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Nassau, Bahamas is on the the Island of New Providence. Nassau is the capital, the largest city, and the commercial center of The Bahamas.
My husband and I chose to visit Nassau for our 10th anniversary. We were there in January 2011.
The first thing I noticed was the crystal clear, turquoise water of the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic does not look like that at home!
The strangest thing I noticed was the lack of addresses. Looking up hotels or restaurants or anything, no one has an address, just a street name and sometimes a landmark note.
It's also hard to figure out where the city of Nassau begins and ends.
Something else to get used to there was island time. Not it's time zone, but how slow the pace is. Waiting for a cab or for restaurant service, you have to just go with the flow.
Map of the Bahamas
Where to Stay
Compass Point is a boutique hotel right on the Atlantic Ocean. it's about a 10 minute drive from Nassau International Airport. This small resort includes 18 brightly colored huts, restaurant and bar, freshwater pool, hot tub, beach access, and a spa all conntected by cobblestone walkways.
Each private hut includes a bathroom, kitchenette, and it's own patio, balcony or porch facing the ocean.
You'll find room rates and types at compasspointbeachresort.com.
We stayed in a Sea View Studio Hut. It was the perfect size and just what we were hoping for. The bed was comfortable, the shower was great, and it had everything we needed.
The restaurant is also nice. There's both indoor and outdoor, ocean side seating. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Poolside and room service is also available.
We really loved it there. I'd strongly recommend it for couples. Families might want to choose larger accommodations.
Photos: Around Compass Point
Photos: Our Studio Hut
Other Suggested Accommodations
If sleeping in a wooden hut away from all the hustle and bustle is not your style that's ok too. There are excellent accommodations a bridge away on Paradise Island.
If money were no object I'd most definitely stay at One&Only Ocean Club at least once. When I was asking friends for travel advice for our Bahamas trip this was one hotel that came up. The grounds look amazing and the rooms are elegant.
And, I can't leave out Atlantis. You can spend an entire vacation at Atlantis and never leave the property. Swim with dolphins, splash at the water park, take a risk at the casino, or eat at any of the 21 restaurants, bars and lounges. Just about anything you can think of is here.
If you have a favorite place to stay on New Providence or Paradise Island be sure to post it in the Guestbook near the bottom of the page!
Map of New Providence Island
You can rent a car or scooter, but if driving on the left side of the road makes you nervous I'd advise against it. Traffic can get pretty heavy, there are a lot of rotaries, and locals use their horns as communication. LOL
There are jitney buses that can take you to and from downtown Nassau. I think they are something you need to get used to. It doesn't seem very organized (no maps, no times, not many designated stops) so we didn't attempt it on our trip. You can flag them down and hop on board. The street names of their routes are painted on the sides. Fares are really inexpensive ($1.25 per person, per ride) so if you can figure it out this is the way to go. Keep in mind that they stop running somewhere between 6:00 and 7:00 pm.
We chose to take a cab to places that were too far to walk. The front desk at our hotel would call for one whenever we needed it. Larger hotels have cabs waiting at the entrance. It was always easy enough to find a cab back to the hotel at night. They do not use meters, and fares will vary. We paid from $27 - $32 to get from the Love Beach area on the western end of the island to downtown Nassau. Be prepared to see drivers on either the left or right side of the car!
Fort Charlotte, the largest of three forts found in Nassau, was built in 1789. The site includes a water-less moat, draw-bridge, ramparts and passages to underground dungeons. There are guides offering tours Monday through Sunday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. After the short tour you can wander around on your own.
You might find sites saying it's free, but when we went (Jan. 2011) there was a $5 fee per person.
Photos: Fort Charlotte
Watch the marching Flamingos, hand-feed Lory Parrots, talk to the Capuchin Monkeys, and more at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center.
Ardastra Gardens is open 7 days a week. It's open from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm, but get there before they close the gate at 4:15.
When we were there adult tickets cost $15.
According to their website, Ardastra dedicates time, expertise and resources to promote conservation and actively works with programs to ensure the survival of many endangered species.
Photos: Ardastra Gardens
Edys Ice Cream on Bay Street
We also spent quite a bit of time walking around Bay Street near Prince George Wharf. There's a variety of shops and restaurants. Our favorite treat was at the Ice Cream Parlor on the corner of George Street. We split a Rum Cake Sundae two days in a row. Once with Coconut icecream and the second time with Rum Raisin. So good! :)
Bahamas Segway and Beach Experience
One thing we would have liked to try was the Bahamas Segway and Beach Experience. The weather on our last day was overcast and rain was expected so we didn't take the chance. If we go back I think we'd plan to take this tour. We've both gotten a chance to ride a Segway before and this looks like fun!
Each person on the tour rides their own X2 off-road Segway. A tour guide takes you through trails along lakes and canals, teaches you about local wildlife, and brings you to a private beach to relax for a bit. All tours run approximately 3 hours including transportation to and from their site. It includes a 30 minute Nassau city tour, a 6 mile trail ride, and 30 minutes at the beach. The cost is $65 per person.
Stuart Cove's Sub-Bahamas
It's more than we'd want to spend, but this has to be the coolest experience in Nassau. Stuart Cove's Sub-Bahamas is an underwater adventure in your own personal, seahorse shaped, submarine. You don't need to have scuba or snorkeling experience. Explore the coral reef 15 feet below the waters surface. The cost is $119 per person.
Stuart Cove also offers snorkeling and scuba diving lessons and trips.
Average Nassau Temps
This is the only DVD authorized by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
Itineraries, walking tours, and trip-planning ideas.
Find Out More
- The Bahamas | Explore The Islands Of The Bahamas
The official tourism site of the Islands of the Bahamas.
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