Top Things To Do In The Bahamas
1. Explore the charms of Cable Beach
Arguably the liveliest beach of Nassau, the Cable beach is a beautiful 2.5 miles luxuriant white sand stretch. Some of the best resorts in Nassau are lined up against the Cable Beach so portions of the beautiful sands are now made into private lounge areas and sunbathing zones.
Sign in to Baha-Mar resort that takes up the biggest chunk of Cable beach and book a cabana for a day while enjoying the 5 star amenities and the sumptuous food and drinks. Stare at the gorgeous sunset/ sunrise and at the varying shades of blue in the ocean and take some Instagram worthy pictures.
Another great activity on the Cable beach is water sports. There is Jet Skiing, banana boating and water skiing. There are multiple water sports operators operating in this zone but K & C water sports is one of the best. While roaming around on the beach you might want to pick up some pretty seashell jewelry sold by the local vendors.
A great place for casual dining near the Cable beach is Sbarro’s ….it’s a popular pizza joint that serves nice cocktails too. Or you could go to Bimini Market on the eastern part of the Cable Beach…the place is decorated like a trading market and serves local cuisine. Other nice places to dine are Dolphins Grill, Netties Place and Out Island Bar. And if you feel like a fancy lunch then Social House Sushi & Grill is one of the best options.
If you are on Cable beach in the evenings then you can straightaway head off to Club Luna that’s just a mile away. 2 floors of sizzling dance areas and lively hip, reggae and international numbers create the vibe of a never ending street party. Another good spot to party near the Cable Beach is 22 Above that has a good view of Crystal Palace and a curated cocktail list besides live DJ performances on weekends.
For the record, Cable Beach is on the north shore of the island and nearly 8 km away from downtown Nassau. Bus connectivity to the beach is good. Read more about Cable Beach
2. Experience the rides of Aquaventure Water Park in Paradise Island
One of the best waterparks in the world, the Aquaventure is a part of the famed Atlantis resort complex in Paradise Island. The Aquapark spreads across 141 acres and is known for its mind boggling array of activities.
The Leap of Faith at Atlantis Paradise Island is touted to be the scariest ride in the world. There is an incredibly lovely Mayan temple inside Aquaventure and the Leap of Faith begins on the roof of this temple. The ride progresses at breakneck speed and then descends 60 feet into a lagoon filled with sharks. Most people who go on the leap of faith let out ear piercing screams.
Photo: JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD, cc by-sa 3.0
There are no safety issues… tourists are inside a fortified bite resistant acrylic tube but the prospect is scary enough to make the ride suitable for only the brave hearted. There are other rides at the Aquaventure Mayan temple like the five storey corkscrew Serpent Slide, Challenger Slides and a jungle safari meant for kids.
The Lazy river is great for people of all ages; relaxation inside comfortable tubes that float along a river path with lovely landscaping. More adventurous souls can ride the Current which rides on a mile long river which has rolling waves, escalators, rapids and other thrilling elements
Then there is the Power Tower that’s an awe inspiring 120 feet tower with 4 adrenaline inducing slides. The Abyss proceeds in darkness and has a 50 feet vertical drop while the Falls run through a water roller coaster. The Surge ride that drops into a dark cavern and then rushes off into white water rapids also gives an adrenaline rush like the Drop which has a startling drop though darkness.
Like many other facilities in the Atlantis resort complex, the Aquaventure can be experienced by hotel guests as well as general tourists. Besides the stunning Leap of Faith, there are multiple water slides. There are 20 swimming areas including special play zones for children and 11 different pools plus beaches.
The Aquaventure is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. everyday. If you want to avoid peak hours then before 11 a.m. and after 4 p.m. are good time slots. For about 204$ per person (kids below age 4 are allowed for free) you can visit the Aquaventure Waterpark, enjoy lunch and go for a 90 minute interaction program with dolphins at Atlantis Dolphin Cay. Or you can get a full day Aquaventure pass/ Atlantis day pass… you can get the pass details here
Unlike other places inside Atlantis, it’s possible to get affordable combo meals inside Aquaventure, simply order a sandwich French fry chips and soda compo (costs round 12$) at an eatery like Zero entry and Shark Bites. You can also chill out at the private cabanas at the Baths Pool that has food and drinks service, shade, plug ins for your electronic devices and a chance to get your bearings together after all those adrenaline rushing rides.
3. Meet the Dolphins at Blue Lagoon Island
Just 3 miles away from Nassau there is a peaceful oasis of white and blue (Salt Cay) and the Dolphins have made this their home. Once upon a time the pirates used to forage this area for culling sand and that’s how Salt Cay was named.
The Blue Lagoon was privately owned (1916 to 1979) by Mc Cutcheon family and that point it was known as Treasure Island. European Royalty and American power stars used to visit the Treasure Island and enjoy the hospitality of the family and the charms of this oasis.
It was LA Meister, the next owner who discovered the presence of profuse dolphins near the island and created the now famous ‘Dolphin Encounters’. Today a visit to Nassau is incomplete without a Blue Lagoon trip and this is even a favorite stop for all Disney cruise trips. You will reach Blue Lagoon from Nassau in about 20 minutes and the commonest vehicle is a double decker catamaran. Once you reach, participate in an array of exciting programs.
The most famous interaction program here is Dolphin Encounter that’s preceded by an orientation which briefs visitors about Dolphin history, animal training processes, watchable wildlife and ocean ecology. Guests stand on a submerged platform and playfully interact with dolphins …hugging them and clicking pictures with them.
Then there is the Royal Dolphin swim (around 250$ per adult) where after the platform interaction with dolphins, guests get to engage with 2 trained dolphins in the lagoon beach waters and then ride a boogie board. There is free beach access before and after the beach program and there is no lack of entertainment on the Blue Lagoon. You will find huge table games like Jenga, Chinese checkers and chess and there are giant lounge chairs and hammocks on which you can laze around under the palm trees. Water sports and refreshing cocktails can also be experienced at an added fee.
There are other marine life interaction programs here as well like Sting Ray encounters and Sea Lion encounters (1 hour sessions) that expose guests to sting rays and sea lions in a controlled environment guided by trained staff. Last but not the least, Dolphin encounters will print out your pictures with the cute dolphins on mugs, mouse pads and key chains and you can buy some amazing keepsakes.
4. Dive with sharks in Stuart Cove near Nassau
Stuart Cove is famous for offering structured encounters with sharks to scuba divers of varying expertise ranges. Lurking in the waters are Caribbean reef sharks, tiger sharks and nurse sharks but they are maintained in a controlled environment so this is a wildly entertaining marine interaction program rather than an eco-tourism venture. Stuart Cove’s shark arena is very popular.
