It was a disappointment the visit to Nassau - no impressive views, buildings, or shopping. Of course, the beauty of Bahamas is in the sea, but we were expecting more from Nassau, a sort of small common city.
We had not much time to it, but left with the sensation of not missing much.
Look, the cost of living down there is outrageous. Everyone who goes complains about the costs involved. Problem is they don't do their research. There is not tax in the bahamas but you do have to pay duty. Talk to the bahamians about buying a car! They drive the same things we do but they pay 85% more. When it is cheaper to eat fastfood like Wendy's, Macdonald's or KFC (they don't pay duty on their food coming in) than it is to cook at home you know you have a real problem. A gallon of milk is about $8 for them all the time, they have to buy water because they can't drink the water, they have found a way to live using about half the income that the US would call poverty and they could never dream of going on a vacation anywhere because just eating a box of hamburger helper will cost about $15 for the pound of hamburger alone. They don't have Walmart, Costco or Sam's. So, here is what I am hearing. I AM GOING ON VACATION but you want me to pay for it? How is that fair? What you should be saying is, wow, look at the prices that these people have to pay, maybe I could leave a nice tip and they can go home half an hour early today. Seriously people, you complain about paying $10 for a taxi because you are too lazy to walk (the whole island is only 7 miles by 21 miles) but it costs $6/gal for them to get around and if you have ever driven there there is no such thing as good gas milage. The straw market complaint I can understand. It sucks that you can't get anything from the bahamas in the bahamas. Problem with this complaint is that nobody bought the other stuff so they had to find what people would buy i.e. FAKE GUCCI. So, quit complaining and enjoy your vacation! At least you get one!!!
Unique Suggestions: Walk through the aquariums and the casinos at Atlantis Resort but go after 8 and there is no charge.
Fun Alternatives: Going to the straw market is like going to the local dollar general but fake. Don't ever pay over half of their asking price for anything! If you want to enjoy a fun alternative go over the hill and have some fun walking the mall or the sidewalk shops.
Honestly I would say -- Stay away. Its just one of the only places that I regret going to.. 4$ for a small bottle of water. 7 US$ for a slice of Pizza. Easily 75$+ for a formal sit down meal.
The rooms are exhorbitant.. the hidden service change and taxes are over bearing. The constant pitches to buy a time share is horrible. Lousy customer service everywhere from the front desk to the towel handlers etc,etc.
Absolutely no culture or local flavor... absolutely no character to anyhting including the food. maybe it is elsewhere in the Bahamas and not in Paradise Isle/ Nassau.
Bottom line -- Save your money DO NOT GO
Unique Suggestions: Here are some things that you can do to save yourself.
1. Stay at the comfort suites its at lease a 100US$ saving.
2. Book thru expedia/travelocity they will give you a round trip airport transfer for free.
3. Take a ferry in and out of town as its the cheapest transport beween Nasau & paradise isle
4. Eat at Senior frogs/Zigilo's, if you can stomach it then try the fish fry stalls for food.
5. Buy soda/water and store in your refrigrator its 3 $saving everytime you do not have to buy from Atlantis.
6. If you can take the marketing crap sit thru a 90 minutes of pep talk so that you can get a 75$ voucher to do your souviner shopping.
7. Take the local bus to travel around the island it.s only a $
Fun Alternatives: I will not be suprised if they next start to collect money for breathing.
There is nothing to do in Freeport except take the taxi to the "shopping" area which is of course nothing but duty free liquor and other junk which closely resembles the same garbage for sale at the ship dock. This "shopping area" is next to a couple of mainstream hotels, so we did at least walk over to the beach area by the hotels, and we found a bar to hang out at for while. Nassau was much better, but be careful in the Atlantis, because everything is expensive. I paid over $20.00 for a bottle of sunscreen. We enjoyed the grounds and relaxed on innertubes in the lazy river. We ended up at a place called The Cove, which is the more contemporary, spa-like hotel of the Atlantis. The pool area is gorgeous and luxurious, with cushioned lounge chairs and other cushioned lounge areas, a DJ playing hip music, dark, oasis type-pools, artsy decor, private cabanas you can reserve, etc. You can get topless at The Cove, but only a couple of people were. I appreciate the clientele they are trying to cater to and I do enjoy that type of scene, but to pay $18.00 for one alcoholic beverage (a mojito) is almost insulting, even if you are loaded with money, and I don't like those kinds of surprises in my bar tab.
Unique Suggestions: If you don't do an excursion in Freeport, you may as well stay on the boat. For Nassau, don't book the Aquaventure excursion through Carnival. You can get the same thing for $50.00 a person less when you go up to the information/tourist desk once inside the Atlantis, which ironically is a discount price for cruise ship visitors, plus you are given several alternative packages to the Aquaventure if you don't want to do the water park. I do recommend the Aquaventure, however, because it allows you access to every pool/aquarium/lagoon/water park/beach/bar/restaurant/casino in the hotel. We had a lot of fun at Atlantis, although it can get expensive. We didn't even gamble due to the high dollar minimums at the tables. The casino was empty, believe it or not.
