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Useful information for excursions in Nassau (Bahamas)
In the following paragraphs, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful information for shore excursions in Nassau (Bahamas).
The most beautiful sights in and around Nassau
The Bahamas are located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 186,5 miles off the coast of Miami. The island state consists of more than 700 islands, of which only about 30 are inhabited. In addition, another 2400 or so Cays, tiny island of coral reefs or sandbanks are part of the Bahamas. Nassau is located on the around 18,6-kilometer-long island of New Providence and is the capital city of the Bahamas.
During your cruise stay in Nassau, be fascinated by the colonial charm of the city and its exciting past or relax on one of the beautiful sandy beaches. A trip to the unique underwater world or to the neighboring Paradise Island is also worthwhile. There you will find one of the largest marine aquariums in the world in the famous Atlantis Resort.
Although Nassau is located on a very small island, the port of this city is one of the most important cruise ports in the world. Over time, Nassau has become a lively city, with a population of about 265,000. Today the city is also the banking and commercial center of the Bahamas.
You can also feel the eventful past of colonial rule, piracy and slavery during your stay. Nassau can be wonderfully explored on a walk from the harbor. Here you can admire the architectural heritage from the colonial period. Colourful facades of 18th century houses and villas add to the charm of the city and will certainly enchant you. In addition to the central Parliament Square, the pink Government House also stands out. It once served as a government building.
A city walk can also be ideally combined with a shopping spree. On the famous Bay Street you will find numerous shops to browse. The Nassau Straw Market is also worth a visit. The Straw Market is one of the largest markets of its kind. Among other typical souvenirs, numerous local traders sell the straw products that are famous for the island. These include hats, baskets or dolls.
Nassau also has some interesting museums to offer. One of them is the popular pirate museum “Pirates of Nassau”. Located on George Street, it is also only a few hundred meters from the harbor and is especially recommended for families. There you can learn more about the long and exciting history of the pirates who once took the island as a starting point for their raids. You can even explore a replica pirate ship and experience the pirate life of the time.
The Pompey Museum is also worth a visit. Here you can learn more about the history of slaves from the 17th century.
One of the most famous sightseeings of the island is the stone staircase “Queen’s Staircase”. Its history is a very interesting and at the same time gloomy one. In the 18th century, slaves are said to have laboriously carved the stairs with the help of limestone axes. In case of an attack, this enabled a quick and direct way from the city center up to Fort Fincastle. The staircase consists of 65 steps and is about 102 foot high.
Today, the climb provides a perfect starting point for exploring Fort Fincastle on the highest point of the island. Most city tours make a photo stop at the historic stone steps.
In Nassau there are three fortresses, which were once supposed to protect the island from attackers. Today you can marvel at the remains and enjoy impressive views of the harbor, the ocean and the neighboring Paradise Island. The fortresses all date from the colonial period and are located east, west and south of the city center.
If you have walked up the steps of the Queen’s Staircase, you will come directly to Fort Finecastle. The imposing fort was built on Bennet Hill in 1793. From the highest hill of the island you have a beautiful view over the island. It is built of limestone and its shape is reminiscent of a ship. It is said that not a single cannon had to be fired from this facility.
The oldest fortress is Fort Montagu and was built in 1741 east of the city center. It is a comparatively very small complex, which is characterized by cannons but also by a terraced cistern. It is constructed in such a way that it can hold up to 30 tons of water, which falls as rain on the site.
Located on the western outskirts of the city is Fort Charlotte. It was built between 1787 and 1789 and is the largest of the three forts. It is still in good condition today, so you can explore the waterless moat, the rampart and the drawbridge. Even the dungeon is still preserved. Here you can find some torture tools that were used in those days.
A popular destination is also the neighboring Paradise Island. It is connected to New Providence by two bridges, so that one can get there easily and quickly from Nassau.
The island is dominated by the impressive Atlantis Paradise Island. Already when entering the harbor, one can enjoy a spectacular view to the outstanding pink hotel towers. The hotel complex itself is the biggest hotel of the Bahamas. The huge resort takes in total a big part of the island and offers numerous leisure time activities. In addition to a large number of restaurants, shopping facilities, beach sections and pool facilities, these include an adventurous water park, one of the largest aquariums in the world, and the largest casino in the Caribbean. There is something for everyone here and there will certainly be no boredom.
