Nassau

Destination Location

Nassau
  • 25.06, -77.345:primary
  • 25.0389995575, -77.4662017822:secondary
Hotel reviews summary
4.5

Our guest rating from 10 reviews

Overview

Sun, sea and sand – the islands of the Bahamas have plenty of each. But in action-packed Nassau, you'll also find vibrant local culture, a cosmopolitan dining scene and a gracious lifestyle reflective of the country's colonial past.

Many of the most famous buccaneers once roamed these crystal-clear waters, though these days you're more likely to find giant cruise ships and sleek yachts than schooners sailing the Jolly Roger.


Nassau is located on little New Providence Island. This 207 sq. km island is a former coral reef, perched right in the middle of the Bahamas' 700 islands amid 260,000 sq. km of blue water.

In downtown Nassau, you can still see many of the 18th century fortresses, churches and elegant colonial homes painted in cheerful pastel shades of pink, yellow, green and blue. You can also see another aspect of the city's heritage in the Junkanoo celebrations that evolved from African traditions.

As the country's centre of government and home to a lucrative banking industry, Nassau attracts a long list of celebrity residents. The rich and famous are drawn by the tax- and duty-free bargains just as much as the cruise-ship passengers wandering through the jewelry and perfume shops along Bay Street.

Also a major draw – especially for families – are the grand resorts that line Cable Beach just west of Nassau and the over-the-top fantasy of the large Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, located across the bridge from Nassau Harbour. 

Nassau is a fantastic destination for:

  • beaches
  • snorkeling and diving
  • shopping and dining

 

 

 

Destination basics

The sun shines almost every day in Nassau. New Providence Island has a tropical maritime climate with gentle winds, warm temperatures, fairly high humidity and 300-plus days of sunshine a year.

Nassau has two seasons: a balmy, dry winter, which lasts from October through April with temperatures ranging from 15 C to 24 C and a rainier, more humid summer, which lasts from May through September, with temperatures ranging from 25 C to 32 C.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Nassau

African traditions infuse everything from the cuisine and the music to the great national celebrations in Nassau. The most colourful of these is Junkanoo.

Today, Junkanoo parades wind through Nassau in the early hours of December 26 and New Year's Day. Thousands of men and women in extravagant costumes dance rhythmically to the sound of bells, whistles, drums and clanging cowbells. Want to give it a try? Stop by the Educulture Bahamas Centre, where you can bang a drum, clank a cowbell and try making your own Junkanoo costume.

You can also discover the African influences in the braided baskets, carved wooden masks and other crafts at the Straw Market as well as in the poignant artwork at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

You can taste the cultural influences at local fish fries like the one at Arawak Cay. Here, you can rub shoulders with locals enjoying conch fritters and fried grouper. Then, wash down the local food with a cool, refreshing, Nassau-brewed Kalik beer.

Nassau also has a rich and fascinating pirate history. By 1713, some 1,000 pirates were said to be living in the city. The "pirate republic" ended a few years later when the English installed a governor who restored law to the crown colony.

Today, get your yo-ho-ho-hos out at the Pirate Museum in downtown Nassau or at a former pirate mansion, like the imposing Graycliff mansion (now the Graycliff Hotel), built in 1740 by the swashbuckling Captain John Howard Graysmith.

Nassau's protected waters and convenient location just off the US coast made this a key destination during the 18th and 19th centuries, right up until Prohibition in the 1920s, when many bootleggers made their fortunes here.

But the most important event in Nassau's history was a battle that happened in another country – the American War of Independence. After the war ended in 1776, thousands of British loyalists from America immigrated to the Bahamas. They brought with them an English culture that lives on, not just in government, but also in the way Bahamians drive (on the left side of the road) and take tea in the afternoon.

Since independence in 1973, the Bahamas has been a Commonwealth country and a parliamentary democracy.

The official currency is the Bahamian dollar and it is held on par with the U.S. dollar. Both currencies are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands. Travellers cheques and credit cards are widely accepted at most locations on Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island. You will find ATMs within many banks, grocery stores and at many of the hotels.

