Nassau travel guide: everything you need to know

Nassau travel guide: everything you need to know

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper

Choose Nassau for your next vacation: a mix of big city and laid back island life. The capital of The Bahamas, Nassau is full of island culture, pirate history, and beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear aquamarine water lapping the shores. There’s always an excuse for a vacation to the Bahamas.  Find whatever you’re looking for in a Nassau vacation, and let our Nassau travel guide help you plan the perfect getaway:

Who should visit Nassau?

Nassau is waiting. The capital of the Bahamas, Nassau is more than a beautiful beach-lined city: this bustling city covers two islands and is a popular port for cruise ships, home to countless resorts, and a glimpse into paradise. Complete with full casinos, waterparks, and excellent shopping, Nassau is a top destination for more than just the March Breaker: everyone will find something to do here. Nassau is located on New Providence Island and attached to Paradise Island, the most popular of The Bahamas island archipelago, which is made up of over 700, in the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Florida. With the famous Atlantis resort as the area’s most popular tourist attraction, travellers looking for an exciting vacation away with plenty of options will enjoy a Bahamas vacation here. Whether you’re looking for a week on the beach, a busy vacation full of activities, shopping, or adults-only resorts for a quiet escape, the island is host to something special waiting for you on your next trip to Nassau.

Nassau travel guide highlighting the best things to do and places to stay in the Bahamas

Things to do in Nassau

Plan your days around soaking up the sun on the powdery white beaches of Nassau, but don’t forget to venture beyond the water and enjoy the entertainment, attractions, shopping, and more that awaits in Nassau. Though the city is often looked at as a family-vacation, don’t look past the luxury, romance, and excellent shopping found here.

The Atlantis Aquaventure park is on our Nassau travel guide list for a must-do

Atlantis: Don’t miss out on the magical story of Atlantis, the Lost City. Opt to see more of the Bahamas and stay at another resort, but buy a day-pass to Atlantis Aquaventure (day passes approximately $150). With cruise-ship style entertainment and shows on land, the famous waterpark stretching 141-acres, marine habitat, water adventures ranging from scuba to snorkelling, and complete with golf, rock climbing, a spa, and more: a trip to Atlantis has something for the whole family and is enough to keep anyone visiting Nassau occupied. Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas is a must-have on any Nassau travel guide.

Golf: Enjoy the colours of the island as the bright green pops against the turquoise waters on one of the island’s golf courses. Golf in paradise at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island, complete with a golf shop, practice facility, and golf academy for the beginner. Everything is better in the Bahamas and that means learning from professional and certified golf instructors, and enjoy some of the best tee-off views in the Caribbean.

The Atlantis casino is the biggest in the Caribbean

Atlantis Bahamas resort casino. Photo credit: Atlantis Bahamas

Casinos and nightlife: Test your luck and play at the largest casino in the Caribbean, with 60,000 square feet and 90 table games, 850 slot machines and a 24-hour open time. Live it up in Nassau with the nightlife that sees DJs spinning, live bands playing, and visitors dancing and bumping late into the night. Find bars and lounges throughout Nassau to relax and unwind or to pump up the energy after the sun goes down.

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas: The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas is one of the country’s top attractions for its historic 1860s building and stunning art collection. Get a glimpse into island life and the culture of the Bahamas here with local art, contemporary pieces, historical art and cultural information and public programming. The art gallery is closed on Mondays and public holidays, and entrance is $10.00 for international visitors.

Our Nassau Travel Guide highlights scuba and snorkeling in Nassau, Bahamas

Scuba and snorkel: Nassau celebrates everything water, including snorkeling and scuba diving the crystal clear waters off the coast of the Bahamas. Be introduced to the underwater world and the creatures that call it home: enjoy the beautiful coral reef that lines The Bahamas from a different point of view. With plenty of snorkeling, scuba, and snuba adventures available, there’s no shortage of watersports here. Looking for something different? Consider the Nassau Shark Adventure dive program and get up close and personal with Caribbean Reef Sharks.

