hounded by the few vendors who are left.
Unique Suggestions: Visit the Straw Market vendors.
Fun Alternatives: Port Lucaya has the more vibrant scene and its restaurants are open later.