I will move to Bahamas in a heart beat. Who wouldn’t? Even King Edward VIII gave up his throne to marry the woman he loved and settled in Bahamas. It is a paradise-like island full of beauty and life seems easy. The Bahamians are friendly, the weather seems eternally beautiful and the vast 1000,000 square miles of crystal clear and turquoise coloured water is enchanting. They will tell you that for a true Bahamian experience “all you need to do is relax”. English is generally spoken so it is very easy to get around. The colourful colonial architecture, pink buildings and English Georgian-style architecture of Government House and Parliament Square provides the island a unique charm. Nassau has an extra ordinary mix of culture. They are part British, part Spanish and part West African. The eclectic mix of cultural influences here gives Nassau a unique spirit on its own. It is rich in history and certainly rich in culture.
Nassau, is the capital city of The Bahamas and it is in the New Providence island which is 21-mile-long which is surprisingly on the 11th largest island. Nassau’s main harbour is protected by Paradise Island. History says it that Nassau’s population was consisted mainly of pirates until 1718. The Bahamas first Royal Governor, Woodes Rogers expelled them, restored order and built Fort Nassau. Bahamas has kept its strong ties to England, remained within the Commonwealth and declared its allegiance to the Queen.
We only had a day trip experience in Nassau as one of the stops in our Bahamas Royal Caribbean Cruise and obviously, it left me a lasting impression that I know I will go back to savour the warmth of Bahamian sun and people, its remarkable beauty and the rich culture. For the limited time that we were there, we joined a Sightseeing Tour for most part of the morning, then we hired a Vespa to tour the island which I think was a great way to explore the island.
Below are some of the popular points of interest that we visited within our limited time.
- Ardastra Gardens Zoo– The marching flamingos are the star of this garden. They provide a fun entertainment to visitors by marching in formation to commands. This zoo is also a Conservation centre which specializes in the conservation of Caribbean species including the endangered Bahamas Parrot and several species of iguanas.
- Atlantis Paradise Island – Atlantis is a luxury hotel and an entertainment complex at the same time. It has massive aquarium and huge water park. It is great for the kids but adults young at heart will love the water park too.
- Straw Market – As the name suggests, you will find a lot of souvenirs woven in straw from hats, mats and baskets. You will also find souvenirs such as wooden carvings (being carved on spot), colourful fabrics and many other tacky souvenirs as well as fake designers goods.
- Queens Steps – The 66 steps were carved by slaves in the late 18th century popularly known as Queen’s Staircase. The staircase was named after Queen Victoria to honour her her role in abolishing slavery in the Bahamas.
- Junkanoo Beach – It is public beach closed to the Port. The view of the harbour where the Cruise Ships are all calmly lined up and the light house from the beach is stunning. The beach has the basic amenities and lined with colourful bars and restaurants where you could buy your delicious Bahamian cocktails and local conch as well as shops where you could hire beach chairs from.There are also a few pop up tables selling souvenirs.
- Fort Montagu – Fort Montagu is a small fort of four cannons and the oldest fort in Nassau. It is at the eastern end of Nassau harbour along the waterfront. It was built from the local limestones and named after the Duke of Montagu.
- Fort Charlotte – Fort Charlotte was built by the British to defend the island for supposedly a French invasion. The French must have been scared because they never came. A tour guide will take you around the Fort and provide a comprehensive Bahamas history lesson. The view from this spot is stunning.