Nassau - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Nassau


Known for its balmy breezes, sunny skies and sugary white beaches, Nassau has had a turbulent past. Capital of the Bahamas and the largest city, Nassau was first settled by the English and then became a home base for notorious pirates such as the likes of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, only to have all been killed or driven out by the British by 1720. The city then went on to be burned to the ground by the Spanish on three different occasions.

Nowadays, the island's close proximity to the US gives Nassau a distinctly American flavour. This bustling hub of a city is a delightful and colourful blend of old world and colonial architecture juxtaposed by a busy port. Boasting a prized sheltered harbour, Nassau made history with its beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, 18th-century fortresses and Queen's Staircase, the 66 steps of which lead to the most breathtaking view over the whole of Nassau - a must for any visitor!

Garden enthusiasts should visit the Royal Victorian Garden, which has more than 300 species of tropical plants and exotic creatures. Enthusiastic shoppers on the other hand would be well-advised to look out for great bargains at the Straw Market on Bay Street. Alternatively visitors can relax by spending an idle afternoon watching a cricket game at one of the many local sports grounds. After dark, Nassau comes alive with a rowdy bar and club scene, and the scent of fresh seafood permeates the air in the Fish Fry district.

This stunning city can also add four guest roles in the movies to its resume, starring in three James Bond pictures as well as the Beatles film 'Help!' With bright lights of casinos, posh resort hotels and cruise liners, Nassau is overflowing with variety, colour and exciting nightlife. A favourite holiday destination for adventurers and holiday seekers alike, Nassau has something to offer everyone.

Information & Facts


Nassau enjoys a tropical climate with summer temperatures rarely exceeding 92ºF (33ºC) while winter months see daytime temperatures reaching between 68ºF and 80ºF (20ºC and 26ºC) and minimums rarely dropping below 50°F (10°C).

Getting Around

Minibuses act as the bus system of Nassau city and New Providence island, with journeys costing roughly $1 per ride. Buses can be found on Bay St, but figuring out the routes can be complicated for a tourist. Taxis are common and often take the form of minivans. They are identifiable by their yellow license plates and 'Taxi' signs in black lettering. Most come equipped with meters but it is best to agree on a fare in advance.


English is the official language in the Bahamas.


The official currency is the Bahamian Dollar (BSD), which is divided into 100 cents. The Bahamian Dollar is equal in value to the US Dollar and both currencies are accepted throughout the islands. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and many hotels. There are ATMs in the main tourist centres and credit and debit cards are widely accepted in all the big resorts. Travellers cheques can be changed at all banks, although those in US Dollars receive the best rates. Banks tend to be open from 9.30am to 3pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9.30am to 5pm (Fridays).


Local time in the Bahamas is GMT -5 (GMT -4 from first Sunday in April till last Sunday in October).

Visit the Bahamas' only zoo and see the renowned marching flamingo shows. Visitors can even encounter Bahamian boa constrictors, raptors and parrots as their trainers walk them along pathways throughout the zoo. The natural setting of Ardastra Gardens allows many of the birds to roam freely and it is not uncommon to find parrots and peacocks at your feet. Other residents at the zoo include two jaguars, great horned owls, lemurs, monkeys and even a pot-bellied pig. The zoo is only a few minutes drive from Nassau on Paradise Island.

The small fort of Fincastle was built 1793 overlooking the city of Nassau. It served as a lighthouse until 1819 and was subsequently used as a signal tower. Reached by climbing the Queen's Staircase, the tower is New Providence's highest point. This fort's 'bow' is patterned like a Mississippi paddle-wheel steamer and was originally built to defend Nassau against invasion.

Take a walk along the ocean floor in a rig reminiscent of the days before scuba technology. Divers need no experience as they wear an undersea botanical helmet that allows for normal breathing and dry hair. Visitors to this exotic corner of the world can enjoy exploring coral reefs and undersea creatures with an experienced guide. Half-day or full-day charters are available for up to 4 divers or 6 guests.

Built in the period between 1806 and 1816, the pink Parliament buildings are a fine example of colonial architecture in Nassau, right down to the marble statue of an enthroned Queen Victoria, installed in 1905, that dominates Parliament Square. The west building holds the House of Assembly, the oldest governing body in continuous session in the New World, and the central building is the Senate.

The Pirate Museum takes visitors on an interactive tour through the heart of downtown Nassau, bringing them back to 1716 where they will board a replica of the pirate ship 'Revenge' and enter the world of bloodthirsty pirates. It is a must for all who are up for a swashbuckling good time. The museum has a gift shop with all manner of pirate 'booty'!

Located inside the Harbour Bay Shopping Centre, Tropikids is a kid's entertainment centre and a great place for the little ones to keep themselves occupied while parents do a spot of shopping, or even relax and unwind over a drink or cup of coffee. The 40,000-square foot (3716-square metre) entertainment centre provides day care, games and other entertainment.

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