I have visited Nassau in the Bahamas three times in the past several years, and each visit has been completely different.
Nassau is the largest city and commercial center of the Bahamas with just under 300,000 people, and a very popular port among cruise ships. Nassau is home to several all-inclusive resorts, including Sandals Royal Bahamian, and the very popular Atlantis Resort.
There are many fabulous sites to see on the island of Nassau, outside of the typical cruise excursions and day passes to the larger-than-life resorts. This is the first of a three-part series of my experiences in Nassau, hoping to expose you to the island you may not know.
My first visit was on a cruise with my family a few years ago, and I was determined to experience the true color of Nassau. Instead of booking an excursion and following the masses, I loaded my family into a jitney, the public bus, and we went to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre. The jitney cost us $1.25/person which was a much more cost-effective option than a taxi. Ardastra was a great up-close and personal experience with the animals.
After our time at Ardastra, we strolled down the street and enjoyed a fresh seafood lunch of conch fritters and conch salad at the famous Arawak Cay or “Fish Fry” as the locals call it. This was true local flavor!
After a filling lunch, we boarded another jitney and headed towards Cable Beach, one of the most popular and beautiful beaches near Nassau. After we meandered through different resorts and up and down the street a few times, we stumbled upon a public beach access away from all of the busy resort activity. We had this whole beach area to ourselves, and the water was perfectly clear and still. What a way to enjoy the rest of the day!
When it was time to leave, we boarded the jitney once again, like pros, and returned to the cruise port for some final shopping before departure. We loaded up on rum cake from the downtown shops proud that we were able to explore Nassau on our own without having paid the cost for a pre-planned cruise ship excursion.