A trip to the Bahamas isn’t complete without a visit to the commonwealth’s capital city, Nassau.
Fully 70 percent of Bahamas residents live in Nassau. (The 2010 Census reported a total Bahamas population of 353,658.) It’s also home to the Bahamas’ major airport, Lynden Pindling International Airport.
Nassau is located on the Bahamian island of New Providence.
Beloved by large cruising companies, Nassau is blessed with a large and lovely harbor. You’ll enjoy the city’s exceptionally colorful mix of old world as well as colonial architecture. You’ll also find the mega-resort of Atlantis on the very-close Paradise Island just offshore of Nassau. More than 6,000 Bahamians work at Atlantis, making it the largest employer in the commonwealth (outside of the government).
But enough with “boring” statistics. Let’s talk about how great Nassau is!
The temperature usually sits at around 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer while temps can hover between 73 and 82 degrees in the winter, making Nassau a go-to destination for many Americans looking to beat a hasty retreat from the cold.
Bahamians speak English but you may feel that you’re hearing another language. You’ll hear English with African influences and even island lingo. Locals often drop the “h” in daily speech (t’anks for thanks, for example).
For an incredibly special treat, try to be here for Junkanoo, a celebration that takes place in downtown Nassau on December 26 and again on New Year’s Day at night. This celebratory street features wonderful costumes, and art and artifacts – and music!Junkanoo got its start as a temporary celebration of freedom for slaves who received three days off at Christmas. It’s now a colorful, highly exuberant parade. You’ll see costumes made of wood or cardboard decorated with colored paper. Goombay drums keep the rhythm, and parade members also play copper bells and use mouth whistles.
Mardi Gras in July is another must-see. It’s not really Marti Gras, of course, but this month-long party sure feels like Mardi Gras. Each July weekend you’ll see people in costumes dancing and you’ll hear music of all kinds. You’ll also be able to enjoy traditional Bahamian cuisine
Naturally, you’ll want to spend some time – perhaps a lot of time – on the 17 stretches of beaches in and near Nassau. The water temperature tends to hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the sand tends to be soft and the water a gorgeous shade of blue, as in turquoise blue.
Yet you can also golf, Bahamas snorkeling, shop, eat, go sailing, get pampered at a spa, enjoy casinos and other nightlife while in Nassau. You probably won’t be able to do and see all that you’d like in one trip…but that’s what return trips are for!