As both the capital of the Bahamas and a world-famous vacation destination, Nassau boasts a wide variety of dining and entertainment options. Many of the island's restaurants and bars keep to a tropical theme in terms of ambience and cuisine, but a more eclectic dining scene is beginning to flourish, and different kinds of night spots are also beginning to crop up. One can find Chinese takeout, European bistros and Italian trattorias throughout downtown Nassau and Paradise Island. Gourmet rooms and upscale cocktail lounges are also scattered throughout the island, with a few restaurants making the "Top Ten" list in gourmet publications and trade magazines.

However, people don't come to Nassau to eat Chinese food or French food. They come to Nassau to drink rum and eat conch—that deliciously chewy sea creature rumored to have extraordinary libido-boosting properties. Spring Breakers visit the island for the inexpensive liquor and the thumping reggae and calypso music, while entire families can enjoy Junkanoo parades and inexpensive local seafood. The quintessential Nassau dining experience includes chipper Calypso music, fresh fish or lobster, friendly service and a view of the sea. One can find all of these qualities at dozens of restaurants in Nassau and Paradise Island.

Downtown-Bay Street Dining options on Bay Street aren't quite as plentiful as one might expect. The street is primarily a shopping area, and there are just a few restaurants interspersed with the stores. Most restaurants are located on side streets, a short distance from the thoroughfare. At the beginning of Bay Street, the majestic Colonial Hilton offers several dining options, all of them expensive. The Wedgwood Room is a perfect choice for very special occasions, say anniversary dinners or 50th birthdays. Portofino Italian Café, located on the ground floor of the Hilton, is less formal than the Wedgwood; it's appropriate for business lunches or dinners.

Fine dining choices don't stop at the Hilton, however. A number of gourmet restaurants are located within a few blocks of the landmark hotel.

Although Nassau boasts a high number of world-class gourmet rooms, especially given its diminutive size—it has plenty of less formal options. Across the street from the Hilton is an extremely popular, extremely touristy restaurant, Conch Fritters. This place blatantly panders to drunken tourist families and bored businessmen, but in spite of its kitschiness, it has a certain appeal. Prices are relatively low and portions are large. It's a great place to try conch for the first time; it's also a perfect spot for daquiri-downing. Two doors down, the dingy Imperial Cafeteria offers authentic Bahamian fare. Only the bravest tourists venture in here, but locals flock to the counter day and night. Skans Café is smack dab in the middle of Bay Street. Busy and informal, it does a brisk lunchtime business. On a side street of Bay, the Brussels Brasserie serves delectable brunch and lunch dishes in a casually cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Most of Nassau's nightlife is located downtown. Bahama Boom, the latest hot spot, also claims the distinction of being Nassau's first techno club. Waterloo is a popular dance club, featuring all kinds of music and an outdoor patio. The Drop Off is famous for its intriguingly seedy mixed crowd and its late-night food service.

East Bay While it's not known for much else, the area around the foot of the Paradise Island Bridge has become a sort of restaurant district. Several popular restaurants, including the jazzy Pink Pearl and legendary Poop Deck, are clustered here, near Nassau Harbour. The recent addition of two popular restaurant franchises, the Outback Steakhouse and Hooters, makes this an even more popular dining destination.

Cable Beach This part of Nassau is known for its world-class hotels, but it has plenty of fine independent restaurants as well. BBQ Beach, a newcomer to the Nassau dining scene, features nouveau barbecue. Androsia Steak and Seafood is famous for its pepper steak and its fresh seafood.

Each of the major hotels on Cable Beach boasts a full complement of restaurants, and while the all-inclusives (Sandals, Breezes) don't allow outside guests, the other hotels are quite welcoming. The Marriott Crystal Palace has the fabulous Seaside Buffet, a casual restaurant by the name of Goombay Mama and a wonderful coffee shop and pastisserie, Crystal Sweets. Fine dining options—Italian, Chinese and Continental—are located on the second floor of the main building. One of Nassau's most popular local restaurants, Café Johnny Canoe, is located next to the Nassau Beach Hotel; eat here if you want to try conch or listen to calypso.

Paradise Island If you're in the mood to splurge, Paradise Island is the place to go. Dozens of restaurants are located on this tiny patch of Paradise— most of them within the gigantic Atlantis Resort. Over half of PI's restaurants are pricey and semi-formal. Highlights of the Paradise Island fine dining scene include Fathoms at the Atlantis and beloved Blue Lagoon at Club Land'or.

