Nassau (Bahamas)

Nassau by dusk

Atlantis       Transportation       Accommodation       Restaurants         Tourism      Beaches       Nightlife       Off The Beaten Path       Other Tips

 

Last updated January 6, 2016

Formally known as Charles Town, known today as Nassau the largest island featured in the Bahamas. This island features a tropical monsoon climate with temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius), with winter months day temperature reaching up to 73-81 degrees fahrenheit (23- 27 degrees celsius), barely dropping below 57 degrees fahrenheit (15 degrees celsius). The wet season is between June through to November which is also Hurricane season. Do expect liquid sunshine (brief heavy showers) throughout the year.

 

Atlantis

mantaray Atlantis

The Biggest and most popular resort on Nassau is of course Atlantis. Guests can expect full access to all Atlantis water park features at no additional cost. The water park is personally my favorite thing to do at the resort so i’d highly recommend paying it a visit! Enjoy 11 water slides, 11 swimming areas, 2 lazy rivers , paradise lagoon, the Dig, the Predator’s Lagoon, all of the marine life habitats, and the ocean beach area. The resort is quite large and there is a shuttle that runs from 7am to midnight between the Cove Atlantis, Royal Towers, Harbourside Resort, Coral Towers, Beach Towers, Ocean Club and the Ocean Club Golf Course every 30 minutes.

I usually enjoy taking a stroll around the marina where i love perusing around the clothing stores and souvenir shops. This is also a great place to grab a quick bite to eat from one of the many little restaurants or simply treat yourself to something sweet and delicious while you walk around ,listening to the sweet sounds of island music. One of my favorite things about the Marina is having a chat while walking the doc and exploring all the different yachts anchored. The Marina is also within walking distance of quite a few of the hotels featured on the resort making it very easily accessible.

Atlantis has many bars and lounges to enjoy before your night out. To name a few: Sea Glass, Cafe Martinique, Bimini road, Cain at the Cove and many more. From out door bars to indoor lounges there is a place for whatever mood you want to set for your evening. I’d recommend the “Dragon Lounge” on the casino floor for a nice intimate bar that you can chat with your company or strangers surrounded around the small bar. On the weekends and busier nights the dance floor also gets going which ends up making for a pretty lively atmosphere. For more of a full on club experience check out “Aura” located in the casino behind Nobu.

If you are looking for activities centered around marine life there is always the dolphin cay, where you can have some rather unique experiences swimming with dolphins. Check out the marine habitat where you can wander around viewing over 200 species of marine life  or the water adventures where you can learn about how Atlantis scientists (Blue project) are trying to conserve the worlds coral reefs.

Other activities outside of the water on Atlantis include:

Atlantis

 

* Rock climbing – variety of options from a single climb, an hour of instructional teaching or a group sheer climb clinics where the focus is on communication and teamwork.

* Fitness center – Offering a variety of strength training and cardio equipment. Free weights and spinning studio as well as a fully equipped Pilates and yoga studio. They also have personal trainers you can hire on site. To use the gym you must buy a day or week pass.

* Tennis courts – There are 6 courts as well as racquets and balls that are available for rental. 30- 60 minute lessons are also available.

* Basketball courts – 6 Hooped court available located next to the fitness center. (You can leave you ID at the gym to borrow a basketball)

* Earth & Fire pottery studio – Design and paint your own hand crafted souvenirs from picture frames to plates. unleash your creativity here.

* Atlantis theatre – Kick back and relax whilst enjoying the latest Hollywood block busters.

* The library – With a collection of over 2000 books to choose from, entice your imagination as you relax and look out at the beach waterscape.

* The mandara spa – A variety of therapies are available along with the steam and sauna rooms in both the men’s and woman’s private lounge areas.

* Golf course – If you’re looking to challenge yourself this 18 hole course will not only accomplish that but you will also have the most beautiful views on this 7,100 yard courses.

* Lap pool – This 4 lane 25 meter lap pool is the perfect way to cool down while still feeling your whole body being worked.

Transportation:

Airport -> Resorts

Taxi’s from the airport to Atlantis are usually fixed at around $35 , there are tons of taxi’s waiting outside the arrivals area and this is definitely the cheapest option. Always ask about the fare before getting into a taxi just to make sure they don’t charge you more. Also be sure to ask if the toll and luggage is included in the price they give you as sometimes they will surprise you with extra fees.