Many independent operators offer shark dives too but the most authentic experience is provided by Stuart Cove who are known for their 2 tank dives
. There are 4 sites for these dive and two combinations; opt for shark wall and Arena or the Shark wall north and Runway. The Arena combination has the best reviews.
The shark diver will have to pay around 182$ for this experience and hotel to and fro transport is included in the price. The dive is for a couple of hours and tanks, weight belts and weights plus drinking water are provided free of cost though divers have to bring their own wetsuits and dive gear.
If you want to go a step further then go for the 2 tank drive along with a shark specialty awareness course …the package deal is offered at 250$ per person. Other experiences like shark feeder programs and shark wrangler/ shooter programs are also offered at higher costs.
Incidentally shark wrangling or Shark photography became a rage in Stuart Cove after sharks were shot there for James Bond Films like ‘For your eyes only’ and ‘Never Say Never again’. The night dive is especially exciting with a professionally trained shark feeder equipped with a bait box who accompanies the divers. Adrenaline rushed sharks rushing towards their meals with their jaws open makes for an adventure for the brave hearted.
Passionate photographers would love the experience of capturing those white fangs framed against the night waters. Sometimes feeders pet the shark and they enter a relaxed phase called ‘tonic immobility’. This is the perfect chance to interact with the sharks. Videos and photos are taken of all dives and you can watch all of them for free at the dive centre or opt to purchase the content.
5. Sign up for a Snorkeling adventure
Bahamian waters are always crystal clear with visibility ranging from 50 feet to 100 feet which is why snorkelers consider Bahamas to be their dream destination. The great thing about snorkeling is that you don’t have to know how to dive and you don’t even have to be a great swimmer. A simple 20 minute session with a PADI instructor will make you ready for your snorkeling adventure.
Snorkeling adventures are offered all around the islands so you are likely to have plenty of choice no matter where you choose to holiday in. If you are in Nassau then exploring the brain corals and finger coral reefs around the islands with an experienced operator like Bahama Divers
might be a good idea. Or you could go for the Stuart Cove snorkeling adventure in which the presence of sharks adds a thrill element. Or maybe you could sign up for a snorkeling trip with Brendals Dive Centre in Green Turtle Cay where you can actually get a chance to feed wild stingrays.
In case you are a snorkeling novice then allying with UNExSO that’s the best dive and snorkeling center in the Grand Bahama is a good idea. They have a dolphin snorkeling adventure around Grand Bahama that will allow you to observe bottle nose dolphins in their natural environment.
If exclusivity and undisturbed ecology is what you prefer in a snorkeling experience then Mermaid Reef is a good choice… an extraordinarily beautiful reef perched along the Pelican shores in Marsh Harbor that is community protected.
Mermaid reef is a local coral research site and an environmental protection group called Friends of the Environment conducts regular research programs on the ecology of coral and marine life here. There is amazing diversity of marine life here and much has been done to boost it. In fact artificial reef balls have been installed onsite to encourage the dwellings of fish. Great Abaco Tours is one of the few tour operators in this area that conduct guided snorkelling tours of the Mermaid Reef.
Then there are exclusively snorkeling oriented resorts like the Riding Rock Resort and Marina
in San Salvador that gives visitors access to some of Bahama’s most untouched and beautiful reef ecosystems. This family run set up has been around since 1960 and conducts snorkeling trips at about 50 different spots around the island. San Salvador is known for being a hub for rare and endangered fauna and you have a much better chance of spotting rare marine life forms here.
6. Try fresh Conch salad
In Bahamas Conch Salad has been around from eternity and local sellers will simply crack the conch shell (Creole) when you ask for it before mixing little cut pieces of conch flesh with pineapple, onion, tomato, bell pepper and a dash of lime (and sometimes orange juice too).
Sometimes cilantro and chillies are sprinkled on top and the salad has a tangy sweet and flavorful taste that will keep you asking for second helpings. You should make it a point of trying out Conch salad when you are in Bahamas and every island has its own favorite Conch stand.
Dino’s Gourmet Conch Salad in West Bay Area of Nassau calls themselves the pioneers of the tropical conch salad and its nice seeing the staff here whip up the salad dexterously right in front of the hungry audience. There is a shop that does full justice to its name ‘Conch Salad Extraodinare’ on East Bay Street, Nassau.
The Potters Cay Fish Shack area sits under the bridge underneath the Atlantis resort…this area is a compilation of dubious looking shacks (best not visited after dusk) that serve amazing cracked conch, conch salad and other Bahamian delicacies. Andros and Twin Brothers in Arawak Cay (Fish Fry) area of Nassau are known for their juicy crunchy conch salad too. Try Goldie’s Conch House at Arawak Cay
The budget eateries of Nassau and Paradise Island teem over with delicious local food like grouper and rice, snapper, fried conch fritters etc… click here to know more about them
If you are visiting Grand Bahama then do visit Da Conch Man (Daddy Brown’s Conch Stand) on Seahorse Road (near Port Lucaya Market) and take away some of its stupendous Conch salad in Styrofoam cup along with some hot sauce. Then there is Terry’s Conch Salad stand at Smith’s Point Grand Bahama and Tony Macaroni’s Conch Experience on Taino Beach... both have superlative offerings. Every island in the Bahamas has its own hidden conch salad hub and it’s almost like a treasure hunt when you arrive and begin your quest for the perfect conch salad!!!
7. Gamble your way to riches in the casinos of Nassau
There is gambling paradise outside L.A and it doesn’t even require you to play large stakes. In fact with just 10 dollars in your pocket you can have a great (and legal) gambling experience. While there are casinos in Grand Bahama and other parts of the island... the cream of the lot is in Nassau and Paradise Island. A visit to these casinos…overlooking the sea/ luminous pools is an unforgettable experience. And an unmatched chance of hitting the jackpot.
Baha Mar Casino (Grand Hyatt, Nassau) glimmers with its wildly expensive chandelier and offers floor to ceiling windows that showcase the ocean. Every inch of the 100,000 sq. feet space is crammed with gaming salons and consoles. Try your luck at the 1150 slot machines that provide access to wheels of fortune, poker, stepper and electronic games. 4 separate gaming salons for high stakes and an array of exclusive tables for blackjack switch, Ultimate Texas Hold Em, Let it Ride, Casino war and so many other awesome games.
