Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, presents splices of history in a relaxing tropical setting. It’s a healthy balance of urban and laid-back, allowing you to enjoy a slow pace whilst still accessing conveniences you may be accustomed to. For the best experience, be sure to visit the nearby Paradise Island which is only a short ferry ride away and offers renowned attractions such as Atlantis.
Perhaps my single—most favourite thing about Nassau is the architecture: you’ll immediately get a colonial feel as you feast your eyes on cute, colourful buildings in shades of pinks, blues and greens. It’s almost as if they whisper the kind of stay you can expect to have here: simple and delightful!
If like us, you’ll be in Nassau for a short period, here are some key places to visit (aside from beaches, of course) that will make your stay worthwhile!
- Pirates of Nassau Museum- The Bahamas has done a great job at preserving the life of the pirates that once occupied the region. As you enter the premises, you will walk the streets of a dark, mysterious world that replicates Port Royal, Jamaica, the island these rough-necks once occupied. Board a pirate’s ship and see how they lived: what they ate, the weapons they used, how they performed medical procedures and more. You’ll find information about some famous pirates (including females) and also learn the various penalties they faced for treason. It’s also a great place for photo opps!
- Visit the Forts- Close to the end of the 18th century, various European countries gained interest in conquering new lands. With the Bahamas in their possession, the British took a proactive approach and built several forts to defend themselves. Some of these include Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle and Fort Montague which have all been preserved. Dive into history and savour the bird’s eye views of the city that these hideaways provide, walk through stone walls and pretend to shoot some cannons. The weather in the Bahamas which is warm all year round, will allow you to move from fort to fort by foot while taking in the scenes of the city.
Budgeting Tip: If you’d like to reduce spending, you can opt to view the exterior of the forts so as to avoid paying for entry.
- The Queen’s Staircase- standing 102 ft tall, this has become Nassau’s most famous attraction. It could perhaps be considered the pyramids of the Caribbean, taking visitors on a walk back in time. The landmark reflects the hard work and talent of some 600 slaves who constructed this 66 step (now 65 step) stairway carving them out of limestone rock using only pickaxes. Their craftsmanship spanned 16 years and was completed between 1793 and 1794. The staircase provided a shorter, more direct access to Fort Fincastle, the highest point in Nassau, in case of an attack. It was later named The Queen’s Staircase in honour of Queen Victoria.
Budgeting Tip: this site is free of cost! So get some exercise, snap some pics and keep that budget healthy!
- Eat Conch Fritters/Have a Daiquiri- the food in the Bahamas is worth trying! You’ll definitely want to take a trek to the famous “Da Fish Fry” for some of the country’s best bites. This is a renowned go-to spot for local food, where you’ll also get lovely beach views. Twin Brothers came highly recommended by a Bahamian and we acted on the advice. Here, we sank our teeth in delectable conch fritters, daiquiris and also tried a local dessert, guava duff. Take special note to try the signature drink, a Bahama Mama.
Budgeting Tip: We carried lunch from our hotel, which meant we weren’t very hungry and didn’t need much food. Budget approximately $3.50 for a serving of six (6) conch fritters and $3.00 and up for virgin daiquiris (add $2 with alcohol). Prices quoted in Bahamian dollars.
- Go Shopping- Downtown Nassau, Bahamas is a lively shopping district, full of enticing stores! Stop by local stores for souvenirs, Bahamian T-shirts and postcards, get your fill of clothing and jewellery in high-end stores and be sure to stop by the Nassau Craft Market for local art pieces.
If you’re a history buff, beach bum or foodie, this island is worth a place on your bucket list!