If you find yourself in Miami with a few days to spare and want to experience white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, it’s only a 45 minutes flight from Miami International Airport to Nassau the capital of the Bahamas.
Nassau airport is just a short taxi ride away from the city center and, drivers often offer to take a detour to the cemetery where Anne-Nicole Smith is buried (I politely declined!)
Situated on the island of New Providence Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, boasts a number of colonial buildings (the pink colored Parliament building and Nassau Public Library and Museum to name just a few), forts and the famous Queen’s Staircase: 65 steps carved out of limestone by slaves in the 18th century leading to Fort Fincastle. From here there are nice views over Nassau, its harbour and the neighbouring Paradise Island.
And it is by crossing one of the two bridges that connect New Providence to Paradise Island where you will find most of the hotels, restaurants, bars and the world renowned Atlantis Resort.It is a huge complex that includes 11 swimming areas, water slides, walk through aquariums, sharks pool and a presidential suite favoured by celebrities where the late Michael Jackson once stayed.
There are of course a lot of other places to stay on Paradise Island, including self catering apart-hotels where you can have your food shopping delivered and prepare your own meals.If you choose to eat out, there are lots of local and international restaurants (I even managed to find an Italian restaurant serving delicious home made pasta!).
Being in the Caribbean the food in the Bahamas not surprisingly includes a lot of fresh seafood and a place not to be missed is Arawak Cay. It began with a few food stalls offering shellfish to tourists but the area is now famous for the number of restaurants offering the local delicacy: conch. A shellfish found mainly in the Bahamas, although it might look like a giant snail, it is quite tasty once is prepared and served either in a salad or as conch fritters.
For more food and some retail therapy, Marina Village next to Atlantis Resort offers a good choice of shops, from designers to souvenir stalls and the chance to admire the expensive yachts moored in the marina.
A nice excursion in Nassau is to Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation center. There are over 300 animals on display but the stars here are the marching flamingos, performing a number of times during the day. Other activities include feeding the parrots and interaction and photo opportunities with a lot of other animals.
If you get bored of white sandy beaches, a day trip to Harbour Island will give you the chance to feel, touch and see pink sand! This can be easily arranged with Bahamas Ferries who will provide transport to and from Nassau, a brief tour of Harbour Island on golf carts and enough free time for a stroll along the beach.
If you want to escape the long winter, the Bahamas offer good weather all year round and a state of perennial party atmosphere on its streets with the big event being Junkanoo on Boxing Day. It features a street parade with dancers and colorful costumes (it also made an appearance in Bond’s Thunderball partly filmed in the Bahamas).
For all the lovers thinking of getting hitched in the Bahamas a famous place to do so is the gazebo in the Versailles Gardens, a series of landscaped terrace gardens which also include a French Cloister. So start packing (bucket and spade optional!) and make your way to Paradise (Island).