Sandwiched between the splendid Royal Tower and Coral tower, the Atlantis Casino has gorgeous skylights plus the distinct advantage of remaining open 24 hours a day. Gaming and gambling events are a regularity here and there is a dedicated Race and Sports book. There are more than 700 slot machines with games like shadow diamond, Sindbad, pharaoh wheel, super rise of Ra and howling wolf.
Atlantis Casino, Paradise Island
Photo: Nugget04, flickr, cc by 2.0
You can gamble at the Atlantis even if you have a few cents in your pocket... the game range and denomination array is diverse. There are free gaming lessons everyday so this is literally gaming paradise on Paradise Island. The Atlantis also offers guests the chance to gamble in the sun (besides the pool on less!!) and there is a small Cove called the Cain…fitted up with Blackjack tables. The Atlantis has hosted the PCA (Poker Star Caribbean Adventure) since the year 2005 and it’s now a glorious (and widely reported) annual tradition.
Surprising fact: Google gambling in Bahamas and you will know that it’s absolutely legal for tourists and illegal for its residents.
8. Swim with the pigs in Outer Exuma
One of the 365 islands in the Exuma chain, the Big Major Cay (minutes away from the famous Staniel Cay) isn’t inhabited by humans though it has a roaring social life. Its porcine inhabitants attract hundreds of tourists each day and it’s famously referred to as the Pig Island in Bahamian circles. A person named Wayde Nixon claims to have brought the first pigs here in 1990 with the intention of opening a pig farm.
However the pigs bred prodigiously and soon broke out of their pens and began roaming around the island. Some locals say that visiting pirates dropped off the pigs and sailed away and the pigs survived while others say that the pigs are the survivors of a shipwreck. Whatever the reason, the multitude of pigs that run/ swim towards visitors as they approach the island is an unforgettable sight.
Big Major Cay is about 65 miles away from the north end of Great Exuma i.e. roughly a 2 hour boat ride away. Incidentally there is another Pig Island White Bay Cay that’s smaller and a 10 minute ride away from Big Major. Either way there are plenty of pigs and piglets on both spots and both island loyalists claim that their island is the original one!!
The tradition here is to feed chicken hot dogs to the pigs, pose with them and maybe cuddle a few cute piglets. As you walk along the shore you will realize that the pigs are cared for well…there are troughs full of water, vegetables and fruits meant for the pigs. Don’t try to poke the pigs or irritate them in any way…they might get snappy.
If you want to make the Pig Island the highlight of your trip then staying in Fowl Cay Resort or Staniel Cay Yacht Club will be your best choice…they are both minutes away from Big Major Cay by boat and they have nice lunch places too. Or else you can team up with an independent Eco Tour Exuma service provider like Robert Island Adventure
who will set up a customized day tour for you.
9. Try the Nassau mini submarine underwater tour
Even if you are not a diver but snorkeler, you can sign up for the magnificent mini SUB adventure. A simple briefing session that will teach you piloting skills and body language signs is the only prep course given before adventurers are each given their own support vessel (55’). The site is a lovely coral reef garden that teems with live coral and colorful fish.
The SUB is not a traditional Submarine… it’s more like a stylish underwater motorcycle with a two feet clear dome that’s called the ‘bubble’. The bubble ensures that your head doesn’t get wet and you can wear your eyewear safely. You can breathe regularly and there is no need of using snorkel tubes. Air flows inside the ‘Bubble’ through a SCUBA cylinder.
The SUB is run by a tiny battery operated engine that the adventurer will have full control over. The movements of the SUB are controlled by safety divers who take the submarine up and down a control line while a buoy tethered to the Sub prevents deep descents.
Many independent operators in Nassau offer the mini Sub adventure but its best to go with Stuart Cove authorities who are the pioneers in this field. Just for general knowledge, their Submarine adventure site is different from the shark dive site so there is little or no chance that mini Sub divers will encounter sharks. Read about their submarine adventures here
These are 3 hour sessions (including to and fro transport plus briefing session and SUB adventure) that are offered in the mornings (9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.) and afternoon (1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.) and they cost around 138 $ per person. The entire submarine excursion is video graphed and still photos are taken… all of which you can watch and purchase later. You can also take your own underwater camera along.
Independent operators like Bahamas Cruise Excursions also offer the SUB adventure and this one offers round trip transportation from cruise ships apart from hotels. Their adventures are longer (5.5 hours) and slightly pricier (150 $ per person). Check out their submarine adventures here
10. Experience the Junkanoo music festival
Many eons ago, enslaved Africans working on Bahamian plantations used to celebrate their few meager days of holidays around Christmas with much bonhomie, music and dance. Much after the slave trade died and all races were freed, the Junkanoo (named after a legendary folk hero/ West Africa prince John Canoe) continued to flourish and right now it’s one of the primary cultural attractions of Bahamas.
Junkanoo is celebrated all over the Bahamas but its glorious epicenter is downtown Nassau. Trance inducing rhythms are played by musicians on horns, goatskin drums, whistles and cowbells. Dancers wearing super imaginative costumes fashioned out of cardboard, colored crepe, cloth and loads of glitter will display tremendous energy in their dance movements. Parades of performers walk down the streets and there are prizes for the best performances.
Not only does the Junkanoo parade with its professional dancers and artists attract lots of attention but it’s a treat to watch the kids in all Bahamian Schools participate in something called the ‘Junior Junkanoo’ which is basically a miniature version of the original Junkanoo. Kids are actually trained in the Junkanoo art in their schools so they can grow up and identify with their culture and possibly become successful Junkanoo artists.
Bleacher seats are located along Bay Street, Shirley Street and Rawson Square in Nassau. Buy your Bleacher seats from the Norfolk House (Frederick Street Downtown Nassau). Or else spend a little more and grab a private balcony overlooking Bay Street... restaurants tie up to offer free alcohol and finger food along with tickets. For around 150$ you can get a balcony seating, buy tickets from the Athena Café Bar and Restaurant/ Bahama Jammers.
Or else hustle with the crowds and watch the parades for free from the sidewalks. The festivities start around 12.00 a.m. and continue till 10 a.m. the next day…so arrive by 11.00 a.m. to catch your seat.
If you cannot experience the Junkanoo in Nassau then catch the carnival at Grand Bahama Island, Harbour Island, Abacos, Exuma or Bimini. Traditionally the festival has always taken place around New Year and Boxing Day (26th December) but the popularity of this event prompted the Ministry of Tourism to create the Junkanoo Summer Festival that happens in June and July each year.
The multi day festival is more a showcase of the local musical community and many international artists drop in to perform. The ‘Da Cultural Village’ in Grand Bahama and Nassau have excellent music master programs dramas, dance performances and activities galore. Prices for tickets range from 15$ for a single day ticket to 50$ for a weekend ticket.
