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Nassau is the largest city and one of the most popular destinations in the Bahamas. Whether you are stopping over during a cruise or decide to spend a couple of weeks on the island, you are going to love the mix of historic architecture and modern restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses.
New Providence Island has a very interesting history as a pirate's den. Nassau was originally founded as a Spanish colony before being burnt down and rebuilt by the British. Delve into the island's past as you visit some of the old forts and take in the colonial architecture.
There are plenty of things to do in Nassau, including shopping on Bay Street, relaxing on Cable Beach, or visiting the luxurious Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island. You can also explore the more rural parts of New Providence Island to discover the wildlife and landscapes.
Many pirates used Nassau as a base due to its proximity to the main trade routes. You can learn more about this aspect of the island's history by visiting the Pirates of Nassau Museum or by taking a tour of Fort Fincastle, Fort Charlotte, and Fort Montagu.
You can explore the downtown area and see some of the old colonial buildings by taking a tour in a horse-drawn carriage. There are many historic buildings with pink facades in the hills behind the downtown area, including the Parliament building.
Paradise Island is a small island just across from Nassau. This is where you will find Atlantis Resort, its water park, restaurants, aquarium, and casino.
Cable Beach and the Western Esplanade Beach look like gorgeous Caribbean landscapes you see on postcards. Head to Cable Beach to have a drink at a beach bar, shop for T-shirts, or choose a more secluded beach.
You can swim with dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island and see unique animals at the Ardastra Gardens. If you enjoy birdwatching, the Caribbean Birding Trail will be an amazing experience.
The climate in Nassau is subtropical and is warm all year round but the nights can feel cold during the winter. You will run into crowds if you visit the island between mid-December and mid-April. Traveling to Nassau between April and May or between September and December is ideal if you want to avoid crowds.
The Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) is 10 miles away from downtown Nassau. You can easily drive from the airport to the downtown area by taking John F. Kennedy Drive. There are shuttles between the airport and all the main hotels and resorts. A shuttle between the airport and the downtown area typically costs B$30 and a shuttle to Cable Beach should cost B$18. Taxis are also available and should cost about the same as shuttles. The cheapest way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort is to take a minivan or jitney for B$3.
You can reach Nassau from Paradise Island by taking the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge. If you come from the west of the island, follow West Bay Street until you get to Nassau. Taking a taxi from Paradise Island to downtown Nassau should cost B$20 and taxi fare between Cable Beach and downtown should cost B$25.
Staying at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island is an ideal choice for an all-inclusive luxurious experience. You will find more affordable options in Nassau itself. Consider the Quality Inn Nassau Bahamas or the Breezes Resort Bahamas located just west of Nassau. If you want to be near the beach, the British Colonial Hilton Nassau, and the El Greco Hotel are great choices.
Bay Street - Bay Street is a busy street that runs along the coastline. You will find many jewelry shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars.
Downtown - the downtown area is where you will find most of the tourist attractions, including the Parliament building and the statue of Queen Victoria. Take a stroll through the downtown area to admire the brightly painted facades and the colonial architecture.
Paradise Island - this small island is located north of Nassau. You will find the luxurious Atlantis resort, a casino, a mall, a golf course, a marina, and a lagoon.
There are several minibuses, also known as jitneys, that will take you around Nassau. Head to Bay Street or Charlotte Street to find a jitney. Fares are typically B$1.25 but can cost up to B$3 if you head to a different zone.
Taxis are a convenient way to get around Nassau, especially at night since jitneys typically stop operating between 6 and 7 pm. A lot of taxis are actually minivans that you have to share with other passengers. Agree on the fare in advance. The fare between downtown and Cable Beach should cost B$15 and between Paradise Island and downtown should be B$11. You can also take a water taxi to Paradise Island for B$6.
You can rent a car for B$50 a day. There is an Avis, Budget, Thrifty, and Hertz at the airport. Driving in the downtown area is not ideal but renting a car is a great way to discover the rest of the island.
Head to the Straw Market on Bay Street to haggle for souvenirs and traditional clothes. Potter's Cay, a market located under the bridge to Paradise Island that is a great place to try street food or shop for crafts and souvenirs. You will also find many duty free stores inside hotels, on Bay Street, and on Paradise Island.
There are several grocery stores around Nassau, including Bayside Food Store on Bay Street, Centreville Food Store in the downtown area, and several Super Value locations around Nassau. Expect to pay B$2.15 for a quart of milk, B$3.90 for a dozen eggs, and B$3.50 for a loaf of bread.
Bay Street is the best place to find restaurants, bars, and cafes but you can have a more authentic experience if you stop at one of the small hole-in-the-wall cafes in the downtown area. Potter's Cay is the best place to try conch fritters, conch salad, and other traditional Caribbean street foods. Make sure you try seafood at an upscale place like Cafe Mattisse or Graycliff Restaurant. The Shoal Restaurant and Lounge also has excellent seafood and desserts and is more affordable. You can also enjoy seafood and drinks at the Tiki Bikini Hut or at the Bearded Clams Sports Bar. An upscale meal can cost B$50 or more but you should be able to eat traditional Caribbean fare for B$10 to B$20 if you choose a more affordable restaurant.