As the cultural, social, political and economic centre of The Bahamas, it is the most visited destination in the islands. Nassau / Paradise Island has much to offer visitors. There are more sights and activities here than you can experience in one trip. Pristine beaches, duty-free shopping, posh resorts, dazzling casinos, exciting attractions, historical landmarks and water and land sports of every kind are all waiting for you. And they’re all just a “stone’s throw” away from each other.
The area known as Nassau / Paradise Island includes two separate islands connected by two bridges. Nassau, the capital city of The Islands Of The Bahamas, is located on the northeast shore of the island of New Providence. Tiny Paradise Island is directly across the bridge from Nassau. Although Nassau / Paradise Island accounts for less than two percent of the land area in The Islands Of The Bahamas, it is the residence for 60 percent of Bahamians.
Sailors have been drawn to The Islands Of The Bahamas since the days of Christopher Columbus. When you see the crystal-clear water and the powdery-sand beaches of Nassau / Paradise Island, you will understand why this area has long been a favourite destination of captains for hundreds of years.
Nassau & Paradise Island Sight-seeing and Tourist Attractions
Nassau – the Bahamian capital is a city rich in beauty, history, and personality. Since its founding in 1656, and through the ages of colonialism, piracy, rum-smuggling, and now tourism, it has always been the center of color and culture in the islands. The stories that lurk in its narrow, flowery streets and within the walls of its old forts are among the most legendary and region-defining tales in the Caribbean.
Nassau’s harbor is a major port-of-call in the Caribbean. Hardly a day goes by when a huge cruise ship doesn’t breeze in and unload a shipful of tourists. They flock to the powdery playgrounds of the beaches, to the Bahamian markets, the discos and casinos. If Nassau were a factory, its products would be entertainment, relaxation, and fun
Of all the forts in the Bahamas, Charlotte is the largest, a fact that illustrates Nassau’s importance. It was built in 1788 under the governorship of Lord Dunmore, and it is picture perfect with a moat and dungeons. It ramparts offer one the best views of Nassau.
This old mansion is where the British governors lived, and its size and detail bespeaks the power the top official in the Bahamas once wielded. Every other Saturday, you can come to the building and still see a bit of the old pomp, when the changing of the guard takes place.
Probably the most famous architectural sight in Nassau, the Queen’s Staircase is a flight of 66 steps that links Fort Fincastle to the Princess Margaret Hospital. What makes it remarkable is that the staircase was not built, but carved out of calcareos (coral-based) sandstone at the end of the 18th century.
Royal Victoria Gardens
The Royal Victoria Hotel was once the grand damme of the Bahamas. It was built during the American Civil War, then finally closed in 1971. Shortly after, the proud old hulk of the building was consumed by a fire. All that was left behind were its gardens and a sprawling, empty shell of pillars and stone. The resulting landscape is a stunning cross between a botanical garden and something like a Roman ruin.
Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird.
Atlantis Resort & Casino
You don’t have to be a guest to check out the huge Atlantis Resort. This massive theme hotel is a sight in itself, featuring a 14-acre “waterscape” of aquariums, waterfalls, lagoons, and underground grottos. Among the more spectacular attractions is an underwater viewing tunnel that looks into a predator lagoon with sharks and other large fish.
Easily identifiable on the Nassau skyline by its space-age design, the Crystal Cay Marine Park is one of the world’s finest examples of an underwater park where nobody gets wet. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore a huge array of exhibits both above and below the surface.
This museum is dedicated to Junkanoo, that colorful, musical, and surreal festival on December 26 when Bahamian culture explodes in masks and sounds. Visiting the Expo is the next best thing to being in The Bahamas during Junkanoo.
Pompey Museum (Vendue House)
Once a slave market and place where salvaged items from shipwrecks were sold, today it is a museum that exhibits some of the finest examples of Bahamian art and history.
Outside of Nassau
It was a beach without a name until 1907, when the trans-atlantic cable was laid here, connecting The Bahamas to Jupiter, Florida. This beautiful beach is now the ultimate tropical playground, fringed by hotels and casinos.
This small village, with its calming and rustic atmosphere, was one of the first black settlements after the abolition of slavery in all British colonies.