Nassau is also a popular destination for getting up close and personal with stingrays and other water activities: get to know the island for what it’s famous for. Opt for a shore excursion on your cruise stop to see the highlights and must-see visits on the island, swim with dolphins to fulfill a life-long dream, or walk the downtown and enjoy a historical tour of Nassau where you’ll experience the stunning Colonial architecture of the city.

A historical tour of Colonial Nassau should be on any Nassau travel guide

Shopping: Beyond the beaches and bay, Nassau is known for its shopping from fine imported goods to luxury shopping. For the best duty-free shopping, visit Bay Street. Whether you’re looking for local crafts, unique Bahamian items, or large retail center items, the Bahamas offers some of the best in island shopping. For local items, visit Festival Place at the cruise dock in Nassau where over 45 local artisans set up shop.

Pirates of Nassau Museum: Ahoy, matey! Visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum in downtown Nassau for an interactive experience and family-friendly attraction. Nassau has a long history of piracy, attracting the largest concentration of pirates seen in the New World so there’s no better place to learn about walking the plank, pirate ships and plunder. This interactive museum has a pirate ship you can board, educational history, and more. Arrr!

The downtown Nassau waterfront is a great area to wander and explore other items on our Nassau travel guide list

For a full list of day trips and excursions for your trip to Nassau, click here.

Resorts in Nassau, Bahamas

The Bahamas offer plenty of accommodation options for visitors looking for a break from the winter weather in Canada, or those looking for an exciting destination with beach-front views. Not all accommodations in Nassau are all-inclusive vacations, but several options are available for an easy, stress-free vacation where you won’t need to have cash on hand through the day. Many Nassau all-inclusive vacations are family-friendly, while other resorts offer adults-only vacations for a romantic trip to paradise, or for a luxury retreat. Choose from secluded retreats, beachfront hotels, or luxury resorts and let the sun and relaxation sink in:

For a family vacation: Atlantis Paradise Island, 4-star

The Atlantis resort Nassau is on the top of our Nassau travel guide list for accommodations and attractions

This famous resort, modeled after the myth of the lost city of Atlantis, is located on Paradise Island. Host to the Aquaventure Water Park stretching over 141 acres, Dolphin Cay dolphin experience, the Atlantis Casino, and a large aquarium, among other daily and nightly entertainment options and activities, Atlantis is a hot spot for Nassau vacations. With 11 pools, 18 waterslides, 3 beaches, 20 restaurants, and three different hotels on-site (including adults-only sections), Atlantis Paradise Island is the perfect family getaway. Your kids will be begging you to have another family vacation after a week at Atlantis resort: water is a main focus here, and you’ll definitely make a splash in vacation time at Atlantis. Travelling without kids? Enjoy the countless bars, the extensive dining, a marketplace, casino, and more. With so much to do at Atlantis, you might just need two weeks here to see it all.

For a quality vacation: Melia Nassau Beach Resort, 4-star

Melia Nassau Beach Resort

Along the white sands of Cable Beach, in the heart of Nassau, find yourself relaxing at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort. With six specialty restaurants, a full activities and entertainment program for both children and adults, and three outdoor pools, the Melia covers every type of traveller. Business travellers, enjoy the meeting rooms, while wedding groups will enjoy a tropical gazebo for a picture-perfect day. With services so the children can play while the adults unwind and relax, the Melia Nassau Beach resort is a 4-star resort perfect for a laid back Nassau vacation.

For a luxury escape: Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, 4-star

Stay in the heart of Nassau at the Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, next to Government House, and just a short walk from the water. This historic mansion gives a relaxing vacation, tranquil escape, and a warm Bahamian welcome for a Nassau hotel. With entertainment on-site, a fitness center, one of the world’s largest wine cellars, and two pools, guests will be treated like royalty at the Graycliff. Indulge in the food and wine here for a luxury vacation.