Other options to taste the Junkanoo flavor is to participate in the Friday Junkanoo night at Marina Village
, Atlantis Resort Paradise Island (from 9.30 p.m.).
11. Explore Thunderball Grotto
The Thunderball Grotto owes its name to the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball which was shot there. Then in 1983 another James Bond Film ‘Never Say Never Again’ was shot here again. By this time the world had woken up to the wonders of this enchanting snorkeling, wading and diving hotspot which happens to be a part of the Exuma Islands
. There is fantastical range of marine life in this grotto including sergeant Majors, yellowtail snappers and Angel Fish all showcased in a fascinating setting of light, shadow and coral.
Even for an island terrain with fantastic diversity like Exuma… the Thunderball Grotto is still an exception. The Swiss cheese like cave system has holes punched right through it and divers and snorkelers go right into those holes to experience probably the most wondrous oceanic sights ever.
As you swim through a rather small (and unimpressive looking hole) into the unknown waters you reach an extensive underwater cave system that has been created by the ocean during millions of years. Bursts of lights (nature’s own skylights) lights up the huge caverns and millions of colored fish are reflected in them. Exploring the caves of the Grotto is exactly like being inside an aquarium.
The Thunderball Grotto experience isn’t scary or doesn’t require specialized proficiency as the cave has light coming in from every direction…its punched full of holes. The water is clearly lit up and you can see all the fantastic coral formations and even the patterns on the fish in detail. The best thing about the Grotto is that if you enter at low tide its perfectly safe and only snorkeling equipment is sufficient. At high tide though (recommended only for experienced divers) it’s compulsory to use diving equipment.
Thunderball Grotto is very close to Staniel Cay (the jewel in the crown of 365 islands that make up Exuma). If you stay at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (best accommodation here) then you get complimentary snorkelling gear along with a list of certified guides who can help you explore Thunderball Grotto.
If you are based in any of the major Exuma islands you can charter a private boat with a guide to the Thunderball Grotto (check out the list of service providers here). Or if you are based in George Town you could team up with tour providers like ToursusExuma.
Then there are providers like Exumawatertours who pick up guests from all Nassau and Great Exuma resorts and take them on a package tour of Thunderball Grotto and the Swimming pigs. It’s highly recommended that you do an exclusive Thunderball Grotto tour with an expert guide…. the experience is too unique to be combined with other attractions.
12. Tour the Lucayan National Park in Grand Bahama
The Lucayan National Park spreads well over 40 acres and is one of the major attractions of the islands. The jewel in the crown of Lucayan National Park is the incredibly beautiful Gold Rock beach. The beach has been used as a location in one of the Pirates of Caribbean movies. You can take an easy trek along a boardwalk to reach the pristine white sands of the rather secluded beach.
Incidentally the southern part of Lucayan National park is home to the largest charted underwater limestone cave system. You need a permit from UNEXSO to visit the caves and they are all tightly supervised. You can only explore these submerged caves through decks and ladders so a minimum fitness level is mandatory.
The most famous of the lot is Bens Cave that’s directly opposite the road from the Gold Rock Beach. There is a circular staircase down to the mouth of the cave and then you reach a viewing platform from where experienced divers can dive off into its bowels while others can peer down its depths. There are bats hovering around but its worthwhile examining the walls of the cave….the spongy limestone structure and the water marks and fossilized conch shells are truly unique!!
There is fascinating lore associated with this area…it's said that in 1986 the belongings of the Lucayan tribes were discovered in the underwater caves here. The Lucayans probably used the submerged caves for burials and shelter.
As many as 6 ecosystems can be identified easily on entering the park. There is the pine forest ecosystem, beach ecosystem, white land coppices (full of poisonwood), black land coppices (full of fig and satin leaf), rocky coppices (full of prickly vegetation) and a large stretch of marshy mangroves. Ornithologists will love the wide variety of bird species populating the park like olive capped warbler, Bahama swallow, thick billed vireo etc and botanists will appreciate the incredible range of Flora.
Lucayan National Park asks for an entry fee of 5$ and it’s completely possible to discover its charms without a guide. However if you want to kayak/ paddle boat through the mangrove forests bordering the park and go on a guided nature walk and cave visit then sign up for the Official 90 minute tour
offered by the Bahamas National Park Authorities (tours cost 89$ each).
13. Dive into the 2nd largest blue hole in the world
The rather laid back Long Island has many charms but the Deans Blue Hole is incomparable. The diving and snorkeling community rave about it but it’s the scientists who are its biggest fans. For this is the world’s second deepest known blue hole that has a sudden drop of about 660 feet from the powdery sand beach. Dean’s hole is twice the depth of any discovered underwater cave in the Bahamas.
The cave room following the entrance is 240 feet (width) x 350 feet (length) x 603 feet (height) thus making it the biggest cave room in the world. Naturally this is a free diving mecca and numerous diving records have been broken and re-established here. Every year the Vertical Blue Free Diving Competition is held here that attracts millions of tourists and extraordinary media coverage.
There is almost always a platform over the hole giving divers and their cameras a solid base….numerous stunning documentaries have been made on Deans hole dives!! Free diving equipment is provided so for most divers a guide/ helper isn’t required to explore the Deans Hole. For non divers a beach picnic, photography and simply swimming/ wading in the waters can be an incredible experience.
You will find the Deans Hole at the south end of Long Island …some 3 miles north to Clarence Town and like all of Long Island this area has poor signage too. However once you reach, the lovely powdery white beach that surrounds the hole on one side and the rocky amphitheater that flanks it on the other 3 makes for spectacular photography. If you aren’t a diver then just peering down the deep columns of water that stretches down from the 100 feet diameter circular hole…is an interesting experience.
Climb to the rocky sides of the hole and you will see fishes swimming inside…and the sand slowly slipping into it like an hourglass. If you are lucky you might even see some baby turtles though marine life is found in greater variety at the nearby Turtle’s cove. The Deans Blue hole doesn’t have strong currents and is safe for surface swimming even for kids (accompanied by adults). Proximity wise, the Winter Havens resort is closest to the blue hole but facility wise, the Stella Marris Resort has the most organized scuba diving/ snorkeling facilities. Check out the diving packages of Stella Marris here
14. Take a Glass bottom boat tour around Grand Bahama
Glass bottom boats are large (mostly double decker) air conditioned comfortable vessels that have perfectly transparent floors which provide crystal clear views of the waters and the amazing marine life that dwells in them. Glass bottom boat tours are very popular all around Bahamas but Freeport is considered to be one of the hubs of such boating tours.