Nassau Limo service would be the most expensive option but for a safe and reliable option click here.

*Note: To cross the bridge into Atlantis (paradise island) there is a fee of $1

General Island Transportation

The public Jitney : The jitney buss travels around Nassau and into the suburban areas The #10 is the most popular bus, as it can take you to both cable beach and into down town nassau. The jitney travels along the Western Esplanade, passing Fort Charlotte, Ardastra Gardens entry road, Arawak Cay’s Fish Fry as well as cable beach resorts area passing most well known resorts such as Sheraton and Wyndham. You can also ask the driver to stop anywhere along the way. It costs $1.25 for adults and $1 for small children and you pay as you leave. You can flag down the jitney from your hotel or restaurant as they run every few minutes from 6am – 6:30pm. The jitney does not go over the Paradise Island bridge, you’ll need to take a cab, the ferry boat or if you want to take the 20-30 minute hike up and over the bridge that’ll work too (be sure that your shoes are comfortable if you intend to walk). I’ve personally done the walk over the bridge and if you are the adventurous type I’d highly recommend it. If you walk over the bridge used by cars exiting paradise island you’ll see fisherman catching fresh fish and delivering it to the locals restaurants just meters way.  To catch the #10 jitney head to George street, just across from the entrance to the straw market.

Scooter Rentals: You will find scooter vendors outside most of the hotels in Nassau and on Paradise Island. You can also find them outside of the cruise ship dock. The Rentals agents should give you a quick lesson on how to drive. Just a heads up driving is on the left, and traffic is tricky.

 Taxi cabs: Taxi cabs are available all around the downtown area, wharf, cruise port and hotel entrances. Taxi’s do not meter so be sure to discuss the fare before getting in.

Accommodation:

Nassau map

 

Below I’ve listed a few accomodation options from both high and medium ends of the spectrum so that both travelers has options on how they can experience the island. If you have more budget options feel free to share them below. Do keep in mind a 10-15% hotel service tax will be added to your hotel bill that wont show up on the price the booking site charges you. I remember being very annoyed about this surprise my first time in Nassau but its standard across all the hotels.

1) The Island House

IH

Address: Mahogany Hill Western Road, Nassau
Nightly Rate: $647-$700

This relatively new bed and breakfast is a contemporary boutique hotel that offers both locals and guests: 2 stellar restaurants, a cafe, an art house , a cinema ,a lap pool , a movement studio, squash courts, padel court ,the bamford spa and features six apartments for rent. The atmosphere just oozes a polished sophistication that’s coupled with a warm and intimate setting. We spent a wonderful evening dining at Shima and were intrigued by this hotel that was seemly packaged as having everything you’d want to unwind and relax.  Here is more information.

2) Greycliff  Hotel

Address: West Hill Street, Nassau 

Nightly Rate: $315- $616

The warm and inviting ambiance of Greycliff Hotel gives you the home away from home feeling. This old town experience comprised of cobble stone streets, a convent and it’s chapel is nestled amongst the green trees and old mansion that now houses a little city within it’s walls. From chocolate factories and cigar shops to barista cafe & bistro a comfortable space has been created for visitors to explore the fascinating culture of the island.

3) Comfort Suits

Address: Paradise Island Dr, Nassau, Bahamas

Nightly Rate: $212 -$447

Located just steps away from Atlantis on Paradise Island, Comfort Suites guests are given access to all Atlantis amenities, including the Water Park.  Everyone can enjoy a complimentary hot buffet breakfast that includes scrambled and boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, waffles, orange juice, and more. The staff are very friendly and helpful, this really is a great option if you’re on budget and still want a resort experience. To be honest with the exception of the visual appeal i think the quality of the rooms here are just as good as the rooms in the basic towers of Atlantis. Considering you are basically located steps from Atlantis, can access all their amenities, and get a free breakfast, I would almost prefer to stay here over the basic towers of Atlantis even if the price was about the same.

4) Orange Hill Beach Inn

Address: West Bay St, Nassau
Nightly Rate: $139- $192

Old British colonial charm offers this great and affordable option to stay off Paradise Island. From a hilltop over looking the ocean this is the perfect setting for a family getaway accommodating both adults and kids. The location is central being ,only a 15-20 minute bus ride away from downtown and very close to the beach and airport.

