Picture this, you’ve just landed in Nassau for your long weekend on the vacation you’ve been dreaming of since the first drop of snow. The sun is shining, the people are smiling, and you’re overwhelmed with vacation possibilities. Fear not: there’s no need to worry about where to go or what to do first as we’ve compiled a list of the perfect activities, attractions and dining experiences for you to enjoy while on your beautiful Bahamian breather:
1) World Famous Nassau Straw Market
Home to a dazzling array of local Bahamians, crafters, vendors, and their products ranging from handmade bags and woven hats, wood carvings, figurines, traditional dolls as well as jewelry made from conch shells, this quintessential Caribbean market is a must visit for those seeking to experience the buzz, atmosphere and culture of the island. Of course, it’s also where you’ll want to go to shop for gifts, souvenirs and keepsakes to take back home for you and yours.
2) Bay Street
Bay Street is the main and oldest street in Nassau. Located in the downtown area, this is the place to be, with rows of shops and restaurants. From luxury brands to local boutiques, there’s browsing and shopping opportunities on offer for all. Once you’re done walking along, stop at one of the many souvenir outlets and pick up a slice or entire serving of rum cake.
3) Compass Point
Lined with huts adorned in vibrant Junkanoo colours, Compass Point Resort was developed in 1995 by renowned music producer and the founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell. Designed with the vision of wanting to create a small intimate community structured in the traditional country architectural style found in Blackwell’s native Jamaica, Compass Point is as melodic as it is beautiful. With the sweet sounds of the ocean mixing with the acoustics of the artists onsite, visiting Compass Point is unmissable for audiophiles. A delicious restaurant rounds out the experience serving up fresh seafood and carefully crafted international and local cuisine such as grouper almondine, chicken and shrimp du jour, surf and turf, boil and stew fish.
4) Queen's Staircase
A historic staircase, which sits as the focal piece in a beautiful grotto, backed by overgrown vines, palm trees and a magical waterfall is a sure sight to see. Hand carved out of solid limestone by those enslaved in the 18th century, the staircase was named in honour of Queen Victoria. Often referred to as ‘The 66 Steps’, the staircase provided a direct route from Fort Fincastle to the city of Nassau. This landmark shines equally under the light of the sun or the moon. Whether you choose to explore it as a romantic evening excursion with your partner or as a picturesque history lesson for the whole family, you will be sure to be captivated by this peacefully quiet lush hidden oasis.
5) Fort Fincastle
Built in 1793 by a Scottish Lord (Lord Dunmore the Viscount of Fincastle) as a means of protecting Nassau from pirate attack, it is uniquely formed out of limestone in the shape of a paddlewheel steamer. Located on the top of Bennet’s Hill overlooking the Queen's Staircase, this historic Bahamian site is accessible by foot.
6) Educulture Junkanoo Museum
Educulture Junkanoo Museum was founded by Historian Arlene Nash Ferguson. Ferguson converted her childhood home located on West Street near Downtown Nassau into a museum with the intention of honouring the traditional festival Junkanoo and educating visitors about the history of Junkanoo and its meaning to the Bahamian people. Originally a celebration put on by slaves, in the 18th century, Junkanoo is a source of pride for The Bahamas. Inside the museum, guests will be able to see the progression of Junkanoo over the years. Originally, costumes were constructed using natural materials that could be easily found by those enslaved, such as straw and cloth. As of present day, vibrant colourful pieces made from recycled cardboard have become the norm. Though elements of Junkanoo have evolved over the years, the core root of the celebration to honour ancestors, culture and tradition remains the same.
Educulture Junkanoo Museum, photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
7) National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
Situated in Villa Doyle, a 19th century colonial style property built in the 1860s by the first Bahamian knighted by a British monarch, Chief Justice William Henry Doyle, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas houses historic and contemporary Bahamian art. A not-for-profit museum established with the intention to inspire and educate local Bahamians and those visiting the country on the preserved and current history of the nation. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, The Gallery is a must visit for art, culture and history lovers alike, and is also suitable for the whole family.
8) Sapodilla Restaurant
Named after a tropical evergreen tree and its distinctive sweet fruit, Sapodilla restaurant offers unrivalled fine dining, world famous cuisine and an incredible luxury atmosphere. Located on 7 beautiful tropical acres, with eye-catching colonial architecture accented by vibrant flowers and canopying trees, this property not only offers gourmet cuisine but is often used as the venue for luxury destination weddings. With their sophisticated menu brought together by renowned Executive Chef Edwin Johnson, and equally acclaimed Executive Sous Chef Jason McBride, you cannot miss out on the tantalizing taste of quality local Bahamian herbs and fresh produce exalted and fascinatingly fused with French, Italian and Asian cuisine.