10 Must Dos in The Bahamas
The Bahamas is composed of 700 islands and keys. It is home to the world’s clearest waters, flavored packed eateries, and warm inviting people. Due to the Bahamas landmass being scattered across the Atlantic Ocean it can be quite difficult to fully immerse yourself in the culture. But, you are in luck. My mother and sister being from the Bahamas has allowed me to frequent the islands quite often. Through my many visitations I have developed a list, that I continue to add to, of must sees, dos, and eats.
Junkanoo is a cultural carnival in which locals and tourist from near and far flock to view. The carnival includes elaborate costumes, instrumental music, and choreographed dancing. The costumes are made through the art of pasting in shacks*. Pasting is an art that takes many months to perfect. So, the wearers of these costumes take great pride in them once they are complete. The best way to view the carnival is by purchasing tickets for Rawson Square. The locals prefer to see the event unfold by standing. When they begin to rock along to the beats made by goatskin drums and cowbells join along with them!
*Shacks- The main location where a Junkanoo group will meet to paste, rehearse music, and choreograph dance pieces.
If you truly want to eat like a local venture off to the nearest Bamboo Shack. Bamboo Shack is a chain scattered throughout the Bahamas so you’re bound to come across one in your travels. It can be quite busy around lunchtime so to beat the rush arrive a few moments prior. My favorite is a 2-piece snack. This includes two pieces of chicken, perfectly cooked French fries covered in ketchup and hot sauce, and a sweet roll. All of this will be served in a brown paper bag. Why you may ask? The brown paper bag seals all of the seasoning, juices, and steam of the cooking process together. It’s sure to be the best chicken you have ever tasted.
Bahamian cuisine can be dense in nature. If your trying to stay fit while abroad which, is a struggle no matter where you are, head over to the Queen’s Staircase located on Elizabeth Avenue. Many locals come here to run or jog around the surrounding areas. Perhaps you’re feeling ambitious and want to make a few rounds up and down the 101* step staircase.
*101- It is constant local dispute that there are in fact 101 steps not 100 due to the slight raise at the bottom of the staircase.
For my history buffs if you are looking to take in the Bahamas’ young but vibrant history head on over to Rawson Square. There lies the country’s key government buildings and historic monuments such as Parliament and the statue of Queen Elizabeth II. The Bahamas has been independent from Great Britain for 42 years and, in those years they have made great strides. Interesting fact: The Bahamas has only had 3 Prime Minister’s during their independent journey. Because, unlike in the U.S. there are no term limits. An individual can run and serve as many times as they wish, at the discretion of the people’s vote.
Exuma- Pink Sand Beaches
Take a day trip by ferry* to Exuma to witness its pink sand beaches. The pink sand is a wonder that you will not be able to find anywhere else in the world. Disclaimer: the sand is light pink. In recent years the beaches have become overwhelming popular and people have begin to overdramatize the color of the sand to hot pink, bright pink and, just about any other pink than the shade the sand actually is. Whatever the shade taking the trip to see it and made the judgment yourself is worth it.
*Ferry- ferries are fairly inexpensive way of connecting the islands by water passage.
Whenever I visit the Bahamas I cannot leave without stopping at Swiss Bakery at least once. They have just about any kind of sweet you could ever want. I personally recommend their chocolate moose cake. It is perfectly cooked and layered with decadent fluffy moose. They have tarts and bars as well! The Swiss Bakery I frequent is located out West by the yellow City Market grocery store.
Its time to shop. Bay Street is lined with notable designer labels and local boutiques. The Bahamas is quite expensive when it comes to grocery items but they make up for it by being significantly less expensive when it comes to designer names. Do your Christmas shopping early and store up on Birthday gifts. Trust me when you see these discounts your going to want it all.
My cousins and I did this a few years back when I brought one of my friends over from America and it was a blast. You can easily search Segway tours of Nassau, Bahamas and a variety of different options will pop up. Segwaying is a great way to see the country and Segways are just fun in general. You’ll have a guide and they will give you a tour of heavily trafficked tourist spots, local favorites, and a detailed history of the island. Feel free to ask questions they love it!
The original Straw Market burned down a few years ago but they have rebuilt it. Local vendors create bags, hats, and trinkets entirely out of straw. It is a neat skill to watch. Customize your new accessory but having them write your name or where you’re from, whatever you want they will put it on there. Ditch the “Ay mon” T-shirts, for handcrafted gems made by the locals. Trust me your friends will be way more appreciative of the hand made straw hat with matching bag versus the mug that reads ‘Bahamas’ and underneath reads ‘Made in China’. The great thing is often times these items are around the same price point so; get the bang for your buck! The Straw Market is located on Bay Street.
The Bahamas is home to one of the two Atlantis in the world, the other being located in Dubai. The owner, South African native Sir Sol Kerzner, bought the land from a man who said nothing could be done with it. It was originally known as Pig’s Island, an island filled with pigs and garbage. But, he saw an opportunity to bring a new kind of luxury to the Bahamas and he has done just that. Atlantis is home to a slew of world-class chefs restaurants. Nobu is my suggestion but they have a satisfaction for whatever your taste buds desire.
Have you visited the Bahamas? Leave your favorites in the comments below I would love to give them a try!