Nassau in The Bahamas is an ideal holiday destination for you and your friends and family. The warm tropical breezes and idyllic surroundings can make this joyous season even more special.
You can choose from among many different activities that will delight and entertain you and your family during this upcoming Holiday season. Here are a few of the most appealing attractions and activities to experience in Nassau this year and next.
As the National Festival of The Bahamas, Junkanoo dates back hundreds of years and is a not-to-be-missed carnival-like event that includes parades, music, costumes, and food to deliver the most authentic experience for travelers to this area. Goatskin drums, bells, and horns are among the most popular instruments used by parade participants.
Organized groups consisting of up to 1,000 members move through the streets of downtown Nassau and regale parade goers with elaborate brightly-colored costumes, choreographed dances, musical compositions, floats, and more. Junkanoo during the holidays begins in the wee hours of the morning, generally around 1:00 am, on Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day (January 1st). Be sure to head down to downtown Nassau and enjoy this full experience of the Bahamian culture.
2. The Queen's Staircase
While in the downtown area, take a little time out to climb the historic Queen's Staircase located in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex. As one of Nassau’s most visited attractions, this 66-step climb was carved out of natural limestone by approximately 600 workers using pick axes and hand tools.
This landmark was completed in 1794 and leads to Fort Fincastle, which offers a peerless view of the surrounding areas from its position on Bennett's Hill, the highest point on the island. It is said to have been constructed to provide a direct route from Nassau to Fort Fincastle in case escape was needed from European invaders.
If you’re in the area, be sure to climb the staircase named in honor of Queen Victoria and take in the impressive views.
Only a 10 minute stroll from The Pointe, the five-star Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant is a beautiful landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Graycliff offers a variety of unique experiences to visitors including the popular Escape Nassau. It truly is the perfect "escape" from the busier sections of Nassau.
Upon arrival, you'll have the opportunity to tour the hotel and enjoy the legendary Graycliff Special cocktail. After enjoying a delicious three-course lunch, you can spend the afternoon relaxing by one of Graycliff's two pools.As a Graycliff Escape Nassau guest, you have the opportunity to experience other hotel offerings. These include:
- A Graycliff Cigar paired with a glass of port or cognac
- Poolside Massage (48-hour notice required)
- 6 Chocolate covered strawberries and a glass of Champagne
- 12 Chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of house Champagne
- Caviar and Champagne for two
These options are available at an additional cost to the Escape Nassau experience and require advance notice.
While there, try your hand at becoming a torcedor by learning how to roll your own cigars!
4. Excursions and Sightseeing Tours
Day trips and boat excursions are not just for the holidays. These mini-adventures allow you to experience Nassau in a multitude of ways. Some of the most popular sightseeing tours and boat trips include the following:
- A boat trip to Rose Island can provide you with access to an exclusive private beach and snorkeling privileges to make your visit truly memorable. Cocktails and sunbathing round out this exceptional day cruise for you and a few select friends.
Two great options are booking an intimate private trip with Harbour Safaris or Hidden Beaches.
For larger groups or the budget conscious adventurer, a day trip to Sandy Toes is an ideal choice.
- For those with a more developed taste for adventure, the Nassau SUB Adventure tours provides an up-close-and-personal experience with the marine wildlife of this area. SUB is short for Scenic Underwater Bubble, a self-propelled personal submarine that provides confident swimmers and non-swimmers alike with the chance to see the underwater world in a brand-new way.
- Foodies will love the opportunity to taste real Bahamian flavor during the Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour. The tour includes six separate tasting locations and may incorporate traditional foods like conch, truffles, and organic chocolates. Presented by Tru Bahamian Food Tours, this gourmand adventure can accommodate food allergies with adequate advance notice.
- If you want the chance to stray from the beaten path, the Hidden Beaches Bahamas will give you the opportunity to feed endangered iguanas and the famous swimming pigs (under close supervision, of course), or swim with the sharks at Compass Cay. You’ll explore these islands with the help of an expert guide. Lunch at Staniel Cay Yacht Club makes this an even more relaxing way to spend a day in the Nassau area.
