If it's the pirate's life for you, this is the place. Once inhabited by such notables as Blackbeard, CalicoJack and Mary Reed, the island still provides a safe haven for those seeking to escape from despotic academicians.
When you arrive on the island, you will discover quickly that there are two different types of beaches.The first is the "activity beach." These beaches are adjacent to the luxury hotels, resorts, and casinos. They offer every water sport that you can think of, like parasailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, and the like. The second type of beach is refered to as the "secluded beach." These secluded beaches are like sparkling treasures to be discovered by adventerious Spring Breakers of the Carribean. The recommended mode of transportation for these exploits is by moped or scooter, which can be rented by the day or half-day.
So, follow the foot steps of earlier Hollywood pirates like Errol Flynn by climbing BlackBeard's Tower or retake the Charlestown settlement by conquering the remparts of Fort Fincastle or Fort Montagu. Then... survey your domain from the top of "Queens Staircase," carved out of the coral limestone of Bennett Hill. (History Majors...On what date did the settlement of Charlestown get renamed to Nassau?)
Not much is left of the later day pirates, or gun smugglers, who ran arms for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The only historical landmark was the Royal Victoria Hotel. Once the "showplace of the Bahamas" and headquarters for the Bahamian smugglers, the hotel survived until 1971 when it burned to the ground. Today, only the gardens of the hotel remain to reflect the opulence and grandeur of this period of Bahamain history. For everyone who has taken Film 101, be sure check out the Versailles Gardens, with its medieval cloister. William Randolf Hurst, aka, Citizen Kane, purchased the 12th century Augustinian Cloister in France where it was desmantled stone by stone.
When you get tired of exploring the beaches and gardens, take a day cruise to Blue Lagoon Island where you can snorkel with stingrays and swim with a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at the Dolphin Encounter. Scuba training, snorkling, and dive packages for individuals and groups are popular and available from any one of Nassau's many dive operators. If you want to expore Nassau's underwater life, but don't want to get your feet wet, you can visit the underwater observatory of the Coral Island marine park or go for a 2-1/2 hour ride on the submarine Atlantis.
Don't forget to visit downtown Nassau, with its winding streets of pastel buildings; it offers great deals on shopping-souvenirs, straw markets, jewelry, liquor, and perfume. Beyond the town of Nassau is the bridge to the island of Paradise, which has been transformed into one of the most glamorous resort centers in the world. Spend a day luxuriating in the exclusive pleasures at The Atlantis, the island's super exclusive resort, casino, and waterpark. Remember, if you get tired of all the tourist stuff, you can just spend the day in a hammock strung between a couple palm trees.
The nightclubs don't really get started until after 11, so pass the early evening hours recovering from your day on the beach in the cool casinos, and then hit the clubs. The are both a "Gold and a Platinum Party Pass" available depending on how much you want to spend. The two casinos are the Crystal Palace at the Marriott in Cable Beach and The Atlantis on Paradise Island. The two main clubs to hit in Nassau are The Zoo and The Waterloo; both are huge, with a maze of different rooms. It is a good idea to go on the featured nights when the major tour operators have scheduled events to avoid heavy cover charges and lines! Whether you're looking for a vacation packed with activities, or to lay around on the beach most of the time, The Bahamas offers both private serenity and plenty of action. A Spring Break 2013 vacation here is whatever you want to make of it.
The official language of The Bahamas is the Kings English; it is more British than American, and generally intertwined with a special Bahamian dialect.
The official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. US currency, including traveler’s checks, is accepted throughout the islands by shops, hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Bring between $250- $450 in Traveler's Check plus a credit card just in case.
Most shops and restaurants accept all major credit cards. You may want to notify your credit card company in advance to be sure you are set up to access your card outside of the country. ATM machines can be found in the casinos and at major banks in Nassau. Most bank cards with Cirrus or Visa/MasterCard status can be used; check with your bank before you leave to be sure.
The currency is the Bahamian Dollar and is equivalent in value to the American Dollar (only in the Bahamas). There is no need to exchange money in the Bahamas; spend either US or BA dollars the same way. Just be sure to spend any Bahamian dollars before you leave; otherwise, they become souvenirs. Take enough money to spend each time you go out, and leave the rest in the safe.
Dress of the day is casual spring and summer weight clothing and night too, unless you decide to dress up a little nicer at night for the clubs.. There are no restrictions other than a cover-up for swimwear when leaving the beach or pool areas.
Money is tight on Spring Break but tip your service staff: housekeeping, bartenders, waiters, etc.
Phone calls to home are $$$$ The best way to call home is to purchase a Bahamian phone company (Batelco) calling card (Blackstone International Phone Card ) from any convenience store or hotel shop when you arrive. These cards can be used at most pay phones. It's also best to have the hotel turn off your long distance privileges so that you know that your hotel phone bill will not incur an unexpected charge at the end of your stay. A $10 phone card typically provides enough time for everyone in a room to call home once.
During the day, take the buses; they are cheap and reliable, but they only run between 7am-7pm. The cost is $1.00 each way. At night you will have to use taxis to get to the clubs. Most taxis are large vans that can accommodate up to 12 people. The drivers typically do not use the meters so it is a good idea to negotiate the price of the trip before getting in. A full taxi costs an average of $2 to$4 per person, one-way. When returning to Paradise Island from Nassau, there is a $2 bridge toll that passengers are responsible for paying.
Bay Street in Nassau is world famous for its shopping: jewelry, liquor, clothes, crystal, tobacco, you name it. Be sure to visit the local craft market, also located on Bay St., but remember to haggle for a good price.