Historical Library & Museum
The Nassau Public Library is housed in an unusual octagonal building that was erected in the 1790's as a jail. There's a museum on the second floor that is dedicated to the local Lucayan Indians which features old maps, bones, photographs, stamps and other artifacts.
The first thing we did when we hit the town as head for the rum tasting. This little sput in town sold all sorts of liquer. So, we sampled all sorts of rum, to me it was like a rum fest, lol! We has some much fun with the locals in the store, they are were so nice. We even smapled more than rum, we purchased a few pint size and went up the street to find a little store the sold cold drinks and we spiked our drinks up with the flavored rum and went to explore the town. We were total tourists, we even asked for Bahama money to take back home with us. They were so kind and each spot we went too. I am sorry but the names of these places have since slipped my mind. But the key to visting places, is to explore.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Nassau Island view from the hill near Ft Charlotte
Nassau is the home of the Bahamian national capital, the bustling hub of The Islands Of The Bahamas that traces its heritage back to the shipwrecking days of the legendary pirate Blackbeard. Prized for its sheltered harbour, the city made history and preserved it beautifully in colonial mansions, cathedrals, 18th-century fortresses and a Queen's Staircase whose 66 steps lead to a view not to be missed,
The 685 acres of Paradise Island are connected to the city of Nassau by two 600-foot bridges. The island is developed almost exclusively to accommodate travelers, with resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, a golf course, an aquarium, and a casino rounding out the amenities. Very few private residences exist on the island
Don't believe too much the official brochures
I recommend to visit Nassau not langer than 5 days because Nassau is expensive and some people might get bored after a few days.
Take a short inexpensive trip by boat to Atlantis on Paradise Island even if you do not like those big hotels (3$ per person starts at the back side of the straw market). But you should know nothing is really reasonable over there.
In case the weather is not as good as you expected take a trip though the island just by jitneys (will cost you about one Dollar per person).
If you see only one or two cruise ships in the harbour go for a shopping tour downtown. In the straw market you will find mostly cheap items from far east even if the locals will tell everything is produced in the Bahamas (even not the straw items).
A day trip to Exuma Cays in a quick catamaran. We have a very nice day in beatiful uninhabited island, interacting with iguanas, stingrays and baby sharks.
Half way to Exuma you stop to feed the Iguanas in a little cay with their favorite food: grapes. You will need a branch to give them the grapes without putting in danger your fingers... Really, no danger at all, your follow the guide instructions and it would be really fun!
Arriving to Exuma, if you want you can feed the Sting Rays by your hands (you can always watch and take photos if you don't feel in the mood). Was also great. After that the guide will feed the baby sharks, you can be really close if you want and it's really interesting.
Time for snorkeling then, always the chance for sunbathing and beach if you don't want to snorkeling. There are big water flowings in Exuma, so you have to be careful and follow always the guide instructions. Very different experience of the other snorkeling I've done at Nassau or other trips, more "wild"... take care if you are with childrens.
After this they prepare a nice meal (fish, hot dogs, ribs, fresh fruit... all drinks included all day) and free time for bath until departure time.
There are two nice inhabitants of the island for turist fun: two wild pigs that arrive to the beach after lunch. Be careful with the bags you leave at the beach because they like to search for food in everything they find!!!Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Get out on your own!
If you are looking for an adventure, instead of following along behind a noisy, expensive, annoying tour group or as the cruise lines like to call it a 'shore excursion', here are some tips for Nassau:
1. First, do some research before you get there. Look at lots of maps of the island of New Providence and try to find out where everything is that you would like to do. If you get acquanted with the lay of the land before you get there, it becomes less frightening to strike off on your own.
-Also, look for bus schedules and maps of where the buses run if you want to be immediately immersed in the culture by taking a jitney.
2. Talk to the local people once you get there. Ask them where things are, and what THEY like to do for fun on their island. Remember, they LIVE there.
3. Stop off on your journey if you see something that looks interesting. This may be the best part of getting out on your own. You don't have to wait for a tour group and so you can stop where you want and go where you want. When my husband and I took the bus up past Cable Beach we saw Fort Charlotte on the top of a hill overlooking the road, and we stopped immediately and got off the bus, and then later we got back on another bus as it came along. The buses come along every 10-15 minutes.
4. Finally, just get out of Nassau and see the rest of the island. Nassau is not the only town in New Providence Island. (I recommend the beaches in Sandyport)Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Make sure you save one day to do the Stuart Cove's snorkel trip. Totally worth $55. Three stops - large reef loaded with tropical fish, sunken twin Cessna (airplane) at the bottom to check out, and the last was the best. In the water with at least a hundred 8 to 10 foot long reef sharks, followed by an aggressive feeding frenzy after everyone's back in the boat. Incredible! Best snorkel I've ever done.
The Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation is a very interesting museum featuring the history of slavery and the slave trade. It details the slave trade circle from London to West Africa to the Americas.
Artifacts from the only known sunken slave ship, the Henrietta Marie, are on display. The British ship sank in 1700 off the coast of Key West after unloading its cargo and slaves in Jamaica. It was discovered in 1972 and later excavated.
The museum is housed in the historic Vendue House, which was a marketplace where slaves were one of the commodities sold.
