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New Providence Info

Cruise Ship
Cruise Ship in Nassau

Cruise Ships
Cruise Ships in Nassau

Hilton Nassau
British Colonial Hilton Nassau

Government House
The Government House with Columbus Statue

Tea Party
Tea Party at Government House

Brass Band
Bahamas Brass Band
Personal Impressions
New Providence, better known for the main city of Nassau, is the most populated island in the Bahamas. Nassau became the prime city of the Bahamas because it had one of the best sheltered natural small vessel harbours in the Caribbean. With its location about 160 miles from Miami, it is not surprising that New Providence is a popular destination for cruise ships. Everything is made to please US-American visitors, from stretch limousines to Las Vegas style casinos and big shopping areas. As in the United States, everyone is expecting a big tip, but very often the service is poor. Despite the big money that comes to Nassau, there are many districts with rotten buildings and rats showing up during the day. If you don't like the "American Way of Life", stay away from New Providence. Instead, take a ferry to one of the Outer Islands. There you will find the real Bahamas.


The Bahamas are an Archipelgo of about 700 islands and islets and more than 2000 small cays. The Bahamas are a major centre for offshore finance. They have one of the world's largest open-registry shipping fleets.

Nassau is New Providence's main city and the capital of the Bahamas. It is named after William of Orange-Nassau who became king of England in 1688. This old city has some colonial style buildings, museums and art galleries, duty-free shopping, and the largest straw market in the Caribbean. The best way to see some of Nassau's major public buildings is to take a walking tour. Nassau's resort areas are Cable Beach to the West and Paradise Island to the north. Paradise Island is connected to Nassau by two bridges. There is a tourist bus with the number 10, which is passing historic forts, ocean vistas, well-to-do neighbourhoods, secluded coves, and strands of sand beaches.

Prince George Wharf
Located in the heart of town, near Rawson Square, this cruise ship port is the largest in the Caribbean. The modern pier is only one block from famous Bay Street, the main shopping street of Nassau. 

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court building was constructed 1920 in the neo-Georgian style. Like most government buildings in Nassau, it is painted in pastel pink. Visitors are allowed to see the Bahamian Supreme Court in action. Judges in the court wear long wigs and red robes, and lawyers wear long black flowing robes, as in the days of the British Empire.

Government House
Since 1801 this has been the official residence of The Governor General of The Bahamas. A statue of Christopher Columbus stands at the front of the  pink-and-white building, which  is an excellent example of the fusion of Bahamian-British and American Colonial architecture. 

The Changing of the Guards
The Changing of the Guards takes place every other Saturday at Government House. The Royal Bahamas Police Force Band performs a beautiful ceremony.
Government House Tea Party
There is a traditional tea party at the Government house every last Friday in the month. Attending guests, mainly tourists, are greeted by the spouse of the Governor. A visit to this unique cultural event is highly recommended.

Meet the Bahamians
If you are interested in the culture and the people of the Bahamas, there is People-to-People Program, established by the Ministry of Tourism. Visitors can meet Bahamian volunteers of similar ages and interests for a day or evening activity. The People-to-People Program has expanded beyond New Providence to Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, the Exumas, the Abacos, the Biminis and San Salvador. Great!

Nassau Straw Market
On Bay Street, right downtown is one of Nassau's most popular attractions. From early morning until evening, local vendors are selling locally made crafts such as handbags, jewellery, seashell creations & wood carvings. You can also get your hair braided. (The Straw Market's original structure was destroyed in a fire in the month of September, 2001. The vendors are operating out of a temporary structure provided by the Ministry of Tourism. The white canvas tent-like structure is located one block from the original site, right next door to the British Colonial Hilton.)

Pompey Museum
The Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation is located on Bay Street near the British Colonial Hotel, close to the Straw Market. This "Vendue House" is the original building where African slaves were sold until the late 1800's. Vendue is a French word meaning sold. Artefacts from the slavery era document the history of slavery, abolition and emancipation in the Bahamas. The house was named for the slave Pompey who lived on Exuma Island.

Pirates of Nassau
The Bahamas were a favoured hunting ground of Pirates and Nassau was the base for the greatest concentration of pirates in the Caribbean. The late 1600s through the early 1700s were the notorious age of the pirates. This interactive museum informs, entertains and excites visitors of all ages of the Golden Age of Piracy. Visitors are getting an impression of authentic Bahamian history. It is perhaps the best pirate attraction in the world.

The Bahamas Historical Museum
The Bahamas Historical Museum has a small collection of artefacts ranging from the early Indians to photographs of what early Nassau looked like. Lucayan-Taino-Arawak artefacts show the life of the first inhabitants. 

The Balcony House Museum
The Balcony House is a pink two-story house from the 18th century named for its overhanging balcony. It is the oldest wooden residential structure in Nassau and a fine example of a tropical colonial house. Balcony House was designed and constructed to keep cool, dry and termite free, naturally. Inside the house there is a mahogany staircase, taken from a sailing ship during the 19th century. The interior has been restored using both period correct antiques and some objects original to the house.

Christ Church Cathedral
About 1670 the first church in The Bahamas was built. The Gothic cathedral was built in 1837 and is the fifths building on this site. The first church was destroyed by the Spaniards in 1684 and a second one rebuilt in 1695. This was also destroyed by the Spaniards in 1703. A third church of wood began in 1721. The fourth church made of stone was completed in 1754. The Church tower was constructed in 1830. The building is made of locally quarried cut lime-stone blocks, which are held together primarily by their size and the weight of gravity rather than by cement. The interior has a beautiful set of stained glass windows, an impressive organ and a mahogany ceiling. Memorial plaques from the 19th century document the life histories of local residents and their deaths.
Potter's Cay
Potter's Cay is a native market beneath the Paradise Island Bridge. Fishing boats arrive early in the morning from the Out Islands with the day's catch. Spiny lobster is the most expensive seafood, but grouper reigns supreme along with fresh crab, jack, and mackerel. Vendors make the freshest conch fritters, conch salad and conch chowder. If you see that vendors selling highly endangered sea turtles, let them know that this is not acceptable. You can also see mail boats leaving and coming to this quay.

