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Nassau is one of the biggest cruise ports in the Caribbean. There's lots to see and do in Nassau; your only job is to find your little bit of heaven in this great cruise port.

Nassau's rich history is really the history of the Bahamas. In 1973 the islands gained their independence from England, although they remained a part of the British Commonwealth.New Providence Island, just one of the 700 islands that comprise the Bahamas, is home to Nassau, the Bahamian nation’s capital. Located a mere 185 miles southeast of Miami, the scenery is very similar to mainland Florida, flat with not much diversity. Victorian mansions, 18th century fortresses, pink and white Parliament buildings, and uniformed “bobbies” all provide a British colonial charm to this 21 X 7 mile island. Add the expanse of wonderful beaches and duty-free shopping, Nassau provides a taste of the tropics. Cable Beach lined with first-class resorts, casinos and all-inclusives is seven miles from downtown. A toll bridge in the center of town connects Nassau to Paradise Island. What was once known as Hog Island, Paradise Island has been transformed into a chic, up-scale resort area with the sprawling, spectacular Atlantis Resort as its focal point.

Nassau/Paradise Island as the cultural, social, political and economic centre of The Bahamas, it is the most visited destination in the islands. Nassau/Paradise Island has much to offer visitors. There are more sights and activities here than you can experience in one trip. Pristine beaches, duty-free shopping, posh resorts, dazzling casinos, exciting attractions, historical landmarks and water and land sports of every kind are all waiting for you. And they’re all just a "stone’s throw" away from each other. Nassau & Paradise Island are two separate islands connected by two bridges. Nassau, being capital city of The Islands Of The Bahamas, is on the northeast shore of the island of New Providence. The small Paradise Island is across the bridge from Nassau.
Nassau is the most popular port in the Caribbean; cruise ships making the 2 or 3, - and 7-day cruises to the Bahamas from Florida ports as well as from Charleston, Baltimore and New York regularly make port in the city. As a general rule, passengers will be in port for between 8 and 10 hours In 2015, Nassau is slated to host 3,002,000 passengers sailing on 1,089 ships, down 5% and 5%, respectively, from 2014.
Where You are Dock
Cruise ships dock at the Prince George Wharf, which is adjacent to downtown Nassau. The Wharf can accommodate up to 7 ships at the same time--Nassau is a very popular and busy cruise port. As you make your way from your ship to town, you'll pass through the Festival Place Welcome Center, a building that houses a number of services for travelers. It's a short and easy walk from your ship into the bustling downtown area.
Once you leave the pier, you will walk directly into Rawson Square, which is the center of town. Metered taxis are readily available, but most charge a flat fee to popular destinations. The 5 minute taxi ride to Atlantis on Paradise Island will cost $2-3 per person.
If you're taking an excursion that begins by bus or van, your vehicle will pick you up at the water fountain to the left as you exit the Welcome Center.
Getting Around
Renting a Car: There are a handful of car-rental companies, such as Dollar, Avis, Thrifty and Budget at Prince George Wharf, as well as on Paradise Island and at the airport. But, they're pretty expensive, ranging in price from $55 to $110 for the day. There's also that pesky left-side-of-the-road driving to deal with.
Taxis are plentiful and can be hailed everywhere, be it right by your ship or at all the hotels and restaurants. Count on sharing the taxi with other tourists and locals. Fares should be established before getting in a taxi, as meters aren't run. Check in advance for the estimated price for where you want to go. Typical fares to Paradise Island are $4 per person, plus a 15 percent gratuity. Expect about a $15 fare to Cable Beach. A taxi tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the island -- with your driver serving as something of a local guide -- but expect to pay more. These types of fares are negotiable.
By Bus: The jitney buses run every few minutes between the downtown area to Cable Beach from about 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fares vary (though they're generally about $1.25 per person, each way, $1 for small children), depending on the route. Exact change is required. Jitneys do not go over the Paradise Island bridge.
By Horse-Drawn Surrey: These can be found around Rawson Square and sometimes along Bay Street. They run about $15 per person for 25 minutes, but the price is usually negotiable. Note: From May to October, the horses rest from the sun from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Walking. The downtown area of Nassau isn't so large that you'll get lost. Just remember to look both ways before crossing a street. The Straw Market is 3 short blocks west from Rawson Square. If you're energetic, you can take a walk to the Queen's Staircase, Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the town. From Parliament Square head east down Bay Street for 2 blocks to Elizabeth Street, then head inland for 3 blocks, where you'll find the Queen's Staircase. It's steep, and its 66 steps can seem daunting. Once at the top, you'll see the (ugly) Water Tower and Fort Fincastle.
By Water Taxi: located at the pier, also provides transportation to Paradise Island for about the same price.The Nassau Water Taxi departs every 30 minutes from behind the Festival Market to Paradise Island, operating daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The roundtrip cost is $8, or $4 each way. Notes: Though the trip takes just 10 minutes, the water taxi may not depart on time. Because the operators tend to give you a bit of a "tour" along the way, expect to be approached for a gratuity.
This can be an enjoyable alternative to a cab ride, but be aware that the ride takes about 15 minutes and the ferry does not leave the dock until it has a full passenger load (I mean packed!). On my last visit there was a jerk named "Bobbi" who yelled at the top of his lungs that he was a tour guide and then proceeded to point out a couple of houses along the way that may have belonged to movie/rock stars. He was obnoxious and crude, not to mention insulting. He ended his diatribe with the explanation that he didn't work for the ferry, but made his income from tips. He threatened to confront every passenger one-on-one to pay for his services and then did so.