The museum is open daily except Thursday. Hours are 9:30am - 4:30pm (Sunday 12pm - 4pm). Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for students, and $1 for children under 12.Related to:
- Museum Visits
the governor's residence
The residence of the Governor of the Bahamas is located on mount Fitzwilliam and its a typical Nassau pink georgian house. It was built was built in 1737 by Governor Fitzwilliam but the hosue as you see it now its the result of a couple of further alterations.
it's not possible to vist the house, just the grounds but - to keep to British tradition alive - twice a month (on alternate Sundays) you can watch the changing of the guard. Somewhere I have read that those days you can also take tea with the governor-general's wife. I'm not sure how this works, though.
The most interesting sight of this house can be seen from outside, anyway - and it's the large white statue of Christopher Columbus right in the middle of the staircase.
Take a Tour with 'Nassau Transportation Services'
After we got on the cruise ship our group consulted and decided we wanted to take a group tour in Nassau. since we hadn't already arranged it, we called someone back home to investigate and find a tour for us. We had picked a three hour taste of Nassau tour we'd seen advertised, but that was no longer available, so we chose a four hour private tour that would allow us to have input on where we would go and the kinds of things the tour would focus on. We could also set a time for the tour, so we decided to start at 10 am. We were directed to meet at the fountain across from the port building at that time.
The owner of this small family run company (Joe) was our tour guide and met us with a nice new 30 passenger air-conditioned bus. With only six of us, everyone got a window seat! The cost for the tour was $40 per person, which we thought was reasonable for the amount of time and the flexibility we had along with the personal attention. Our group had pretty diverse interests, so it was good to have a little more time to meet everyone's varied agendas. Joe later explained that he had gone to a local university to learn to operate a tour company and be a licensed tour operator. His wide knowledge of things Bahama and professional handling of the tour were evident throughout our time with him. We found him to be pleasant and accommodating, and really enjoyed all the things we learned and saw over the four hours.
Some of the things we saw were: Government buildings and the American Embassy, Fort Fincastle, The Queen's Staircase, Paradise Island, Atlantis Resort, neighborhoods at all economic strata, the prime minister's home, a local place by the bridge to Paradise Island for eateries, produce stalls and fresh conch stands where we saw how they opened the conchs. Joe bought the ingredients at a nearby produce stand for the fisherman to prepare a dish of fresh conch for us on the spot. Three of us tried it, and with Joe, happily slurped it all up-Yum!
Joe told us a lot of interesting things about local culture, politics and economics and answered all the questions that generated. He was also knowledgeable about local flora and fauna, and we were interested to see so many different kinds of trees and flowers and learn more about them.
We were all well satisfied with the value we got for our time and money with Joe's Nassau Transportation Services, and recommend him to anyone who wants to have a personalized experience with Nassau.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Public Beach Near the Cruise port
In the afternoon of our day in Nassau after we were done with our tour and a little shopping at the port market, my brother and I decided to stay on shore after the rest of our group went back aboard ship and see if we could get onto what looked like a public beach that we passed as we returned from the tour. We walked along as close to the water as we could for about a block away from the fort building and soon came upon a reasonable public beach, called Junkanoo Beach.
There is a nice view from there of the harbor and the light house at the end of it. There are public restrooms and concessions for food, lounge chairs and so on. Bulkheads divided off sections of the beach as you walk along it. Because it's a harbor, there's not much in the way of waves. We saw quite a few locals there, but no one approached us or tried to sell us anything. They seemed to be there to enjoy the beach as well. We did find that we needed to be a little nervous about wading barefooted when we saw some broken glass in the sand.
The tide was on its way out and any tourists had moved on, so we were putting the first footprints of the afternoon on the sand. I was surprised and pleased to find several small shells of a couple of kinds up near the bulkheads. There is also quite a bit of nubs of white coral mixed into the sand.
I'd say if someone just wanted a little inexpensive beach time without hiring transportation, this is not a bad way to do it.Related to:
See The Real Bahamas
If you can, get someone to give you a private tour of the island. You'll see some of the gated communities that are celebrity residents, as well as some of the communities where the people of the island reside.
If you are not willing to entrust a native to do this (I asked one of the caretakers of the property to take me around. I gave him money for a tank of gas, let a friend know that i was going to do this, and also made certain that other workers on the property saw me go off with the person) try renting a moped and touring the island on your own. I felt safer going into some of the neighborhoods with someone who knew the island and the people, however.
Jet ski to dolphins
Rent a jet ski on Paradise Island. If you rent them for one hour (make sure to bargain with them!), you can take a ride over to Blue Lagoon Island and see the dolphins. Officially you cant go into the area, but no one bothers you about it. We tried to book a dolphin tour seperately, but they were sold out, so this was the next best thing. The water is unbelievably clear, no matter how far out you go!
Although it only opened in 2003, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas has already built an impressive collection of historical local artworks and contemporary pieces by Bahamian artists. Entry $3. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-4pm. Located at Villa Doyle, West Hill Street in the heart of Nassau.
All the government buildings in the Bahamas look the same. They have pink stucco with white side blocks on the corners and white trim and doors. My first glimpse was through Parliament, and I was amazed at how small everything was in comparison to my home state's legislature buildings. Of course, the population is greatly askew to each other, and I just didn't realize that immediately. Session was about to begin when I got there, so I was lucky enough to see all the important Bahamian Senators and House Members.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
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