5. It's a Wonderful Life!
Especially for traditionalists, the Island House will be presenting an outdoor screening of the Holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" at 6 p.m. on December 23, 2018. What better setting to watch Clarence the angel help George understand the beauty of life’s existence.
Bring a blanket and settle in under the stars to enjoy this iconic film with the ones you love.
6. John Watling's Distillery
The Bahamas and rum have an intimate relationship dating back to the days of the pirates. Located on the historic 1789 Buena Vista Estate and named after a 17th-century pirate, John Watling's Distillery is the place to go for hand-crafted rums and other spirits. This home was even featured in one of the action scenes in the James Bond movie, "Casino Royale."
John Watling's rums are crafted using traditional English rum-making techniques and then aged in American white oak barrels for up to five years. Take a free tour of the Estate and museum and then head into the Red Turtle Tavern to try signature Bahamian cocktails, including the famous "Spirit of the Bahamas" rum.
Located in Downtown Nassau, John Watling’s Distillery is open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., seven days a week (except for National Holidays) and on Friday’s until 9:00 p.m.
Too cold to hit the links at home? No worries, just head over to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Royal Blue Golf Course at Baha Mar.
Royal Blue's unique design features two courses in one. The front nine features rolling fairways and scenic views of turquoise Atlantic waters. The back nine is played in a lush jungle environment with limestone "moonscapes."
Tee placement is changed daily based on weather and playing conditions. Royal Blue is open from 7:00 am - 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.
8. Living History at Fort Charlotte
History buffs will be enchanted by the opportunity to step back in time by attending the Living History at Fort Charlotte presentations. There are actually three forts located here:
- Fort Charlotte on the east
- Fort Stanley in the middle
- Fort D'Arcy on the west
These forts protected the British colonial governor and served as staging areas from which to attack Spaniards during the late 1700s and early 1800s.
You’ll be able to get a sense of what life was like for Bahamians during this period of time. Staff members from the Antiquities, Museums, and Monuments Corporation (AMMC) dress in historical-period costumes and Rangers from the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) perfectly execute military drills, play music, and even fire the cannon. You can catch this amazing presentation every Monday and Wednesday, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
9. New Year's Eve Fireworks
There is no shortage of New Year’s Eve celebrations in and around Nassau. From large, black-tie gala events to dance parties at the hottest local bars, you’ve got the perfect options for ringing in the New Year. But what you don’t want to miss, are the spectacular fireworks.
Most experts agree that, once it opens, Margaritaville Beach Resort at The Pointe will be the ideal venue for watching fireworks on New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, there will be no shortage of pyrotechnics to light up the night sky in and around Nassau including at Junkanoo festivities, Graycliff, and Marina Village.
The recent opening of the Seven Entertainment Center at The Pointe offers plenty of things to do during the lead-up to fireworks displays. You’ll enjoy:
- Virtual-reality gaming center
- Bowling lanes
- Billiard room
- Karaoke lounge
- Elegant and well-appointed bar
- Movie theater
Seven Entertainment Center has a little something for everyone, making it an outstanding entertainment choice for your family and friends at any time during the year.
If you’re in the hunt for headline entertainment over the holidays in Nassau, here are two great options.
From opening act for the likes of Bruno Mars and Coldplay, Dua Lipa has become a major attraction. Catch her performing her top hits at the Baha Mar Resort on Saturday, December 29th. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
Eight-time Grammy Award winner Fergie will be performing live on New Year's Eve at the Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas. There’s no better time or place for Fergie fans to get glamorous. The show is on December 31st at 9:00 p.m. in the Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis.
Navigating the Holidays and New Year in Nassau
The Bahamas is a beautiful to visit anytime of the year and there are plenty of things to do in Nassau during the Holidays. If you are planning a Holiday or New Year’s trip to Nassau, these are just a few of the events and activities available that will make your stay something truly memorable for you and your traveling companions.
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