I am sure you all have been dying to know where I have been during this two-week hiatus well I have been busy bringing this blog over seas and international with a visit to Nassau, Bahamas! This trip was also mixed with my first ever cruise. What a neat Caribbean Island to get to visit for my first time out of America. (Well minus a trip to Montreal when I was 7 and in Girl Scouts, I don't count it because I barely remember it.)
The Bahamas as a country consists of over 700 islands of which only 29 are inhabited. Thank you to the cab driver who shared this fact with us. Nassau is the capital and located on New Providence Island. This is the most populated island with over 200,000 residents. The total population of the country is somewhere around 320,000. Below I will share with you some information on great sites to see, that aren't Atlantis Resort, when you are on the island!
# 1- Paradise Beach
The epitome of a Caribbean vacation is obviously bound to be the beaches and turquoise warm waters of the sea. Paradise Beach is no different in this beauty. A quick cab ride from the cruise ship pier costing $4 per person will bring you right to the beach. Just be sure to ask that they bring you to the public entrance because if you try to enter through Atlantis you will be charged. Once on the beach you can rent umbrella's and chairs from the locals and be ready to sit on your Bahamian throne taking in the views all day long. However, my favorite part of this beach is the $30 half an hour full body massage you can get that perfectly goes along with your $20 unlimited drink refill coconut. Though this operation might seem sketchy with them pouring you rum out of plastic water bottles it was indeed quite tasty.
# 2- Queen's Staircase
My family had been to this site before and did not want to take the time to go back when they were so hungry but being a good sport my father did visit this historical site once again for my chance to see it. The magnificent steps are essentially the coolest gift you can receive as they are 66 steps tall and is a completely hand chiseled corridor. The story goes that in 1793 slaves carved out the steps as a direct route from Fort Fincastle, located at the top, down into Nassau City. It was later long after the steps were created that they were renamed the Queen's Staircase after Queen Victoria of Britain. These steps are free to visit.
# 3- Fort Fincastle
Built at the same time as the Queen's Staircase Fort Fincastle is located at the top of Bennet's hill providing the highest point on the island and the best view. Originally built to protect Nassau Harbor it was built in the shape of a ship to confuse pirates. The fort saw very little action as it never fired any of its cannon's. The most interesting fact of Fort Fincastle is that it is built out of the limestone that was cut out the Queen's Staircase. The cost to enter the Fort is $1 per person. Be sure to take the Queen's Staircase to reach this historic fort!
Not only is this the only zoo on the island but it is also the best spot we found to escape the sun and heat. Your self guided tour through the zoo also brings you among lush gardens, greenery, flowers and trees. Originally established as a nature preserve in the 1950's the gardens have developed over time into a tropical garden and boutique zoo with over 135 species of animals. On top of seeing all the animals you also get to stand among them. Ever heard of synchronized flamingo drills? If not, don't sweat it, just head to the flamingo arena in the center of the gardens to watch over a dozen flamingo's show off their skills. At the end get ready to stand with them showing off your own flamingo pose. Other highlights beyond the flamingos include going into the cages and feeding the Lory Parrots apples by hand and getting a kiss from the garden's mascot Toby.
If you were to ask my father he would probably name this rum factory his favorite spot on the island, probably because this rum is distilled from fresh hand cut sugar cane molasses giving it a unique and sweet rum taste. My favorite part is that John Watling himself was a pirate and who doesn't enjoy a pirate founding a rum distillery? The Buena Vista Estate where the rum is produced offers tours 7 days a week for those visiting the island.