The colonial city of Nassau is an excellent introduction to the Bahamas. Just 180 miles (290 kilometers) off Florida’s southern coast on the island of New Providence, Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and its 29 islands.
Downtown Nassau is a colorful mix of colonial architecture and historic landmarks, boutiques, and tropical gardens. Visitors can tour the city by horse-drawn carriage or catch a boat to Paradise Island, known for its golden beaches and the luxe Atlantis Resort. Guided tours showcase the colonial highlights and often include stops at Ardastra Gardens, the Queen's Staircase, and Fort Charlotte.
Still, aquatic adventures are the most popular ways to explore Nassau and the turquoise waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. From downtown Nassau, you can snorkel or scuba dive to the surrounding coral reefs, head out in search of the island's resident dolphins, and spot other photogenic marine life. Don’t miss shore excursions to the beach—popular destinations include Blue Lagoon Island, Cable Beach, Junkanoo Beach, and Rose Island.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Many Nassau tours include pickup and drop-off at the cruise port, allowing visitors to make the most of their time on the island.
- Although Nassau offers many ocean excursions that typically involve some physical activity, those with mobility difficulties can see marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour without getting wet.
- If you’re in port for a short time, consider a private tour to escape the crowds and catch all the can't-miss attractions without a large group.
How to Get to Downtown Nassau from the Nassau Cruise Port
Getting into town is easy from Prince George Wharf on the island’s north coast, where cruise ships dock. Either grab a taxi at the wharf or walk 10 minutes south to Bay Street, the main shopping hub. Visitor information booths are located at the port’s Festival Place Welcome Center, where you can find maps and other useful resources.
Nassau is a popular port of entry for the Bahamas, and most major cruise ships dock here. The Bahamian and US dollars are used interchangeably throughout the island, but other currencies must be exchanged. The local language is English.