There are lots of shallow reefs around Grand Bahama that are home to a staggering array of marine life and there are submerged wrecks that are interesting to view. The waters around the island also hide a lot of shipwrecks, submerged coral gardens and caves that are magnets for divers and snorkelers and often you will find glass bottom boat tour operators offering diving expeditions in conjunction with boat rides.
A typical glass bottom boat tour will take you to the well developed shallow reefs surrounding the island to examine the beautiful marine life there. If you take a guided tour/ tour with a narrative then it’s easier to appreciate and examine the symbiotic relationships between the coral reefs and the fishes, turtles and barracuda that lurk there. Some tours also include a visit to famous shipwrecks around like Theo’s shipwreck/ Brit’s Wreck and include diving excursions that further examine the diversity of marine life that has now made the ship its home.
There can be excursions to intriguing coral formations like ‘Coopers Castle’ where you can get an opportunity to feed the fish. It’s a treat to watch beauties like the Blue Angelfish, Queen Angelfish, Banded Butterfly fish, Ocean Surgeonfish frolic in their natural habitat. These tours are especially suitable for the elderly and young kids who may not be able to participate in snorkeling, swimming trips.
Spots around Brit’s wreck have a good concentration of sharks and some tour operators include a shark feeding experience in the glass bottom boat tour thus adding to the thrill quotient. Depending upon the boat tour you chose there will be large observation windows that line the hull of the vessel and you can see approaching reefs, beaches and attractions.
Reef Tours Freeport
offers a 90 minute glass bottom boat tour with a visit to Coopers Castle and Brits Wreck along with possible shark sightings/ feedings.
15. Soak in the charms of Pink Beach at Harbour Island
Harbour Island is fast becoming the number one sought after destination for a luxurious yet unobtrusive Bahamian holiday. The island is only 3.5 miles long and about half a mile wide and there are about 2000 odd residents but there are so many boutique resorts and sumptuous restaurants that its popularity can easily be gauged.
Of course, none of the attractions on Harbour Island can remotely compare to its glorious Pink Sand beach (located on Eastern Atlantic ocean side) whose sand is pretty enough to be displayed in a showcase in your living room. The pale pink tinge of the sand is supposed to be the gift of millions of Foraminifera (tiny coral insects) that have red or pink shells full of holes. These Foraminifera dwell on the underside of reefs and caves like the Devils Backbone. When these tiny insects die, their pinkish remains are washed ashore by the waves giving the sands a pretty pink color.
The beach is a perfect place to spend some hours relaxing and sun bathing and practising photography skills. You can also ride on horseback on the Harbour Island beaches and there are multiple operators who offer this experience. It’s a treat to watch the horses gracefully weave their way amongst the waves. If you are a scuba diver then you might want to do a high speed drift dive at the Current Cut Off that’s a few minutes boat ride away.
Diving equipment are easily available from the Ocean Fox Dive Shop (Harbour Island Marina) and the Valentine’s Dive Center (Valentine’s Marina near Government Dock). You could also tie up with local boatmen who specialize in demonstrating their knowledge about the local waters
For reaching Harbour Island you need to fly into North Eleuthera airport and then take a taxi to the dock before hopping on a sort boat ride to the Harbour Island
It's technically possible to make a day trip to Harbour Island from Nassau but the boutique resorts will tempt you into staying for at least a couple of days. Some of the best ones are Ocean View Club and Dunmore, Pink Sand Resort, Coral Sands Hotel and The Rock House. There are excellent places to dine at Harbour Island and none of them are inexpensive…offering similar and sometimes higher standards than restaurants on Nassau. There is Ocean view Club, the Rock House, Da Vine and Sushi (a Nobu chef operates this) and the Landing… all perfect for lingering lovely lunches and dinners.
16. Explore Hope Town in Elbow Cay
Bahamas is known for its relaxed pace of life and one of the best places to experience this aspect and get an intimate exposure to the islands history…is Hope Town. You could almost say that time forgot this place as everything moves at an ultra-slow pace and people seem to be enjoying a permanent vacation. The picture perfect settlement of Hope Town on Elbow Cay has a fantastic 37 meter lighthouse that’s probably the most photographed man made attraction on the Out Islands.
The candy striped Lighthouse made by the British dates back to 1860 and is kerosene fuelled…a rarity in every sense. You need to climb up 7 flights of stairs to reach the top and then squeeze yourself through a 3 feet by 3 feet opening before you actually gain access to the view that supersedes all expectations. The lighthouse is an institution in itself s don’t forget to buy a souvenir to remember it by…you will find an associated gift shop here.
Hope town has a picture postcard feel about it…expect little gingerbread houses in pastel shades. Everything is scrupulously maintained and clean and there are a lot of vacation rentals around. Right at its heart there is the Byrle Patterson Memorial Garden with its shaded pagodas and palm trees. Then there’s the Malone Museum that gives visitors a good insight into how the original residents lived.
Incidentally Hope Town is one of the earliest Loyalist Settlements…they fled USA to remain a part of the British Crown. This is a quaint Car free zone with two exclusive remarkable roads; Up Along and Down Along… both of which run along the water. Lunch at the Hope town Lodge overlooking the Azure waters or the vibrant Captain Jack’s. Sip Coffee at the Hope Town Coffee House and take umpteen pictures of the tropical Bougainvillea that fills up the entire town.
If you visit Elbow Cay then don’t miss a visit to the incredibly lovely Tahiti Beach… its isolation adds to its charm. There is a fantastic bar here called Thirsty Cuda.
Photo: Killian77, flickr, cc by 2.0
If you want more adventure you could rent a kayak from Abaco Eco Tours
that covers other cute little cays like Man O War Cay and Guana Cay.
Or you could team up with Froggie’s Out Island Adventure
for a day trip and explore the Abaco waters from their double decker boats. For the record, Froggie’s is the best dive shop in Abacos.
It’s super easy to get to Elbow Cay; all you have to do is to take a ferry/ boat to the Elbow Cay from Marsh Harbour Dock and Sandy Point Dock. Elbow Cay is only about 6.5 km away from Marsh Harbour so it’s relatively easy to reach. Once you are done with your visit keep this place a secret.
17. A fishing vacation at Treasure Cay
Abacos is the king when it comes to fishing especially big game fishing in the Bahamas. Schools of Blue Marlins and big dolphins migrate to this region every spring and summer season. One of the prettiest fishing spots in Abacos is the Treasure Cay that provides access to Wahoo, grouper, snapper, blue marlin etc. Treasure Cay is about 17 miles away from Marsh Harbour and is well known as a vacation community that gives tourists a slice of the perfect beach life plus deep sea, bay and bone fishing.