It was hard for me to believe that some people actually fell for this sort of shake-down. Folks, the guy works for the boat and he is using you to increase the revenue from the water taxi ride. Unless you enjoy being ripped off, don't pay him and when he presents his hat, let him know you don't appreciate his cheap scam. If others pay, let them know that they are just prolonging the pain for subsequent visitors. Give your money to someone more deserving on the island, rather than being ripped off if you feel the need to contribute. It is embarrassing to me that this kind of scam can exist.
Nassau is a port about which visitors have a definite opinion--they either like it or hate it. Prices are generally higher than in the US, and most people who dislike the place say that there's an interesting casino, and its various attractions--the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island--and nothing else that tickles their fancy. We're of the opinion that there's always something interesting to see and do no matter where you go, and that's especially true of Nassau. Beaches, shopping, food, snorkeling and exploring the cultural draws of the island make Nassau a fun place to visit, no matter how jaded you may be.
When it's busy with cruise ships in Nassau, it's really busy; seven ships can dock at the same time, meaning that there's 15,000 to 20,000 cruise passengers roaming the streets all at once, heading for the outlying islands and crowding the restaurants and shops (along Bay Street) of the city. The merchants in the Straw Market sit back and smile, the taxi drivers appreciate their good luck, and the roulette wheels at the Atlantis Casino spin with extra fervor.
When you're visiting Nassau, it's important to get into the spirit of the place. Bahamian food can be very interesting, there are some beautiful reefs to explore, and to an extent, like Las Vegas, what happens in Nassau stays in Nassau. After all, you'll be heading out to an Out Island in short order, so enjoy the place for what it is.
Cruise Passengers must pass through Festival Place to exit the port facility, and it's one of the more impressive we've seen in any port of call. Counters are staffed by tourism folks, who will provide maps and answer questions, as well as by companies that offer boat trips, over-land tours and taxi services. There's also a small Internet cafe. Beyond that is a small, but colorful, shopping mall that specializes in artisan boutiques. A steel-pan band offers a musical welcome, and a food court features stalls that sell local conch.
Things to See and Do
Pulling into Prince George Wharf you cannot miss the sight of Atlantis, on Paradise Island. DIGS aquarium pass is $39 and includes certain sections of the grounds, but not the beach or aquapark. No pool, slide or water access.The Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is the only resort in the Caribbean that is a destination unto itself (Book Now), and millions of visitors to Nassau (many of them day-trippers from cruise ships) take a quick taxi or water-shuttle ride to experience the resort's casinos and restaurants.
However, while throwing down some cash on the craps tables or roulette wheel may satisfy some visitors, others -- especially families -- are drawn across the Paradise Island bridge by the Atlantis' aquatic allure, specifically the resort's spectacular "lost world" themed water park, dolphin encounter program, beaches, and the underground mysteries of The Dig, a walk-though exploration of the Lost City of Atlantis.
Given the hordes of visitors to the Atlantis on a daily basis, it's not surprising that the resort limits access to some of these attractions -- notably the Aquaventure pool and water park area -- in order to preserve the experience for hotel guests. However, that does not mean that day-trippers can't visit the Atlantis attractions, including Aquaventure; you'll just have to pay a bit for the privilege:
If you'd rather just spend the day as a guest at the showy, 34-acre Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, consider purchasing a hard-to-come-by day pass, which gets you access to most of the must-see sights at the resort, such as the Dig, the marine habitats and their beach. What you won't get is the fun stuff around the pools and waterslides. You'll see a kiosk selling the passes by the cruise terminal -- or you can try to purchase one at the resort.
One of many scenic spots with a history on the island is the balcony of 18th century Balcony House, which also happens to be Nassau's oldest wooden structure. Step inside this island landmark to see the mahogany staircase, said to have been salvaged from a shipwreck in the mid-1800s. (Trinity Place at Market Street; open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays)
For dolphin encounters of the bottlenose kind and seven stunning beaches, head for Blue Lagoon Island (aka Salt Cay). If it looks a bit familiar, you saw it in the film Splash. (The beach scenes were filmed there.) There are plenty of water sports to try and hammocks in which to idle, but for all things dolphin, make sure you plan ahead. You'll find plenty of amenities, such as showers and changing rooms, too. Catch the ferry from the cruise terminal.
The Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island:
One of the most popular attractions. The most well known of resorts and casinos in the Bahamas. Complete with a waterslide that sends guests through the shark aquarium!
Dolphin Cay at Atlantis: Day visitor can swim and play with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at this state-of-the-art, 14-acre habitat. Prices vary by season and can be purchased at Dolphin Cay/Atlantis Adventures Sales Counters.
Discover Atlantis Tour: This tour is the best-known to day-trippers, in part because it is sold as an excursion on cruise ships. Expert "Navigators" guide visitors through the ancient city streets of Atlantis during a visit to "The Dig," a faux-but-believable archaeological exploration of an 11,000-year-old lost continent. The attraction is full of interesting artifacts and hieroglyphics, along with great water effects and glimpses of exotic sea life, including piranha, moon jellyfish, venomous lionfish, and a resident manta ray.

