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8 Best Nassau Tourist Attractions

Atlantis Bahamas
Atlantis Bahamas. Credit: Pixabay license

Nassau Bahamas tourist attractions are similar to things to do in other well-developed destinations such as Cancun. They emphasize dining, shopping and nightlife.

But unique Caribbean attractions often have their roots in nature or history, and the Bahamas are no different.

Noteworthy standard things to do include two golf courses and a large number of watersports activities including many snorkeling and scuba diving operators.

The following Nassau tourist attractions stand out more than many others for their uniqueness.

1) Atlantis Waterpark

The biggest Nassau tourist attraction is the Atlantis resort complex. It’s hard to miss Atlantis for anyone visiting Nassau by cruise or for a week. The pink towers of the Atlantis resort is a dominant sight two miles over the water from the Nassau cruise terminal.

Aquaventure, which opened in 2007, is a 141-acre water park at Atlantis that contains 200 million gallons of water. The park has slides, lazy rivers and rapids. Power Tower contains four waterslides. Visitors also can shop, dine and relax on a beach.

Cruise lines offer excursions to the park for a fee. Cruise visitors also can take a quick taxi or water taxi to get there. Anyone who isn’t staying at the Atlantis resort must purchase a day pass to use the water park. Day passes for teens and adults are $250 at the time of this writing and half price for children.

2) Nassau Shopping District

Shoppers will find a massive number of shops and restaurants in the Nassau shopping district, which begins right off the cruise docks.

Although it’s large, it doesn’t have quite the same festive atmosphere as other shopping districts in the Caribbean such as Playa del Carmen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a beach right next to it like Philipsburg St. Maarten.

That said, visitors will find plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, especially along Bay Street, which is the major tourist thoroughfare.

3) Straw Market

The Straw Market is one of the biggest open-air markets in the Caribbean. Vendors offer many hand-crafted goods for sale, some made locally and some not. Check out the wood carver stands at the side of the market farthest from the cruise terminal.

The market is on the water within walking distance of the cruise terminal. If visiting by cruise, go through the terminal and take a right. Go down the road in front of the terminal about three blocks to reach the market.

Note that some vendors are willing to haggle over prices. Some of them also are aggressive.

4) Fort Charlotte

The largest fort in the Bahamas sits on a hill with views of Nassau, the harbor and Paradise Island. It has a moat, dungeons, underground passages and many cannon on 100 acres of land. Photo opportunities are abudant.

The entrance fee is $5 for adults, $2 for children (under 12) and $3 for seniors.

The fort on West Bay Street is about one and a half miles west of the cruise terminal in the same direction as the Straw Market.

Fort Charlotte Nassau
Fort Charlotte. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

5) Cable Beach

Cable Beach is the best-known beach on New Providence island. It is six miles or about 15 miles west of the cruise port.

Taxi rates are fixed by zones on New Providence. The rate for two people to go from downtown by the cruise port to Cable Beach is $12 one way. Additional people are $3 apiece. Prices are subject to change. Budget travelers will save money over taxies by using the public bus system.

6) Fort Fincastle

Fort Fincastle, Nassau Bahamas
Fort Fincastle; © Bahamas Tourism Authority

Fincastle is located on Bennett’s Hill within walking distance of downtown Nassau. Fort Charlotte is a better choice, but Fincastle is a quick and educational visit, and it’s each to reach.

The fort, shaped like a paddle-wheel steamer, was built in 1793. Because Nassau was never attacked, this fort was used first as a lighthouse and then as a signal tower.

It is open to the public Monday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

This small fort is worth a visit for anyone on a tight budget and with extra time on their hands. Visitors can see the nearby Queen’s Staircase during the same trip.

7) Queen’s Staircase

This quiet (and free) attraction in Nassau has 65 steps that were carved out of solid limestone by slaves in the 18th century. It is an impressive feat and a good spot for taking a few interesting photos.

The staircase was named in honor of Queen Victoria, who reigned for 65 years. The top of the stairs lie near Fort Fincastle and Nassau’s Water Tower. Tourists should combine both sites in a single visit.

It’s a quick side trip from Fort Fincastle that takes only 10 to 15 minutes. We were the only people there during our visit.

8) Pirates of Nassau

This interactive entertainment tells the story of pirates in an educational, historically accurate way. The facility has a pirate-themed pub and gift shop. Admission is $13.50 for adults and $6.75 for children. Prices are subject to change.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
October 12, 2023

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