This is not a separate island but a peninsula that’s conjoined with Great Abaco by a narrow piece of land. The Treasure Cay beach is extremely pretty and has baby white sands while the water is a million shades of blue and extremely clear.
There are some really nice resorts at Treasure Cay and most of the have their own marinas and offer great fishing packages. Book your own cottage at Treasure Cay Resort and Marina and avail your choice from the wide variety of fishing excursions and packages on offer…the resort has a snazzy 164 slip marina and its super easy to rent a boat from here. The ferry ‘Prozac’ runs from here to the Guana Cay and other places so it’s convenient doing little day trips too!!
Then there is Bahama Beach Club with its luxury Condos, Jacuzzis and 150 slip Marina that’s also a nice vacation choice. Or you could tie up with an independent operator like Captain Mark
who does fishing expeditions, dives and Island tours.
On your Treasure Cay vacation you should definitely check out the Ceramics shop, Blue hole and the highest point of Abaco Islands. There are loads of great restaurants here including Coco Bar, Touch of Class and Treasure Sands Club besides the incredibly popular Tipsy Seagull.
While Treasure Cay is known for a sophisticated holiday experience, the whole of Abaco islands including Marsh Harbour, Green Turtle Cay and the shallow flats of Great Abaco (marls) are super bone fishing hubs. For knowing more about the beautiful Abaco islands click here
18. Pick up souvenirs from the Straw Market in Nassau
The straw industry is part of the ancient heritage of Bahamas and if you examine old pictures of the islands you will see locals using straw bags and kids playing with straw dolls. It’s impossible to be in Bahamas and not appreciate the handcrafted straw items found here. There are many straw markets across Nassau and Paradise Island and indeed all over the islands but the downtown market is special.
The straw market in downtown Nassau is easily the biggest and the oldest…it dates back to 1940. It burnt down later around 2001 though and a newer structure was erected (2011) which still remains.
The straw market exudes a flea market ambience though its air conditioned and as you make your way through the 600 vendors selling assorted items like purses, bags, dolls and hats…you will also see clothes, jewelry, book marks and souvenirs that are all locally made. A particular section is devoted to selling wood crafted goods like mugs and cups, dolls, stands etc. There is another section dedicated to selling lovely artistic creations made of conch shells.
Like every such market across the globe you will also find china manufactured fridge magnets, flimsy T-shirts and plastic stuff in garish colors… which you should steer clear off. An intelligent shopper will quickly nose out traditional Bahamian straw craft, wood craft and conch art (the three local craft strains most popular today) and pick up a range of souvenirs for friends and family. Kids will love the ample variety of local toys including wooden and straw ones besides the colorful vibe and energy of the market.
The lanes between the stalls are hot and become stuffy during peak shopping hours. Vendors try to grab attention in any way they can so it’s not an unobtrusive experience. There is a lot of haggling so sharpen your bargaining skills before you visit. Overall, this is the biggest straw market in Bahamas and one of the best places to experience and support the local craft.
One of the highlights of your shopping experience will be to see the local straw artists, wood carvers etc. in action… they make pieces sitting right there in their stalls!! Shopping here is also recommended for extending your support towards the local community
You will find the Nassau straw market a little distance away from the cruise terminal on Prince George Wharf. It’s open every day for 12 hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
19. Try the island cocktails
Bars in Bahamas are well stocked with all kinds of international drinks brands but it’s the local ones here that are the stars of the show. Bahamas is famous for its cocktails and frozen Daiquiris and they are all primarily fruit based with strong tropical flavors and wildly inventive names….mostly inspired from music.
Goombay Smash owes its name to the popular folk music style of Bahamas… Goombay Smash originated from the Little Blue Bee Bar in Abacos where Emily Cooper’s family still continues the tradition. But now the drink is found all over the islands… a strong fruity tropical flavored punch with lots of foam.
Yellow Bird (a rum blend with lots of citrus fruits) also owes its name to a song. And then there is Bahama Mama…inspired by the theatrical and wildly popular Maureen Duvalier. Bahama Mama is basically fruity rum based drink with vanilla liquor infusions. The Pineapple Upside Down Martini pays homage to the country’s love for pineapples… grenadine, sweetened rum and vanilla vodka create a delicious mix that many have likened to liquid Rum Cake.
Sky Juice/ Gully Wash is a concoction of coconut water, condensed milk and gin and sometimes with chunks of coconut floating in it… those with a sweet tooth will enjoy it. The Painkiller cocktail is said to be the perfect antidote to the Bahamian Sun. It’s deliciously concocted from pineapple juice, coconut cream, orange juice, rum and a hint of nutmeg.
The best friend of the Bahamian sun are frozen Daiquiris…. delicious frozen drinks with loads of tropical fruits and loaded with potent alcohol percentages. It’s a sacrilege to leave Bahamas without trying at least a couple of these beauties.
If you are in Nassau then any of the Twin Brothers Outlets (East Bay, Arawak Cay
, and Potters Cay etc.) are great for tasting Bahamian frozen Daiquiris. There is Coconut, Pineapple, Guava, Strawberry and Miami Vice all whipped up straight in front of your eyes as the blenders run at full speed and mixologists work their art. Daiquiri Shack at Marina Village
on Paradise Island lets visitors choose from a wide range of ingredients and they have some great in-house specials like Atlantis Dirty Banana Daiquiri and Guava Pina Colada.
20. Sail in the southern Exuma
The relatively unexplored and lovely island trio of Acklins Island, Crooked Island and Long Cay encircle the Bight of Acklin that’s a 500 sq. mile lagoon. This is probably the best place to simply wade in the Bahamas and watch out for marine life and birds. The sea is shallow here and white sands carpet the ocean floor and there are a multitude of sand bars and nurseries of mangroves.
Photographed from above, this area appears like a tapestry with blue inlets and creeks slicing into the white and green coast. And if you manage to hire a boat then there are unlimited opportunities. There is the French Wells Channel between Crooked Island and Long Island and then there is the picturesque lovely Bay besides other places like Snake Cay (known for its Iguanas), Chester’s Bay (known for stingrays) etc.
The star though is the Turtle Sound Waterway….it’s called an inland river and its clear blue green water seems to have stepped out from a postcard. The Turtle sound waterway runs from the east end of the French Wells Channel to the Moss Town and Settlements of Sea View and is teeming full of turtles while unnamed species of birds flit in and around the mangrove clumps surrounding it.
