An Excursion on your own in Nassau, Bahamas
Nassau is a fairly popular port and for more reasons than its geographic location. There is no shortage of things you can do if you put your mind to doing a little hunting. Sure, like most ports, there are people selling you trips and adventures and taxi rides as soon as you enter. But there is a friendly tourism desk that can help guide you to what you are looking for if you didn’t book with the ship’s excursion desk.
Once you enter the terminal building in Nassau you can make all sorts of arrangements. We opted for a snorkeling trip and were guided to a few options by the woman at the information desk. We booked one and the gentleman took us to the docks just outside the terminal building. We sneaked into Bayside Food Market (a place I love to visit to pick up items we can’t buy in the United States but note it closes at 1 PM on Sundays) for some Lucozade to give us some energy. I love the wild berry flavor!
As we had our own snorkeling equipment with us we didn’t need a formal snorkeling tour and so we had ourselves for $80 our own captain and boat and he took us out through the harbor and past the Colonial Hilton and out toward Cable Beach. Our captain settled on an area offshore – so far offshore you couldn’t swim off beach like some destinations. But it wasn’t more than a couple of kilometers offshore either.
In we plunged into the nice refreshing water and we soon discovered it was quite a nice reef with some coral and plenty of fish to view. It was a really large area with plenty of caves that had lots of activity. The abundance of colorful fish and the nice size of the reef were quite a surprise. Again, I’m not an expert on identifying fish, but there were a lot of different ones and unfortunately we didn’t bring underwater cameras with us.
After a while Michael, my partner, mentioned he was getting some small stings. Turns out there were small jellyfish in the water along with us. It was more an annoyance than anything and the stings went away once on land but it was annoying enough that we didn’t spend as long as we probably would have had there been no jellyfish. It wouldn’t prevent us from not doing it in the future either so don’t let that trouble you.
Once we got closer to the boat, Michael even spotted a shark which was very exciting. I didn’t get a chance to see it though. He said it was about six feet and grey, of course. We got back on the boat after about 45 minutes of really incredible viewing and relaxed with some rum punch on the way back to the dock. The guide was very friendly and usually takes people out fishing.
Probably we could have walked along the dock and made a better deal with him directly for the trip but we felt it was completely worth what we paid. We learned all about the Chinese investment in Cable Beach and the large hotels going up that will most likely provide competition to the Atlantis Resort. It was nice to see that the tourist economy in the Bahamas was moving forward.
And anyone looking for a beach excursion just take the 10 bus out to Cable Beach for $1.50 single and you’re set. There are plenty of services there. If you’re looking for a true Bahamas experience the 16 bus will take you to Marathon Mall which I’ve done before.
Señor Frogs is always fun and full of young drunks doing free shots and doing crazy things to get them. The music is good and the food is actually quite delicious. I have had the grouper most recently and it was incredibly good. And you can taxi (or walk if you’re in for a nice workout) to Paradise Island to Atlantis which is always a popular stop for cruise passengers. One of these days we will do the Adventure Water Park there.
There is the impressive Dale Chihuly works throughout the casino and you can play a bit of slots and drink for free in the casino which makes it a nice and cheap but experiential excursion all on your own. Another option you can add is a walking tour of downtown Nassau. You can start at Parliament Square and admire the statue of Queen Victoria and meander along the main Bay Street to discover some great colonial architecture. The St. Andrews Kirk on Duke Street is also interesting as is the nearby Trinity Church on Frederick Street – both of which may be open at times and you can walk in and admire the inside.
So have no fear and hold adventure dear. Enjoy Nassau over and again with any number of simple and inexpensive things to do. Happy travels!