Nassau Journals

Bill in the Bahamas - NASSAU and PARADISE ISLAND

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A September 2002 trip to Nassau by billmoy

Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower Photo, Nassau, Bahamas More Photos
Quote: Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, a string of about 700 islands off the eastern shore of Florida. This is the main city of New Providence Island, which is linked to the smaller Paradise Island by a pair of bridges.

Bill in the Bahamas - NASSAU and PARADISE ISLAND

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Overview

Quote:
A visit to the Bahamas is definitely more relaxing for me than a trip to Paris, where I would be caught up with visiting every museum and cultural attraction possible. Nassau / Paradise Island is a good place to relax and enjoy the hot and humid climate of the Caribbean.Quick Tips: The Bahamian dollar has the exact same value as the US dollar, so you can bring your own money if you wish. Note that some ATM's dispense only one kind of currency, not both. The Straw Market, located near the dock area, is a popular place to look for locally made handicrafts. This is a shoppers delight if you enjoy the haggling and the bargaining. Also near the dock is a hair braiding pavilion if you want a...Read More

Club Med Paradise Island

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Hotel | "Club Med (Part 1) - ACCOMMODATIONS"

Club Med Paradise Island Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
Quote:
This was my first experience at a Club Med, and my third visit to an all-inclusive property, and I must say that Club Med is by far the best of the ones I have stayed at. The property arranged a driver to meet me at the Nassau airport, and I was the only passenger in the van. The check-in area is actually outside, with a few tables in an arcaded wooden walkway. The GO's (Gentil Organisateur in French, or "congenial host" in English) at the Club Med made me feel very welcome with courteous service and a refreshing juice drink. I did not have much luggage, so I brought it right to my room. I have heard that other people with more luggage had to wait up to 30 minutes for their belongings, one of the few ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Club Med Paradise Island
Casuarina Drive
Nassau, Bahamas

Club Med Paradise Island

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Hotel | "Club Med (Part 2) - ACTIVITIES"

Quote:
(Continued from Part 1) Club Med is famous for loads of activities, and this Paradise Island property is no exception. This one is highly regarded for it's tennis facilities, with 20 courts and hands-on instruction. The pool was under renovation, but you can do your swimming in the strong currents of the Atlantic Ocean. Other activities include windsurfing, scuba diving, archery, ping-pong, spa treatments, volleyball, and basketball. Aerobics sessions are conducted in a renovated chapel building, and there is an air-conditioned workout room next door with a few pieces of exercise equipment. One can relax on the lengthy Paradise Beach, a public beach that is guarded day and night. You can walk to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Club Med Paradise Island
Casuarina Drive
Nassau, Bahamas

Club Med Paradise Island

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Hotel | "Club Med (Part 3) - DINING"

Quote:
(Continued from Part 2) To me, the highlight of the all-inclusive Club Med Paradise Island is the food. There is a more formal restaurant on-site (Grayleigh), but this section is focused on the main dining hall. There are large, air-conditioned non-smoking and smoking sections, with some spillover onto a few al fresco tables. The dining hall faces Nassau Harbour, so you can catch glimpses of downtown Nassau and the large cruise liners docked there. The tables have from four to eight seats, so there is ample opportunity to mingle with other GM's (Gentil Membres in French, or "congenial guests" in English) and GO's (Gentil Organisateurs, or "congenial hosts") from around the world. I ate every mea...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Club Med Paradise Island
Casuarina Drive
Nassau, Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower

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Hotel | "Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino"

Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
Quote:
The Atlantis is generally regarded as the most flamboyant hotel in the Nassau / Paradise Island area. This humongous property seemingly occupies half of Paradise Island, with a Vegas-like scale and opulence to it. Approaching the towers of the complex you will be amazed by the bright, peach-colored exteriors surrounded by winged horses, waterfalls, flying dolphins, and decoratively supportive seahorses. The two big attractions to the Atlantis are the "Dig" and the Casino. The Dig is the nickname for the "world's largest marine habitat", designed as an artist's impression of what an underground archaeological excavation of the lost continent of Atlantis would look like. Some parts of the Dig are...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower
PARADISE ISLAND
Nassau, Bahamas
+954 809-2705

British Colonial Hilton Nassau

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Hotel | "Hilton British Colonial"

Quote:
This landmark hotel, located on the former site of Fort Nassau, is still one of the most famous properties in downtown Nassau. Originally built in 1900, the hotel burned down in 1920 and was rebuilt in 1923. Scenes from two James Bond movies were filmed on location here. The Hilton slapped its name on this property in 1999 and millions of dollars were spent to replenish it. It's large scale and bright ochre exterior make this property one of the anchors of Bay Street. Walk into the lobby and you will feel that this is more of an old-fashioned businessman's retreat. This is definitely not the hang-loose Club Med or the razzle-dazzle Atlantis! There is a refined quality in the relatively quiet lo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

British Colonial Hilton Nassau
One Bay Street
Nassau, Bahamas
(242) 322-3301

Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre

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Attraction | "Ardastra Gardens"

Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
Quote:
Ardastra Gardens are a bit hidden away about one mile west of downtown Nassau. Ardastra is a bit smallish at about 5.5 acres in size, but it proudly bills itself as a zoo, botanical garden, and conservation center. With over 300 animals, Ardastra has the largest collection of Bahamian land animals and makes efforts to preserve many of these endangered species. The star attraction is the Marching Flamingo shows held 2-3 times a day. A local chap named Joe barks commands at the flock of pink Caribbean flamingos (the national bird of the Bahamas), and they march and circle about in this viewing pen. The informative announcer noted that Joe has been doing this flamingo show for over 40 years, and some of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre
West Bay Street
Nassau, Bahamas
323-5806