Incidentally despite their immense natural beauty neither Acklins Island nor Crooked Island are easy to reach… their remoteness adds to their charm. Your best bet is to hire a private charter boat from George Town, Great Exuma and then sail for the South Exuma from there. There are many private yacht charters in George Town but Navtours
is currently most preferred for remote destinations like the Acklins and Crooked Island.
Flights to the Acklins and Crooked Island air bases are offered from Nassau twice a week but to reach Long Cay its compulsory to take a boat from Crooked Island. The lack of facilities in this part of the world makes these great places to explore but not particularly comfortable places to stay in. Kayaking and bone fishing are top activities in this area.
Sailing in this area is the most un-touristy experience you could get in the Bahamas. Tie up your boat in the local anchorage and wade up the beach to dine at the many nameless local places that serve unbelievably great chowder and conch salad and then move on to your next destination. The remarkable lack of other sailors in this area is just the icing on the cake.
21. Dive at Andros Great Barrier Reef
The Andros Barrier Reef is the 3rd largest living organism on earth (its body is made of live coral) and it’s roughly 305 km long. A huge variety of marine life dwell in the reefs and nearly 165 different strains of fish have been identified. You will find the Barrier Reef running parallel to the eastern coast of Andros and commanding a depth that varies from 2.5 meters to 1.8 km.
A staggering volume of deep water sponges, groupers, snappers, moray eels, marlins, sailfish, turtles, octopus, lobsters and even reef sharks swim around the reefs.
The great thing about diving at Andros Reef is that even beginners can explore it as there are protected sites. Proficient divers will want to explore the walls created by the Mythical Tongue of the Ocean (southern chunk of Great Bahama Canyon) that touches the western banks of Andros.
The Tongue of the Ocean is a U shaped 240 km trench (about 32 km wide) which separates the islands of Andros and New Providence. This remarkable tongue shaped structure had been formed by geological erosions in the course of centuries though its origins date back to the Ice age.
Most dives take place from speedboats and Liveaboards and it’s highly recommended to dive around here with a guide who can ensure safety and brief divers about the beautiful marine environment around.
Incidentally each year in the end of January, more than 30,000 Nassau groupers spawn eggs on the Andros Reef and it’s one of the widely celebrated naturalist events of the world. Another natural wonder in the Andros is the Blue Holes National Park containing the highest concentration of blue holes ever…all of them great diving sites. Andros in general is celebrated as a snorkelers and divers paradise with spots like Central Park, Great Cay, Red Shoal, Libens Point and Solarium.
One great place to stay-over on the Andros when planning to do a series of dives is the Small Hope Bay Lodge
which advertises itself as the first dive lodge of the Bahamas. There are numerous dive sites near the lodge and an expert selection of dive instructors, SCUBA guides and dive masters. They have more than 60 dives on offer including night dives so you will be spoilt for choice. They even offer PADI open water courses and adventure water courses besides training novice Scuba divers. Learn more about their offerings here. You can take a ferry from Nassau to reach Andros or charter a flight.
22. Watch sunset on the Como Hill in Cat Island
Mt. Alverina or Como Hill doesn’t look like it belongs to Cat Island… its architecture and ambience is distinctively Mediterranean - European. The air is sombre and spiritual and when you stand at the top of the Como Hill you can see all the points of interest of Cats Island….the Arawak Cave, the spoiled plantations of Deveaux Mansion and Ambrister plantation. You can also see the waters of the Atlantic Ocean as well as Caribbean Sea.
The church atop the hill looks quite large from the ground but as you climb you will realize that it’s moderately sized with its bell tower slightly exceeding 10 feet. However think about the fact that only one man built the entire place with his own bare hands you will again be awed. The Hermitage dates back to 1939 and was built by Monsignor John Hawes (called by Bahamians as Father Jerome) who was an exceedingly talented sculptor and architect.
The Mt Alverina on Como Hill presented a perfect spot for spiritual contemplation and it was here that he built the church in which he spent his last few years in the pursuit of the almighty…he was buried at a cave near this site too. Incidentally, the inspiration behind the Hermitage on Como Hill is the St Francis Assisi church of Tuscany that was built on the La Verna hilltop.
Once at the Hermitage check out Father Jerome’s bedchamber and writing desk and don’t miss signing the guest book….it has entrees from all corners of the globe. Incidentally Father Jerome was a prolific builder… he has no less than 8 churches in Australia and 6 churches in Bahamas to his architectural credit!!!
If you are reasonably fit then making your way up the hill via the quaint staircase (called the Stations of the Cross Trial) with handmade stone reliefs will be a mild exertion. Another trail goes round the hill and is less steep though longer….meant for people who are not much of walkers.
Either way plan to reach the top in time for the sunset. The 360 degree view of the island is a reward like no other and the kaleidoscopic rays of the setting sun catches the colored tiles inside the church and its spire and bell and gives the whole place an ethereal look. You won’t be able to put your camera away. And if you are lucky enough to hear the choir play then congratulate yourself on achieving the most spiritual experience Bahamas can gift you.
Don’t miss a tour of the nearby Ambrister Plantation and the famous bubbling lake near Ambrister Creek that’s called the Boiling Hole…locals say that a monstrous creature lurks beneath its waters. This is a marvelous spot to sight baby sharks, sting rays and a multitude of birds.
23. Check out the endangered iguanas and birds of San Salvador
The smallest Island in Bahamas, San Salvador is also where Christopher Columbus set foot for the first time when he went on a discovery trail of America and Bahamas. This remote island in the Bahamas is home to many endangered species that still derive some level of protection from its unique geographical position and untouched ambience.
Once upon a time Lucayan Indians (the original inhabitants), huge colored parrots and mini dinosaur like Iguanas roamed around here freely. The former two groups are now extinct and the San Salvador Iguana (different from the Iguanas found elsewhere in Bahamas and Americas) are fighting for survival.
For the record the San Salvador Iguana is a highly endangered species and only about 600 of them remain in existence now. The Gerace Research Centre
(San Salvador Iguana conservation center) is deeply committed to their breeding and conservation. Visiting the above mentioned institutes by seeking a prior appointment is one of the best ways you can learn about this wonderful and rare reptile.
