Cruise and Beach Destinations
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Port Lucaya Marketplace Shore Excursion

Port Lucaya Marketplace
Port Lucaya Marketplace. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Port Lucaya Marketplace in Freeport is a massive complex of shopping, dining and entertainment for the throngs of tourists who visit the Bahamas every year.

The Marketplace is the most popular shore excursion on Grand Bahama, which is the second most popular Bahamas cruise port after Nassau. It’s a major attraction for tourists, especially for the many cruises that stop at Freeport during visits to the Bahamas.

Most of the Freeport visitors come from cruise ships that stop there on the way to Nassau or on the way back. Nassau is the biggest tourism destination in the Bahamas, while Freeport is more industrial. But Freeport still has some attractions to offer including Port Lucaya.

Cruise visitors usually get on a tour bus at the Lucayan Harbor on the west side of Grand Bahama Island in Freeport. The bus goes about 10 miles to reach the 9.5-acre marketplace, which is on Seahorse Road between the Lucayan Marina and Lucaya Beach.

Port Lucaya is often part of a Grand Bahama island tour that includes multiple stops rather than just a visit only to Port Lucaya. These shore excursions usually cost about $50 to $65 per person depending on the sailing date. Otherwise, taxis are another option because of the fairly short distance between the cruise port and Port Lucaya.

Anyone who rents a car will have easier access to other nearby attractions including Coral Beach, Reef Course & Country Club, and Lucayan Golf Course & Country Club.

About the Marketplace

Port Lucaya Marketplace Map

We visited on a rainy day but enjoyed the excursion anyway because of the sheer quantity of shops and restaurants. Port Lucaya is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Bahamas because of the duty-free shopping with dozens of shops representing almost every type of retail category.

Shops are divided between local crafts and international goods. The local shops emphasize intricate Bahamian straw crafts.

Boutique duty-free shops include souvenirs, beauty supplies, home furnishings, music, fragrances and many retailers specializing in fashion and accessories.

More than 30 restaurants and snack shops are located throughout the marketplace, and almost all of them are casual. Cuisine includes American, Bahamian, Chinese, Greek, Haitian, Irish, Italian and Mexican.

Chain restaurants include Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin Donuts and Subway.

Touring the marketplace takes a solid two to three hours.

Port Lucaya has several hotels: the Westin & Sheraton Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort with 1,350 rooms; Pelican Bay Resort, a boutique hotel with 69 rooms and 48 suites; and Port Lucaya Resort & Yacht Club with 160 rooms plus 106 berths from the Port Lucaya Marina.

The marketplace has entertainment seven nights a week, usually starting at 8 p.m., at Count Basie Entertainment Square. The entertainment features local performers with a Bahamian flair.

Other Activities

The marketplace is next to the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) and Treasure Bay Casino.

UNEXSO is the home of The Dolphin Experience, a pod of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. Visitors can observe the animals up close, photograph them from the observation deck and learn about the dolphins.

Visitors also can sit with their feet in the water or step into the water waist deep to touch the animals.

Several excursion operators are by the marketplace and offer water-related activities.

Reef Tours provides big-game fishing, boat charters and parasailing. It also has Mermaid Kitty, one of the world’s biggest glass bottom boats, and Island Princess, a 72-foot Cat for snorkeling and beach cruises.

Superior Watersports offers beach parties, sunset cruises and booze cruises. It also has the Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine that takes visitors below the ocean surface to view sea life and coral reefs.

Gamblers can test their luck at Isle of Capri Casino on the beach at Our Lucaya Beach and Golf Resort and a short walk away from Port Lucaya.

Golfers have easy access to Lucayan Golf Course or Reef Golf Course with water challenges on 13 out of 18 holes. Both also are located at the Our Lucaya resort.

More information:

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.
January 28, 2023

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