Friday, November 13, 2015

Here"s how to have the best three days in Nassau and Paradise Island.
(Photo
by iStock.
Design by Lauren DeLuca for World traveling club Travel.)By Kaeli
Conforti
Beaches! Sky juice! Water slides! Conch fritters! Nassau and
Paradise Island, Bahamas, are a short hop from anywhere on the East Coast,
making the perfect island getaway closer—and more
affordable—than ever.
All you need is a valid passport and your bathing
suit!My hands are shaking and my knees are weak; I"m not in love, I"m climbing
the steps of the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort"s Mayan Temple, ever so
slowly approaching the entrance to Leap of Faith, the largest, steepest water
slide I"ve ever been on.
Not only that, this seven-story slide will take me
through the Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon—a large aquarium full of
Caribbean reef sharks.
Gulp.I"ve spent most of the morning chatting with
people who have just been on the impressive-looking slide, trying really hard
to talk myself into it.
By the afternoon, I"ve rationalized
everything—the drop, the angle, the speed—and am finally ready
to take the plunge.
And then I find out there"s another, easier way to see the
sharks up close: another Mayan Temple attraction called the Serpent Slide that
doesn"t involve a terrifying drop down a 60-foot tall almost-vertical body
slide, but rather a fun ride on an inner tube that ends in a large, clear
tunnel, slowly taking you through the shark-filled aquarium.Related: How to
Get the Most Out of Your 3- Or 4-Day Bahamas Cruise
So, yes, I may have
totally chickened out on the big slide, but at least this way I was able to
glide past the giant sharks, and believe me, that was terrifying enough!Don"t
have enough time to visit all 700+ islands of the Bahamas? Start with New
Providence Island, home to Nassau, Paradise Island, and enough beaches and
Bahamian culture to satisfy every foodie and history buff in your
arsenal.
Plus, the U.S.
Dollar is on par with the Bahamian Dollar, so you
don"t have to worry about the exchange rate, and the locals are
super-friendly.
What"s not to love?Experience all the perks of the Atlantis
Resort—for less!"Paradise Island Bahamas.
(Photo: Comfort Suites) We"ve
all seen photos of the iconic pink towers of the Atlantis Resort"s Royal
Towers, but did you know there"s a way to experience all the perks of the
resort without actually ponying up the big bucks to stay there? The secret:
stay next door at Comfort Suites Paradise Island (from $130 in early
December).
Not only will your nightly rate give you complimentary Wi-Fi and
daily breakfast, it also includes day passes to Atlantis, which normally run
$150 per person, for free.

Spend the day taking on the water slides in more
than 20 swimming areas and 11 themed pools, lounging on white-sand beaches, or
feasting at the one of the resort"s fine dining restaurants, then unwind by
the pool and bar at Comfort Suites Paradise Island if you need a break from
all the excitement.
Don"t miss the Lazy River Rapids (which feel like they"re
part lazy river, part wave pool!) and of course, the legendary water slides of
the Mayan Temple that let you float or slide through an aquarium tank full of
Caribbean reef sharks! Note: It"s also worth checking for flash sales on the
Atlantis Resort website for extra savings if you really want to stay on the
property; rates at the resort"s Coral Towers start at $170 per night in early
December.Enjoy tasty Bahamian fare—conch fritters, anyone?Chocolate and
coffee…the perfection due.
(Photo: Graycliff Chocolate)Don"t miss the
Bites of Nassau Food Tour a three-hour food tasting and cultural walking tour
through the colorful streets of Downtown Nassau, with stops at six local
restaurants and specialty shops—like an artisanal chocolate tasting at
the Graycliff Beer Garden & Chocolatier or a lesson in local Bahamian
herbs and spices that will change the way you look at medicine the next time
you have a cold (curry spices are used in cooking to treat inflammation and
coughs, who knew?).
You"ll also stop at Van Breugel"s Bistro & Bar for
Caribbean fusion dishes; Bahamian Cookin" Restaurant & Bar, where the
locals go for traditional eats; Athena"s Cafe, the island"s oldest Greek
restaurant; and the Tortuga Rum Cake Company to taste flavored rum cakes that
are baked daily with five-year aged rum (from $69 per adult, $49 for children
ages 12 and under, children under 3 are free).

