Whether you get there by cruise ship or plane, the capital of the Bahamas has plenty to offer for all interests and ages. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Nassau.
1. The Food
I honestly don’t think enough attention is paid to local food and drinks found in the Bahamas. Drawing heavily on the sea, island food is quick, fresh and delicious. Two favorites of mine are conch fritters washed down with a Goombay Smash. I enjoyed them several times during my brief stay in the islands and couldn’t get enough of them. While fried, conch fritters they are also light and when served with the right sauce, make for an amazing appetizer. What I liked best is that they didn’t taste like seafood, which means that they tasted good. The Smash is the local cocktail and is the perfect drink to enjoy on a sunny day in the Bahamas. Made with island rum along with pineapple and orange juice, it’s a great match for those yummy fritters.
2. Spend the day at Atlantis
While it’s not for everyone, plan to spend at least one day at the mega-resort Atlantis. Designed with active travelers in mind, the waterpark and associated offerings on the property are easily the best activity for the whole family. If you’re into nightclubs, then plan to spend your evenings at Atlantis as well. The Vegas inspired Aura nightclub is where all the beautiful people go to be seen, and the music thumps well into the night.
3. Straw Market
The most popular attraction in Nassau, the Straw Market is adjacent to the cruise port making it the first stop for many visitors. Originally a simple market to serve the islands’ important straw crafts industry, today it is the best place to shop for souvenirs to take back home and share with friends. While the crowds can sometimes be daunting, be prepared to jump in the middle of the action and start haggling for the best prices. Don’t be rude though, it’s best not to low ball the vendors, instead offer a lower price that is fair to them and to you.
4. Leave Nassau
If you’re in town for a few days, then make sure to spend one of them out of town. Charter a boat for the day and go explore the small islands and prime snorkeling spots near town. The best full day activity is to spend the morning diving or snorkeling in the sparkling blue waters of the Bahamas before taking the boat to Rose Island. This small island is like a little private paradise, but with it’s own bar and grill. Spend the afternoon snacking on great food, drinking refreshing beverages and lounging on the beach.
5. Visit the historic Graycliff Hotel
The massive Graycliff Hotel started life as the private mansion of a notorious pirate who made the Bahamas his home and base of activities. Located close to the old port, the five-star hotel today is home to a different kind of loot – amazing food and fine wines. To get out of the tourist sector and eat something that isn’t fried, be sure to book a table at this fine-dining establishment. Also make sure to try their special cigars, all hand rolled on-site. If you’re staying in Nassau for a few days, consider spending the night at this unusual hotel where service and history reigns king.