New Providence Island Attractions
New Providence, better known for the main city of Nassau, encompasses 80 sq.mi. / 207 sq.km with an east-west length of roughly 20 miles / 30km.
Paradise Island (formerly Hog Island) is an upscale resort area connected to Nassau by two bridges high enough to let sailboats pass.Nassau became the prime city of the Bahamas because of its natural harbor, now a stop on the cruise ship circuits.Arawak Indians occupied the island in pre-Columbian times. It became a British colony in 1666. What is now Nassau was originally named Charles Town after King Charles II. During the 17th and 18th centuries the town became the base of pirates until the British were able to re-establish their authority. In the late 1700s Nassau became a regional slave market.In 1776, United States revolutionary warships destroyed Nassau. In 1782 it was again attacked by Spain. At the end of the 1700s Americans still loyal to Britain migrated to the Island. Emancipation came in 1834 and freed slaves started several new villages.During the American Civil War, the Island and particularly the Royal Victoria Hotel became the haunt of Southerners running the U.S. blockade and associated spies. During American Prohibition, the island flourished in the liquor trade.
Situated on the northeast coast of New Providence Island, the city of Nassau is named after William of Orange-Nassau who became king of England in 1688. Nassau's colonial heritage remains in a number of old forts, pastel-colored buildings, and some lovingly restored grand hotels. It is the capital of the Bahamas.This is the place where visitors come to experience city life in the islands.
Prince George Wharf
Situated on the northeast coast of New Providence island, the city is named after William of Orange-Nassau who became king of England in 1688. Nassau's colonial heritage remains in a number of old forts, pastel-colored buildings, and some lovingly restored grand hotels. It is the capital of the Bahamas.Nassau Harbor, protected by Paradise Island, has seen a growth in cruise ship traffic, and Prince George Wharf can take six of the behemoths at a time. The beauty of the port is that visitors disembark within walking distance of the heart of the historic old town. The best days to observe cruise ships are Friday through Sunday and Tuesday.For those who like observing today's city-size ships, the town offers many vistas, especially from Woodes Rogers Walk, the promenade along the port which runs parallel to Bay Street. Woodes Rogers is also where the horse and carriage drivers line up to give rides throughout the downtown and where a hair braiding center caters to those wanting such a hair style. Taxis and a ferry to Paradise Island are also found along Woodes Rogers Walk.
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
One way of seeing the city of Nassau is by caleche (horse drawn carriage) which line up at the stand beside the cruise ship docks.
Nassau to Paradise Island Ferry Service
Ferries run daily between a point on Woodes Rogers Walk roughly opposite Frederick Street to Paradise Island. Water taxis and charters are also alternatives.
Some of the best duty free shopping is found at Downtown and Bay Streets in Nassau. Many shops line the streets catering to the numerous cruise ship passengers.
Paradise Island is home to the massive Atlantis Resort as well as numerous other hotel complexes. Also on the island are a few private homes and a lighthouse.
Junkanoo are annual parades held on Boxing Day (December 26) and/or New Year's Day depending on the specific island. In Nassau, Junkanoo is held on both days plus Independence Day (July 10).The celebration dates back to the days of slavery when slave owners, including one named John Canoe (which was corrupted into Junkanoo), gave their slaves these holidays off.The parades consist of costumes similar to those worn in Carnivals plus drumming on everything from goat skin drums to cowbells. The costumes are so elaborate that when one parade is over, participants start working on those for the following year.In Nassau dozens of groups compete which entails the work of hundreds of people. Costumes are made of a cardboard base which is then covered by white paper. Painting is not used, but rather all colors, textures and effects must be achieved by gluing glitter, paper, material or other decorations to the surface. Costumes can turn into mini-floats as wide as the street, masks, dragons or any shape that can be conceived of by the participating artisans.
A number of companies run scuba and snorkel excursions and training for all levels of experience out of Nassau. Visitors can obtain training certifications with several of the operators.
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