Fun Alternatives: We have no children, and we prefer the eating/drinking part of traveling, so please take suggestions with a grain of salt. To me, the alternative for Freeport is stay on the ship and enjoy the less-crowded pool area. I don't even understand why the ship stops there. If someone knows something I don't, please share. As far as Nassau, I really enjoyed Atlantis, but again, it is expensive. We asked a local employee of Atlantis to suggest a place to eat on the economy, and she told us to go to the "fish fry." At first we thought it was a single restaurant, but after asking the taxi driver to take us there, he explained that it is an "area." He seemed impressed that we wanted to go there and hang with the locals. The area is a bunch of restaurants and outdoor tiny bars, but we didn't feel concerned for safety, even at night. Our goal was to eat authentic Bahamian food, but we ended up talking to a couple of locals and drinking too many gin and fresh coconut milk drinks (can't remember the name, but they were awesome). I did eat the conch salad, which is "the" popular item. People were lined up on the barstools eating the conch salad. It is made fresh in front of you with tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime juice, and conch, all chopped finely into a bowl. Also, the conch fritters are better in the Bahamas than in Key West. Bahamians use a spongy, flour based batter as opposed to the cornmeal-based fritters in the Keys. Again, we were there during off season, but we were told by our new friends that everything closes early anyway during "off season," and especially on a Tuesday.
The straw market is a great experience. It is nothing like in the states. Where else can you haggle someone down from $100 to $30. The straw market is filled with many souveniers as well as tons of replica designer purses. These include prada, gucci, burberry, coach, louis vuitton and many more. you can get anything there for very cheap just never say yes to the first 4 offers. argue with them for awhile and then walk away, as soon as you walk away the price will come down to exactly what you want. and if that doesn't happen, walk about 5 feet and somebody else will be selling the exact same thing. It is a tight space in the tent and it does stink but it can be lots of fun. But watch out for everyone trying to sell you weed.
Fun Alternatives: go to senor frogs where there is no drinking age you just have to be 5 feet tall
The Straw Market has become a flea market, which sells a bunch of fake Gucci's, Fendi's and Louis Vuitton's.. Very disappointing.
The shops in town also are extremely overpriced. Most people from the area go to the mall which has better prices and goods. You can ride the bus (jitney) there for $1(US) and also get a great tour of the "real Nassau" where the natives live.
All cruise ship board in front of the straw market. As soon as the first passengers get a shore the prices are raising.
Unique Suggestions: Just walk around. Let the women call you sweetie. Stay friendly and they will be friendly to you. Never pay the first price nor the second.
What is it with folks? They want TANS & BRAIDS; but just don't want to live in the "Hood".... Whatever! Anyway, I was VERY amused to see US Cruisers Assisting the Bahamian Economy by getting their hair braided. It's apparently the Island Nation of Bahama's Number one Export!
Unique Suggestions: Empty your pockets. Cuz it is NOT cheap!
Fun Alternatives: Buy some extensions and get your hair done back on Martin L King Avenue back in your own black neighborhoods and help out the U.S. ECONOMY!
Of course even paradise has it's cons!!! Getting your hair braided is pretty expensive-up to 2$ a braid and in my opinion a tourist trap but hey, alot of girls love it and if it gets you more in the caribbean spirit go for it!!!
My friend got his $800 gucci watch stolen while we were jetskiing and our stuff was "supposed" to be being watched by one of the attendants. First time anything like this happened to me in the bahamas but just watch your personal belongings closely and when possible leave it with someone from your group.
The souviniers are beautiful-try not to go crazy the way we did!
Taxi driver tries to sell you tickets for the disco so you will enter for free (just the $5 ticket) instead of Paying $20 at the door. When you go in you have to pay another $5. NOt a very good disco. We were a group of 10. And did not feel very secure.
Unique Suggestions: Go as a big group.
Fun Alternatives: Stay on the ship if you go by sea.
Our resort publicized a Dinner-Show activity, promising 'The finest Bahamian cuisine' and a fabulous show afterward. The price was $45 per person including transportation. We were picked up by a dirty taxi and taken to a restaurant with an atmosphere reminiscent of Denny's called Becky's. The food wasn't nearly as good as Denny's. After dinner, our taxi wisked us off to The Yellowbird, a nightclub that we suspected was a strip-joint on other nights. We waited almost an hour before the show began, by which time we were muttering, 'Let's just get this night over with. . .' The acts included a couple of sixteen-year-old girls in scimpy outfits (which supported our strip-joint theory), a bad bongo drummer, a scary looking fire-eating girl, a very disturbing man who threw himself onto broken glass and also ate some, showing his bleeding mouth afterward, and a steel drummer, The only decent act was the steel drummer, but he played a little too long and we were squirming to get the h*ll out of there.
Fun Alternatives: We found ourselves saying that we would have had much more fun hanging out at our resort drinking fruity drinks by the pool. Or even just watching TV. Stay away from Becky's and The Yellowbird.
After exiting a cruise ship in Nassau, you must run the gauntlet of souvenir booths. A fella approaches me and holds out his hand as if to shake, as I instinctively raise my hand, he clasped my wrist, and says 'It's free.. a welcome to the Bahamas..' and deftly applies a trinket bracelet to my wrist..
Then leans and whispers 'Marry Wanna??'
I graciously returned his bracelet to him.
Watch for people selling things at the dock. Most things are OK but Our group noticed people selling flutes. They would blow on the and try to sell them. We thought it would be great presents for our Bosses at work.
T-shirts. Ya Mon is found everywhere on the Island. We found a t-shirt place in the market where you could get 3 shirts for $20.00. That was the best deal I found. You have to get away from everyone to get any better deals on suveniers.
These Islands will trap you from wanting to go back home.
The major islands of this small archipelago are Great and Little Abaco, with the off-lying cays of Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Guana Cay, Stranger's Cay, Umbrella Cay and Walker's Cay. Check out these local attractions.
The Abaco Islands are a sailing and boating universe. But in this long necklace of white-sanded islands and often uninhabited cays, there is also plenty to please the non-sailor as well.
These include both water and land activities designed for the visitor who really wants to get involved. You may get wet. You may get tired. But you’ll never get bored participating in these adventure-oriented activities.
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