No trip to the Bahamas is complete without a stop in Nassau, the island country's capital. A day in Nassau is a bounty of beautiful beaches, water adventures, British colonial architecture, fascinating museums, and exotic attractions. Cap the day off with a lunch of conch fritters (the national dish of the Bahamas) washed down with a cold Kalik. Of all the things to do in Nassau, here are a few favorites.
Things to Do in Nassau
The Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis Paradise Island, is a sprawling, 141 acre bevy of water slides, exotic swimming pools and a mile-long river run of racing rapids and four foot high waves. Set amid a lush, tropical environment, Aquaventure is more than 20 million gallons of water fueling an experience that Trip Advisor calls “One of the Top 25 Amusement Parks in the World.”
Take a scenic catamaran ride three miles from Nassau’s harbor to the small, private Blue Lagoon Island. Spend the day with dolphins and sea lions at Dolphin Encounters, explore the hidden lagoon, or kick off your shoes and lounge in a hammock on a powder white beach surrounded by native coconut trees.
The Caribbean is synonymous with rum and Nassau is no exception. The John Watling’s Rum Distillery, within walking distance of the cruise port, is housed in the historic Buena Vista Estate. Constructed in 1789, the property has a long, storied history, including its time as a hotel serving the likes of Bobby Kennedy, Joan Crawford and Ed Sullivan. Tour the estate and taste the rum, or enjoy a famous John Watling's Rum Dum cocktail in the property's Red Turtle Tavern.
Started as a breeding facility for the once-endangered Caribbean flamingo (the national bird of the Bahamas), today the Ardastra Zoo is home to more than 135 animal species, including peacocks, lemurs, iguanas, snakes and more. Visitors get up close and personal with flamingos at the Marching Flamingo Show, and handfeed lorikeet parrots.
In the early 18th century, Nassau was home to more pirates than residents. The town was known as the “Pirate Republic.” The Pirates of Nassau Museum in the city’s historic district takes visitors back to 1700s Nassau, when Blackbeard and “Calico” Jack Rackham roamed the streets. Visitors experience the sights, sounds and smells of a treacherous pirate shantytown.
Clifton Heritage National Park is more than 200 acres of history and natural beauty. Highlights include hiking trails through the forest, white-sand beaches, and historical landmarks. See caves utilized by the Lucayan Indians and the great house and slave quarters of an 18th century plantation. Snorkel the underwater sculpture garden, or manufactured shipwrecks from “Jaws: The Revenge,” and James Bond’s “Thunderball.” Kick back seaside at Flipper Beach, where the television show “Flipper,” was filmed.
Housed in a 1860s “great house,” dubbed Villa Doyle is the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. The museum holds the national collection of the Bahamas, with works representing Bahamian history and culture. Pieces including paintings, sculpture and mixed media reflect everyday life in the Bahamas.