A Discover Atlantis Tour wristband allows visitors to explore The Dig and its exhibits as well as the Ruins, Predator and Water’s Edge Lagoons -- but not the waterpark. Wristbands can be purchased at the Temple of the Moon in the Atlantis casino or at any Discover Atlantis Sales Centers located throughout the property. Cost is $45 for adults, $30 for children ages 4-12.

Atlantis Beach Day The Atlantis Beach Day program that provides all-day access to the exclusive white sandy beaches of the Atlantis resort, with lounge chairs and towels provided. Also includes access to the marine habitats and lunch at an outside venue. Price is $69 for adults, $40 children 4-12. Beach Day tickets may be purchased at any Discover Atlantis Sales Centers located throughout the property.

Atlantis Aquaventure Package: For $139 adults or $80 for children, day-trippers can purchase an Atlantis Aqaventure package that provides all day access to pools, beaches and Aquaventure, a 141-acre waterscape containing over 20 million gallons of water with water slides, a mile-long river ride with high intensity rapids and wave surges, and more. Aquaventure wristbands can be purchased at any Discover Atlantis Sales Centers located throughout the property. Children under age 3 are free.
All offerings are subject to availability and have seasonal limitations. Tickets can be purchased at the Atlantis resort front desk. More information is available from the Nassau Paradise Island Tourist Board.
Bahamas Day Passes
World Travel Holdings also sells day passes to Aquaventure, Atlantis Dolphin Cay, and the iconic British Colonial Hilton, all available at http://www.bahamasdaypass.com/.  These passes are marketed primarily to cruise visitors but can be a good add-on for anyone visiting Nassau.
The Aquaventure pass ($135 low season/$150 high season) includes admission to Aquaventure and The Dig, lounge chairs, and towels.

