Nassau, the capital of Bahamas, offers a great variety of unique attractions which is why it is a major cruise stop and a tropical destination for discerning travelers and the site of luxurious all inclusive resorts Nassau. Founded in 1656, Nassau is located on New Providence Island, and it has had a rich history with English and African influences and even a colorful history of pirates. Its natural tropical beauty and the diversity of its flora and fauna give Nassau many delightful attractions. The Ardastra Gardens, a short walk from downtown Nassau, is a lush tropical zoo which houses over three hundred species of Caribbean animals in their natural environments. The zoo possesses a large aviary, the highlight of which is the flock of marching flamingos which perform three times daily. The Botanical Gardens, located right across the street from the Ardastra Gardens, feature winding footpaths through eighteen acres of flowering shrubs and trees. The natural beauty of the Gardens is accented by decorative ponds beneath a soothing green tropical canopy sprinkled with exotic orchids and bromeliads.
Nassau also boasts abundant points of historical interest. The most notable is Parliament Square which is located in the center of Nassau’s downtown, not far from all inclusive Bahamas resort. The Bahamian government is housed in quaint flamingo-pink, colonnaded buildings which surround the statue of Queen Victoria that was erected on her birthday in 1905. Since Nassau was a strategic point in the Caribbean, there are several forts which were built to protect it from marauders. Fort Charlotte, just east of Nassau, was finished in 1788 and covers over a hundred acres. Its moat, drawbridge, ramparts, and dungeons all evoke an image of an earlier time. Fort Fincastle is located a short walk from downtown Nassau.
Completed in 1793, it served as a lookout post over the harbor. At the Fort’s base is the Queen’s Staircase, with its 66 steps carved into the limestone cliff by slaves two centuries ago. The 126-foot tall water tower at Fort Fincastle is the highest point on the island, and it commands a spectacular view of New Providence Island and nearby islands. It can be accessed by a stairway or by elevator. A fun way to explore Nassau is by surrey. You can hire a small, horse-drawn cart next to the cruise dock near Parliament Square for a thirty minute journey through downtown, driven by a guide who will regale you with the legends of Nassau. Youngsters of all ages love the Pirates of Nassau, with its interactive exhibits that highlight the swashbuckling history of the pirates in the Bahamas (for a time Nassau was governed by the notorious Blackbeard). Shoppers will love the Straw Market, located near Nassau beach resort in the center of downtown next to the docks. Hundreds of street vendors proffer handicrafts, and many of the wares, from hats and baskets to accessories and frames, and crafted on the premises.