If you live in South Florida like I do, you inevitably end up in the Bahamas at some point. Whether it's by awesome friends with a boat, or on a cruise ship, a Floridian isn't a true Floridian until they've been to the Bahamas. I've been lucky enough to visit the Bahamas twice since I have moved to the States, both times on a cruise ship - the exact same one. Both times I went on the Majesty of the Seas with the Royal Caribbean, where we visited Coca Cay (not really the Bahamas), and Nassau.
Now I'm not one for cruise ships really, but there is something cool about having pretty much everything covered up front, delicious meals, and time in a different place without any cell reception. Coca Cay is the Royal Caribbean's private island, so I don't really see it as THE BAHAMAS, but on the second day of the trip you go to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas and home to Atlantis.
Things to do and see in Nassau, The Bahamas
Check out the beaches (obviously)
Isn't that the whole reason why you came to the Bahamas? While many of the islands of the Bahamas have fantastic, beautiful beaches, Nassau has some great ones too, although they are often littered with tourists and cruise-goers. Some beaches to check out include Cabbage Beach, Junkanoo (super lively and close to Downtown), Coral Harbors, and Cable Beach.
VISIT ATLANTIS AND PARADISE ISLAND
Atlantis and Paradise Island are world famous. It is an aqua adventure park and luxury hotel site on the gorgeous Paradise Island. It features a casino, water rides and adventures, a beautiful beach and golf course. Located on Paradise Island are also the island homes of the rich and famous.
GO SNORKELING OR KAYAKING
TAKE A BOAT TOUR OF NASSAU OR SPEND THE DAY SAILING OR FISHING
EXPLORE FORT CHAROLOTTE
This is Nassau's largest fort. On the far western side of the harbor, it gives some great views of Nassau. It has a moat, dungeons and underground tunnels. It was built in 1789, and honors the wife of King George III. There are daily tours and it is a pretty neat trip back in time!
TAKE A WALKING TOUR OF NASSAU
WANDER THROUGH FORT FINCASTLE
Fort Fincastle is located at the top of Bennet Hill. Constructed out of limestone, it was used to help protect the island from invasion and enemy attacks. While this fort itself isn't as impressive at Fort Charlotte, the Queen's staircase lies adjacent to it, and these two sites together are well worth the visit. The views are great too.
WALK THE STEPS AT THE QUEEN'S STAIRCASE
Located right next to Fort Fincastle, the Queen's staircase served as a direct access route from the Fort to the hill in case of an attack from Britain's enemies. The 102 foot, 66 steps staircase was carved out of the limestone wall by over 600 slaves and took over 16 years to build. It was named the Queen's staircase in honor of Queen Victoria's 65th year of reign. Interestingly enough, the history of colonialism of the country is still present today, not only in it's many forts on the island, but also in the words of the people. Our guide (and taxi driver) was very keen to share his opinions of colonialism and it's effects on their island.
SPEND THE DAY AT BLUE LAGOON
Blue Lagoon is home of the Dolphin Encounters. It is many people's dream to swim with dolphins. I'm not so sure how I feel about that.... I have always wanted to do it, and then after watching many documentaries, you kind of start to think a little bit more about what you're doing in those situations. I'm a big one for nature, and that's not 100% natural. I know there are many arguments backwards and forwards, but I do think you need to seriously consider what you're doing. I did not spend my day swimming with the dolphins. But I did enjoy relaxing on the private island in a cove and napping in hammocks. It is a pretty site, and it is nice to get away from the crowds.
There is a multitude of things to do in Nassau in the Bahamas. Apart from the above, there are plenty shops to take advantage of and cute little eating and drinking spots. While there, you should take the opportunity to try the national dish - cracked conch - a meal that we devoured on our Eat the World: Bahamas edition.
Have you been to Nassau or any of the islands of the Bahamas? What about a cruise? What do you think of those as a way to explore a country or city? Tell me in the comment section below :)