Bahamas

Bahamas Travel Guide

It’s only logical to try out water sports and island activities while staying in the Bahamas. Most hotels and resorts provide access and information for all kinds of adventures and experiences either on-site or right nearby. One of the world’s largest open-air aquariums, Atlantis Waterscape, is right in Nassau at the Atlantis Resort at “Paradise Island.” It holds over 200 marine species, not to mention the waterpark with a lazy river, waterslides and a personal dolphin experience.

Stuart Cove’s Aqua Adventures is Nassau’s primary experiences for diving and snorkeling. Their dive sites are open for beginners to event he most experienced divers. The snorkel adventure visits three sites, including one with sharks (for the daring to participate). The Pirates of Nassau is Nassau’s pirate museum, where you can learn the history of pirates on the island and in the Caribbean itself, and even board a replica pirate ship. Above and Below Abaco also provides diving experiences, but does island-hopping tours as well, including one to the Mystical Blue Hole, an island sinkhole with crystal clear water.

For Nassau standards, the Clifton Heritage Land and Sea Park is way off the beaten path. It is not even accessible by public transportation. Nevertheless, it is easy to get to by taxi or through a tour operator.

Pompey Square is a free-spirited social hub for local festivals, art shows, lounging and child’s play. There is an interactive water feature in the center of the square; surrounding it are restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation.

In the late 1700s, enslaved Africans carved a gorge, more than 100 feet deep, into a solid limestone hillside with axes and other sharp hand tools. This passageway of 66 sloping steps provided a shorter route from Fort Fincastle to Nassau City, which was needed in case of an attack.

Two worlds collide at the adjoining Rawson Square and Parliament Square, central bearing points in downtown Nassau. Rawson Square houses a half body bronze bust of Sir Milo Butler, the first governor-general in an independent Bahamas.

The view of Nassau is one of Fort Charlotte’s best attributes.

Over the years, Nassau's many protected shoals and islets have provided the ideal base for the most notorious Caribbean pirates, including Blackbeard and Calico Jack, who destroyed the entire town in 1695.

The first land-and-sea preserve in the world (it was established in 1959) encompasses 176 square miles of stunningly clear water, along with dozens of cays, islets, and beaches.

Owner Pip Simmons sells items like Le Monta Society linen sheets and shell-encrusted mirrors.

New York City and Los Angeles gym rats swear by Physique 57's program of exercise, stretching, and interval training to turn their bodies into lean, mean, muscle machines. The four-day program is now offered twice annually at the One&Only Ocean Club.

On Bay Street, between Rawson Square and the British Colonial Hotel, you'll find all the usual Caribbean duty-free suspects: John Bull, Solomon's Mines, Colombian Emeralds.

The only zoo in the Bahamas, Ardastra relies on donations to keep its operation running. It has a surprising variety of animals, from a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig to a jaguar.

The Bahamian answer to Lilly Pulitzer, this locally owned company (which began, like Lilly, in the mid-1960’s) stocks clothing, handbags, and home accessories all made from its signature hand-printed fabrics.

Located inside a pink building with white columns, Bamboo-Bamboo is the designer's place to shop for island-style home décor and accent pieces.

On an island where so many venues feel like they just sprang up yesterday (they did!), the Waterloo, in an old colonial mansion on a saltwater estuary, is an institution, with a sports bar, open-air pool bar, and a bar dedicated to Bacardi.