New Providence/Paradise Island
Nassau is the capital city of The Bahamas, located on 21 mile long island of New Providence. Nassau’s main harbor is protected by Paradise Island. The harbor attracted settlers in the early days, particularly pirates. Nassau’s population consisted mainly of pirates until 1718, when The Bahamas first Royal Governor, Woodes Rogers expelled them, restored order and built Fort Nassau. Now, 212,000 people call New Providence Island home, with a large portion of them residing in Nassau.
Truly the country’s only city, Nassau teems with haring jitneys, bawling straw-goods vendors, rum-happy locals and endless waves of cruise-ship passenger. Although boasting miles of spectacular beaches and stretches of vivid coral reefs perfect for snorkeling, Nassau is so much more than that. Visitors admire the cultural experience as they shop, dine, and sightsee, particularly along the crowded sidewalks of busy Bay Street. Most visitors find time to stop at some of the island’s well-preserved historic buildings. The large, pink colonial-style edifices house Parliament and some of the courts, while others, like Fort Charlotte, date back to the days when pirates ruled the town. Arrange a ride on a horse-drawn carriage for an unforgettable experience. If you are visiting during the famous Junkanoo Festival you will experience a high-energy parade of spectacularly costumed dancers.
While capturing some of the past glamour and Bahamian style architecture, modern influences are completely apparent as seen in new modern developments, contemporary architecture, fancy restaurants. You can easily find a trendy coffeeshop with contemporary Bahamian art or dine by candlelight beneath prints of old Nassau, serenaded by soft, island-inspired calypso music.
While Nassau is a dynamic city, with the energy of a capital city, there are easy escapes to the stunning beaches just off of New Providence. Probably the most popular is Rose Island. This remote tropical island is a perfect this day trip from Nassau, only about 25 ferry ride away. You can spend a day snorkeling in the crystal-clear Bahamian waters, relaxing on the beach or joining the various activities available – from volleyball and kayaking.