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Attractions in The Bahamas
NASSAU/ PARADISE ISLAND
Built in 1741 of local limestone, Fort Montagu is the oldest fort still standing on the island of New Providence. It is at the eastern end of Nassau harbour along the waterfront.
Built in 1793, the front of the fort is shaped like the bow of a ship and would have provided a good spot for a lookout to stand. Its cannons have never been fired in battle. Located on Elizabeth Avenue, you can reach this fort by way of the Queen's Staircase a few blocks up from the harbour on East Street.
Lucayans, the former residents who lived on The Islands Of The Bahamas from around the 10th century to Christopher Columbus' time, once used these caves. They are located a little west of Cable Beach.
The Queen's Staircase, Nassau's most visited attraction, features 65 steps carved out of solid limestone by slaves in the late 18th century. The 102-foot staircase was named in honor of the 65 years of Queen Victoria's reign. The climb up the stairs culminates near Nassau's Water Tower and Fort Fincastle.
National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
Located at the historic Villa Doyle, a newly restored 19th century mansion, the museum houses the National Collection of Bahamian artworks including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, textiles, ceramics, photography and other mixed media works.
The Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation
The Pompey Museum, dedicated to the study and interpretation of Slavery, is the only museum of its kind in the region. It is housed in the historic Vendue House, the original Nassau marketplace from which slaves were among the commodities sold in the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum gallery has photographs, artifacts and replicas depicting the history of slavery and emancipation in The Bahamas.
Over the Hill
You can experience the heart of Bahamian culture in this historic neighbourhood of homes, shops, offices, churches, restaurants, bars and clubs. Head inland, just beyond the downtown area.
To see an excellent example of Old Nassau, go by the flamingo-pink government buildings of Parliament Square. Constructed in 1815, these buildings are excellent examples of colonial architecture. The Houses of Assembly, the old Colonial Secretary's Office and the Supreme Court are clustered around a statue of Queen Victoria.
Beacon on Stocking Island
This beacon sits atop a giant sand dune which is said to have hardened into limestone rock over thousands of years. It was used to guide ships out at sea to or around the 3 1/2 mile-long island. Visitors and natives alike enjoy the trek up to its summit. The aerial view is postcard picturesque.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park was created in 1958, this 176 square mile park was the first of its kind in the world and is famous for its pristine beauty, outstanding anchorages and breathtaking marine environment. It is the first marine fishery reserve in the Carribbean. Accessible by boat only .
Named after the infamous captain Kidd, a U. S. Navy officer who frequented the island during the age of piracy.
The Three Sisters Rocks
There are many stories related to these historic landmarks. One myth is that there were three sisters who were all in love with the same handsome, young Englishman, each without knowing about the other. When they found out, they agreed to drown him, but they all accidentally died along with him. After their deaths three rocks sprung up from the sea to mark the spots of their noble act of love.
Courtesy The Bahamas Tourism Board.
Activities in The Bahamas
The richest pickings are on Grand Bahama Island, home to three courses that have been designated as potential PGA tour stops. A spectacular Greg Norman-designed course opened in Great Exuma in 2003, part of the massive new Four Seasons resort.
The best hiking is on Grand Bahama Island, especially in Lucayan National Park. The park is riddled with trails and elevated walkways. The highlight of the park is what may be the largest underground cave system in the world, some 7 miles long. Spiral steps let you descend into an eerie underground world.
The shallow waters between the hundreds of cays and islands of The Bahamas are some of the most fertile fishing grounds in the world. Grouper, billfish, wahoo, tuna, and dozens of other species thrive in Bahamian waters, and dozens of charter boats are available for deep-sea fishing. Reef fishing, either from small boats or from shorelines, is popular everywhere.
The island of Bimini is known as the "Big-Game Fishing Capital of the World." Here anglers can hunt for the increasingly elusive swordfish, sailfish, and marlin.
Walker's Cay in the Abacos and Chub Cay in the Berry Islands are famous for both deep-sea and shore fishing.
Andros boasts the world's best bonefishing.
The Bahamas is one of the top yachting destinations in the Atlantic. Its more than 700 islands and well-developed marinas provide a spectacular and practical backdrop for sailing enthusiasts. The mini-archipelago of the Abacos is called "The Sailing Capital of the World."
All sizes and types of crafts, from dinghies to blue-water cruisers, are available for charter. Many hotels offer sightseeing cruises aboard catamarans or glass-bottomed boats, often with the opportunity to snorkel or swim in the wide-open sea.
Slow Boat to the Out Islands
Delivering goats, chickens, hardware, and food staples along with the mail, Bahamian mail boats greatly improve the quality of life for the scattered communities of the Out Islands. You can book passage on one to at least 17 different remote islands. All 30 boats leave from Nassau, and the round-trip takes a full day. For more information, consult an office of The Bahamas Tourist Office or the dockmaster at the Nassau piers.
The unusual marine topography of The Bahamas offers an astonishing variety of options for divers. Throughout the more than 700 islands are innumerable reefs, drop-offs, coral gardens, caves, and shipwrecks. In many locations, you may feel that you are the first human ever to explore the site. Since fewer than 30 of the Bahamian islands are inhabited, you can usually dive in pristine and uncrowded splendor.
Andros Island boasts the third-largest barrier reef in the world. Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, and Riding Rock, San Salvador, also offer premium spots to take a plunge in an underwater world teeming with aquatic life. The intricate layout of the Exumas includes virtually every type of underwater dive site, very few of which have ever been explored. The Abacos, famous for its yachting, and the extensive reefs off the coast of Freeport are also fabulous dive sites.
You can easily learn to dive for the first time in The Bahamas. Lots of Bahamian hotels offer resort courses for novices, usually enabling a beginner to dive with a guide after several hours of instruction.
The Bahamas is the largest oceanic archipelago nation in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, with miles of crystal-clear waters rich with fish and other marine resources - and thus is home to countless natural attractions, including a series of underwater reefs that stretch from the Abacos in the northeast to Long Island in the southeast. It has the most extensive systems of blue holes and limestone caves in the world.
Lying off the coast of Andros, The Bahamas includes approximately 909 sq. miles of coral reef, comprising the third-largest barrier reef system in the world. Rich with diverse marine life, the reef attracts green moray eels, cinnamon clownfish, and Nassau grouper.
The islands of The Bahamas are home to more than 1,370 species of plant life, plus 13 species of mammals. You'll see whales and dolphins, including humpback and blue whales and the spotted dolphin, swimming in the sea.
Courtesy The Bahamas Tourism Board.