Finding mid-range or inexpensive restaurants on Paradise Island can be quite a challenge. However, there are a few options, although none of them are located at the major hotels. Anthony's Caribbean Grill, located in the Paradise Shopping Plaza, offers large, inexpensive tropical drinks and a laid-back atmosphere. The News Café is a great place to sip a cappucino in the morning or evening. Each of Paradise Island's shopping centers has its own deli, where tourists can buy sandwiches and chips for a few dollars.

Around the Island Some of Nassau's best and most unique dining options aren't located in any specific area, but manage to flourish by drawing customers away from the main drag. Foremost among these restaurants is the famous Sun and... Not only is its name enough to catch the eye over and over again, its cuisine is sufficient to draw rave reviews from the world's toughest critics. Seashells, the only restaurant on tiny Crystal Cay, offers stunning ocean views and a unique atmosphere. For genuine Bahamian cooking at low prices, dine at Traveller's Rest. It's far off the beaten path, but the restaurant often runs specials to make the drive worthwhile.

Nassau is a fun city for dining and drinking. With the exception of a few five-star gourmet rooms, the prices are not prohibitively expensive, and the cuisine is often inventive and flavorful. There are dozens of places to get a mixed drink for a few dollars, and the atmosphere at restaurants and bars is usually pleasant. Whether you're a student on Spring Break or a millionaire on a pleasure cruise, you're sure to find something that suits your palate and wallet.

Home to over half of the Bahamian population, Nassau brings to mind many things to many people. To some, it is the fine sand that ribbons the coast—so pure that it makes some think of baby powder, how smooth and white it is. To others, gambling comes to the fore, as the Bahamas are known for their world-class casinos. Others dream of their retirement in a colonial island paradise whose government increasingly recognizes that its inherent beauty is its economic strength. Yet for others, thoughts turn back to the 1980s, the days of the illegal substance cowboys exemplified by Don Johnson, Phillip Michael Thomas and the TV show "Miami Vice,"—the modern-day smugglers in high-speed chases from the American mainland to The Bahamas, as well as romance on the high seas. All this makes for a plethora of water sports and activities, superb shopping, excellent historic sites and a hopping nighttime scene.

But of course, the island of Nassau is so much more, it is an antidote for people needing relief from the day-to-day hassles and stress of life in the "real world", where the concern is not which reef to visit but which bill to pay. So the question is, "where do you go to best enjoy all these things?"

Downtown

Downtown is the hub of activity in Nassau. Thousands of people visit daily, to shop, dine, sightsee and enjoy the bustling atmosphere of this port city. While the busiest part of Downtown is the Bay Street thoroughfare and the Woodes-Rodgers Walk, located across the street from the port and parallel to Bay, the area actually extends for several blocks in each direction. It starts at West Bay, around the Junkanoo Beach area. A few hotels and restaurants are located on West Bay, most notably Compass Point and Holiday Inn. The next landmark is the British Colonial Hotel, which marks the beginning of Bay Street proper. Pirates of Nassau Museum is just across from the British Colonial Hilton. Just across the street from Pirates lies a duty free shopper's paradise. The next few blocks of Bay Street are wall-to-wall boutiques, with a few restaurants and clubs interspersed throughout the retailers. Famous historical landmarks are all around, including Vendue House and the Christ Church Cathedral. Although the tourist part of Downtown peters out after about seven blocks, smaller, more local stores are found all the way down Bay Street, to the foot of the Paradise Island Bridge. At this point, Bay Street becomes East Bay. There used to be nothing here, but recently an enclave of decent restaurants has sprung up. The Red Carpet Inn, one of Nassau's best budget hotels, is located on East Bay.

The pace in this district is busy, so it is frantic at times. Without a doubt, it gets the most foot traffic on the entire island. This place is perfect for recreational shoppers, sightseers and first-time visitors.

