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Long Weekend in Nassau

18 Mar 2007  recent vacation
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 7 votes

Make the most of a few days in the Bahamas

  • 1. Nassau
    Nassau, New Providence Island

    Stay at Cable Beach - it's out of town, away from the noise and cruise ship madness, right on the ocean, but convenient to Nassau and Paradise Island.

  • 2. Take a morning swim

    All the hotels on Cable Beach have ocean and pool swimming. Eat some fruit and feel the sand between your toes.

  • 3. Jitney

    Take the jitney into Nassau. These little buses come by about every ten minutes. There are stops all along West Bay Street. (Ask your concierge where the nearest one is.) It costs $1 US (pay as you leave.)

  • 4. Lunch

    Stop in at Conch Fritters, across from the British Colonial Hilton. Reasonably priced Bahamian food, wide beer selection, and a friendly vibe.

  • 5. Pirate Museum

    Just down the street is the Pirate Museum of Nassau. Is this a kid oriented tourist trap? Yes. Is it worth $12 for an adult? Yes. Surprisingly educational, with a convincing walk through ship's hold, and the costumed guides are jovial and irreverent. Be sure to stop by the Pirates Pub after for a hearty rum punch. Aarrgh!

  • 6. Straw Market

    Not much made of straw, mainly knock offs of the upscale brands you can buy legitimately a few blocks away, and definitely a mecca for the cruise ship crowd, but fun to wander through. Some interesting wood carvings. Walk around Prince George dock and gape at the mega liners. Avoid the sidewalk time share hucksters. If you are at least 60 " tall, you can drink at Senor Frog's.

  • 7. Fish Fry

    Walk along Lighthouse Beach (or take a jitney) to Arawak Cay, known locally as the Fish Fry. Lots of little food operations serving simple, fresh from the ocean seafood meals. And it's cheap (really - almost everything is under $10!) Walk around - study the menus on blackboards in front. Have a $1.99 beer (try Kalik - the local brew) choose a place, and definitely have some conch! Take a cab back to Cable Beach.

  • 8. Day 2 - Paradise Island

    Take the jitney into Nassau, get off at the Colonial Hilton and walk to the end of Prince George Wharf to get a water taxi to Paradise Island. Round trip is $6, but be prepared to tip your 'guide' (unpaid volunteers working for tips, but frequently amusing.) In fact, stuff your pocket with $1 bills - it seems to be the universal tip, and there will be plenty of times when it's handy to be able to 'lay dollar on da man.' The water taxi trip from Nassau to Paradise island takes about twenty minutes, and while listening to your 'guide' tell you about the James Bond movies filmed nearby, you can look at the activity in the harbor, and watch the skyline of Atlantis rise above the palms.

  • 9. The Atlantis Aquarium
    Marine Habitat at Atlantis, Paradise Island, New Providence Island

    The water taxi docks near the Marina Village section of the Atlantis complex. Stroll through this boutiquey enclave, admire the yachts, pick up some helpful maps at the information kiosk and head for Atlantis. Impossible to miss: massive pink towers looming above you.... Enter through the casino and buy a $29 pass (they'll give you a wrist ring) for the 'Dig." This allows you to visit the 'ruins' of the lost civilization of Atlantis while seeing a world class aquarium. Every multi hued fish you can imagine, along with gigantic manta rays (and a huge sawfish lurking near the bottom) swim past the submerged idols and artifacts of the sunken realm. When you emerge from the underground labyrinth (conveniently adjacent to the gift shop) you're only halfway through. Walk around the perimeter of the Paradise Lagoon until you reach the aptly named Paradise Lagoon Bar and Grill. Go downstairs and enter the Predator Tunnel. Watch huge barracuda and sharks swim around, beside and above as you walk through the plexi glass tunnel that plunges through the middle of the marine habitat. Then go back and have a drink at the Lagoon pavilion, people watch and try to figure out the Atlantean zodiac painted under the domed roof.

  • 10. Romantic Ruins

    A mile or so away is the Cloister and Versailles Gardens (right across from the Ocean Club.) It's walkable from Atlantis, or you could take a cab. The cloister is one of those brought from Europe in pieces and reassembled here examples of medieval architecture. It has a tangled history. Versailles Garden is very picturesque. This was the location of a thrilling scene in Robin Cook's bestseller Seizure.

  • 11. Bahamian dinner

    Take the water taxi back to Nassau (be prepared to tip your 'guide.') Ride the jitney back to Cable Beach. In front of the Nassau Beach Hotel is Johnny Canoes's. If you happen to be there at 8:00 PM on Friday night, you'll get to see their Junkanoo Rushout - a crazy parade of people in gaudy costumes, with trumpets and drums weaving their way through the restaurant. On weekends, you'll want to eat on the terrace and enjoy island sounds from their live band. Bahamian food is their specialty, but be forewarned - it's Bahamian seasoned (read HOT!)

  • 12. Day 3

    Really get away from it all! There are many excursions available. We definitely enjoyed the Robinson Crusoe Cruise offered by Majestic. A bus picked us up at our hotel and took us to the dock on Paradise Island. From there we journeyed on the Majestic Lady, accompanied by steel drum music, to Rose Island for a day of swimming, snorkeling (equipment provided) a sumptuous picnic lunch (chicken, pork ribs, hot dogs, garden salad, rolls, pasta salad, and the inevitable rice and peas) free wine, and the opportunity to pose for the 'photo shoots' their photographer/tour host sets up. (He's good - i.e. he makes YOU look good. Of course multiple prints are available at the dock when you get back. You may well want to buy some - he DOES make you lok good.) The boat leaves around 3:30 and they advise you not to miss it or you will experience a true Robinson Crusoe adventure (the boat doesn't return until the next week.) Smooth sounds on the way back, a fun day in the sun, well worth doing.

  • 13. Low key dinner

    Get some take away food, a few beers or a bottle of wine, and have a quiet dinner in your room. Then go out and walk on the beach in the moonlight. You might even see fireworks.