Make your holiday memorable
Dive, fish, sail, swim…
Make your holiday memorable
Dive, fish, sail, swim…
You wouldn’t be wrong if you think a vacation in The Bahamas is all about relaxing on a powder soft beach with a cool tropical drink and your cares melting away, but with so much to see and do here, it would be a shame to limit your holiday to lounging.
No matter how long your stay is in New Providence, you’ll find plenty of fun and exciting activities to satisfy all interests
In the following pages, Welcome Bahamas features six of the best attractions to enjoy during your holiday in Nassau, Cable Beach and Paradise Island.
Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas
Book now at tel 362-4171
The Bahamas is not only renowned for its crystal-clear waters, it’s also world-famous for what lies below the surface. The best way to explore spectacular reefs teeming with colourful fish and perhaps a close encounter with a shark, is to book an excursion with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas.
Since 1978, this well-established dive company has been thrilling experienced and novice divers with a variety of diving and snorkelling trips. Among the most popular are wall dives, shallow reef dives, and shipwrecks including a 100 ft freighter, the famous James Bond wreck, and a Cessna used in the film Jaws IV. In fact, many of Stuart Cove’s dive sites were featured in well-known Hollywood films, including Splash, Cocoon, Into the Blue, After the Sunset, Open Water, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and James Bond flicks Casino Royale and For Your Eyes Only.
While all divers will be thrilled with these sites, the more adventurous will sign up for the shark feeding dive.
In this hair-raising but safe dive, experienced feeders lure sleek Caribbean reef sharks in close. Divers kneel on the sandy sea floor, watching as dozens of the predators circle in to snack on scraps. This is an experience divers will remember for a lifetime.
Another memorable experience is Sub Bahamas, in which patrons pilot their own mini-submarine around colourful reefs, experiencing an entrancing world of tropical fish and corals, all without getting their hair wet.
An underwater adventure is a must for anyone visiting The Bahamas. Book directly with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas or arrange a trip at the tour desk in your hotel.
Book now at tel 324-3474
Former Bimini resident Ernest Hemingway may have immortalized the ultimate man vs fish battle in his classic Old Man and The Sea, but a trip with Chubasco Charters offers experienced and beginner anglers an opportunity to land their own big catch.
Chubasco Charters, The Bahamas’ largest sportfishing company, conducts half- and full-day charters to deep water a quarter mile out of Nassau Harbour and over shallow-water reefs southwest of Nassau and Paradise Island.
Excursions take place on one of four fishing yachts, helmed by Captain Mike Russell and his crew. The boats, ranging from a 28 ft Bertram Express to a 48 ft Hatteras, come fully equipped for a day of fishing, snorkelling, island picnicking and sightseeing.
A mere 15 minutes from leaving the dock, guests are fishing in 1,000 ft of water. Four miles out is the Tongue of the Ocean, a mile-deep oceanic trench.
Chubasco’s fishing charters are available year round. However, the type of fish you’ll catch depends on the season. Brightly coloured mahimahi (dolphin), wahoo, sailfish and yellowfin and blackfin tuna are most commonly found around Nassau in late spring and early summer. Highly prized blue marlin and white marlin, are found at this time in deeper waters.
Shallow reefs also provide excellent fishing and an opportunity to snorkel around spectacular coral heads and their amazing marine life. Expect to see sergeant majors, trumpetfish, yellowtail snappers, parrotfish and maybe even a barracuda.
Book now at tel 394-5067
If adventure mixed with relaxation sounds like your idea of a great day out, then an excursion with Flying Cloud is just the ticket. Based on Paradise Island, this company offers half-day (3 1⁄2-hour) sailing excursions on their spacious 57 ft catamaran Flying Cloud.
On the half-day trip, Flying Cloud sails from the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal, through Nassau Harbour to a beautiful secluded beach, weather permitting, where you can relax, go for a swim or enjoy snorkelling over a shallow reef. Snorkelling gear is provided and lessons are offered for first-timers.
The half-day cruise has twice daily departures at 9:30am and 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday and 2pm on Monday.