Dolphin Cay experiences include a shallow-water interaction with dolphins ($135 low season, $150 high season) and a deep-water interaction for $204 per person.
The $60 British Colonial Hilton pass includes all-day access to the resort's pristine private beach and pool; snorkeling and kayaking; lounge chairs and towels; and a $40 food and beverage credit.
Atlantis Water Slide
(Note: The slide continues underneath the water in an underwater
tube surrounded by sharks, rays and fish)
Although only hotel guests can actually use the pools, water-slides, etc. strolling the grounds, visiting the casino, spending time at the beach, or taking a tour of “The Dig”, to explore the underground aquariums and archaeological dig that reveals what life might have been like on the lost continent can be enjoyed by everyone.
A Water Fall at Atlantis Resort
The Ticket Booth in the Atlantis Casino. You can purchase tickets for the aquarium and “The Dig” at the hotel's ticket booth in the casino. Look for the structure pictured above.
Atlantis' Lagoon Beach
Note that the tickets are a whopping $29.00 per person and you are only allowed to visit the grounds of Atlantis. If you have children with you, they will want to ride the slides, float the river, swim in the pools, navigate the lagoons in boats and generally have as much fun as the kids staying at the hotel with those privileges. The entire outing might turn into a disaster. I would advise passing on visiting Atlantis and waiting until you got somewhere near a Sea World to expose your kids to the ocean's life. Just my opinion, however.
Atlantis Shopping Mall
The Atlantis does offer some world-class shopping for those that are looking for designer clothes and other fine items. Simply enter the Atlantis Resort and look for the shopping mall.
The Atlantis Marina
Of course, one of the world's most amazing resorts would have to have a marina to accommodate their clients with yachts and Atlantis is no exception. Take a few moments to stroll the marina to see some incredible yachts and weatth.
Pirates of Nassau
Kids love the Pirates of Nassau, an interactive museum filled with pirate stuff. They can walk through a 75-foot, three-masted pirate ship, too. (Marlborough Street; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to noon Sunday; tours are scheduled every half-hour)
The Paradise Island Ferry Terminal
Catch one of the scheduled ferries from the Paradise Island Marina/Ferry Terminal to Blue Lagoon Island to enjoy one of the 7 marvelous beaches. Here you can swim with the dolphins, snorkel with stingray, parasail, kayak, enjoy a luncheon buffet, or lounge in a hammock. The island also has a children’s playground and changing facilities. If you are interested in swimming with the dolphins or snorkeling with the stingrays, reservations should be made before you leave home, or take the ship’s excursions. These activities are very popular and space is usually sold out in advance. Find a spot on Cable Beach, Paradise Beach, or Cabbage Beach and people-watch as you soak up the sun. Jet ski rental and parasailing are available on all these beaches.
With 52 free and natural beaches around Nassau, you don't have to pay to sunbathe in Atlantis. Junkanoo Beach is the closest to the cruise terminal.
Best for Active Types: Visit Paradise Island, where you can find all manner of water-sports rentals and eateries. Some say the most beautiful spot there is Cabbage Beach, on the north shore. Another good choice, closer to downtown, is Cable Beach, with all the usual beach amenities and dazzling resorts along baby-powder-soft sand. For great snorkeling, try Love Beach near Gambier Village, about 12 miles west of downtown Nassau, but be advised: Love Beach is the only officially designated nude beach on the island.
Best for Peace and Quiet: South Ocean Beach, close to Adelaide Village, is where it's at if you want an option that's a bit less-visited. Caves Beach in Rock Point (close to the airport turnoff on Blake Road) is another good out-of-the-way choice. The name is derived from the bat caves located directly across the street.
Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island -- these popular beaches can get very crowded, but if you wander to the northwest end of Cabbage Beach it is a bit quieter.To find the entrance to Cabbage Beach, simply continue walking along the main road from the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal away from the Atlantis Resort until you pass the last hotel (the Riu) and then walk up the cleared area where you see the sign pictured above. In short order, you will be delivered to Cabbage Beach and a wonderful day in the sun.

One of  favorite activities is a catamaran trip to Rose Island for some excellent snorkeling. There are numerous catamaran operators located at the ferry terminal on Paradise Island that offer snorkeling trips or sunset excursions. A walking tour of Nassau will provide the opportunity to visit Fort Charlotte complete with moat, dungeons and a view of the harbor, and then take the 66 steps of the unique Queen’s Staircase to Bennett’s Hill and Fort Fincastle. Admire the Georgian and neo-Georgian architecture of the government buildings in Parliament Square, either on your walking tour, or by a horse-drawn carriage ride. Visit the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo, just outside the downtown area. A trip to this 5 acre botanical garden is worth it just to see the 50 trained marching flamingos that “obey” drill commands. If you still have energy left, Nassau has a colorful nightlife. You can get information on all these activities, as well as great maps, at the tourist office in Rawson Square.

