I’ve visited the islands of the Bahamas on countless occasions. More than any locale, the island of Nassau has been my most frequent stop. Just about 45 minutes from Miami, a weekend trip to Nassau is within almost any Miamians reach. Flights can average as low as $125. Tip #1: search for flights at least two weeks in advance. Jet Blue and Bahamas Air will probably be your best bets, but Bahamas Air is always an average $230 or more. Chances are you will find better flight options through Jet Blue. With some careful planning, you could enjoy a long weekend (3 nights) for just about $500. I’ve taken the time to formulate a 3 night itinerary based on highlights from a few select visits.
It is the priority of any islander to seek out the unique tastes of a local Caribbean island’s Kentucky Fried Chicken. It seems silly but the chains abroad (the States) utilize a recipe that truly pales in comparison to those served on the islands. Once you’ve arrived and the munchies set in, make your way to a local KFC drive through. It is nothing like you’ve had at home and the sides and drinks are often true to local cuisine.
On the first night, assuming you’ve arrived late afternoon, visit the Twin Brothers Fish Fry and enjoy the infamous conch salad, daiquiris, souse, or many other local dishes. “The Fry” as the locals call it, is bustling on any given night and filled with many eating options and different avenues for entertainment. The fry is as much a local spot as it is a tourist destination, so Tip #2: dress casual and get comfortable.
The following midday, head out for an all day Booze Cruise. This requires advanced booking. The booze cruise leaves at around noon and is far less trashy than it’s name may suggest. A coach will pick you up from your hotel and take you to a local docking station. Upon boarding the ship, the crew will outline how the remainder of your day will commence.
There is something for everyone on the cruise, even if you’re not into booze. The itinerary renders a great waterway tour of the grand island, a stop for paddleboarding and snorkelling, and finally a party unlike any other. Shortly after the water sports stop, a genours barbeque lunch is served and the inconspicuous rum punch starts flowing. We spent some time mumbling that the drinks were weakly made, only to be grateful that none of us drove some 3 hours later.
The booze cruise ends a little earlier than 6, so if you’re not pooped when you get home, take the opportunity to class things up and close the night at the Balmoral Club. This exclusive club serves great distinguished meals and stellar world-class service. The grounds are pristinely kept and very private. On my night there we celebrated a friend’s birthday. The manager of the club is a dear friend of hers and made the night special for all. The tamarind sorbet was just spectacular!
On your second day take a short ferry ride to the beautiful Harbour Island. This day trip will run you on average a little over $100. Tip #3, once you’ve boarded the ferry you can upgrade to the air conditioned, WiFi enabled top level for just $10. This is not advertised. Once on board, simply ask a staff-member to be upgraded.
Harbour Island is home to renowned pink sand beaches. Tip #4: don’t get your hopes up too high the pink coral sands are not pink-pink, just a hue. Once you’ve docked there are several vendors offering golf courts to carouse the island. The island is very small and it’s easy to get around on the carts. Make your way to any resort and enjoy a wonderful ocean-side lunch. Lay out only local beach and pay a small fee for an umbrella and lounge chair. It’s truly a beautiful outing.
On day three visit the gorgeous Atlantis water park. A trip to Nassau is not complete without having visited the Atlantis resort, there is so much to see here and it’s perfectly free to roam the grounds and take in the great views, hip shops and beautiful glass sculptures. Enjoy the casinos (if that’s your thing) or have a great meal at Nobu. The decor is unlike any other Nobu (not in a good way) but the food is in line with what you would come to expect at any of the chef’s eateries.
The resort and it’s infamous water park is very well kept. It does have the high scent of chlorine one has come to expect from these parks but it is all it has advertised itself to be. There is something for everyone here. As the resident claustrophobe I was quite content taking pictures, visiting the aquariums, and drifting through the lazy pool.
All images © 2014 Donnatilda Tabana.