Nassau, The Bahamas | Layover

On a business trip to the capital of the Bahamas with a few hours to spare? Overnighting before you board your cruise ship? You can catch the essential flavour of Nassau even on a brief visit

  • Photo by Alarico/
  • Blueorange Studio/
  • Photo by Dnaveh/
  • Photo by Sherry Talbot/
  • Photo courtesy National Museum of the Bahamas
  • Photo by Ramunas Bruzas/

It’s probably the cruise ship capital of the Bahamas, and by some estimates, nearly eighty per cent of visitors here stay in Nassau for less than a day. But whether you’re on a similarly tight itinerary or just have a long layover before heading elsewhere, both the city and New Providence Island are compact enough for some quick explorations.

The Bahamas’ national dish? Cracked conch, of course. You can find these battered conch fritters all over Nassau, but some of the most popular food shacks serving the seafood delicacy are in Arawak Cay, west of downtown. Or try conch in the form of a zesty salad.

Looking for a souvenir that screams “Nassau”? Head to the fabled Straw Market, where you’ll have your pick of straw hats, straw baskets, straw placemats, and more. And make sure to ask the vendor if your choice object is made in the Bahamas from traditional palmetto straw — some of the wares you’ll see displayed here are actually imported from abroad.

New Providence, like most of the Bahama islands, is entirely surrounded by extraordinarily blue, clear sea. And the sight of those waters as your plane swoops in to land may be just too tempting to resist. So grab a taxi to Cable Beach, on the western outskirts of downtown Nassau, where you’ll find the needful: soft white sand, crystal-clear water, a deckchair if you so desire.

Nassau has its share of museums — covering everything from art to pirates — but none is more charming than Balcony House, a modest eighteenth-century cottage on Market Street. Painted bright pink with white trim, and named for its shuttered second-story balcony, it’s now run as a small history museum — just the right size to linger in for an hour, soaking in the atmosphere of long-ago Nassau.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that pink is the Bahamas’ national colour, so often does it turn up in Nassau architecture. Pink is also practically the theme colour of Ardastra Gardens, Nassau’s four-acre zoo and conservation centre, famous for its flamingo breeding programme.


Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau from Kingston, Jamaica, and Port of Spain, Trinidad, with connections to other destinations across the Caribbean and North America


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