If a beach getaway is your idea of a perfect vacation, you really can’t do better than Nassau Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Whether you’re looking for an exciting night out on the town, an intimate getaway, or a vacation spent lazing shoreside, this is the place to come.
Located on New Providence Island, Nassau is the most significant city in the Bahamas. It’s the largest city, the capital city, and the country’s commercial center. It’s also home to 70 percent of Bahamian people.
Nassau is beautiful, and not just because of its beaches. The city’s picturesque streets are lined with swaying palm trees and Colonial buildings with colorful facades. There are charming shops, and restaurants, pleasant parks and plenty of places to get lost and enjoy the scenery.
With a population of over 250,000 Nassau is a large, busy city, but it still maintains a laid-back vibe that makes it such an inviting place to get away from it all.
Much of the city’s relaxing atmosphere has to do with its white sand beaches, impossibly blue water and continuous ocean breezes. But just as much of it has to do with its inhabitants. Bahamians are laid-back, friendly people who love good food and good music and know how to celebrate life. Holidays and street festivals are common occurrences in the Bahamas, and celebrations of everyday events—such as a wedding—can last for days.
Nassau has a rich, complex heritage, which is evident throughout the city. From its architecture, to its art and music scene, to its cuisine, the influences of Spanish, English, American and West African cultures can be seen, heard, felt and tasted everywhere—it can be almost impossible to take everything in on one visit.
Nassau’s long and complex history makes it incredibly alluring for history buffs. The Bahamas were Columbus’s first stop in the New World. He claimed the islands for Spain, but, finding no gold, he left for shinier pastures. The islands eventually fell into British hands, and remained a British colony until the 1800s. Although they declared independence, the Bahamas have remained a British Commonwealth, and are still closely associated with England and the monarchy.
Fun facts about Nassau’s history are practically endless. This was a hideout for pirates, bandits, and others who were looking to exit the world stage. It was playground of major political players, a place of shipwrecks and pirate raids, and a place to escape from war.
The famed pirate Blackbeard once declared himself magistrate of Nassau during the days of government-sanctioned piracy. King Edward VIII of England settled in the city when he abdicated his throne to be with his true love, and rumrunners smuggled alcohol to Southern states during Prohibition.
The first Africans who came to Nassau were freed slaves. After the Revolutionary War, British Loyalists from Southern states were given land in Nassau as reparation, and they brought their slaves. Slavery was abolished by England in 1834, and by that time, three-quarters of the Bahamian population were of West African descent.
Nassau’s layered history makes it much more than a simple Caribbean getaway, and there are many historical gems to be found here for those who are willing to look.
It’s warm in the Bahamas! There are no true seasons in Nassau. Some times of year are simply a bit cooler than others. During summer months the temperature climbs into the low 90s, and humidity is high. During winter and fall months, the temperature hovers in the mid-80s, and the air is cooler and drier.
Nassau only a short, 190-mile plane ride, ferry ride, or cruise trip away from Miami. The city’s physical proximity to the US is part of what has connected their history for centuries.
Getting around Nassau is easy—you can rent a car, travel by cab, or see the city on a motor scooter. You can also take one of many available guided tours.
Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodations. Whether you want to stay in a 5-star luxury resort, a private bungalow for two, or something in between, you’ll find the perfect place here.
Things to Do
Heritage Museum: This museum features an abundant collection of historical odd and ends and offers a thought-provoking look into the history of the Bahamas from the 1500s to the end of WWII. It’s a favorite stop among history buffs, and well worth the trip.
Blue Lagoon Island: Often called “the real Bahamas,” Blue Lagoon Island is a beautiful privately owned beach that’s perfect for family outings.
The Cloisters Nassau
The Cloisters Nassau is something of a hidden gem in Nassau, and offers visitors a chance to experience Old World European architecture in a serene subtropical setting. Built in the 1400s, these monastery ruins were brought from France, to the US, to Nassau. The architecture is a must-see, and the view of Nassau is incredible. This is an ideal place for a stroll, a picnic, or some quiet reflection.
Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center
Ardastra’s natural setting makes visitors feel as though they are trekking through the jungle, rather than visiting a zoo. The gardens are lush and beautiful, and there are plenty of opportunities to see tropical wildlife up close in its natural habitat.