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In Nassau, the capital city in the main island, more than two thirds of tourists arrive by cruise ships — we had fun watching cruise ships arrive one after another, while walking on the soft sand with a nice breeze. What’s not to love? 😉
Totally by chance, we arrived in Bahamas just in time for Junkanoo, an annual street festival that goes on through Christmas night. It is most likely adapted by African slaves, and plays an important role in Bahamian culture. Seats were all sold out!
Costumes, African dances and crazy installations like this: “Alien Invasion Dey is coming” 🙂
Fish Fry: the place to go for fresh seafood and Bahamian specialties, frequented by tourists and locals alike.
The most popular dish is the ‘conch’ salad — conch is the sea snail that lives in those beautiful seashells. The salad is prepared with raw conch meat… the taste is fine but I wouldn’t want to eat it every day, like Bahamians do! They also serve conch as fried or grilled, and have other great seafood items. Fish Fry is a must in Bahamas.
Our morning routine was to relax on this beach before breakfast.
Browsing items at the Straw Market in downtown Nassau…
Car rental is not very common and taxis are expensive, so the jitney bus is a great alternative to cover long distances in Nassau. We took one to get to Cable Beach area.
We also took a water taxi ride to Paradise Island, home of the famous Atlantis resort. In the front is a replica of the cabin blown up in James Bond movie “Thunderball”.
We tried Snuba (SNorkeling – scUBA) for the first time — you get your oxygen through a cable running to this raft, so you are free to dive as deep as 10m. It took me a while to get used to it, but it was a fun experience.
The yellow guys in the bottom are SUBs, another interesting way to explore under the sea 🙂
Lots and lots of colorful fish!
Our snorkeling site was near the island where Jack Sparrow was stranded in Pirates of the Caribbeans.
More than half of the 700 islands (the Bahamas) are part of the Exumas province — most are untouched territory. Since it is 40+ miles from Nassau, you need one of these speedboats to get there, which takes a 1.5 hour-long VERY bumpy ride (especially in the front). My back was hurting for a week
We stopped at an island inhabited by grape-eating iguanas 😮 It was a really cool experience to feed them!
Iguanas picked a really nice spot!
Next stop was the tour company’s private island. We were amazed (and alarmed) by the huge lemon sharks hanging around the dock area. Apparently, they like to hang out here because of the food scraps from the tour lunch. I’m not sure if it’s healthy to keep it that way…
On the other side of the island, we were in luck to see an albino stingray, which are said to be very rare and worth around $100k.
Road to Paradise: walking to one of the most pristine beaches I’ve been to, trying not to think that there are huge sharks just a few hundred meters away. :S
The owner built these beautiful shaded picnic areas for lunch. One of the decorative life donuts was from Turkey!
We did some snorkeling around a reef and saw some cool fish — like this needlefish.
This so-called Sand Bar was my personal favorite. As tide gets lower during the afternoon, this stretch of sand becomes a little island.
Photos don’t do justice.
Next day: Potter’s Cay has a bunch of shops under the bridge that connects Nassau to Paradise Island. We stopped by to get some snacks from the lovely lady.
Harbour Island is 3 hours away by fast ferry. It is a much more authentic and charming Bahamian island, compared to Nassau. We spent a half-day there, most of it on the world-famous Pink Sands Beach.
Transportation is mostly provided by golf carts, since larger motor vehicles are restricted. The island is small enough to walk though…
The beach has a pinkish hue (more visible at sunset) due to the pink corals in the sand. The sand is remarkably fine, almost like powder, and the beach is gorgeous! Many models come here to do photo shoots.
As it started raining, we decided to leave, but then this happened.
Lunch on the beach with great views!
On our way back, we saw a bunch of kids, playing games next to a cemetery.
Final day in Nassau: we checked out some local landmarks. The Queen’s staircase was built in 18th century by slaves, as a shortcut to the fort.
Last lunch was at a very good Italian restaurant in town
Beautiful building that seems to be abandoned.
This city jail was converted into a public library. Each of the six sides, which used to a be a cell, is now a separate collection.
One of the many plazas that cover downtown Nassau. This is where passengers get off cruise ships..