Cable Beach

If Downtown Bay Street is known for its shopping, Cable Beach is the recognized hotel district. Five enormous hotels—two of them all-inclusive—are located on this strip. The area is also known for its dining options, the magnificent Crystal Palace Casino, and of course the golden sands of Cable Beach itself. Most of the area's restaurants are located either in the hotels or across the street. BBQ Beach, Androsia and Capriccio are three of the best dining options on Cable Beach, offering unique décor, a serene atmosphere, and distinctive cuisine. There is little to no nightlife. People frequent this place during the daytime hours, relaxing at hotel pools or on the beach. There is a bit of shopping; most of it located in the Marriott Crystal Palace. Two small arcades are in this hotel. One is above ground and one is in the walkway between the Marriott and the Radisson.

This is a quieter, calmer place then Downtown. It's harder to walk from one place to another, and no one really wants to bother. It's much nicer to relax at a pool bar or splash in the waves. If things get boring, it's easy to catch a cab or a Number 10 bus and go to Bay Street.

Paradise Island

Nothing can prepare one for the sight of the Atlantis, an enormous hotel/resort/aquarium/ water park modeled after the legendary sunken city. The rest of Paradise Island isn't at all shabby either. In fact, it is a veritable man-made oasis, built over what used to be a lackluster patch of ground known as Hog Island. The first resort to draw people to the island was the venerable Club Land'or. While this tiny club is very much in the shadow of the Atlantis, it still has many loyal fans. Golfers should check out the Clarion South Ocean Resort and Golf Club, while wealthy travelers desiring quiet will appreciate the Sheraton. Shopping on Paradise Island is either very expensive or not very interesting. The Crystal Court in the Atlantis features a dozen of the world's best and most expensive designer boutiques. On the other end of the spectrum, Paradise Plaza and Hurricane Hole have a number of shops that sell inexpensive beach gear and souvenirs. Fine dining is everywhere, most notably at the Blue Lagoon and at Fathoms. For a family dinner, Anthony's is a good choice. Choosing a daytime activity is easy: the beach is everywhere, and it's gorgeous. Many aquatic excursions depart from the Paradise Island Port instead of (or in addition to) Nassau Harbor.

Paradise Island is stunning in some parts, lovely in others, and in some...well, it's not finished yet. There is constant construction and even more constant renovation as hotels strive to match up to the world-famous Atlantis. This is easily the most expensive and tourist-oriented place in all of the Bahamas, but no one would deny that it's a lot of fun. There's no bus over the Bridge. Drive, or take a cab or bus to the foot and walk.

There are many other parts of Nassau, however, they are strictly for locals; so there's nothing in the way of attractions, and very little interesting shopping. Anyone looking for a stereo, a pair of jeans or some inexpensive groceries can hop on a number 18 bus from the transit center and head to the Marathon Mall.

However, for sheer energy, activity and entertainment, a visitor could remain in the main three districts of Nassau for an entire vacation without ever getting bored.

Perhaps the two words that come to mind when people consider Nassau entertainment are Paradise and Island. Developed in large part in the 1970s, it features the Atlantis Paradise Island, a resort that ranks among the largest in the world. It has 3,779 rooms, a mega-casino, golf course, tennis courts and a water-slide pool. And it's growing. If not a resort, it could be its own small city.

Start with its renowned casino—all 1,100 slot machines and more than 90 gaming tables, including roulette, poker and blackjack. But that's only the beginning, because it has what it calls the Entertainment Complex that incorporates nightclubs, restaurants, shopping. Travel agents fawn over Paradise Island, just over a bridge from Nassau proper. The toll is a dollar American.

The Atlantis showroom has the Sunsation, a stage show featuring everything you would find in a cabaret. The Palace Theatre at the Marriott does a dinner-theater type thing. Don't forget the smashing casino at the Crystal Palace.

But not all entertainment in Nassau revolves around resorts. Nassau teems with all sorts of fun, from underwater adventures at the reefs to museums to mere window-shopping. It's especially popular with residents of and visitors to South Florida (USA), who have easy access via small aircraft that can be chartered, popular cruise lines, and private vessels that can make the trip in just a few hours.

Quite fun is the interactive museum Pirates of Nassau, where you can get the islands' history from Blackbeard to Anne Bonney, pirates all. Also check out the Pompey Museum, another pirate museum whose building goes back to the 1700s. Folk art and slavery—Nassau's past is intimately tied (unfortunately) to the slave trade—are featured prominently.