The best place to stay on the San Salvador Island is Club Med Columbus Isle that’s the biggest all inclusive resort here with the best ocean view. Stay in San Salvador for a day or two and take a good Geo Tour from one of the local operators like the Lagoon Tours which will take you boating at the south end of San Salvador before introducing you to Low Cay where some local Iguanas still manage to survive in their natural habitat. You will find the tour details here
Or else you can also contact the Bahamas National Trust
which looks after all Bahamian National Parks and request a tour of the Southern Great Lake National Park. Touring the Great Lake at the heart of the San Salvador Island will give you access to the islets within these lakes... the original home of the San Salvador Iguanas.
There is a rich variety of birds here including herons and cormorants. Incidentally San Salvador is now a geo tourism hotspot with no less than 5 national Parks that include Pigeon Creek Snow Bay National Park, Grahams Harbour Iguana and Seabird National Park and West Coast Marine Park.
Taking the Eco Tour or a guided National Park tour will also sensitize you to the presence of 14 different strains (82% of total seabirds in Bahamas) of rare seabirds that live here. The Grahams Harbour in San Salvador and its bevy of cays like Catto, Green, Gaulin and White are biggest protecting hubs of these birds. Before visiting San Salvador read a general overview about it here
24. Catch the Crab Festival at Andros
Touted as the largest cultural event of the Bahamas, the Crab Fest is a 2 day extravaganza held in the month of June. The focus is crabs…their hunting, cooking and even life cycles. In fact there are even entire songs composed and sung about them besides a huge array of artwork displays featuring crabs as the theme.
The Crab festival is strategically placed in June... right after the May showers come pouring down and force crabs out of their homes. Hundreds of crabs from the south and central islets come foraging out from their mud burrows and make a beeline for the seas in the hope of spawning.
The Queen’s highway is filled with crab catchers who come armed with lanterns and grab crabs with their bare hands….the biggest and fastest catchers get rewards too. The venue is usually Queens Park in Fresh Creek. Every year thousands of boaters, crab lovers and tourists flock to the Andros for this event. Local farmers display their produce and musicians play reggae and hip hop all night creating a 48 hour fun and food fest.
Eat Crab and rice, crab soup, baked crabs, crab cakes, crab dough etc. at the festival and if you have the patience, you can even learn about the 95 ways to cook crab. Incidentally Andros Island is also known as the land of Crabs and it even has a society called ‘Crab Replenishment Reserve’ that’s dedicated to the wellbeing and upkeep of these crustaceans.
The Crab Replenishment Reserve is actually a 2,979 acre National Park that’s located off the Queens highway…they play a huge role in initiating the crab festival. The reserve is a great place for learning about the ecological importance, sustenance and lives of the crabs.
25. Interact with sharks in Bimini island
Hammerhead sharks… the nomads from the Gulf stream are usually found in profusion around Bimini in the winters along with Bull, Lemon, Caribbean and Nurse sharks. Bimini is in the middle of a shark sanctuary and it’s illegal to hunt or even disturb sharks over here which is why sharks swimming in these waters are unperturbed by the presence of divers and snorkelers.
Hammerhead sharks (named after the shape of their head) are now an endangered species and the famous Sharklabs at South Bimini are the forerunners in the race to save them. Interacting with these mystical beasts who can feel the beating of the human heart from several kilometres away (they have super sensitive electro receptors) should definitely be on your travel bucket.
The Sharklab provides access to some shallow stretches of captive water where baby lemon and nurse sharks can be spotted….interacting with them is a great experience for kids and non-swimmers. You can get all tour details from the official website of the SharkLabs ….. most Sharklab tours are extremely affordable though you need to book well in advance
Then there is the Sharklab research experience where you get to live at the lab for 5 days and get trained in shark research, snorkelling and tagging.
There is Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center (at Bimini Big Club Alice Town) that offers Caribbean shark dives… these dives offer encounters with spotted Atlantic Dolphins, southern stingrays, Bottlenose dolphins and Blacknose Sharks. The Hammerhead shark experience will have the sharks come up close to the divers so its definitely not for the faint hearted. Know more about these dives
Apart from the Sharklab tours and independent diving and scuba centers some resorts like the Bimini Sands resorts offers eco-tourism tours that have shark encounters in them.
Sadly, even the recent assessment by International Union for Conservation of Nature showed that about 1/4th of the sharks of the world are threatened by extinction. Sharks are primarily hunted for their fins (shark fin soup is a delicacy) and their livers (oil from it is used to prepare cosmetics). Like many Bahamian islands Bimini has a strong stance on ecological conservation.
One of the out islands of Bahamas Bimini has a mix of the party life and the Bahamian slow life which makes it a perfect package…
26. Entertain yourself at Port Lucaya in Grand Bahama
Imagine an open air waterside entertainment complex adjacent to one of the biggest hotels and casino in Grand Bahama (Grand Lucayan Resort and Treasure Bay Casino). Doesn’t it sound like the address of material paradise?
Know that the Port Lucaya marketplace in Grand Bahama is not just a shopping hub, it’s a complete dining, entertainment and cultural experience that’s sort of a fantastic package deal. There is an unmatched array of duty free shops, two vibrant straw markets and two local craft centres.
There are also plenty of locals inside the market who push around carts filled with Bahamian souvenirs and craft items. Save at least 30% when you shop for designer watches, jewelry, bags, perfumes, cameras and leather goods here. Don’t forget to visit the specialty jewelry stores here like Goldi Locks jewelry and Pandora.
Even the prices at the straw market here in general are lower than the Nassau straw market though the experience here will be more aggressive and noisy. Shop for beauty supplies from Essence of House of Beauty and artwork from Flovin Gallery and pick up fashion wear from Cassandra’s Boutique. In Step, Nautica, Harley Davidson, Sandollar etc. there is even a Games Room called Ultimate Zone where older kids could be kept occupied while the parents shop!!
And when you tired with all the shopping stop to slurp on some Daiquiri from Coconut and Fruit Daiquiri stand and munch on conch salad and fried stuff from Stand and Daddy Brown’s Conch and Seafood stand. The star attraction here is the Count Basie Square that’s locally known as the Marketplace square. Live performances happen here on some special evenings but a healthy mix of Bahamian and International numbers keep playing all day... thanks to the presence of rather lively bars bordering the square.
You can choose to explore the cafes, bakeries, ice cream parlors and even a chocolate factory in this marketplace. And for fancier sophisticated meals there is always La Meds or Luciano or even Zorba’s Greek cuisine.
The duty free islands of Bahamas have no sales taxes either which means that you can save hefty amounts whenever you shop here. One word of caution though…the Port Lucaya marketplace claims to remain open till 3 a.m. but most of its shops close down by 6 to 7 p.m. The bars and some of the restaurants remain open till 3 a.m. though. Also credit cards aren’t accepted anywhere except the high end stores.
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