Fort Fincastle:
From atop this 126 foot fort you will find spectacular panoramic views of the ocean.

Ardastra Gardens and Zoo:
Exotic wildlife and the rare Caribbean flamingos make these gardens home. Pink flamingos, honey bears and peacocks, oh my! You'll find all this and more at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre. Wait until you see the flamingos parade in drill formation (10:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m.). It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entrance at 4:10 p.m.) and is located on Chippingham Road.

Pirates of Nassau Museum:
A fun theatrical collection of exhibits that celebrate the history of the pirates in the Caribbean.

The best way to become acquainted with the stunning beauty of the Bahamian reefs. Equipment and instruction can be found at many resorts.

This exhilarating is an experience. Parasailors are launched and recovered by a small powerboats circling the bay. The view is unparalleled, and it's great fun.

Dolphin Encounter:
Take part in an entertaining talk and learn about the bottlenose dolphins' incredible life. Guests will gather with your feet in the water and observe these intelligent mammals up close for a full 30 minutes. With the great highlight - to touch and interact with them as you stand in waist-deep water. 3 hours with boat ride is $75.

Swim with the Dolphins:
Experience the ultimate thrill of your cruise! A 15 minute educational talk will teach you about the dolphins natural history and discover how to please your new friends when you enter their home. Enjoy an unforgettable 30 minute swim with these amazing mammals. Guests get to stroke and pet their smooth skin. Experience the kiss and human-hurdle. They will even take your for a high speed 'foot-push'. This 2 1/2 - 3 hour program with boat ride is $145
Arawak Cay
Head over to the man-made island of Arawak Cay, a beach dusted with pastel-colored shacks, incredibly fresh conch from vendors cracking the mollusks right before your eyes, fried fish and grits, lime-marinated conch and plenty of coconut milk laced with gin. The strip known as Fish Fry is popular, especially with the locals, and it gets very crowded, especially on weekend evenings from 5 p.m. until midnight. It's located on the harbor, across from Fort Charlotte.
Eating Out
Three restaurants stand out in my mind as excellent. If you are looking for a fun atmosphere with great Bahamian seafood, head for the Poop Deck. Their conch chowder, conch salad and grouper fingers are great choices, as is the Bahamian lobster. If you are in search of a more up-scale, intimate dining experience, I suggest Columbus Tavern at the Paradise Harbor Marina on Paradise Island. Awesome views overlooking the harbor, excellent food and outstanding service make for a memorable meal. Senior Frogs (of Mexico fame) also has a fine establishment in Nassau. Located near the pier and on the waterfront, Senior Frog's is a very popular spot for partying after a beach day.
Tru Bahamian Food Tours. The company offers a three-hour walking tour around the main streets of Nassau and includes seven tasting stops, along with informative talks on local culture, history, architecture and more. Even if you're not all that into the learning part of the tour, the yummy conch fritters, jerk chicken, salted caramel dark chocolates and rum cake make it worthwhile. http://trubahamianfoodtours.com/
The bustling port town of Nassau is well-known for its lovely colonial architecture, and the Bahamas’ capital has long been as easy on the palate as it is on the eyes. You can dig into cracked conch (the Bahamas’ favorite mollusk is pounded, breaded and fried), fresh fish done perfectly in every way and that sweet Bahamian bread known as johnnycake – which is quite different from the fried rounds you’ll find on other islands. If you’re watching your trans fats, you’ll find plenty of Bahamian cookery lightened by European and Asian influences and served on everything from paper plates to bone china.
Charlie’s Place, in the old Nassau stadium, is the sort of local find that makes a culinary traveler salivate. Signs proclaim Today’s Special: Pig Feet and Now Selling Gin & Coconut Water as a mostly Bahamian crowd digs into breakfast specialties such as stew fish or conch, both served in a rich brown gravy, or adventurous entrées like sheep-tongue souse, all served with a side of grits and the best johnnycake this side of heaven. Lunch diners enjoy grilled snapper, cracked conch, a variety of soups (pea, okra, crab) or Charlie Jr.’s own invention, “cracked chicken.” It’s not the place to go for white linens and candlelight – look instead for the warmest of welcomes and perfectly prepared Bahamian food. Average lunch entrée $14; Fowler St. East; 242-394-0300