On Elizabeth Hill is the Queen's Staircase, so named for Queen Victoria of England. The attraction does, indeed, consist of a structure with 65 steps. There also is a straw market for all things Bahamian, although it's not nearly as substantive as the straw markets in, say, Freeport and Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama. You might want to save your straw-market spending money for the latter two if you take an island trip.

Junkanoo, a musical form unique to the Bahamas, is celebrated at the Junkanoo Expo at the Prince George Wharf, basically an homage to the annual festival marked each Christmas season, when the locals and visitors get down and do some serious partying to celebrate the islands' heritage. However, it's undergoing some renovation, so at this writing, you might find it only nearly close to reopening. Call or stop by to confirm.

When the boat or plane drops you off, what do you think? You think beaches, you think surf. You think diving, you think Jet Skis, you think fishing, you think shelling. There are numerous opportunities for all of that, and operators are more than willing to cater your trip from land to the sparkling water. Are you a family? A newlywed couple? A group of kids on spring break from school? They can make your water experience yours alone.

Part of that experience should be the Dolphin Encounter, at Blue Lagoon. Humans are only slight brighter than marine mammals, and you can find out first-hand here.

And what about The Dig? You will dig this. This is a re-creation of the mythical underwater city of Atlantis. It has an aquarium and more. You can even walk under the aquarium through glass tunnels to look up and see the marine life, a nice play on the usual glass-bottom boats where you go to the reef and look down to see that same marine life.

But you also would do well to see the island and its reefs from the air. In Nassau, give a call to +1 242 363 4016. And bring your Kodak.

OK, so now your day is done. You've gone back to your hotel room, you've napped, you've awoken and showered. You are ready to hit the night. The night in Nassau is ready to greet you, as well. As a certain Internet pioneer says, where do you want to go today? Just change that to night.

You first want to go to anywhere that serves the native cuisine. That consists of conch, of course, and bull dolphin (mahi-mahi game fish, not the Flipper sort), grouper, bonefish and more ocean delicacies. And anywhere means anywhere, from the large resorts to the mom-and-pop local operations.

Then you want music, dancing, drink. You'll find far too many fun places to list here, but a sampling includes, besides Atlantis, the Joker's Wild, a comedy club; the We Place on Thompson Avenue, where locals make up the clientèle for the most part; the Waterloo, a five-bar disco on East Bay Street; Cocktails & Dreams, where you can smush your feet in the sand, since it's the only club directly on the beach. Or if the night still seems young to you but most places are closed, stop into the Drop Off Bar for that last hoorah.

And when you are all done with that nightlife, go to your hotel, kick off the shoes, toss the clothes on the floor, turn out the lights, and get ready to do it all over gain the next day.

Nassau/Paradise Island

Country: Bahamas

Nassau/Paradise Island by the Numbers
Population: 274,400
Elevation: 37 meters / 121 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 139.6 centimeters / 55 inches
Average Winter Temperature: 21.4°C / 70.5°F
Average Summer Temperature: 28.4°C / 83.1°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 120 volts AC, 60Hz; standard North American two-pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-5

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 242

Did You Know?
Nassau and Paradise Island are connected by two 183 meter (600 foot) bridges.

Legend has it that these two cities were once home to the notable pirates including Blackbeard and Calico Jack. It is now one of the world's most popular tourist and resort destinations.

Orientation
Nassau is the capital of and largest city in the Bahamas. It is situated on the northeast coast of New Providence Island in the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 295 kilometers (183 miles) east of Miami and about 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Freeport.

Nassau is located on New Providence Island, one of the most central of the commonwealth's 700 islands. Only 29 of these islands are populated, the busiest two being New Providence and Grand Bahama Island.

The rest are known as the Family Islands or the Out Islands. These idyllic isles are located just off the coast of Florida with the westernmost island, Bimini, being only 80 km from Miami. They're part of the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and Turks and Caicos and cover some 260,000 sq. km.

The islands were created when coral reefs emerged from the ocean thousands of years ago, leaving in their wake soft white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

These islands were the first place Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas and for centuries were home to several of the Caribbean's most infamous pirates.

Although New Providence is among the smaller of the inhabited islands, most of the island's resorts, businesses and government offices are in Nassau, which locals call the Manhattan of the Bahamas.

