On a recent cruise to The Bahamas with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. The cruise ship stopped in Nassau. I’ve cruised with them once before. Previously, I had booked an excursion called the Sea Lion Encounter at Blue Lagoon. This time around, I wanted to explore the port of Nassau and the surround areas downtown. With that said, let me give you a walking tour of Nassau.
Walking Tour Of Nassau
When I disembarked from the cruise ship. I headed inland towards Fort Fincastle. However, I made a couple of detours along the way.
Rawson square was the first square that I cam across along my route. It was empty for the most part except for a single memorial. A statue of the first Bahamian born Governor, General Sir Milo Butler.
Parliament Square was right across the street from Rawson Square. It had a statue of Queen Victoria in the center and on either side of the statue were pink buildings with white trim along the edges. The buildings consisted of the House of Assembly, Senate and Supreme Court.
Garden Of Remembrance
Behind Parliament Square, was the Garden of Remembrance. The Garden of Remembrance had a memorial commemorating Bahamian war dead. The memorial was the focal point of the garden. There were walkways coming from all angles that lead to the memorial. The garden absolutely beautiful. I stood here a while just taking in the scenery.
Nassau Public Library
Next to the Garden of Remembrance was the Nassau Public Library. The building was once the city’s jail. Now books, documents, and artifacts line the prison cells. I was really looking forward to seeing the inside of the library. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time that I was visiting.
As I made my way to Fort Fincastle. I came across the Queen’s Staircase. As I walked towards the Queen’s Staircase. I was surrounded by large walls on either side of me with the most breathtaking vegetation. Originally the Queen’s Staircase had sixty six steps that were cut into a limestone hill and bricked up by slaves. Today, six five steps remain. Next to the Queen’s Staircase is a beautiful waterfall. There is trail along the side of the steps that lead to the waterfall where you can pictures with the waterfall behind you.
The Water Tower
After I had walked up the Queen’s Staircase. I turned the corner and saw the Water Tower. I had seen it from a distance as I was walking. But didn’t realize that I was walking towards it or that I would be able to see it up close. The Water Tower was built in 1928 as a water supply reservoir. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time that I was visiting. The Water Tower was very tall and appeared to be in good condition.
I’ve visited many forts along my travels and this has to be the smallest fort I’ve ever seen. The entrance fee was just $4.00. Fort Fincastle is shaped like a ship. It was built by royal Governor The Earl of Dunmore on Bennetts hill. When you first enter the fort you see a small set of stairs that lead up to an area where there are three cannons and four entrances into the fort itself. There is a second set of stairs that lead to the top of the fort where you can see the surrounding land and all the way out to the port. I was able to see my cruise ship from the top of the fort, as well as the Water Tower. I would say it took me about 15 minutes to explore the fort in its entirety.
The Government House was about a ten minute walk inland from Fort Fincastle. The Government House is the resident of The Bahamas Governor General. It is also the site of the colorful changing of the guard ceremony. From the outside you can see a statue of Columbus dated 1492 in the middle of a staircase leading up towards the house. After running into a friendly couple. They informed me that if I walked around the corner, I would see the security entrance. There I could walk up to the house so long as I stayed within a yellow lined walkway on the street. I did as they suggested and was able to walk up to the Government House. It was massive with a two car garage and what looked like a guest house on the side. The main entrance had four columns, the house itself was painted pink with white accents and shutters to compliment each window.
As I continued to make my way back towards the port. I came across the Balcony House. Supposedly this is a well known Nassau landmark. It’s an authentically furnished 18th century home. It has been placed on the national register of historic resources by the antiquities monuments and museums corporation of the government of the commonwealth of The Bahamas. From the outside it looked like a small pink colored house with a balcony on the second floor. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time that I was visiting.
Once I was back at the port. I made my way to the Straw Market. A passenger on the cruise ship mentioned the Straw Market to me in passing. They had said it was a market where you could buy local crafts. However, that description did not do it justice. The Straw Market is a huge market. When I say huge, I mean HUGE!!! There is easily over a hundred booths set up in the Straw Market. It is home to markets that offer a wide range of straw goods, wood carvings, and souvenirs. If you are looking to buy something for yourself and or a loved one then don’t shop anywhere else except for the Straw Market.
Down the street from the Straw Market was the Pompey Museum. The Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation showcases the history of the slaves in The Bahamas. Its an 18th century slave auction site. From the outside, the two story building is colorful with a painted mural on the side. The mural is what first caught my eye as I was walking by. Unfortunately, it was closed at the time that I was visiting.
Just a 15 minute walk from the cruise ship dock is Junkanoo Beach. Also called Western Esplanade, it joins the beach at Arawak Cay and Long Wharf. The two beaches near Downtown Nassau. The water was crystal clear close to shore and turned turquoise as the water went out to sea. The water was cold at first, but once you adapted to the temperature it was nice to wade in.
So that concludes my walking tour of Nassau. I visited on a Sunday when most places were closed. So I would recommend visiting on any other day except for Sunday. I vlogged the entire trip and created a video for my YouTube channel to compliment this blog post. Click the link below to watch.
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