For those who simply can’t get enough of The Bahamas’ beautiful clear blue waters and pristine beaches, Flying Cloud offers a five-hour Sunday cruise, departing at 10am, to Rose Island, home of one of the world’s best beaches and a stunning coral reef. Once anchored, you can snorkel, sunbathe on the beach, play volleyball and other games or explore the island at your leisure. This cruise also includes a delicious Bahamian lunch buffet including barbecue chicken and ribs, peas ’n’ rice, salads and fruit. A complimentary rum punch and soda is provided.
Equally as stunning are Flying Cloud’s daytime cruises and their
21⁄2-hour evening cruise–perfect for couples, newlyweds, or anyone who wants to experience a romantic sunset sail. Departing at 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, this tranquil excursion takes guests around Nassau Harbour, which is especially picturesque when aglow with the city’s lights. While taking in the sights, guests can enjoy free hot and cold hors d’oeuvres or indulge in a favourite drink from the cash bar. If you fancy a more intimate sailing experience, private evening dinner cruises are available by charter booking, where you can dine under the stars on a delicious three-course meal and a free glass of wine.
All of Flying Cloud’s excursions are popular, so book well in advance. Contact Flying Cloud directly online or by phone, or make reservations through your hotel’s tour desk.
Atlantis: The Dig & Aquaventure
Book now at tel 363-3000
In all the world’s myths and legends, the story of Atlantis ranks as one of the most thought-provoking. According to Plato, the island of Atlantis was destroyed by earthquakes and a tidal wave, sending an entire civilization to the ocean floor.
While skeptics say the Atlantis legend is nothing more than a bedtime story, there are some who believe it’s true. One theory is that Atlantis rests within the mysterious Bermuda Triangle, where you can find the Bahamian island of Bimini. Atlantis believers say Bimini Road, a rock formation resembling a road located off the coast of northern Bimini, adds credence to this theory.
Fact or fiction, the Atlantis mega resort on Paradise Island offers guests and visitors a chance to see what Atlantean life may have been like more than 11,000 years ago.
Located below the Royal Towers’ lobby lies the entrance to The Dig, one of Atlantis’s many attractions. Here, visitors navigate their way through a labyrinth of passages and rooms displaying a collection of Atlantean “artefacts.” The Dig’s main feature is the giant aquarium where all that separates you from 50,000 sea creatures–including jellyfish, sharks, rays, groupers, lionfish and more–is a floor-to-ceiling pane of thick glass.
Beyond The Dig’s cavernous maze is Aquaventure, one of the Caribbean regions’s largest waterparks. Spread across 141-acres are thrilling waterslides, giant swimming pools, children’s play pools, a rock climbing wall, a man-made lagoon and a beautiful white sand beach.
Not for the faint-hearted is the Leap of Faith where brave sliders fly down a near vertical, 60 ft drop into a clear tunnel through shark-infested waters. Not as fear inducing, but just as much fun, is the popular Lazy River where you can take a relaxing float on an inflatable inner tube down a quarter-mile long river. Or, take a trip down the Current, a fast-paced mile-long journey with rapids, waves and water escalators.
Aquaventure, The Dig and other marine habitats are free for resort guests and day passes are available for visitors.
Atlantis: Dolphin Cay
Book now at tel 363-3000
A truly special experience not to be missed is a swim with the dolphins. Atlantis’s Dolphin Cay offers an unforgettable first-hand encounter with playful and intelligent bottlenose dolphins.
Dolphin Cay is one of the world’s largest man-made marine habitats and dolphin rescue/rehabilitation facilities in the world with 14 acres and 6.6 million gallons of seawater. The Cay’s first residents were 16 bottlenose dolphins that were rescued in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi.
This one-of-a-kind attraction features many interactive programmes. Participants in the deep water swim pilot their own water scooters alongside a dolphin. The shallow water interaction allows guests an up-close encounter with the dolphins in waist-deep waters.
Dolphin Cay is not all about dolphins though. Guests can also participate in close encounters with California sea lions in the Sea Lion Interaction and hundreds of stingrays in the Stingray Experience.
