So when I set out to recap my trip to The Bahamas I had planned to bang out three or four posts within two weeks, but as you can see that hasn’t happened. I’m going to condense the rest of the trip into this last post, the reason is there’s so much to do in this country, if you’re considering taking a trip there I want to share as much as I can with you. Plus, this is also my last post on The Bahamas because I have so many more trips and dream destinations I’d like to share with you!
The country’s capital city, located on New Providence Island is a major port of call for cruise ships. Bay Street is tourist central with tons of shops, restaurants and the famous Straw Market.
The Straw Market is a must, it’s a huge pavilion right at the harbour filled top to bottom with vendors selling their wares. You’ll find souvenirs, sarongs, straw hats and anything and everything the can print The Bahamas on. Be warned: you will be cooed at by every vendor. They are all selling the same things, they all want to make a sale. They will call you every flattering name in the book, if you’re not interested just say “Thank You” and keep walking.
If you do stop to take a look you will be told you’re going to get a special deal. The name of the game here is Haggling. Do it. They expect you to. Otherwise they’ll take you for a fool. We didn’t buy much (a conch shell, a shell picture frame and a sarong I got suckered into buying) but I paid half of their original asking price. I love haggling.
Historic Sites – The Bahamas was once a British colony and there are quite a few sites worth taking a look at. Fort Fincastle and The Queen’s Staircase are about a 15 minute walk from the Straw Market. The Fort was closed when we got there but you still get a nice view of the city.
The Queen’s Staircase was carved out of limestone by slaves to honour Queen Victoria and it is really incredible when you see it with your own eyes. We made it there for around 5 pm and we were alone except for a few locals running the stairs. Carved right out of the rock, it’s about 30 feet wide, 50 feet tall and 500 feet long and that slaves carved this by hand will really make you think for a minute.
Fort Charlotte is another site worth going to check out. It’s the largest Fort on the island, built by the British but was never used in battle. Go in the morning, take the tour and once you’ve worked up an appetite cross the road to get to the Fish Fry.
Fish Fry – just west of downtown, this grouping of restaurants (about 20 or so) is a great place to go for a relaxed, casual meal where you can dine al fresco. Twin Brother’s is the most popular (though we prefer their Potter’s Cay location) but beware that a lot of the food on the island is fried (they’ll call it cracked, like cracked conch, cracked grouper), ask your server if you aren’t sure what you’re ordering. And get the sky juice. It’s amazing (drink slow, it’s strong). Also, beware of the fake taxis here.
Potter’s Cay – located in the harbour just underneath the bridge of traffic leaving Paradise Island is a little spot called Potter’s Cay. By day it’s a place to grab a bite, buy fresh produce and seafood, by night the atmosphere changes. Each of the tiny bars/restaurants is cranking music full blast, people spill out onto the street and essentially it becomes one big party.
We liked coming here because it was just a walk across the bridge for a quick dinner and to be honest we came mostly for the sky juice (it’s a blend of gin, coconut water and sweetened milk and it’s deadly). You won’t find many tourists here (read: maybe two on the whole street) but safety was never an issue for us. I wouldn’t go alone though, that’s for sure.
On our last full day in The Bahamas we went on an all day excursion with Powerboat Adventures to a grouping of islands called The Exumas. This day trip is well worth the $200 price tag and completely exceeded our expectations.
You leave in the morning on a super fast boat and your first stop is Allen’s Cay, home to an endangered species of iguana. They come running to shore when they hear the boat because they know they’re getting their favourite snack – grapes! Find a stick and feed some iguanas, it’s so much fun!
Next stop is Ship Channel Cay, a private island owned by the tour company. And this is what you see when you get off the boat.
The entire day felt like a blur (oh, did I mention it’s an open bar?) and went by so quickly. The stingrays showed up rather quickly, followed by the sharks, and both groups were hungry.
This was the second or third pass the stringrays made so my screams had largely subsided. It was really cool to feel the animal hoover up the piece of fish from my hands though.
Ok, this is one of the most exciting parts of the day, the shark feeding. There were about 10-12 sharks in total, lemon and reef sharks. In the vid you may notice that they got pretty close to us, I would say no more than 8 ft away. That may be why I sound like a tool in the vid, I was really excited to be that close to the animals. There was one point where all the other watchers took a big step back as the sharks got closer and I took a step forward.
After all this excitement, we ate lunch which was one of the best meals we had all week, this company really knows how to treat you right. We then went snorkeling and were accompanied by a couple of the sharks (maybe they were still hungry). I was no further than 15 feet from a full size lemon and reef shark and it was one of the best moments of my life.
After that we got to hang out and relax so we made the most of our last beach day and soaked up the rays. I was so sad when they sounded the horn and we had to make our way back to the boat. One of our new friends snapped this pic of us just as we were boarding (note: do not sit at the front of the boat unless you wanted to be soaked the entire ride back to Nassau.)
That wraps up our trip to The Bahamas. It’s a country full of adventure and fun and I’ll never forget it. I really miss my tan.
(*Note: reviews are my own and I was not compensated by any company to review their products or services.)