Nassau City Guide
Nassau is the capital city of the Bahamas islands. The Bahamas islands archipelago is made up of a group of 700 islands that extend over 100,000 square miles of ocean. These stunning islands lie fifty miles off the coast of Florida and are known for their year round sunny skies, stunning white sand beaches, cerulean waters and balmy breezes. It is no wonder then, that the Bahamas are considered to be a favored vacation destination.
Nassau is located on the eastern half of the 21-mile-long New Providence Island, which is the 11th largest island in the Bahamian group. The harbor of Nassau is sheltered by another island of the group, Paradise Island for a three mile stretch. This sheltered harbor of Nassau played an important role in its history for it attracted numerous pirates, privateers (wreckers) in the 16th century who used this unique harbor to their advantage. The most famous of these pirates was the notorious, Blackbeard who was ultimately overpowered by the British who declared the Bahamas a crown colony in 1718.
After pirates were tackled, Nassau went on to face the fury of the Spanish who inflicted severe damage on the city on three different occasions. Today, all that turbulent city is behind Nassau and it is renowned for its splendid colonial architecture that beautifully preserved 18th century buildings. The city offers a delightful ambience that features a blend of the old and the new. The city welcomes scores of holidaymakers and cruise passengers year round who come to frolic on its white sand beaches and revel at its posh hotel resorts and glittering casinos.
Where to stay in Nassau
Paradise Island was once known as Hogg Island and extends over 685 acres. It is connected to Nassau by way of two bridges. This island was developed specifically to encourage and popularize tourism to Nassau. It is accordingly equipped with variety of hotels that aim to cater to all travel budgets, restaurants, shops, a golf course, an aquarium and a casino.
Coral Beach is a two and a half mile stretch of pristine beach, which is located a few miles west of Nassau. Coral Beach is a coveted accommodation option in Nassau and is accordingly equipped with several luxury hotel resorts, nightclubs, the Cable Beach Golf Club and the Crystal Palace casino.
Downtown Nassau is located 10 miles away from Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. This pretty, historic area overlooks the main Nassau Harbor and is popular with visitors who like to be based in a somewhat urban setting whilst on vacation. Downtown Nassau hosts the business and financial centers of the city along with various hotels, restaurants and shops. Most of these establishments are located on Bay Street, which is Nassau’s main drag.
Places to see in Nassau
The Royal Victorian Garden
The Royal Victorian Garden once was a part of the Royal Victoria Hotel, built during the American Civil War. This hotel downed its shutters in 1971 and the building was then destroyed by a fire in the coming years. The garden however survived and today it is a prominent attraction in Nassau that features ruins and hosts 300 species of tropical plants.
The Queen’s Terrace
The Queen’s Terrace is one of the most famous architectural sights in Nassau. The staircase consists of a flight of 66 steps that link Fort Fincastle to the Princess Margaret hospital. This staircase was carved from coral based sandstone by slaves at the end of the 18th century to commemorate 65 years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
The small Fort Fincastle was built in 1793 and it overlooks the city of Nassau. This fort functioned as a lighthouse until 1891 after which it was used as a signal tower. Fort Fincastle can be reached by climbing the Queen’s staircase. The tower is Nassau’s highest point. The fort is shaped like a Mississippi paddle-wheel steamer and was built to protect Nassau against invasions.
Houses of Parliament
Nassau’s pink Parliament buildings are a fine exponent of its repository of colonial architecture. These buildings were built between 1806 and 1816 and also encompass a statue of a young, enthroned Queen Victoria, which was installed on May 24 in 1905 to commemorate her birthday. The west building hosts the House of Assembly, which is the oldest governing body in continuous session in the New World while the central building hosts the Senate. The area also hosts six magistrate’s courts.
Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center
If you are on vacation in Nassau with your children, then the Ardastra Gardens, which contain a zoo, should be considered a must-do on your Nassau sight-seeing list. The zoo hosts birds and animals in their natural habitats and offers displays of various species like Bahamian boa constrictors, parrots, lemurs, peacocks, green horned owls, monkeys and more.
Best time to visit Nassau
The weather that prevails over the Bahamas islands is greatly affected by the trade winds that blow continually throughout the islands. Frequent tourists to the Bahamas aver that the best time to visit Nassau and the other Bahamian islands is between the months of September and May when temperatures here register average highs of 70-75°F.