For a romantic vacation: Sandals Royal Bahamian, 5-star

The Sandals Royal Bahamian is an accommodation option on our Nassau travel guide list

No adults-only vacation is complete without a week to relax at the Sandals Royal Bahamian along Cable Beach in Nassau. Ignite the spark with the 404 rooms and suites here, an offshore island with two private beaches, or choose to really enjoy vacation with a taste of The Bahamas at one of 8 a la carte restaurants, 1 buffet, and 7 bars. Get some sun along the pristine white sand beaches or in the 13 Sandals pools on the resort. You’ll fall in love with a vacation at Sandals with your sweetheart.

For other all-inclusive Bahamas vacations, visit our blog on the top 8 resort picks.

When to visit Nassau

Nassau is a popular vacation destination in the winter months, during high traffic periods like Christmas and March Break when kids are pulled from school for family vacations, and even for quick weekend trips. The weather in Nassau is semi-tropical, ranging from 27C to 32C in the summer months, and a comfortable 21C to 27C in the winter months. Water temperatures range from 20 to 27C on average, depending on the season. With a breeze coming on shore in the evenings, plan to bring a light sweater or scarf for vacations during the winter months to stay warm, but keep in mind temperatures rarely fall below 15C, even at night in the winter. The Bahamas are in the hurricane belt, but tropical storms and hurricanes are infrequent here. Expect to pay steeper prices in the winter months when travel is more common, as well as larger crowds at tourist attractions and on resorts, especially family-friendly destinations.

Nassau travel guide Nassau Paradise Island

Travel Style

Visitors to The Bahamas and those taking Nassau vacations often do so for a week, though shorter or longer periods are also possible. Nassau is also a popular cruise port, meaning an influx of travellers when ships are in port, and oftentimes, a larger number of people hitting the shopping areas, and beaches as popular day trips from the cruise ship. One million visitors board cruises to Nassau each year, but the destination is also popularly visited as an all-inclusive vacation destination. Travellers looking for a quick girls weekend away, honeymoon, bachelorette party, or short family vacation also often do so over three or four days.

Getting to Nassau

Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing all fly non-stop from Toronto to Nassau (with connecting flights from other Canadian gateways through Toronto), with departure days and times dependent on the season. Canadians travelling to the Bahamas (Nassau) will fly into Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS), the largest airport in the Bahamas. Travellers staying at all-inclusive resorts will receive transfers between the airport and the resort included, but luxury transfers from the Nassau airport are also available. Taxis from the airport to Paradise Island or to downtown Nassau are approximately $30 while a taxi to Cable Beach is approximately $18.

Getting around

Depending on the type of vacation you choose, transportation once in the Bahamas and in Nassau may not be required. For travellers staying at an all-inclusive resort, travel off the resort won’t be required, other than for excursions, which are pre-arranged by tour companies hired by the resort staff. For travellers that have not opted for an all-inclusive vacation, for the traveller looking to explore more of the Bahamas and to visit downtown Nassau is possible by cab or public transportation. Renting a car is also possible, but North Americans should remember that driving is on the left-hand side in The Bahamas, which might make it confusing for someone not used to it. Ferry boats from Paradise Island to downtown Nassau also run daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., for only $4 per person one way. Once into the downtown core, walking is possible between the major sites and attractions and to just stroll and explore.

Price

Nassau vacations run between $650 and $2000 depending on length of vacation, gateway, and time of year for visiting. Vacations run between short 3- or 4-day getaways and week-long all-inclusive visits. Vacations to Nassau from Toronto range from approximately $800 and $1700.

Currency: Destinations within The Bahamas accept the Bahamian Dollar (BSD). All major tourist attractions and resorts within The Bahamas will accept this currency, while the casinos use US currency. The famous Straw Market will only accept cash, while most restaurants and other areas will accept credit cards.

Language: English

Electricity: The same as within North America (110v), meaning an adapter and/or converter is not required.

 

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