 

Great Eats

Fish Fry 

Address: West Bay Street, Nassau N3037, New Providence Island
Type: Sea food
Price: $$
Attire: Casual

fishfry

If you’ve ever wondered what the taste of the Bahamas is, this is probably the place you’d find your answer and the one place you have to visit. An array of restaurants can be found in the small strip called, “The Fish Fry” where a nice relaxing evening accompanied by island music, Bahama mama’s (island cocktail) and an assortment of seafood can be found. When you show up there will be taxi drivers waiting out front of all the restaurants waiting for customers finishing up their meals looking for a ride out. They also may try to convince you they can recommend you the best restaurant to go to as they will get a kickback from the restaurant for bringing you in.

There are two restaurants at the Fish Fry that i would recommend over others:

twin1 broiledTwin Brothers

Typically I like finding the hole in the walls but in this case i’m going to recommend the most touristy restaurant  in the fish fry as the best option, “Twin brothers”.  It’s has the best set up, lively atmosphere, great food and is just the best one in my opinion. Be sure to try the conch fritters and my personal favorite (and probably the healthiest option) the broiled fish (fish in foil). Keep in mind the broiled fish dish is not on the menu but just ask for it and they will make it for you with any fish you want. (Don’t get it with conch as conch only tastes good fried, also avoid red snapper in this dish as there will be a lot of bones. Get a side of vegetables and plantains and they’ll broil it in there with the fish)

For drinks they have both Alcoholic and Non Alcoholic frozen daiquiris and the local beer “Kalik”. Appetizers are typically around $6-$8 while entree combos are around $24-$28.

 

Oh Andros

Oh Andros

The second restaurant in the Fish fry that i’d recommend is, “Oh Andros”, which is popular amongst locals generally indicating to me that i should definitely try it. Portions are generous, making this the perfect place to order a few things for everyone to share, prices are great! Huge variety of seafood, all of it being delicious! The ambience of this venue however is less than the lively bright setting of, Twin Brothers (mentioned above) nevertheless a delicious evening awaits you here!

 

 

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Anthony’s grill (Near Atlantis)

ant1anthonysAddress: Paradise Island Shopping Plaza, New Providence Island
Type: Seafood, Pizza , Barbecue
Price: $$
Attire: Casual

Found in quaint little shopping area just a short walk across from the marina on paradise Island opening at 7:30 and closing at 11pm , Anthony’s is great for breakfast ,lunch and dinner ( I especially love their breakfasts). By no means cheap but somewhat reasonably priced place relative to Atlantis and their menu comprises of an assortment of barbecued and grilled seafood, meats, pizza’s and pastas paired with a unique atmosphere that is fun and lively, making it one of my go-to’s. The Red Snapper with a side of mixed vegetables is my favorite thing to order from Anthony’s

 

 

Fine Dining:

 Shima

Address: Mahogany Hill Western Road | The Island HouseNassau
Type : Asian, Thai
Price : $$$
Attire: smart casual

shima

Shima is easily my favorite spot to eat in Nassau at the moment. The whole experience of eating at this restaurant was perfect, Located within The Island House in New Providence Island (35 minute drive from Atlantis and well worth it). The minimal decor and subtle hints of Asian influence found within Shima added to the ambiance. Flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia take center stage offering food so delicious and mouth watering that one can only describe every bite as excellent! We Indulged in everything from the raw bar to Penang curry to a chargrilled salmon cooked in banana leaves, dry red curry with fresh coconut, topped with the best sago pudding i’ve EVER had and let me not forget to mention the spectacular wine selection. A Warning to those who cannot handle spicy food, the food here is spicy but on request i’m sure your waiter can speak to the chef, unless of course you want to be adventurous trust me you will not be disappointed! The service was also fantastic here and much better than typical Bahama standard.

 

Greycliff

graycliff_hotel_6_20100728_1112146317

Address:West Hill Street, Nassau, Bahamas
Type: Bahamian cuisine
Price: $$$
Attire: Formal (Jacket)

Creative culinary at it’s best is displayed here at Greycliff, talking Bahamian cuisine from the streets and transforming them into sophisticated high end culinary art that has earned it’s reputation world wide for Bahamian cuisine. The Decor sets the tone with it’a high ceilings and elegant finishes, each room both indoors and out transports you back to the era when it was still a home. If you do come to the Bahamas and want a gourmet experience this is the place to do it. The fish dishes are brilliant also be sure to check out the extensive wine list. They also have a well known cigar store in the hotel from which you can order a cigar to your dinner table. The dress code recommended from an email to management is as follows: “ Jackets are suggested; but not mandatory a dress slack with a collared shirt is appropriate for dining. Dressy Capris , Sun dress or pants suit is fine for the ladies” 

 

More restaurants:

* Carmine’s (Atlantis Marina) – Italian seafood, family style portions. Good bang for your buck. Very large portions order less than the staff recommends you to.

