What To Do in Nassau on A Port Stop
If your cruise is taking you to Nassau and you didn’t book an excursion, that’s okay. You don’t need an expensive cruise excursion to get you to the history and culture (and cold beers) that the Bahamas has to offer. Here is an easy walking tour to the Queen’s Staircase, Fort Fincastle, and even a stop at The Crew Pub, a local bar near port with Bahamian beer on tap.
*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.
Getting to the Street
Walk along the pier until you get to Festival Place, a building where you can find free (but slow and spotty) WiFi if you didn’t opt for the internet package on board ship. Go through the building out the back door, and ignore all the vendors. You’ll have a chance to shop later. Keep going out the back gate, and when you get to the street, turn left. You’ll be walking along Bay Street.
Continue heading east on Bay Street.
You’ll walk past the Bahamian Houses of Parliament, and you’ll see a statue of Queen Victoria in front. While the Bahamas gained independence from Britain in 1973, they still share a monarch with Britain, so recognize Queen Elizabeth II as their Sovereign. Parliament is the legislative branch of the Bahamian government.
Turn North (Right) on Elizabeth Ave.
You’ll pass East Street, and the next street is Elizabeth Avenue. Turn right (north) and you’ll start to head up a slight incline. You'll pass the Bahamas Historical Society.
In a few blocks, you’ll come to the Princess Margaret Hospital. Soon after, the road appears to end. Keep going straight, and you’ll come to the grotto, a cavern hewn by hand in the 1700s.
You may meet someone who says they are the “Custodian” of the site. All they want is a tip for telling you their version of the history. Just thank them politely and move on. At the end of the limestone gully is the Queen’s Staircase, a set of 66 steps with a cascading waterfall.
Climb the steps. There’s a great photo op at the top!
One of three forts in Nassau (the others are Fort Charlotte, the largest, and Fort Montagu), Fort Fincastle was built in the 1790s to watch for approaching pirates.
You’ll recognize it by the large white tower, visible at the top of the Queen’s Staircase. Just walk toward the tower, and you’ll find the fort, first looking like a sharp angle.
It’s a $3 admission charge to tour the fort, and worth every penny. You’ll find great views of your ship, fun opportunities to pose with the cannons, and more history.
When you’re ready, walk back the way you came to get back to the pier.
Grab A Cold Drink
Don’t let anyone sell you bottled water. Not everyone tries to swindle you, but some will take an old water bottle and refill it, claiming that it’s new. Wait until you get close to the port, and visit The Crew Pub for a cold Sands beer on tap, a Bahamian brew. It’s $3 for a beer on tap, and the same for a cold Coke or other soda.
They also have free WiFi, and it’s good enough to try video chat with loved ones at home. With rugby and “football” (soccer) on the screens, you’ll feel just enough at home and out of your element to feel like you’re getting the true local experience. Take home your coaster for a cool souvenir, and you can ask for change in Bahamian dollars instead of U.S. dollars for another souvenir idea.
Head Back to the Ship
When you’ve cooled off, head back down Bay Street (go west) to get back to the pier. You’ll have to show the guard at the gate your cruise card and your photo ID to get back in. The whole trip takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours, and it’s the perfect self-guided excursion. We chose to go in the afternoon, but you could easily fit this in with another trip or excursion in the morning if you wanted to have a busier day.
Have you ever been to the Bahamas? What did you think of the excursions and sightseeing you chose? Leave a comment and let us know!