Bask in the Bahama Breeze
Nov 26, 2013 11:44AM
● By tina
Enjoy private huts and a nearly deserted beach at Compass Point Resort.
This winter, trade snow for sun on the island of Nassau
Travel with Catherine Adcock
Ditch the hat, gloves and scarf, and head to warmer climes this winter. Our locale of choice this month: the tried and true Bahamas. This island nation, once a British colony, boasts a population largely descended from freed slaves. Most will know the Bahamas as the place many park their wealth due to a lack of bank regulation and taxation and abundance of banking privacy. Both offshore finance and tourism make up the bulk of the Bahamian economy, and like any place dependent on traveling visitors, the islands are designed to cater to your every need. We’ve logged the miles and done the research to ensure you avoid the common traps and pitfalls that haunt many visitors. Our focus today is on the island of Nassau.
A Private Hideaway
Those looking for the usual suspects of resorts will find their fair share in Nassau, from Sandals to Starwood’s Sheraton, but it was Compass Point Resort that stood out to us. Stay in your choice of private huts and enjoy a nearly deserted beach or a drink poolside at this hideaway. For those looking for romance, our top spot goes to the historic Graycliff Hotel, featuring 20 luxuriously appointed rooms, gourmet dining and a walk-in humidor. CompassPointBeachResort.com, Graycliff.com
Seas, Sealife and Slides
For a more traditional resort experience, head to Atlantis Resort at Paradise Island. It’s the grounds and activities here that put Atlantis at the top of the heap of Nassau’s accommodations. Atlantis boasts a thrilling water park and marine habitat that puts your local aquarium to shame. Claiming to be the world’s largest open-air aquarium, the Waterscape is home to 200 species of marine life. If that’s not adventurous enough, the resort’s water park, Aquaventure, features slides, rides, rivers and pools, including the Leap of Faith, a nearly vertical 60-foot drop into a clear tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon. Atlantis.com
Out At Sea
Get a closer look at life on (and in) the sea with a visit to the Pirates of Nassau Museum and nearby Dolphin Encounters. Home to all things “Arrr!” the museum offers an inexpensive trip to the early 1700s aboard the replica ship Revenge! With proximity to trade routes ripe for pillaging, Nassau served as a base of operations during piracy’s golden age, from 1690 to 1720. Any trip to the Bahamas wouldn’t be complete with out some one-on-one time with native sea life, and Dolphin Encounters at Blue Lagoon Island gives you the chance to get up close and personal with dolphins and sea lions. Pirates-Of-Nassau.com, DolphinEncounters.com
Historic Happy Hour
Be sure to include an adventure in the city with stops at the Junkanoo Expo Museum and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, which will take you away from the typical tourist traps and through parts of Nassau few visitors ever see. Then top off the educational excursion with a short tour of the nearby John Watling’s Distillery. With stroller parking and activities for young children, the rum distillery offers entertainment for all ages. Take a self-guided tour through the historic restored buildings that house the rum maker’s operations, and indulge an opportunity to sample the goods. We’re sure you’ll like what you sip, so plan on stocking up — John Watling’s rum is not available outside of the Bahamas! JohnWatlings.com
Living the Island Life
To get a real taste of the islands, head to the Fish Fry, an outdoor market/dining experience held every weekend that attracts locals and tourists alike. Avoid any restaurant tempting you inside with deals and steals, and head straight for Arawak Cay. The atmosphere goes from family friendly to wild as hours pass and drinks continue to flow. For some shopping, bypass Bay Street Market, full of traps for tourists, and take bring your best poker face to the Straw Market, where the goods are worth bargaining over.