Opened in March 2010, Chef Chea’s Corner Bistro evokes old Nassau’s graciousness without being cloyingly nostalgic. The prints on the wall – hand-carried from Paris by chef Christopher Chea after his stint at Le Cordon Bleu – are lit by the soft glow of deco-style globe chandeliers and help create a refined atmosphere that’s all too rare in Nassau these days. The menu is mainly continental with a few Bahamian touches, so you might start with conch chowder or grilled, meaty portobello mushroom slices; if you know what’s good for you, though, choose the shrimp de jonge, three plump shrimp swimming in rich, garlicky sauce. Entrées range from plump lobster ravioli to dense, flavorful coq au vin; steaks are grilled to charred perfection; short ribs are a particular specialty. Guided by chef Chea’s sure hand, the bistro gives you fine dining at surprisingly good prices. And did we mention that to-die-for mango cheesecake?
Average dinner entrée $28; Dowdeswell St. and Armstrong St.; 242-323-3201
They’re doing great things at Circa 1890, an under-the-radar wonder for in-the-know diners. This charming old house (see restaurant name) has been given an intimate, hip update with a mere dozen tables beneath cocoa- and rust-hued walls and a textured gold bar. The charming atmosphere equals chef Anthony Stubbs’ artistry in the kitchen, from the best crab cakes in history and soups like a ginger-laden pumpkin-and-crab creation to entrées like sweet potato-crusted salmon and cranberry-accented rack of lamb. If molten chocolate cake is on the dessert menu the night you visit, we guarantee heaven. Whether it’s for Friday’s Martini Madness, live music or just a fabulous meal, this is the spot.
Average dinner entrée $36; 280 Shirley St.; 242-356-5445; circa1890restaurant.com
For decades, Graycliff has been a Nassau luxury leader, a testament to fine dining written in rich woods, gleaming crystal, soft candlelight and five-star service. But chef Elijah Bowe doesn’t rest on his laurels; his cuisine melds tradition and modernity effortlessly. Fata paper, a very 21st-century clear cooking parchment, makes snapper en papillote a little piece of Piscean heaven, while chilled Bahamian stone crab reaches toward Europe with warm Dijon-mustard sauce. Lobster bisque is made with Armagnac, foie gras with Calvados, and lobster chunks with cream and Spanish saffron. For an unforgettable experience, prepare your own meal in a cooking class with chef Bowe; you might make a lobster salad spilling temptingly out of the lobster shell or a perfectly spiced miniature rack of lamb. The chef’s patient good humor and utter expertise make even beginners feel like cooking connoisseurs.
Average dinner entrée $48; 8-12 W. Hill St.; 800-476-0446 or 242-302-9150; graycliff.com
This is the kind of place we wish there were more of in the islands: artsy and down-home chic, with a great art collection and even better food. The walls are adorned with a retrospective of Bahamian art (the owner is the daughter of famed painter Brent Malone), and the patio is perfect for a breezy Nassau day. The menu features some surprising twists: A curried conch chowder enlivens a Bahamian standard with a sweet and tangy flavor. Tequila shrimp are fiery and toothsome; sashimi are zesty with lime, wasabi and soy; and seafood pasta is rich with fish and shellfish. While you can go Asian or European for your main course, if desserts include guava duff, indulge in this amazing and purely Bahamian dessert.
Indigo Café: Average dinner entrée $26; 1 Skyline Dr.; 242-327-2524
Twin Brothers is a surprise for those who’ve visited the old Arawak Cay, once a shambling collection of shacks with local charm and a few outdoor stools. Now there’s a real restaurant feel, with several levels of dining amid the obligatory nautical decorations. Start with conch salad, which you watch being prepared out front, and wash it down with refreshing mango lemonade. Get your fish (broiled, steamed, grilled or fried), your conch (scorched or cracked), or steak, ribs or chicken – all served with mounds of side dishes like peas and rice, plantains, coleslaw or macaroni. The food’s all fresh and well-prepared, and the atmosphere’s hopping. It’s a down-home blend of local and touristy – Nassau in a nutshell.