Like all the islands, New Providence is flat and low-lying, with its highest geographical point 37 metres above sea level. Of course, you could always climb even higher to the top of the Water Tower at Fort Fincastle. Here you can view the city's vivid tropical flowers, swaying palm trees, historic colonial buildings and the towers of the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.

The Nassau-Paradise Island probably brings to mind steel-drum music, a take-it-easy attitude, to-die-for conch dishes and lots of tourists. However, what Nassau-Paradise Island is like today is a far cry from how it used to be.

Like other areas of the Caribbean, it has a romantic and bloody history of foreign occupation, piracy, slavery and smuggling. But Nassau's rich history is really the history of the Bahamas as a whole: one of resilience and pride.

Until 1492, when Columbus "discovered" America, Bahamians lived a straightforward life, relying on the bountiful sea and the island land. But in the mid 1500s the Spanish decided they had found a slave-labor force easily put to work which led to the near depopulation of the islands.

In the mid 1600s, English settlers in other Caribbean Islands realized that Nassau's proximity to the recently settled New World provided opportunities. The settlers wanted to use Nassau for shipping and trade, as well as a launch point to the New World to escape from England's religious persecution.

Unfortunately piracy also became common around the same time, and lasted for more than a century. With numerous hiding places in the remote and densely vegetated islands, along with a proximity to mainland North America the buccaneers had found the ideal location.

In 1756, the Seven Years War broke out and trade positively flourished.But when the war ended in 1763 the black-market economy faltered. Piracy again became the primary economic market, including the likes of Blackbeard. Life became tough and difficult for those who weren't pirates.

When the slave trade was discovered, in the 1800s, and Nassau/Paradise Island and other islands were used as weigh stations for ships transporting slaves to North America. The large ships could only steam or sail for a few days at a time which made Nassau a perfect stopover to the United States. That meant Nassau's maritime workers flourished. But when Civil War in the United States ended, it ended Nassau's prosperity. Residents turned to working the wrecks from the fleets that sank decades or centuries earlier.

Nassau's economy was unwittingly revived again when the United States enacted Prohibition in 1919. Nassau gained a lively and profitable liquor bootlegging industry. But when prohibition was repealed in 1933 Nassau's prosperity came to an end.

However Nassau was always able to rebound from adversity again. And like its pirate, slave-trading, bootlegging past, it did so through illicit means, by becoming a stop-off point for drug runners and for setting up offshore corporations so illegally gotten gains could be hidden.

But that is only part of the story. In 1973, the islands gained their independence from England, although they remain a part of the British Commonwealth. This is similar to Puerto Rico, which remains a part of the United States, but has autonomy. Following independence in 1973, Bahamians in general, and in Nassau especially, started exploited the jewel they lived on. No longer would the islands rely on shipping, legal and otherwise, alone. They could rely on the millions of people curious about this most beautiful collection of Caribbean Islands.

They would accept and cater to the tourists.

Yes, the Bahamas are still an attraction to the smuggler. Downed DC-3s litter the waters surrounding the islands, remnants of cocaine shipments gone bad in the 1970s and 1980s. But now they are attractions, wrecks to explore for the scuba divers who want to get up close and personal with the tropical fish and stunning coral.

But that's not all. Other nations may have their gambling palaces, but there are few places besides Nassau where one can bask in the sun of the tropics by day while fulfilling one's passion for betting at night. Of course, shopping, a fun nightlife and the rest of the trappings of an island paradise await as well.

With a thriving tourism economy and a government that recognizes that environmental protection is crucial to that economy, the Nassau residents may have finally discovered that their islands' natural beauty is attraction enough.

If you have not already purchased transfers from WestJet Vacations, renting a vehicle, hiring a taxi or hotel shuttle will assist you in getting around. Be sure to remember that drivers in the Bahamas drive on the left hand side of the road! Taxis are available 24 hours a day by phone or outside most major hotels. The two most widely used taxi companies in Nassau are Radio Cab and Bahamas Taxi Union.

Connecting Nassau and Paradise Island are two bridges conveniently named Paradise Island Bridges. For a fantastic photo opportunity, take a walk across the bridge—but be sure to bring some water. The bridge spans a half-kilometre and can be quite strenuous due to the heat and humidity.