Aspiring to become an aquarist? The Ultimate Trainer For A Day programme lets you experience what it’s like to care for Atlantis’s more than 50,000 marine inhabitants. Feed gentle stingrays and predatory nurse sharks, participate in customized dolphin and sea lion training sessions, take an educational behind-the-scenes tour of Atlantis’s animal hospital, and enjoy a private lunch with the marine specialists.
Another “ultimate” experience is the Snorkel the Ruins of Atlantis programme, where you can don a wet suit and snorkel and dive into the Ruins Lagoon, home to thousands of deep reef and open water marine creatures. In fact, this lagoon is the same vast aquarium that is part of The Dig.
Not all of Dolphin Cay’s programmes are limited to water based activities. Atlantis offers complimentary companion passes to those who prefer to watch or take photos of friends and family taking part in Dolphin Cay activities. A beach pass is also available at an extra charge for those who want to participate in the dolphin orientation session. This pass also includes all-day beach access to Dolphin Cay’s private beach, non-alcoholic beverages, beach towels and use of private restrooms and showers.
Book now at tel 323-5806
For close encounters of birds and land animals, leave room in your itinerary for a visit to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre, located west of downtown Nassau, across from Arawak Cay near Fort Charlotte.
Long before becoming The Bahamas’ first zoo in 1982, this beautiful 51⁄2-acre tropical retreat was a botanical garden. It was originally opened in 1937 by Jamaican horticulturalist Hedley Edwards.
Years later, in the 1950s, the garden was used as a sanctuary for flamingos who, in those days, were being hunted to near extinction. The government of the day recognized the importance of preserving the national bird and attempted to breed them in captivity. It was during this time that Edwards, a skilled horticulturalist, took the flamingos under his wing and trained them to march to his commands. Word soon spread of Edwards and his “amazing marching flamingos” and the tradition continues today with three daily showings at 10:30am, 2:10pm and 4:10pm.
For almost 30 years, thousands of visitors have flocked to Ardastra to see its collection of 200 birds, mammals and reptiles. These include a pair of jaguars named Sheba and Sasha, Capuchin monkeys, Madagascar lemurs and the popular lory parrots, which you can hand-feed in their spacious enclosure at 11am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm daily.
A big hit for kids is the petting zoo where they can get close to rabbits, pygmy goats, chickens and budgies.
Ardastra is open year-round, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, from 9am-5pm. Last admittance is 4:10pm. Group bookings are also available, tel 394-2146 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Providence on your own
Considering New Providence’s tiny size–roughly seven miles by 21 miles–it’s amazing the number of things to see and do here. Best of all, many of these attractions and activities are free.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that many interesting places are within walking distance from your hotel or are easily accessible by taking an inexpensive jitney (bus). Fare is $1.25 in town and slightly more for outlying areas. Or, you can tour the island on a scooter or hire a rental car and journey at your own pace.
Be sure to use the Bahamas Trailblazer Maps–they’re free, available all around town, and they are a handy guide for sightseeing Nassau, Cable Beach and Paradise Island.
Downtown Nassau is always buzzing with activity. Here, you’ll find everything from shopping and restaurants to museums, art galleries and historic buildings. Must-see attractions include the pink Parliament buildings and statue of Queen Victoria at Parliament Square, Balcony House (the oldest wooden structure in The Bahamas), and The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ art gallery.
Just off the downtown core is Government House, home of The Bahamas’ Governor General; The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas; and Fort Fincastle, located near the Queen’s Staircase, another favourite attraction.
West of downtown overlooking Arawak Cay and Nassau Harbour is the imposing Fort Charlotte complex, which provides a glimpse into Nassau’s 18th century military past.
Another historic spot is Clifton Heritage National Park, located in the far southwestern part of the island. This park is the site of a former plantation where you can see the remains of a great house and several slave dwellings. The park also has scenic pathways with access to two beautiful beaches–Flipper Beach and Jaws Beach.
Of course, a visit to New Providence isn’t complete without seeing the sights of Paradise Island. Journey across the PI bridge on foot or take a water taxi across Nassau Harbour. In addition to the massive Atlantis resort, this picturesque island is home to other worthwhile attractions such as stunning Cabbage Beach, Versailles Gardens and a 14th century reconstructed Cloister.
Information in editorial and listings is subject to change at any time.