Average dinner entrée $23; Arawak Cay; 242-328-5033; twinbrothersbahamas.com
In Nassau, most of the shops, stores and art galleries that you'll want to visit are located in the downtown area along Bay Street or on Paradise Island. Locally-made handicrafts and artworks, duty free goods, rum, batik clothing, Cuban cigars and jewelry are unique to Nassau. If you're looking for an authentic Cuban cigar, just beware that fakes are everywhere; the only places to find authentic Habaneros is at Cigar Stogies (see below), and at the cigar store in the Atlantis Resort.
Bay Street in the heart of downtown is the main shopping area. In this duty-free shopping area you will find rows of designer stores like Bvlgari, Gucci and Cartier as well as tacky t-shirt and souvenir shops.Visit to the Straw Market, also downtown, is an opportunity to barter with the locals.
Straw Market
No visit to Nassau is complete without making a stop at the Straw Market in downtown Nassau. After several years of being housed in a large tent on Bay Street, just four blocks to the east of Rawson Square, in 2012 the Straw Market moved into a new building. The colorful vendors sell the usual goods--inexpensive souvenirs including tees, hats, jewelry, wood carvings and novelty items--plus a good selection of knockoff designer handbags and watches. Nobody pays full price, and the Straw Market is a great place to exercise your bargaining skills. A visit to the Straw Market is a true Nassau experience.
The original Straw Market burned down but a smaller, temporary market has taken its place. There are also numerous shops in the Atlantis Resort that are quite willing to help you part with your money. Liquor, perfume, jewelry, watches, clocks, china, crystal and linens are all available at duty-free prices. If you will not be visiting other islands in the Caribbean, such as St. Maarten or one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, then do your duty-free shopping here, otherwise wait, as the bargains are even greater in other parts of the Caribbean.
Nassau can be a fun place to exercise your shopping gene. Back in the day, Bay Street was the epicenter for shopping in Nassau. Today, shopping opportunities have expanded to a number of other venues, where you'll find an assortment of high end boutiques, duty free stores and the usual assortment of cruise-destination shops.
It's important to know that most shops are closed on Sundays. In Nassau, most of the shops, stores and art galleries that you'll want to visit are located in the downtown area along Bay Street or on Paradise Island.
Shopping Centers
Marina Village at Atlantis located next to the Atlantis Marina, this large high-end shopping center is an open-air marketplace with 21 shops and boutiques and nine restaurants. If you're looking for luxury goods, this is a must-visit destination. Here you'll find boutiques selling fine jewelry, watches, handbags, fashionable resort clothing and other goods. The retailers include John Bull (a Nassau institution), Dooney & Bourke, Colombian Emeralds International, Solomon's Sea Treasures and Versace JC.
Other shops include Doongalik Studios Art Gallery and the Plait Lady. The restaurants include Johnny Rockets (for burgers and shakes), Murry's Deli (a New York-style deli), Bimini Road and Pisces (Bahamian fare), Cafe Martinique (gourmet international fare) and Seafire Steakhouse (high-end steaks and seafood). On some evenings, Bahamian locals present spirited and colorful Junkanoo performances.
Crystal Court Shops at Atlantis -- The Crystal Court Shops offer the finest in women's and men's fashions, featuring Versace, Bvlgari, Amici, Cole's of Nassau, Faconnable, Salvatore Ferragamo, Mademoiselle and Island Gear with Tommy Bahama.
Nassau Arcade -- This small shopping arcade houses two notable stores: the Anglo American Bookstore, where you can pick up some interesting reading materials (Phone: (242) 325-0338) and the Arcade Liquor Store, which offers a large selection of spirits at fair prices. The very helpful staff will even let you taste some products before you buy (Phone: (242) 322-2431). -- Bay Street, just east of East Street
Nassau Shops
Marlborough Antiques --- While not quite the reincarnation of Portobello Market come to Nassau, Marlborough Antiques offers a fair selection of interesting bric-a-brac. They also sell Bahamian art, rare books, European glassware and Victorian jewelry. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Marlborough Street, Nassau Phone: (242) 328 0502