For a fun, super-authentic
dining experience, check out the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, a collection of
small, local restaurants just outside Downtown Nassau where you can sample
Bahamian favorites like cracked conch (pronounced "conk" by the way) and Sky
Juice, a milky-white concoction made with gin, coconut water, sweet milk,
cinnamon, sugar, and fresh nutmeg.
A number of locals I spoke to recommended
Oh Andros as their favorite spot for food in Arawak Cay and Twin Brothers for
the best daiquiri cocktails.
I concur.Visit Fort Charlotte, The Queen"s
Staircase, and a Pirate Museum!Fort Fincastle (Photo: Nassau Paradise
Island)History buffs will love exploring Nassau"s old forts, originally built
to protect the island from invaders, but luckily, none has ever had to be used
in battle.
Fort Charlotte is about a five-minute walk from Downtown Nassau and
features displays of how the complex was built and what it was like to be
stationed there in the 17th century (spoiler alert: it wasn"t easy!) Admission
is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for children ages 6-12, ages five and
under get in free.
Closer to Downtown, Fort Fincastle sits at the top of
Bennet"s Hill overlooking the city.
To reach it, climb the Queen"s Staircase,
a 102-foot tall staircase built by slaves in the late-1700s and later named in
honor of Queen Victoria, who is credited with abolishing slavery in
1837—or do what I did and take a taxi to Fort Fincastle and make your
way down the Queen"s Staircase instead (admission is free for both
sites).

Pirate lovers will want to visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum, home
to an interactive pirate attraction that feels like you"ve become part of the
Pirates of the Caribbean ride—keep an eye out for the pirate ship
Revenge and get your close up of Blackbeard himself ($13 for adults, $6.50 for
children ages 4-17).See the Straw MarketsBrush up on your negotiating skills
and pick up some locally-made handicrafts from the Straw Market on Bay Street
in Downtown Nassau, a great place to find hand-woven straw bags, hats, and
other Bahamian crafts and souvenirs for your friends back home.
Smaller straw
markets are also located on Paradise Island and in the Cable Beach resort area
about a 20-minute drive from Nassau.Go beyond Downtown NassauGet out and
explore the island (Photo: Thinkstock)If you plan on renting a car to discover
the rest of New Providence Island, keep in mind that everyone drives on the
left in the Bahamas, so proceed with caution, especially if you"re not used to
it.
I opted for taxis, a great option if you"re traveling with a group, or an
easy 10-minute water taxi ride to get between Paradise Island and Downtown
Nassau ($4 one way, $8 round-trip, every half hour).

Related: From Bora Bora
to the Bahamas, How to Afford the Most Expensive Islands in the World
Another
option, especially if you"re staying along Cable Beach or areas west, is to
hop a ride on the jitneys into and out of Downtown Nassau, a great way to chat
with locals who are doing the same thing (each ride is about $1.50).
For a
nice, quiet stay in Paradise Island, head east and try the Best Western Plus
Bay View Suites for a relaxing romantic getaway.
It"s a five-minute walk to
the nearest beach, and also a great option for large or multi-generational
families traveling together who might need more space (from $160 per
night).
Explore the hidden gems of Paradise IslandThe Versailles Gardens
(Photo: One and Only Ocean Club resort)Tucked away on the eastern end of
Paradise Island about a 15-minute walk from the Atlantis Resort area, you"ll
find Versailles Gardens, a lovely, terraced, European-style garden modeled
after its namesake in France.
The Versailles Gardens are located on part of
the One & Only Ocean Club"s property along Paradise Island Drive, but are
free and open to the public 24/7, and as you can imagine, a popular spot for
photos and weddings.
You"ll also find the remains of an original 14th-century
French Cloister across the street that"s part of the complex, purchased by
William Randolph Hearst and later by Huntington Hartford, who brought it with
him to the Bahamas.The best part: it"s closer than you thinkI was surprised
how fast the flight was from JFK, a mere 2.5 hours! Catch a nonstop flight on
JetBlue from JFK, Boston, Orlando, Washington National, or Fort Lauderdale;
fly on United for nonstop flights from Chicago, Houston, and Newark; SouthWest
Airlines for nonstop flights from Baltimore; American Airlines for nonstop
flights from Miami, Philadelphia, and Charlotte; Delta for nonstop flights
from JFK and Atlanta; or Bahamasair for nonstop flights from Miami and Fort
Lauderdale.
Keep an eye out for flash sales by following your favorite airline
on social media or signing up for their email newsletters so the deals come
straight to your inbox.More From Budget Travel: Great Getaways: Puerto Rico
Great Getaways: Fiji
Three-Day Weekend: Curaçao
World"s Most Beautiful Places
35 Amazing—and Easy!—Solo Trips WATCH: 5 Steps to the Perfect
Puerto Rican GetawayLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every
day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
"Watch
World traveling club Travel"s original series, "A Broad Abroad."
Here's how to have the best three days in Nassau and Paradise Island.
(Photo
by iStock.
Design by Lauren DeLuca for World traveling club Travel.) By Kaeli
Conforti Beaches!.For a fun, super-authentic dining experience, check out the
Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, a collection of small, local restaurants just outside
Downtown Nassau where you can sample Bahamian favorites like cracked conch
(pronounced "conk" by the way) and Sky Juice, a milky-white concoction made
with gin, coconut water, sweet milk, cinnamon, sugar, and fresh nutmeg.
A
number of locals I spoke to recommended Oh Andros as their favorite spot for
food in Arawak Cay and Twin Brothers for the best daiquiri cocktails.
I
concur.Visit Fort Charlotte, The Queen"s Staircase, and a Pirate Museum!Fort
Fincastle (Photo: Nassau Paradise Island)History buffs will love exploring
Nassau"s old forts, originally built to protect the island from invaders, but
luckily, none has ever had to be used in battle.
Fort Charlotte is about a
five-minute walk from Downtown Nassau and features displays of how the complex
was built and what it was like to be stationed there in the 17th century
(spoiler alert: it wasn"t easy!) Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors,
$2 for children ages 6-12, ages five and under get in free.
Closer to
Downtown, Fort Fincastle sits at the top of Bennet"s Hill overlooking the
city.
To reach it, climb the Queen"s Staircase, a 102-foot tall staircase
built by slaves in the late-1700s and later named in honor of Queen Victoria,
who is credited with abolishing slavery in 1837—or do what I did and
take a taxi to Fort Fincastle and make your way down the Queen"s Staircase
instead (admission is free for both sites).

