Nassau is not only a well-liked port of call for Bahamas and Caribbean cruises but also the current port of embarkation for Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas. Early-arriving cruisers to the Bahamas will be searching for enjoyable activities they can partake in without having to wait for a port stop. People arriving by ship might want to consider options other than shore excursions.
Here are the most enjoyable activities in Nassau, Bahamas whether you have eight hours or a whole weekend.
1. Visit the beach
You’re on an island, so let’s start with the obvious: go to the beach. Start with the magnificent white-sand beach in front of you if you have a hotel reservation on Cable Beach or Paradise Island. You will have access to all the amenities, including water sports, bars and restaurants, as well as lounge chair rentals, even though they can get busy with tourists and touts.
Saunders Beach’s protected swimming area, restrooms, and playground can be preferred by families. The closest beach to the cruise port, Junkanoo, has a festive vibe from its many drink deals.
Dislike crowded places? Take the neighborhood bus or a taxi all the way down Bay St., west of the Cable Beach resorts and downtown Nassau, to Love Beach. Away from the aggressive sellers and the tourist hordes, unwind in quiet.
2. Go to Atlantis for a day.
The opulent hotel complex Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island has restaurants, a casino, a spa, shops, a water park, and an aquarium. If you can’t afford to stay there or are travelling there on a cruise ship, you can get a (expensive) day pass to the resort’s water park, Aquaventure.
The 141-acre Aquaventure water park has slides, pools, beaches, and an aquarium with a marine ecosystem. Several water slides, including a body slide through a clear tunnel so you can see marine life swimming all around you, a lazy river ride, and a water playground splash area for young children are all included in the water play area.
Day passes must be reserved in advance either online or by phone due to their limited availability.
3. Go Shopping
Downtown Nassau will satisfy anyone’s need for retail therapy. Bay Street is home to a mix of high-end, duty-free stores and souvenir shops selling Bahamas T-shirts, magnets, and other souvenirs. It’s a mere block from the cruise port.
Also here is Nassau’s famous Straw Market, where you can buy dolls, bags, and other gifts woven from straw. You can find all the typical souvenirs here, too, though look carefully if you care that your purchase was actually made locally. Next to the Straw Market is an alleyway where the wood carvers display and sell their wares.
If you want more authentic local buys, drop by the Pompey Square craft market or the artists’ studios on West Hill Street. The shops by the Graycliff Hotel sell local cigars and chocolate; pick up a bottle of local rum at John Watling’s Distillery.
4. Taste some Native Cuisine
Make it a point to try the local cuisine if you’re in Nassau for a few hours or several days. All of the visitors try the rum cake, but not everyone orders conch fritters or conch salad. (Conch is a sort of sea snail that is native to the Bahamas; conch meat is frequently used in regional cuisine.)
In Nassau, there are numerous opportunities to sample regional Bahamian cuisine. Ask a store owner or seller for a restaurant recommendation; once, an employee at an art museum gave us instructions to a roadside stand selling wonderful conch salad. Alternately, go to Arawak Cay’s Fish Fry, where a variety of indoor eateries, beach shacks, and food trucks serve up fresh local seafood in a variety of ways.
If you’re really committed, you can reserve a cooking lesson or food tour through your ship or a separate tour operator. You will be given a tour of the island by a native who will also introduce you to all the area’s culinary highlights.
5. Examine the ocean's depths
Nassau is the ideal location for underwater exploration thanks to its crystal-clear water, vibrant coral, and variety of sea life. More reasons to don your gear include some beautiful shipwrecks and shark-filled wall dive spots.
Divers and serious snorkelers may want to reserve a tour while visiting Nassau, however you can rent snorkel gear from your hotel or bring your own to the beach. With local experts who are knowledgeable about the greatest snorkelling and diving spots, tours may take you to the best locations.
In addition to diving and snorkelling, Nassau operators also provide other underwater activities. SNUBA, a hybrid of snorkelling and scuba diving, or SUB underwater motorbikes are two options.
6. Check out a museum
Nassau may not come to mind as a dream destination for museum-goers, but it does include a few modest museums that are well worth a trip.
In a villa from the 19th century, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas exhibits both contemporary and traditional Bahamian art. It’s a great area to explore, and the gift shop offers distinctive items that are exclusive to this island.
The Pirates of Nassau museum, which explores the “golden age of piracy” in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, may interest both landlubbers and sea dogs. Enter the compact but informative Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation for a more sober look at a significant moment in Bahamian history.
7. Ascend the Queen's Staircase
The Queen’s Staircase is a famous location in Nassau and a fantastic photo opportunity. Take on the challenge of ascending all 65 steps of this stairway, which slaves cut out of a limestone rock face in the 18th century. Water gushes over the rock walls next to it, which are covered in tropical flora.
The cruise terminal and downtown are both conveniently close to the Queen’s Staircase. At the top and bottom of the stairs, locals will try to sell you trinkets or provide you with information about the area’s history in exchange for a tip.
8. Explore the Ardastra Gardens
As the sole animal conservation facility in the Bahamas, Ardastra Gardens and animal Conservation Centre claims exclusivity.
There are more than 135 creatures living in its zoo. The Caribbean flamingos, who entertain guests multiple times a day, are the stars. Swans, peafowl, and parrots may also be seen. Many of the creatures who lived there were rescues that arrived hurt at the conservation centre.
In addition, there are 4 acres of tropical gardens for tourists to explore. Take pictures of the hibiscus, orchid, and bougainvillaea blossoms. There are several tropical trees, such as breadfruit, mango, and coconut palms.
9. Attend a class at Graycliff or a tour.
In addition to a hotel and restaurant, Graycliff is currently home to a number of companies. You can reserve a lodging or take part in a variety of classes and tours.
Attend a culinary class at the Graycliff Culinary Academy, or register for an afternoon tea, wine luncheon, or wine and cheese tasting. Visit the Graycliff Cigar Company on a tour to observe the torcedores creating beautiful cigars, or enrol in a class to try your hand at rolling cigars. At the Graycliff Chocolatier, you may purchase fine chocolates as gifts or take a tour to discover how to manufacture your own confections. The Bahamas Barrels location also offers wine blending instruction.
A five-hour day pass to Graycliff that includes a hotel tour, use of the pool, and a three-course meal is available if all you want to do is unwind. A massage or a Graycliff cigar and a glass of port are available as extras.
Also, Checkout our IC CARIBBEAN shop and enjoy shopping online.
Listen to our most recent audio episode with Maria Blackman, the respected Marketing Communication Manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, to fully experience the rich culture and natural beauty of the Caribbean.