Coin of the Realm -- Housed in a former gunpowder magazine dating back to the 1700s, Coin of the Realm offers a fun and unique shopping experience, where history comes to life. Spanish shipwreck coins from the Atocha and other known wrecks, ancient Greek and Roman coins dating back to the 4th Century BC and modern Bahamian gold coins are just some of the treasures that you'll find in this shop. -- Bay Street, at Charlotte Street, Nassau -- Phone: (242) 322-4862
Balmain Antiques and Gallery -- Antique collectors can spend hours browsing the merchandise in this Bay Street shop. Featuring the Bahamas' finest collection of antiques, Balmain's showcases a large selection of Bahamian and Haitian artworks, 19th century maps, prints and engravings, military artifacts and bottles. Located on the second floor of the Mason's Building. -- 308 Bay Street, Nassau -- Phone: (242) 323-7421
The Plait Lady -- If you're searching for some of the finest straw goods to be found in the Bahamas, look no further than The Plait Lady. Owner Clare Sands regularly visits the Out Islands in search of new artisans to plait (weave) rolls of straw that are sewn into baskets, bags, trays, hats, briefcases and other items. The goods sold at her two shops (on Bay Street in Nassau, and at the Marina Village on Paradise Island) make for truly memorable souvenirs. Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Bay Street, at Victoria Avenue -- Phone: (242) 356-5584 -- Marina Village, Paradise Island -- Phone: (242) 363-1416
Cigar Stogies
Most "Cuban" cigars found in Nassau are fakes. At Cigar Stogies, you know you're getting the real deal. Cigar Stogies sells a wide range of Habaneros, including Bolivar, Cohiba, El Rey del Mundo, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Partagas, Punch and Romeo y Julieta. They've got a walk in humidor, as well as a large selection of accessories. -- Prince George Plaza, Nassau -- Phone: (242) 356-5103
Graycliff Cigars -- Founded by Enrico Garzaroli, cigar aficionado and owner of the Graycliff Hotel, the Graycliff Cigar Company has achieved worldwide renown for their handcrafted cigars. Each of the company's high-end, limited production cigars is meticulously hand-crafted to deliver unique qualities of aroma and flavor, resulting in cigars suited for every palate, preference and occasion. You can even visit the factory in the hotel and watch the cigar makers plying their craft.
8 thru 12 West Hill Street, Nassau -- Phone: (242) 356-5103; Toll Free from the US & Canada: (800) 476-0446
Local Craft Markets
Bahamacraft Centre located on Paradise Island, Bahamacraft Centre is where you'll find dozens of vendors selling a good selection of authentic Bahamian straw goods, along with blown glass works, Junkanoo masks, batik clothing and paintings. A shuttle bus from the Atlantis Resort makes a stop at the Hurricane Hole Plaza. Across from Hurricane Hole Plaza, on Paradise Island
Art Galleries
New Providence Art and Antiques -- This interesting gallery sells contemporary and historic Bahamian paintings, including works by noted Bahamian artist Amos Ferguson. They also sell a wide variety of antique jewelry, porcelain dishes and stemware and Bahamian memorabilia, including a nice selection of coins. East Street, between Bay & Shirleys Streets Phone: (242) 328-7916
Doongalik Studios Art Gallery -- Jackson Burnside--architect, artist and cultural advocate--and his wife Pam opened the Doongalik Studios Art Gallery in the 1970s. The gallery showcases the work of over 70 local artists using all forms of media. In addition, they sell an array of gifts and handicrafts, including elaborate and colorful Junkanoo masks, posters and note cards. Doongalik operates out of two locations: at the Marina Village on Paradise Island (open daily 10:00am to 10:00 pm), and on Village Road (open open Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm).
Marina Village at Atlantis, Paradise Island Phone: (242) 363-1313 #18 Village Road Phone: (242) 394.1886
Kennedy Gallery
Bahamian artworks, from the well-known to emerging talents, are on center stage at the Kennedy Gallery. The gallery specializes in artists who paint vibrant images of life in the Bahamas--from the faces and figures of everyday people, to vistas of the seas and land, to closeups of the Island's beautiful flora and fauna.Parliament Street Phone: (242) 325-7662

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