Pirate lovers will want to visit
the Pirates of Nassau Museum, home to an interactive pirate attraction that
feels like you"ve become part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride—keep
an eye out for the pirate ship Revenge and get your close up of Blackbeard
himself ($13 for adults, $6.50 for children ages 4-17).See the Straw
MarketsBrush up on your negotiating skills and pick up some locally-made
handicrafts from the Straw Market on Bay Street in Downtown Nassau, a great
place to find hand-woven straw bags, hats, and other Bahamian crafts and
souvenirs for your friends back home.
Smaller straw markets are also located
on Paradise Island and in the Cable Beach resort area about a 20-minute drive
from Nassau.Go beyond Downtown NassauGet out and explore the island (Photo:
Thinkstock)If you plan on renting a car to discover the rest of New Providence
Island, keep in mind that everyone drives on the left in the Bahamas, so
proceed with caution, especially if you"re not used to it.
I opted for taxis,
a great option if you"re traveling with a group, or an easy 10-minute water
taxi ride to get between Paradise Island and Downtown Nassau ($4 one way, $8
round-trip, every half hour).

Related: From Bora Bora to the Bahamas, How to
Afford the Most Expensive Islands in the World
Another option, especially if
you"re staying along Cable Beach or areas west, is to hop a ride on the
jitneys into and out of Downtown Nassau, a great way to chat with locals who
are doing the same thing (each ride is about $1.50).
For a nice, quiet stay in
Paradise Island, head east and try the Best Western Plus Bay View Suites for a
relaxing romantic getaway.
It"s a five-minute walk to the nearest beach, and
also a great option for large or multi-generational families traveling
together who might need more space (from $160 per night).
Explore the hidden
gems of Paradise IslandThe Versailles Gardens (Photo: One and Only Ocean Club
resort)Tucked away on the eastern end of Paradise Island about a 15-minute
walk from the Atlantis Resort area, you"ll find Versailles Gardens, a lovely,
terraced, European-style garden modeled after its namesake in France.
The
Versailles Gardens are located on part of the One & Only Ocean Club"s
property along Paradise Island Drive, but are free and open to the public
24/7, and as you can imagine, a popular spot for photos and weddings.
You"ll
also find the remains of an original 14th-century French Cloister across the
street that"s part of the complex, purchased by William Randolph Hearst and
later by Huntington Hartford, who brought it with him to the Bahamas.The best
part: it"s closer than you thinkI was surprised how fast the flight was from
JFK, a mere 2.5 hours! Catch a nonstop flight on JetBlue from JFK, Boston,
Orlando, Washington National, or Fort Lauderdale; fly on United for nonstop
flights from Chicago, Houston, and Newark; SouthWest Airlines for nonstop
flights from Baltimore; American Airlines for nonstop flights from Miami,
Philadelphia, and Charlotte; Delta for nonstop flights from JFK and Atlanta;
or Bahamasair for nonstop flights from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Keep an eye
out for flash sales by following your favorite airline on social media or
signing up for their email newsletters so the deals come straight to your
inbox.More From Budget Travel: Great Getaways: Puerto Rico
Great Getaways: Fiji
Three-Day Weekend: Curaçao
World"s Most Beautiful Places
35 Amazing—and Easy!—Solo Trips WATCH: 5 Steps to the Perfect
Puerto Rican GetawayLet World traveling club Travel inspire you every
day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
"Watch
World traveling club Travel"s original series, "A Broad Abroad."
Here's
how to have the best three days in Nassau and Paradise Island.
(Photo by
iStock.
Design by Lauren DeLuca for World traveling club Travel.) By Kaeli
Conforti Beaches!

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