Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Best Bahamas Attractions: 13 Things to Do

Atlantis Bahamas
Atlantis Bahamas. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Bahamas tourist attractions are similar to other well-developed destinations such as Cancun - they emphasize dining, shopping and nightlife. The islands also are a popular golf destination.

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

Noteworthy standard attractions include nine golf courses and a large number of watersports activities including many snorkeling and scuba diving operators.

The following attractions stand out more than many others.

1) Atlantis Waterpark (Nassau)

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 to get there.

2) Nassau Shopping District (New Providence)

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.

3) Straw Market (Nassau)

The Straw Market is one of the biggest of its kind 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.

4) Port Lucaya Marketplace (Freeport, Grand Bahama)

Port Lucaya Marketplace
Port Lucaya Marketplace; ©
For anyone with an interest in shopping during a stop at Freeport, a good starting point is the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

It's a popular place to visit for anyone on a Bahamas cruise that includes Grand Bahama island.

The marketplace is a 12-acre shopping and dining complex on the waterfront. Colorful structures and brick walkways add to the atmosphere.

Besides dining and shopping, visitors can charter fishing boats, dive boats and reef tours.

Although it is a pleasant attraction, it isn't nearly as big as other shopping districts in the Caribbean including Nassau.

5) Fort Charlotte (Nassau)

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

6) Fort Fincastle (Nassau)

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.

8) Queen's Staircase (Nassau)

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 a good spot for taking 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.

7) Lucayan National Park (Grand Bahama)

Lucayan National Park has the world's longest underwater system of limestone caves, accessible via land and ocean. Visitors to the 40-acre park also can see upland forests, rare flower species and mangrove creeks.

9) Rand Nature Center (Grand Bahama)

The first educational nature center created on the Bahamas is known for its West Indian flamingos that nest at a pond inside the park.

The center also is known for plant species and other bird species including Red-legged Thrushes, Stripe-headed Tanagers and the Bahama Parrot.

10) Pirates of Nassau (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.

Bahamas Out Islands

Although most visitors to the Bahamas end up at Nassau on New Providence island or Freeport on Grand Bahama island, some do visit the “out" islands and attractions like the ones below.

11) Abaco Wild Horse Preserve (The Abacos)

The wild horses are Abaco Barbs, which are descended from the time of Christopher Columbus' explorations.

The herd has declined from more than 200 in the 1960s to only nine today, but they now live in a preserve and receive the support of a non-profit organization that is trying to save them.

12) Elizabeth Harbour (Exuma)

Yachtsmen worldwide visit the beautiful Elizabeth Harbour, which is the location of the annual National Family Island Regatta that takes place in the last week of April each year as well as the George Town Cruising Regatta.

13) Hatchet Bay Cave (Eleuthera)

Visitors to Hatchet Bay can tour this mile-long cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites. A cave guide is recommended.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Attractions   

February 26, 2019
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