With a bustling port docked by gleaming cruise liners, Bahamas’ capital is a vibrant welcoming mat for those hoping to explore the islands. From sampling regional-style food at Arawak Cay to shaking things up at a Junkanoo “rush out,” here are the top 7 things to do in Nassau:
Feel the rush at a Junkanoo Festival
An energetic street parade carried out by dancers in flashy, ornate costumes: Junkanoo Festival. The celebration ignites Bay Street with bombastic performances, drumbeats, blasts of brass instruments and cowbells twice a year on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. You can experience the dazzling “rush” just after midnight when marchers begin strutting down the street in their elaborate, handmade outfits. There are also mini “rush outs” popping up throughout the week at popular resorts, hotels, and restaurants.
Adventure at Aquaventure
Just north of the city on Paradise Island, you’ll find the massive 141-acre waterpark, Aquaventure, complete with 11 swimming pools, river rapids, and a Mayan-themed water playground. Plunge down the park’s near-vertical waterslides if you dare, or float down the river and soak in the sun.
Among its many beachfront attractions, Atlantis also features scores of natural marine habitats, lagoons, and underwater caves teeming with colourful tropical fishes.
Day trip to Blue Lagoon Island
Also known as Salt Cay, this private island is lined by swaying palms, tranquil beaches, and crystal-clear lagoons. A short boat ride away from the bustling Paradise Island, Blue Lagoon is where you’ll find peaceful tropical environments surrounded by nature and wildlife. Get away from the mega-resort excitement by exploring the island with an eco-tour or find chances to interact with dolphins and sea lions at its natural ocean habitat. You can also snorkel and scuba dive around the cay and discover its motley coral reefs and thriving underwater life.
Pirates of Nassau
Where else to relive the good ol’ pirate days than at their old haunt in the Caribbean. At Pirates of Nassau Museum, you’ll find a 75-ft long interactive replica of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Ann’s Revenge, docked in a 17th-century port. Along with a few swashbuckling buccaneers parrying on deck, you can learn about the history of piracy while touring the museum’s exhibits, complete with pirate era memorabilia.
Try Real Bahamian Food at Arawak Cay
Known locally as “Fish Fry,” this harbourfront strip is where you’ll find rows of pastel-coloured shacks serving up fresh, catch of the day seafood, daiquiris, and Sky Juice (coconut milk mixed with gin, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Don’t leave without trying authentic Bahamian fried snappers, cracked conch, grilled shrimps, and lobster tails.
Drop by Parliament Square
Politics is a lot like theatre, and at Nassau’s Parliament Square, you can see Bahamian lawmakers in action. Built in 1815, this pastel-pink colonial plaza is where the nation’s House of Assembly, Senate, and Supreme Court pass legislatures and debate policies. See history in the making while wandering around this picturesque square, or peek behind the scene at the inner workings of a nation when walking through historic halls.
Tour John Watling’s Distillery
Named after the infamous 17th-century pirate, this iconic distillery in downtown Nassau’s historic Buena Vista Estate is famous for its homemade rum. Tour the property and see the rum-making process, or sample authentic Bahamian-style rum and rum cocktails at the Red Turtle Tavern. You can also pick up a bottle of John Watling’s signature island rum at the store.
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