With Nassau being your likely entry point to the country, it's worth spending 3-4 hours strolling the capital city. The good thing about Downtown Nassau is that all of the spots are literally in a straight line along the main road. You've got Parliament Square, Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, and the busy bustling of Nassau Straw Market. If you're a museum fan, there's Pompey Slavery Museum and Pirates of Nassau. You'll also find some impressive street art dotted around the city.
Tip... when you think downtown area is coming to an end, keep walking and you'll reach Junkanoo Beach.
Atlantis Paradise Island
Whilst many will think of Dubai, the original Atlantis Hotel is in The Bahamas on Paradise Island, which is an easy walk whilst in Nassau. Atlantis Bahamas was built in 1994, whereas Atlantis Dubai was constructed much later in 2008. In short, this is just a nice area to stroll around. You can follow the boardwalk around the hotel to see the super yachts moored up along the crystal clear water, as well as wooden cabin shops. Inside The Atlantis you'll find plenty of stores, an aquarium, and a large casino, which is something you won't find in the Dubai equivalent.
The Pigs of Exuma
Over the last couple of of years, The Bahamas has drawn a huge amount of attention via Instagram for their famous swimming pigs. To be honest, I wasn't too fussed about doing this, but had a free day, so thought I'd check it out anyway. I booked a full day excursion via boat that covered Exuma Island for the pigs swim, and a neighbouring island that's home to a large population of iguanas.
The pig swim... it's a little staged to be honest, but you do get to swim with pigs. They're released from their pig pen and directed onto the beach, where you'll be given a stash of carrots to feed the pigs as they enter the water. Take a few pics for Instagram, and job done! I booked the day excursion with Powerboat Adventures, you can find their info here.
Take a walk just off the main tourist streets in Nassau and you'll find this absolute gem known as "The Queen's Staircase". It's a walkway of 66 steps that was carved out of solid limestone by slaves back in 1793 to create an escape route from the fort above. It's a beautiful spot with greenery and flowing water. I wasn't a huge fan of downtown Nassau, so this was a highlight for me.
Dive with Sharks
My number one recommendation whilst in the Bahamas would be to definitely take the opportunity to dive with sharks. This is available via Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas and is a very unique experience. You go out via boat and do two dives. One is at "The Arena" which is just a standard reef dive where you'll see lots of marine life. The other is at "Shark Wall" which is where your dive with sharks will take place. You'll sit on the bottom of the sea bed observing whilst the expert feeds the group of 20-30 sharks, then you admire whilst these sharks swim freely in all directions. Hotel pick up and drop off is also included.
Note - You need to be an Open Water Certified, and be aware that the sharks will glide past and bump you.
One thing the Bahamas does have is an abundance of beautiful beaches. A perfect place if you're the chilled type and have no interest in excursions. Of the beaches I checked out, Cabbage Beach was the most beautiful. Pure white sand with crystal clear water, which is also a nice spot for sunset. Junkanoo beach is also worth a visit.
This is an interesting spot that isn't exactly well signposted as an attractions. Located on Paradise Island adjacent to ... This spot i actually from a 14th century Augustinian monastery that was dismantled and imported from Europe. The garden is well maintained and is apparently private property of a nearby hotel, although you can walk directly in from the street, with no security guard present. It's a small place, but very picturesque for a late afternoon stroll once you're finished at Cabbage Beach.
With the Bahamas being the epitomy of a "resort style vacation"it took quite a bit of research to find a decent deal that isn't going to dent your wallet. I decided on Warwick Hotel, which is located on Paradise Island. It's centrally located and comes in at around $150 a night for an all inclusive package, which is a great deal considering how expensive restaurants in city are. There's a great pool area, a basic gym, and an indoor bar with pool and table tennis.
For clarity, I wasn't overly impressed with any of the food in The Bahamas. Even basic restaurants were insanely expensive for very average food. The food at my hotel was a better standard than the restaurants I tried, but if you do feel like a change from the resort, then give Green Parrot a try. A relaxed casual place with a great menu variety.
You definitely don't need a guide to assist you with travelling round The Bahamas. Navigating is very easy and English is the primary language. If you're on a short trip or have a limited amount of time on your cruise stop, I can recommend Lady M on +242 544 4250 for a private taxi and sightseeing service in Nassau.