During the winter months, these temperatures dip somewhat and hover around 60°F at night and around about 75°F during the afternoons. The weather in the Bahamas is generally warmer for the rest of the year and features temperatures that range from 80-90°F. The water temperatures in the Bahamas similarly range from 74°F in February to balmy 83°F in August.
These year round warm temperatures indicate that the beautiful isles can be visited at any time of the year. This is useful knowledge to have for Fare Buzz often announces tempting flight deals for Nassau all around the year. In fact if you are on the lookout for cheap air flights to Nassau, you should perhaps connect with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter in order to get advance of cheap air tickets to Nassau and various other destinations.
Getting around in Nassau
Nassau is accessed via its Lynden Pindling International Airport which is located 10 miles (16km) west of Nassau. The Nassau airport is connected to its city center by taxis for the city’s public buses don’t serve the airport.
Nassau’s public transport system is made up of public buses (minibuses called jitneys) and taxis which take the form of minivans. Most visitors to Nassau find its bus system quite complicated and tend to use taxis to get around.
Adventurous tourists often hire a car to get around Nassau. The Nassau airport is equipped with outlets of the major car rental agencies, however if you are in the market for better car rental rates, you would do well as to check with Fare Buzz before you embark on your sojourn to Nassau for we offer a wide range of affordable car rentals for Nassau and various other international and domestic destinations.
Where to shop in Nassau
Nassau isn’t really known for fantastic duty-free shopping options as say St Maarten or St Thomas. Nonetheless this Bahamian city hosts a wide range of shops along its main street known as Bay Street. Located here are several high-end retail and jewelry shops, alongside stores offering affordable finds as well as kitschy souvenirs.
Actually, if you are interested in shopping for souvenirs and mementos on your Nassau holiday, you would be better served, if you concentrated your shopping expeditions on Nassau’s bustling public markets like the Straw Market. The Straw Market is populated by numerous vendors offering typical Bahamian souvenirs like straw baskets, seashell jewelry, colorful Junkanoo masks, batik clothing, colorful paintings, blown glass items and more. Like in most native markets, bargaining is an accepted norm at Nassau’s Straw Market
The Bahamas Craft Centre located within the super luxurious Atlantis resort also carries similar products, though prices here are naturally much higher than at the Straw Market. Yet another popular site for souvenir-shopping in Nassau is Festival Place at Prince George Dock. Festival Place offers authentic Bahamian souvenirs crafted by local artisans at prices, which are similar to those at the Bahamas Craft Centre. Other shopping locales worth perusing in Nassau include the Marina Village, a collection of 21 designer retail stores and the Shops at Crystal Court, both shopping complexes located at the Atlantis resort. These outdoor enclaves offer ample opportunities for luxe shopping in Nassau.
Where to eat in Nassau
Nassau is home to a rich mix of cultures and culinary interests. The city’s many dining spots offer a wide array of food choices ranging from fresh seafood preparations at small shacks to a variety of international eats at the city’s many diverse restaurants. Indian, Italian, American, Chinese, Nassau’s many restaurants offer varied cuisines as they aim to showcase the European, African and Caribbean heritage of the island.
Acclaimed restaurants in Nassau currently include eateries like Fish Fry (local Bahamian fare), Nobu (Japanese), Graycliff Restaurant (American fare), Bahamian Club (a steakhouse), Seafire Steakhouse, Humidor Churascaria (Brazilian food), Dune (Fusion eats), Neli’s Deli, Le Petit Gourmet Deli, Le Gourmet Market deli, Café Martique (French food) Café Matisse and Luciano’s of Chicago (both offering Italian cuisine).
Nightlife in Nassau
Most visitors to Nassau head to its several glittering casinos for their dose of nocturnal fun. The Crystal Palace Casino, the Atlantis Casino and the Sheraton Beach Resort are hot favorites with the traveling hordes. However, do not despair if gambling at the tables and slot machines are not your thing, for Nassau offers various other avenues for night time entertainment like bars, pubs, dance clubs and more.
Favored haunts currently include thumping spots like Club Luna, Sea Glass, Bambu, 22 Above, Aura Nightclub, Senor Frogs, Dragons, Club Waterloo and Hammerheads Bar and Grill.