We woke up just in time to see our cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, approaching the port in Nassau Bahamas. We had a gorgeous view of the sun rising over the lighthouse and the Atlantis Towers. I was so excited to get off the ship and explore the small island as we already did some research on how to spend a day in Nassau.
Nassau is the second most visited island in the Bahamas and sees over 3 million cruise ship visitors per year. Many go there for sea, sun and sand and of course, the duty free shopping. But we were there to explore the island, enjoy the culture and for some good old sightseeing.
As soon as we walked to the end of the cruise port we were captivated by the picturesque view of downtown Nassau. The town was colorful and vibrant, and just like our home, Jamaica, the locals were warm and friendly.
There is plenty to do in Nassau whether you’re there for a day or spend a week. There are a myriad of ways to explore the island. You can book a bus tour from the cruise ship dock, rent a buggy or a bike, or you can do what we did, and walk. Many of the attractions are in close proximity and you always see more when you walk.
Fun Facts about Bahamas
- Jamaicans can visit the Bahamas with only their passports. Yep! You read that right! NO VISA REQUIRED.
- The Bahamas has over 700 islands and more than 2,000 small cays sprinkled across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea
- Conch is a delicacy and is served everywhere. If you visit the Bahamas you have to try the conch.
- The local currency is Bahamian Dollars however USD is widely accepted.
Let’s jump right into how we spent a day exploring Nassau, Bahamas.
Shop on Bay Street
Our exploring started on Bay Street, in downtown Nassau. The approximately 2km stretch of candy colored buildings offers many options for Duty Free shopping. Erin, our port of call advisor had already briefed us on where to shop. Just be sure to do your own research on the products you’re interested in before visiting the stores. She also gave us lots of coupons from which we were able to get plenty freebies from a variety of duty free stores.
Pop into the Nassau Straw Market as well. You will be sure to find a lot of locally made goodies and souvenirs to take home with you.
Tour the Pirates of Nassau Museum
Next on our list was the Pirate of Nassau Museum. It is located on George Street and is about a 5 min walk from the cruise ship port. This museum is great for persons who are interested in learning about the history of Piracy of Nassau and the Caribbean. Your museum armband gets you a 10% discount at Smugglers, the adjoining restaurant.
Visit Fort Fincastle
We decided to take a walk through to town and head to our next stop, Fort Fincastle. The fort was a 15 min walk from the Museum however you also have the option of taking a cab from Bay Street which would be a 5min drive.
We walked though. Like I said, you see more when you walk.
The fort was built in 1793 by Lord Dunmore on Society Hill. Being the highest point in Nassau it overlooks Nassau and the Queen’s Staircase. There is an entry fee of $3 per person and you can do a self tour or have a guided tour of the property. The property has beautiful gardens surrounding the fort and provide a cool place to relax.
Take a walk down the Queen’s Staircase
The next stop on our list was The Queen’s Staircase. It took us just about 2minutes to get there from Fort Fincastle.
The Queens Staircase is also known as the 66 steps and it was carved out of solid limestone between 1793 and 1794. In the 19th century, the steps were later named in honor of Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
There is also a beautiful waterfall running along the side of the steps.
Try Conch everything
Don’t forget to try the conch. Almost every restaurant in Downtown Nassau serves a conch infused dish. We had lunch at Smugglers, where we had the Fried Conch and Conch Chowder.
While we had conch before, friend conch was new to us but it was crunchie and full of flavor.
Marvel at the Candy Colored Buildings in Downtown Nassau
Nassau is famous for all the brightly colored colonial style buildings. The parliament building and governor house are 2 spectacles to see when you are in Nassau.
Visit Junkanoo Beach
We didn’t go to the beach while we were in Nassau, since we are also from a Caribbean island it just wasn’t on our list. But if you have some time left in your day, you can visit Junkanoo Beach to relax before leaving Nassau. It is located on West Bay Street and is a 15min walk from the cruise port.
Have you ever been to Nassau? Comment below and let us know how you spent your time there. Don’t forget to share this post!