Going Over the Hill
Nassau's most colourful area is called "Over-the-Hill", a poor residential district with rainbow-hued houses, south of Blue Hill Road. It is the heart of Bahamian-African culture. The area can be explored on foot, but only during the day,  because most of Nassau's criminal incidents happen in this part of town.

Graycliff Cigar Factory
A small staff of cigar rollers mainly from Cuba create several lines of cigars, each distinguished by the colour of their bands. The professional line is their Blue Label, which is made with an Indonesian wrapper and binder, and a blend of filler tobaccos from Brazil, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The Graycliff cigar factory is part of the Graycliff hotel and restaurant resort, and may be toured by visitors free of charge.

Junkanoo Expo
Junkanoo is the Bahamian equivalent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a unique Bahamian festival, culminating in a colourful parade through the streets of Nassau held in the mornings of December 26 and New Year’s Day. The museum on Prince George Wharf is dedicated to Junkanoo. It has a fascinating collection of artistic creations from recent Junkanoo parades.

Paradise Island
Paradise Island is connected to Nassau by two high bridges. Paradise Island is well known for its beautiful beaches and professional golf course. The island was developed almost exclusively for visitors, with resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, a golf course, an aquarium, and a casino rounding out the amenities. The best known resort is the Las-Vegas-Style Atlantis, which houses a huge aquarium with more than 50,000 marine animals and over 200 species.

New Providence

Queen's Staircase
The Nassau Queens Staircase is a set of 65 steps, linking Fort Fincastle to the Princess Margaret Hospital. It was carved out of the coral-based sandstone wall by slaves at the end of the 18th century. The Queens Staircase is 102 feet tall, and was so named in honour of Queen Victoria. Originally, the Queens Staircase was built to provide British troops a protected route to Fort Fincastle. Recently, a waterfall running from the top has been added. The top of the staircase affords a nice view of Nassau and the Caribbean Sea.

Fort Fincastle
Fort Fincastle, shaped like the bow of a ship, was built on the highest point of the island as a lookout by the British captain Lord Dunmore in 1793. Located at the top of the Queen’s Staircase,  this fort boasts a spectacular view from its 126-foot water tower and lighthouse. Its 126-foot water tower, which is more than 200 feet above sea level, is the highest point on the island. The panoramic view of Nassau and its harbour is fantastic. 

Fort Montagu
Fort Montagu is the oldest fort in the Bahamas. Built in1742, it faces the Montagu Bay at the eastern entrance to Nassau's harbour. The small fort saw several actions. The eastern end of Paradise Island was always under threat of a Spanish invasion during the British colonial era. Within the fort there is a terraced cistern which contains 30 tons of ram water. There are barracks for officers and soldiers, a guard room, and a storehouse for ammunition.
Fort Charlotte
This military site is an imposing fort built in the late18th century by British colonial governor Lord Dunmore after the end of the American Revolutionary war. It is named in honour of the wife of King George III. This fort has never fired a shot in battle. It's an imposing structure of massive stone blocks, a waterless moats drawbridges, ramparts, and dungeons. The fort is located one mile west of central Nassau and offers a fine view of the Harbour. 

The Retreat
The Retreat is a garden with about 200 species of exotic palm trees, cycads, native hardwoods and flowering trees on the southern outskirts of downtown Nassau. The garden is home to the administrative Headquarters of The Bahamas National Trust. The green-and-white building was purchased by the National Trust in 1925. A gift shop sells books and memorabilia associated with the National Trust. Many native fruit bearing trees provide home and habitat for native birds including White Crowned Pigeon, Common Ground Dove, Bahama Woodstar, Bahama Mockingbird, Bananaquite, Cuban Grassquit and Cape May Warbler.

Versailles Gardens
This Garden on the eastern part of Paradise Island consists of seven terraces. Statues are placed in various places in the garden, a 12th century statue of Hercules, a marble statue of Napoleon and his wife Josephine and a bronze statue of "Mother and Child".

Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Center
This attraction west of Fort Charlotte is an exotic tropical garden and a zoo with more than 300 birds, mammals and reptiles. In the zoo are endangered Bahamas parrots, jaguars, caimans and capybaras. There are marching flamingo shows and Lory parrot feedings.

Botanical Gardens
More than six hundred species of flowering trees and shrubs and a cactus garden are displayed in the Botanic Garden, located west of Fort Charlotte.

Mail Boat Service
The traditional way of exploring the Bahamas is by mail boat and still favoured by locals. The Bahamas government operates nineteen mail boats, which carry cargo and passengers between Nassau and all the Out Islands. The boat trips vary from a few hours to most of a day. Many mail boats are leaving late in the evening and run all night.

Ferry Service
The Bahamas Fast Ferry runs from Nassau to Harbour Island and Central Eleuthera. The speedy Bahamas SeaLink connects Nassau with Eleuthera and Andros.
Nassau and Paradise Island

Parad. Isl. Bridge
Paradise Island Bridge

Atlantis Resort
Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island

Aquarium at the Atlantis Resort

Paradise Island
Swimming Pool on Paradise Island

Mail Boat
Mail Boat