The Bahamas offer exactly what you would expect from the Caribbean – fantastic beaches with crystal clear, warm water and finest white sand that feels like icing sugar. From Nassau you can easily reach several beautiful beaches. One of them is the famous Cable Beach. The beach borders on several luxury resorts and can be reached by car in about 20 minutes from the harbor. You can also try out various water sports activities there.
Just as popular and well known is the Cabbage Beach on the neighboring Paradise Island. Various water sports activities are also offered here. But at the same time, one usually finds here also some more quiet sections.
A more exclusive beach day can be spent on the private islands of Balmoral Island, Blue Lagoon Island and Pearl Island. By boat it takes only a few minutes to reach the artificially created islands. Besides pure beach fun, other attractions such as swimming with dolphins or animal shows are offered.
Map of the cruise port in Nassau (Bahamas)
The Prince George Wharf is located directly in front of the city center of Nassau and is protected by the neighboring Paradise Island. Up to six ships can dock at three harbors at the same time. Depending on which harbor the ship docks at, a small footpath up to the terminal building is necessary. The harbor area itself already has some small shops, food facilities and a tourist information.
Outside the harbor, there are many other restaurants, cafés and shops directly opposite along the Woodes Rogers Walk promenade. Because of the central location you are already in the city center after a short walk. Taxis are usually available in sufficient numbers and the landing stage for water taxis is also located at the harbor.
Work is currently underway to modernize the site. The port area is to be transformed into a kind of park. In addition to numerous shopping facilities, concerts and other activities will be offered. The project should be completed in 2021.
Things to know before your trip to Nassau (Bahamas)
Shipping companies and routes
The port of Nassau is one of the most frequented cruise ports in the Caribbean. Especially international shipping companies such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, MSC, Costa, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line call at the port all year round.
The international shipping companies also call at the port on their cruises through the Caribbean. Other ports that are called at on the classic routes include Miami, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Key West, Cozumel and Ocho Rois.
Entry and visa
U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days but are required to present a valid U.S. passport, as well as proof of anticipated departure from The Bahamas.
U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port) are able to enter the United States with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the countries your cruise ship is visiting.
To be on the safe side, we recommend that you inform yourself directly with your cruise company about the valid entry regulations for your cruise.
Taxi and public transport
If you have not booked a transfer or guided land excursion, you have several possibilities to discover Nassau and its surroundings on your own.
If you only want to explore the city center of Nassau, it can be reached quickly and easily on foot thanks to its central location.
To see a little more of the island or to get to one of the beautiful beaches, public buses are a cheap alternative. The minibuses are called Jitneys and they run on different routes across the island. Only a few hundred meters from the harbor, route NO. 10 runs along. It offers a good possibility to reach the Cable Beach. Even though most of the buses are running very regularly, you should always expect delays.
A taxi is a more individual way of travelling. These are usually available for you in sufficient numbers directly outside the port. Even if the prices are fixed, it is advisable to discuss the fare with the driver before the start of the journey to avoid surprises.
A popular alternative to taxis are water taxis, which take you from Nassau to Paradise Island. The ferries depart every 30 minutes between 09:00 and 18:00 hrs. The trip takes just under 20 minutes, during which you can enjoy a great view. The tickets cost about 6 USD and can be bought in a small shop or kiosk next to the landing stages.
Regardless of which means of transport you choose, you should always plan a little more time for the return journey. During general rush hours or when several ships leave at the same time, waiting times and traffic jams can quickly occur.
In the Bahamas, the Bahama Dollar (BSD) is the official currency. One Bahama dollar is equivalent to one US dollar and is firmly pegged to it. As a tourist you can pay comfortably with US dollars almost everywhere. You can exchange them before you start your Caribbean cruise. However, it is advisable not to pay with too large US dollar bills, as you will usually get your change back in the local currency. Payment by credit card is also very common.
The Bahamas have a subtropical climate. The trade winds and the warm gulf stream make the climate very pleasant. The average temperature is about 79 Fahrenheit, with only slight temperature fluctuations during the year. The water temperatures also ensure year-round bathing fun. The best time to travel is between December and May. During this period it is nice and warm like the whole year, but the humidity is not too high yet. From June to October is rainy season. In this time it can also come to hurricanes until November.
Website port operator and tourism organisation
Video: Impressions of Nassau (Bahamas)
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