Buses (also known as jitneys) provide an inexpensive way to get around, ranging from C$1 to C$3 per fare and operating from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except on Sundays when service is reduced.

Arrival

During your inbound flight to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport, you will receive a Bahamas immigration arrival card to complete for entrance into the country.

Upon arrival, you will be guided to the immigration hall where you’ll form a line to meet with a Bahamas immigration officer. This officer will ask you for required documentation and identification and may also ask you a few questions as to the purpose of your trip, how long you will be staying and if this is your first time in the Bahamas. The officer will stamp your form and return the departure portion of it back to you. Keep this departure form in a safe place as you will be required to present this document when you depart the Bahamas.

After passing through immigration, you’ll collect your bags and proceed to customs. A customs officer will ask you about the contents of your bags and if you have anything that will remain in the country. Your baggage and its contents may be inspected.

If you have purchased transfers to and from your hotel with WestJet Vacations, you will be greeted outside of customs by a friendly Majestic Tours representative holding a WestJet Vacations sign. Majestic Tours representatives can be identified their navy blue pants and blue and white striped shirts with the Majestic Tours logo.

The airport is located on New Providence Island, about a 16 km trip to the city centre. To assist you with any banking or currency needs, look for the Royal Bank of Canada in Terminal A.

Departure

Smiling WestJetters will be ready to assist you at the check-in counters located in Concourse 2 of Terminal A, next to Air Jamaica.

There is limited shopping available throughout the airport, including gift shops, a news stand and a duty-free store. Cafeterias are situated in the departures area and a bar can be found at all three departure lounges. Kids (and kids at heart) might want to check out the video games available in the domestic departures lounge of Terminal A.

The Bahamas operates the same type of electrical outlets as in Canada and the US.

Nassau and its neighbour, Paradise Island, offer a unique combination of international glamour and an easygoing, laid-back, tropical lifestyle that appeals to almost any type of traveller, from beachgoers to newlyweds.

If you're looking for a beach vacation, Nassau has got you covered. Here, you can lounge quietly by the pool or party with the spring break crowd at Junkanoo Beach.

Visitors to Nassau are amazed by its stunning turquoise waters, kept crystal clear by the coral reefs that surround New Providence Island. It's those coral reefs you can thank for the soft, white sandy beaches, too.

Atlantis Resort might also catch your attention. Looming above Paradise Island, this massive, high-end resort has everything for families. Explore the "history" of Atlantis or take an inner tube ride down the lazy river winding through the property. Atlantis also has plenty to offer guests with more grown-up tastes: designer boutiques, casinos, golf courses and fine restaurants – several of them helmed by celebrity chefs.

But Nassau is more than beaches and the Atlantis. After all, it is a 300-year-old city with a fascinating history.

If you're seeking adventure, you can boat to one of the Out Islands or venture to Stuart's Cove for a day of snorkelling or scuba diving. Shoppers can hunt for tax-free bargains in the jewelry shops, perfume boutiques and other stores along busy Bay Street, or browse for crafts and souvenirs at the nearby Straw Market.

If you want to learn more about Nassau's fascinating culture, consider visiting the exhibitions at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas or the nearby Educulture Bahamas Centre. History buffs will love exploring the 18th century fortresses and the Pirates Museum in downtown Nassau.

Culinary travellers will also find plenty to tickle their taste buds. You can satisfy a craving for anything from burgers to Indian biryani at the many exceptional international restaurants that import flavours from every corner of the globe. Or, try authentic Bahamian cuisine, which is largely based on just-caught seafood such as conch, lobster, snapper and grouper, and influenced by the African heritage most Bahamians share.

For the most authentic experience, head to a fish fry and hang out with locals eating conch fritters and drinking Kalik beer. After all, it's not just the beaches, the culture, the shopping or the food that make Nassau such a welcoming destination for travellers. It's the genuine friendliness of the people, which is as warm as the city's tropical climate.

The official currency is the Bahamian dollar and it is held on par with the U.S. dollar.

During your inbound flight to Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport, you will receive a Bahamas immigration arrival card to complete for entrance into the country.

If you have not already purchased transfers from WestJet Vacations, renting a vehicle, hiring a taxi or hotel shuttle will assist you in getting around.

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

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