Favorite thing: You can easily get sunburn in The Bahamas even if the sun does not feel too hot. Make sure you wear sunscreen lotion when you are going outside. Even if you do not stay on the beach or by the pool, you can easily get burned. Your arms and face will turn hot red in less than 2 hours for sure if you do not wear sunscreen lotion :)
My brief visit to Bahamas was... excelent.
The first impression was the contrast between the expected american way of life, and the british colonial look of the reality (even driving in the left hand).
A taxi circuit along the island made me feel in Africa, and that was a stupend sensation.
"America" was in the other side, in Paradise Island, that artificial Eden finally matching my expectations.
The area that was to become Nassau was first settled in 1606, and was called Charles Town at the time. In 1695 the town was renamed Nassau in honor of a Dutch Prince of the House of Orange-Nassau. He later went on to become King William III of England. The new settlement was a rough town with mud streets, and inhabited by British settlers, prostitutes, and criminals. Due to its strategic location at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, it was frequently a target of the Spanish, who were in competition with the British for control of the region. The Spanish burned Nassau to the ground in 1684, and occupied it for short periods on two different occasions. During the American Revolutionary War, American forces even occupied Nassau for two days after the Battle of Nassau.
By 1713, Nassau had become a pirate haven. Thomas Barrow and Benjamin Hornigold controled the settlement, proclaimed a pirate republic, and declared themselves governors. During this period, such famous pirates as Charles Vane, Calico Jack Rackham, and Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, frequented the town.
In 1718, the British sent Captain Woodes Rogers to expel the pirates, which he did. He was appointed Royal Governor and set about restoring commerce and civil administration. After that, many Loyalists fleeing from the United States settled near Nassau and established large plantations. And after the British abolished the slave trade in 1807, freed slaves settled in Nassau by the thousands and soon outnumbered the original inhabitants.
The British ruled the Bahamas continuously until independence was granted in 1973. (Unlike many of the other Caribbean islands, the Bahamas did not change hands between the European colonial powers, although the Spanish occasionally attacked the British and tried to take over the islands). The prominent statue of a seated Queen Victoria placed in Parliament Square (pictured here) recalls the era of British rule.
Nowadays, Nassau is the capital of and largest city in the Bahamas. There are about 260,000 inhabitants, which amounts to 80 percent of the entire population of the Bahamas.
Atlantis...its indescribable just how beautiful the place is. We got off our cruise ship, didn't book an excursion trip with the cruiseline (this was our 3rd cruise and we knew we could get it cheaper through the locals), found a local at the end of the pier and got a city and Atlantis tour for $20 ea. We took a trip around the island, saw the Queens Staircase (a must see...very steep but amazing), a fort (can't remember the name of it, sorry) which you could look out from the top and see Atlantis in the distance (gorgeous view), and a few other stops to shop. Then, off to Atlantis! When you pull up to the entrance, the fountain is breathtaking...golden statues of winged horses. You walk into the hotel and look up at the domed ceiling painted with exquisite detail...unbelieveable! Its defenitely worth the trip if you go to the island! Our ship also docked in Freeport...what a waste! Will never cruise there again! There was a casino, some restaurants, beach, and an open street market....it was dirty, and the only way to get into town was by a taxi which was not worth paying for...we were bored after 30 min of getting there. If I could do it over, I would take a plane trip to Nassau, stay about 3 or 4 days in Atlantis, and leave. Oh! Important tip" in Nassau everything but the bars close down at 6pm!
Fondest memory: Atlantis was the most memorable...there really isn't much to "ooo and ahhh" over...we went snorkeling and it was okay...we've been to the Cayman Islands, Hawaii, and Mexico so it was a little of a disappointment...there are beautiful fish, but the water isn't as clear blue/green as the other places we've snorkeled.
For someone on a cruise that goes to Nassau and wants to take pictures of wildlife and beaches, you might do a bike tour, or a birding tour. Caroline Wardle runs birding, and biking tours out of Coral Harbour.
"Half day on New Providence or Paradise Island, starting at your hotel at 7 am or later until around noon. Included are use of binoculars, spotting scope, field guides and refreshments for the morning. Experts and novices - all welcome"
Nassau does have some sights, such as Fort Charlotte, the Botanical Garden, Government House, the Water Tower, the Queens Staircase and Fort Fincastle, but I think probably the best bet there is to go to Atlantis to "The Dig" which is a huge aquarium. They also have open surface tanks (photo 3), and a shark tunnel. If you would want to take photos of fish, I think that would be a better shot than a glass bottom boat (reflections are your enemy in both cases) and you could also check out the water slides etc. The ship will probably have a tour, or you can get there on your own by ferry or taxi.
Fondest memory: The castle in Freeport is a modern one build by a local man who wanted something different. Grand Bahama has an underwater park (which I've not been to) and the Lucayan National Park. If you want to shop, I'd try to get a jitney bus to Lucaya Marketplace.