Bimini road (Atlantis Marina) – Traditional Bahamian cuisine at the marina near Atlantis. Great Seafood

* Cafe matisse – Italian Restaurant

 

Tourism

1) The Cloisters Nassau

Cloisters, Nassau

Address: Paradise Island Dr, Nassau, New Providence Island

The last remains of a 14th Century French Monastery over looking the Nassau harbor, every stone that has created this eloquent setting has been imported from France. Often used as a wedding venue for it’s obvious picturesque charm, this little stop off only requires a short 15 minute walk but the views seen here make this one of the things i’d highly recommend doing.

 

2) John Watling’s Distillery (rum)

Address: Buena Vista Estate | 17 Delancy Street,Nrum distilleryassau , New Providence Island

“Spirit of the island”  In the land of rum, one must take a tour of the rum distillery. This pristine self guided tour is historically charming and offers a rum tasting room where you can order a rum made cocktail or sample the rum made at the distillery of course. definitely worth a visit if you like rum or if you just feel like having a pina colada that is out of this world!

 

 

3) Paradise Island

Formally known as Paradise Island, Atlantic - NassauHog Island, Paradise Island is a separate Island that is connected to New Provence Island by 2 bridges. Many people confuse Atlantis with Paradise Island but contrary to popular belief they are not one and the same thing. Atlantis takes up 90% of Paradise Island but the remaining 10% belongs to other hotels where you can share in the beauty of Paradise Island without paying Atlantis rates, it’s the best of both worlds! Now that that’s cleared up, Paradise island has everything! Sporting the best casino (and sports books) and night life scene in Nassau, one of the biggest water parks in the world and even rum cake factory tours.

Off The Beaten Path

1) Staniel Cay (Pig Island)

staneil cay

Flamingo air     boats

For one of the most amazing experiences you may ever have, Staniel Cay has the most delightful surprise in store for you. Just a 30 minute flight from Nassau, Staniel Cay yacht club has one of the most warm and inviting atmospheres. I really did fall in love with this tiny little Island and all of the things they offer for your enjoyment.

Let me start by saying your room accommodation comes with a BOAT! They literally give you a depth chart map that shows you how deep the water is in different areas (in most parts its fairly shallow), show you how to use the boat, and then say ” Enjoy… don’t go too far or you’ll end up in the ocean!” The map has a ton of different islands you can hop around on your boat with x’s marked for sports that are good for snorkeling (they provide you snorkeling gear).  The whole experience just leaves you feeling a sense of intense freedom as you island hop around on your skiff.

You can dive the hallowed out Island, and swim with the thousands of colorful little fish where the famous scene in the James Bond movie Thunderball  (aka Thunderball Grotto) was shot. Another unique feature that is a must see would be the wild pigs that inhabit an island just a short boat ride away from the main island of Staniel Cay. The kitchen staff at Staniel Cay will give you table scraps to feed the pigs just be aware as some of the pigs can be aggressive although thats not usually the case. The resort also has bikes that you can borrow and ride along the village to the local cafe and village convenient store.

Your food at the resort is all inclusive and room rates are around $185 – $310 USD per person which isn’t bad at all considering meals, snorkel gear, bikes, and the boat are all included.

2) Spear fishing

spear fishing

Unleash your inner cave man with this ancient method of fishing. Spear fishing was originally performed in running bodies of water such as rivers and streams using sharpened sticks, today we have a number of  different methods that can be used to spear fish and it can be done while scuba diving, snorkeling and free diving. This is a great experience if you’re up for something exhilarating, the rush that this sport gives you is unlike anything else i’ve ever experienced and the reward of having the freshest and most delicious of fish to eat afterwards is quite satisfying.

Some of the things you can catch:

* Lobster
* Hog fish
* Grouper
* Snapper
* Jacks
* Margate
* Conch
* Tuna
* Mahi-Mahi

3) Sivananda ashram yoga retreat

bahamas_yoga_resort

On a Night where a super moon filled the sky and the ocean waves clashed the shores where I decided to run, I stumbled upon the Sivananda ashram. Just next door to Atlantis, they offer an environment where you can study, practice and learn to live a healthier lifestyle through yoga and meditation. Of course I’d find it right on the beach some kind of Haven! Here you can find more information.

