Bahamas

Things to do in Bahamas

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.

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

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.

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.

An 1840 gingerbread cottage, where Gabrielle Kenedy and John Fondas stock the shelves with Graham Kandiah tunics and delicate pashmina shawls made by Flying Fig.

This tiny white-and-green joint on a quiet stretch of coastal road just west of crowded Cable Beach hasn't changed much in 30 years. It feels like sitting on your own back porch—except this one is steps from the ocean. Cocktail hour is the best time to come for a fresh banana daiquiri—or two.

The vibrant blue of the ocean and colorfully painted Bahamian cottages have drawn artists to Harbour Island for 100 years. Princess Street Gallery is the place to see a sophisticated collection of world-class art, illustrated books, home accessories, and locally made crafts.

The beach stretches nearly the length of the island. Protected by the third-longest barrier reef in the world, it has some of the gentlest surf in the Bahamas.

Nassau was established in 1670, when King Charles II of England gave the island to six proprietors. Unfortunately, few examples of 18th-century architecture remain.

Today’s experiential traveler wants to participate rather than merely observe.

They may not have the same cachet as Cubans, but the Bahamian cigars hand-rolled at this 18th-century downtown compound (which includes a formal restaurant, wine cellar, and hotel) are every bit as good.