Travel tip.. If you are not staying in the Port Lucaya area, it is about $5 usd per person for taxi service to the Lucaya area where everything is at. Be sure to look in the phone book for the excursion companies and call them about picking you up at your resort. We stayed at the Island Seas, great place but a ways from Lucaya and the markets, and wanted to snorkel dead mans reef. The taxis wanted $45 per person to take us there. We called one of the excursion companies listed in the phone book and they picked us up and dropped us off for free.. Also if you stay at a place like the Island seas, they have a 1 hour presentation for thier time shares. If you do the presentation, they will give you free taxi passes that will get you back and forth...
Fondest memory: We had a great time at the Port Lucaya marketplace. There is just about every tpye of ethnic foods you could ever want. The food was excellent and dirt cheap. The week we spent there last year was semi ruined by not so perfect weather. We did not get to do the shark dives or any offshore fishing. Parts of Grand Bahamas are pretty and parts of it are still devastated by past hurricanes. The people were great to us..
I would most definitly say that there is a lot more to the Bahamas than my experience. All I had to deal with was bad service, over expensive food, mediocre place and crappy weather (not anyone's mistake)
Fondest memory: Most definitly the huge resort of the Atlantis is most definitly the largest resort I have ever been anywhere.
Favorite thing: You know that one of my favourite experiences on my first cruise was arriving in Nassau early in the morning. The pilot came aboard and took us in slowly. The shorelights, the peace and tranquility.... worthwhile memories. After many cruises this would rate behind entering the lagoon in Venice and arriving at Ushuaia, South America. It is worth getting up to enjoy this. Sorry the photo is rather poor ---a new camera takes some getting used to!
The beaches are unbelievable. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are on Green Turtle Cay, off the coast of Abaco.
Fondest memory: Green Turtle Cay is paradise. It is a small island; the natives are very friendly; the island is "away from it all". Travel is done mostly by golf cart; there is very little intenet service, most cell phones do not work there, there is no mail delivered to the island. It is a true getaway!
Eat like the local's! There's this little area of Nassau, underneath Potter's Cay Bridge, which the Locals call, "The Docks." Ask any cab driver. The locals go there to get their bowl of fish stew, or some conch fritters. Take your camera with you. The docks are a very colorful bunch of wooden shacks that house locals that will cook you up some fresh seafood. Grab a stool, a cold beer, and tell them exactly what you're in the mood for. One place, "Scorched Conch" was a place where we found Donnie, behind the counter, smashing fresh garlic into sour orange juice with scotch bonnet peppers at the bottle of the bottle. We grabbed a stool and began to order scorched conch and conch salad. Drank a cold beer and watched him yank the conch out of the shell, and mix with all kinds of fresh ingredients. Served it to us in about 10-15 min, depending on how many times he asked us to "taste" the broth. Don't forget your camera!
Fondest memory: I loved all the fish tanks on the grounds of Atlantis. Every trail you took, took you to some place that had fish tanks. There was this restaurant in the middle of Atlantis where you go thru a tunnel to view fish. The beaches were pretty. One local beach to go to is Cabbage Beach. Be sure to take a cooler and go spend the day. Excellent snorkeling.
Favorite thing: Beware if you not a sailor, the waters can be choppy on the way back from the Bahamas. The first time was really bad on the Big Red Boat and I thought with RC it would have better stabilizers to minimize it...not so. Take extra seasickness pills during these times.
I enjoyed everything from the cruise with the food, entertainment, company, crew members and more to the Bahama Island and all it had to offer! I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Fondest memory: My favorite part of my trip, well the funniest part was that the cruise was running behind schedule and had to do high speed on the way back to Florida from the Island over night and for a day we had the swaying feeling as we went on throughout the day! I actually thought our hotel room that night was moving ~ blonde moment ;-)
There are too many things for me to choose one 'must,' though taking a ride on a glass-bottom boat is a wonderful way to get a close-up view at the ocean flora and fauna (coral reefs and fish, in particular). The swimming is of course fabulous, with lukewarm turquoise waters on white beaches, and definitely be sure to sample the local cuisine, particularly conch and the tropical beverages (whether alcoholic or nonalcoholic they are delicious!).
Fondest memory: Walking along the beach or the docks in the evening and listening to the local musicians perform for free in the marketplace are nice romantic ways to end a day in Port Lucaya.
Fondest memory: After the personal subs we passed a shopping mall on the main road that runs across the north side of the island. There was an international beer festival going on. Each country had 1 or 2 beers as representatives and some had food. It was a great thing to do after a busy afternoon. It was VERY crowded though so parking was fun. We actually had to gently move a small tree with the car to create our own parking spot.
These are the Bahamian public Holidays:
New Year's Day
Labour Day (first Friday in June)
Independence Day (10 July)
Emancipation Day (first Monday in August)
National Heroes Day (12 October)
I stopped off at the Compass Point restaurant for lunch on 10/4/2011 and ordered the grilled fish of...more
PO Box N7550, Paradise Island, Caribbean
Good for: Families
I have stayed at Old Bahama Bay several times and I fall I fall in love every time! The place is...more