If you are heading to the Bahamas from another country, there is a pretty good chance that you will be landing in Nassau as it has the biggest airport in the archipelago. While you are there, why not explore for a little while? After all, the beaches are gorgeous, there are multiple resorts and hotels that will please even the harshest critic, and there are unlimited food options.
Visit the queen's staircase
One of the historical monuments you can visit in Nassau, is the Queen's Staircase. The 66 steps staircase is carved into the limestone and located in downtown Nassau. It was built by slaves in the 18th century to create an escape route from Fort Fincastle. It was later named in honor of Queen Victoria who abolished slavery in the British empire. Today, there is a waterfall flowing next to the staircase, and the walkway at the bottom is surrounded by high stone walls and tropical trees and plants. From the top, you get a breathtaking view of the city and harbor below, and on paradise Island on the other side. Going down the steps, you feel like you have left touristic Nassau and entered a different world. Everything is quiet, the air somehow feels more humid, but more fresh at the same time and it's like you've gone back in time.
relax at the beach
You can't visit a tropical island, and not take at least a full day to relax at the beach. Whether you go to Junkanoo, Cable or Goodman's beach, you will be rewarded by crystal clear water and fine white sand. I have to say, my favorite was Goodman's beach as it was never crowded and large enough to take a long walk. Plus, it is only a short walk away to the Baha Mar resort where you will find plenty of restaurants if you get hungry, and you can go visit their luxurious gardens if you need a break from the sun.
watch the cruise ships arrive/leave the harbour from junkanoo beach
One of the things I loved to do, was go to Junkanoo beach early in the morning and watch the cruise ships either arrive or depart from the harbor. Not only does it show major skills as the harbor is very narrow, but the Disney cruise ships play "When you wish upon a star" instead of a regular siren and you all know I love Disney! Junkanoo beach is also where all of the action happens. It gets lots of tourists coming off the boats everyday and it was fun to see it calm before it got super crowded.
There are so many food options in Nassau, whether you are craving Italian or Japanese food or wanting to try local cuisine, you are sure to find something you like. One of the dishes many locals recommended was conch. It can be cooked many different ways, but I had it fried as it was the option that seemed the most popular. One word: delicious! It tastes like most seafood and I expected it to be a bit chewy, but with the crisp of the fried batter, it was really good. The place to visit for some conch is apparently the Fish Fry by Arawak Cay, which is kind of like a market of about 20 restaurants next to one another, but almost every restaurant in the city offered it on the menu so it isn't hard to find. Grab a colorful cocktail with that and you'll have a great time!
walk around downtown nassau
Downtown Nassau is made up of a few colorful streets full of small shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed because of Covid when I visited in January 2022, but it was fun to walk around. You can also visit the pirates or rhum cake museum, shop for souvenirs at the straw market or make reservations for an excursion to the Exumas or snorkeling.
have a drink by the sea
There is nothing more relaxing after a long day in the sun than sipping on a colorful cocktail and watching the waves crash on the shore. Take a moment to kick back and enjoy this summer paradise!
I had the chance to spend a whole week in Nassau when I visited and I enjoyed every second. I took full advantage of this time to relax, destress, walk around with no destination in mind, eat on a terrace overlooking the ocean, float in the see and bask in the sun. Most of the time when I travel, I need a vacation from my vacation, but not this time! I went back home fully recharged and ready to face winter.
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In October 2021, I decided that I couldn't spend one more full winter in Quebec City and had to take a vacation somewhere warm. At the time, Covid was under control in Canada and everything was starting to open up with promises of Christmas parties on the horizon. I wanted to go to a country I had never visited before, but at the same time, I wanted to feel safe and to make sure I would be able to find decent accommodation to quarantine if I did end up catching Covid on vacation. So I decided to visit the Bahamas in January of 2022!
The Bahamas are only a short flight from Quebec, I speak the language and they seamed to have Covid rules that would be safe, but still allow me to visit and actually have something to do and places to eat. The only thing that was problematic was that you needed to take a rapid test before getting on a national flight and on your 3rd day on any Island. So if I wanted to visit multiple Islands, it would mean an extraordinary amount of tests. And then I found Liberty Fleet Tall Ships, a company from Boston that offers week long sailing cruises from Nassau, and it seemed like an answer to all of my prayers.
The first night, we met the other passengers and crew members, learned the few rules to follow to live on a tall ship and how everything works (when I say everything, I mean everything that we as passengers would be using : the shower, the toilet, the doors, etc). Dinner was not included, so I went with other passengers to the marina's restaurant, which was very good although expensive like every restaurant in the Bahamas. We would be sleeping on board the ship that night, and would sail off only in the morning.
I think it's time to interrupt this summary of my week on the Liberty Clipper to talk about food. First, the Liberty Clipper has two cooks and a tiny galley (kitchen) where they spent almost their whole days cooking the meals for the passengers and crew. Honestly, I have no idea how they were able to create such delicious and nutritious feasts in this minuscule kitchen that was so hot you would sweat just walking by. Every morning, there would be a different breakfast of eggs or waffle, or granola, with bread and bagels, yogurt and fruits. Lunch would be served on the beach or on the boat depending where we were for the day and was always fresh with lots of veggies. There were always snacks like fruits, cookies and chips if we were hungry during the day. And for dinner every night, there would be a different meal. We had hamburgers, taco Tuesday, spaghetti with a salad and garlic bread, salmon... and then came the best part! A different dessert every night! On our first night, it was one of the passengers' birthday, so we had cake that had cooked in the oven, but since the wind was making the boat lean on one side, the cake was thicker on one end and thinner on the other, but still cooked throughout without burning! Let's just say, I was so impressed by their work and might have gained a few pounds during the week. No regrets whatsoever!
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