 

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Beaches

If you need to get your Beach Bumming strategy in order I’ve found a few beaches that will completely satisfy this urge.

Cain at the cove

cain at the cove

At the top of the list of beaches, Cain at the Cove is one of the best in my opinion. Available specifically to guests that stay at the Cove in Atlantis, this adults only pool with poolside and beach concierge offers outdoor entertainment in the form of a DJ, daybeds to soak up the sun and atmosphere, a cafe where you can order light meals and cocktails from 11am -5pm, cabanas for rent (great for parties or if you have a big group of friends) , a large 9,000 SQ FT pool and of course the reason for writing about it that it has it’s own private beach section complete with magical views and life guard.

Cable Beach

Cable beachConsidered one of the sexiest beaches in Nassau equipped with the softest sand that feels like powder underneath your feet. A party beach for locals and tourists due to it’s central location, close to the harbor for tourists coming from the cruise ships and locals revel in the lively atmosphere. The huge variety of activities available for tourists with water sports and beach rentals makes this the busiest beach by far.

Cabbage Beach

cabbage bay

Named one of the best in the world, being the front for some major hotels such as: Atlantis, One&Only Ocean club and Hotel Rui just to name a few. The wide stretch of soft white sands, palms and sea grapes that line the 2 mile stretch of calm ocean and clean pristine crystal waters is what you picture when you think of paradise.

  

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Nightlife

senor frogs nas

Señor Frogs

Address: Woodes Rodgers Walk, Nassau, Bahamas

American chain, Senor frogs can be found in Nassau and if you’ve been there you’ll already know the scene that they offer, whether you want just a few drinks or if you want to mix and mingle with people from all sorts of backgrounds while dancing and having a good time, this is the place for you. One of my moves is to figure which night the big cruise-ship stop at Nassau and head to Senior Frogs that night as you’ll get a huge crowd from the cruise-ship

 

 

the-daiquiri-shack

The Daiquiri shack

Address: West Bay Street Nassau, Bahamas

Cable beach has an intoxication treat that awaits you in the form of a fresh and delicious daiquiri. Finally fresh fruit and rum what more could you ask for? Nothing quite like a day spent at the beach with a Daiquiri in your hand to accompany the atmosphere of the infamous party beach. Great even if you just want to stop for a quick sun downer  (drink to sip on whilst watching the sun set) before you get your evening started.

 

aura-3

Aura

Address: Atlantis, One Casino Drive, Nassau, Bahamas

On the casino floor a grand stair case leads up to the night club, where the elegant and oh so opulent Aura takes residence. This high end night club with it’s 2 bars, vip section and  glass dance floor is magnificent to experience, if you want to dance the night away or socialize while enjoying a few drinks. Let the night take you away!

 

Shopping:

Downtown Nassau

straw market

Before you cross the bridge into Paradise Island, you’ll be driving on Bay street where you’ll find great shopping and a visit to the straw market will lead you to locally made jewelry, straw woven bags and wooden carvings. Walking along this street and visiting the stores on offer is quite nice just to mingle with the locals and see what Nassau has to offer.

You can also find some more shopping at the Marina on Paradise island where you can find beachwear, dresses, souvenirs, jewelry and more. Details here

Atlantis itself also has plenty of shopping if you are looking for high end designer clothing and jewlery. Details here

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Other Tips

* If you want to save a little dough while staying at Atlantis find the small little village supermarket just past Anthony’s. You can buy some basic needs here like milk, water, juice, bread, tuna, turkey meat nuts, etc. You’ll be paying convince store prices which are a little high but its still should help you save some money if you don’t want to eat out every single meal

* There is a large legitimate grocery store just over the bridge that leads into paradise island. It’s called “Super Value Food Store” If you don’t mind a 30 minute stroll its actually quite a nice walk over the bridge over to the super market. If walking back be sure to bring a backpack to carry groceries in other wise i’d advise walking there and arranging a ride for the way back to help with the groceries.

* At restaurants be prepared for the service to be very slow and even for them to not remember to bring you a drink you might have ordered. The truth is thats just how the service is around the entire Island. There are occasional exceptions at some restaurants but at most that will be the standard. Rather than getting annoyed just accept it in advance and put yourself on Island Time