Queen's Staircase / Fort Fincastle / Water Tower Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
Quote:
This area is a bit removed from the shopping areas in downtown Nassau, but it is worth the minor effort to wander around this area. One can easily visit this historic area independently, though many folks come through on organized tours. You will probably approach the area from the north and encounter the Queen's Staircase, which has 65 (formerly 66) stairs carved out of limestone cliffs by slaves in 1790. The stair leads to what is known as Bennet's Hill. The canyon created by the stair excavation is rather quiet, as you see a vertical wall with a trickling waterfall, accompanied by a few palm trees and vines. You may encounter a few genial vendors selling t-shirts, local handicrafts, or cool ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Queen's Staircase / Fort Fincastle / Water Tower
West Bay Street Top of Elizabeth Street
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-322-7500

Fort Charlotte

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Attraction

Quote:
Fort Charlotte is the largest and perhaps the most interesting of the three forts remaining in Nassau (the others being Fort Fincastle and Fort Montagu). Governor Lord Dunmore also commissioned Fort Charlotte, and it was constructed from 1787 to 1789. It looks a bit isolated on its strategic hilltop location. Walk over the raised walkway to enter the complex, constructed from limestone and surrounded by a dry oat and battlements. There is a curious set of concrete steps on the west side, apparently constructed for tourists to sit and enjoy the surrounding views (at least that was what I did). Old cannons are posted at what would be important defensive locations. The fort is definitely not one o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Fort Charlotte
West Bay Street & Marcus Bethel Way
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-322-7500

Government House

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Attraction

Quote:
The symbolic Government House is the residence of the Governor-General, the official Queen's Representative to the Bahamas. It is located on an elevated plateau, patrolled by armed guards at two gates and surrounded by pink-painted walls. The pink-and-white neoclassical colonial building, constructed in 1801, is not accessible to the public. For security reasons, the helpful guard will tell you where you can and cannot stand or walk. He impressed me by saying a few words in Cantonese, and good-naturedly warned me that he would have to chase me down if I did not follow his directions. The north side of the hill features an unusual statue of Christopher Columbus depicted with a beard; it was presented t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Government House
Government Hill, Duke & George Street PO Box N8301
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-322-1875

Parliament Square and Public Library

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Attraction

Quote:
The semi-formal arrangement of government buildings designed in the Georgian style fill Parliament Square. A youthful seated statue of Queen Victoria is on the northern edge of the square while across the street, Rawson Plaza creates a welcome bit of open space in downtown Nassau. Parliament Square seems packed with these pink and white structures, including the Senate, House of Assembly, and Supreme Court. There is a small park with a marker commemorating the soldiers killed during previous wars. Posh shops and smaller trinket shops, along with a couple of restaurants, flank the two long sides of the square. Watch for the movement of cars here, though they are all going slowly past the governm...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Parliament Square and Public Library
Bay St
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-322-7500

The Clositers

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Attraction | "Versailles Gardens and Cloisters"

The Clositers Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
Quote:
The story of the Cloisters is unique. This Augustinian cloister originally was located in southwestern France, dating from the 12th Century. It was purchased by Huntington Hartford (who at one point owned all of Paradise Island) and delivered in pieces to the Bahamas. However, the pieces of the now dismantled cloister were not labeled, so imagine a large "assembly required" item that does not have an instructions sheet! It was reassembled in 1962 under the guidance of Jean Castre-Manne to the best of his ability. The arrangements of the different classical fragments do have a random quality to them. The open-air courtyard of the cloister features a sculpture of a woman. There are plants and flowers gr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

The Clositers
Ocean Club Paradise Island Drive, New Providence Island,
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-322-7500

Island World Adventures

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Attraction | "Island World Adventures Exuma Excursions (Part 1)"

Quote:
I booked an all-day excursion (about 8 hours total) with Island World Adventures, a very reputable outfit that does day trips to Exuma. The powerboat seats about two-dozen passengers and makes pickups at Club Med and the nearby Paradise Island Ferry Terminal around 9AM. There is a minimal amount of commentary from the captain, mainly because you are roaring through the ocean on an hour-long ride to Saddleback Cay, one of the northern Exuma Islands in the Bahamas. Complimentary beverages are passed out during the ride, but keep in mind that the only facilities you will encounter are the two tiny lavatories below deck in the front of the boat. Once you are docked at Saddleback Cay (about 40 miles...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Island World Adventures
1 Marina Drive Paradise Island Ferry Terminal
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-363-3333

Island World Adventures

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Attraction | "Island World Adventures Exuma Excursions (Part 2)"

Quote:
(Continued from Part 1) The Exuma Excursion continues with a nature hike, where our host points out some space junk, a couple of old buildings, and some nice panoramic scenery. Unless you enjoy walking barefoot on a variety of rough surfaces, wear some sandals or water-friendly footgear. The hike is not too rigorous, but you will wade through knee-high water and climb some steps surrounded by shrubbery. The powerboat then takes you to Leaf Cay, one of the Allan's Cay Islands. This little piece of land is the home to some Bahamian rock iguanas, some growing to a length of three feet or so. You can swim ashore (the boat does not dock on Leaf Cay) and feed grapes to the iguanas using twig...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2002

Island World Adventures
1 Marina Drive Paradise Island Ferry Terminal
Nassau, Bahamas
+242-363-3333