First-Timer's Guide to Nassau Paradise Island
Posted on 01/22/2018
It’s famous the world over: The small, slightly-larger-than-one-square-mile resort island sitting right off the coast of Nassau, Bahamas. Paradise Island is so recognized, it draws in most of the more than 2 million visitors that Nassau welcomes every day.
And it’s worth the quick taxi ride from the city, even if only for a day trip or a couple days’ stay. Paradise Island is home to a number of world-class resorts as well as beautiful beaches and family-friendly attractions visibly designed to entertain the kids.
Here’s a quick guide to Paradise Island to get you started:
Paradise Island is a quick ferryboat, jitney or cab ride away from Nassau. The ferries or water taxis departing Potter’s Cay Dock to Paradise Island run every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will only set you back US $8 per person for a round-trip ticket. The jitneys or public buses run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and are even cheaper with fares starting at US $1.25.
If you prefer a more private mode of transportation, taxis are everywhere in Nassau and on Paradise Island. A one-way trip from Nassau to Paradise Island will cost you about $15.
One advantage of Nassau and Paradise Island being a tourist haven is that U.S. currency is accepted everywhere—from the resorts to the street vendors—so visitors won’t need to deal with currency exchange. The exchange rate is one to one.
Bring enough cash for cab rides, tours, experiences, dining and shopping as most places are cash only.
Places to Stay
Hotels and resorts abound both on Paradise Island and in Nassau, so you have a variety based on your budget and preference. There are inexpensive hotels as well as high-end ones that might cost you more than $1,000 a night.
There are also a la carte and all-inclusive properties as well as adults-only and family-friendly.
If you prefer to stay on Paradise Island instead of Nassau, a good affordable option is Bay View Suites Paradise Island. Located in the heart of the island, this budget-friendly hotel boasts guest rooms with a full kitchen, three swimming pools and free Wi-Fi.
Formerly the One&Only Ocean Club, Four Seasons’ The Ocean Club is a gorgeous, upscale property with classy rooms, suites and villas as well as excellent facilities and five miles of quiet, white-sand beach.
Things to Do
Pack a few beach essentials (beach towels, beach umbrella, sunscreen), some drinks and snacks, then head to one of the lovely beaches on the island.
Arawak Beach has shallow waters and powdery sand for folks who prefer a less crowded spot. Paradise Beach is crowded but easy to get to and boasts exciting waves, while Cabbage Beach is one of the best in the Bahamas. Vendors are on hand for drinks, treats and beach equipment, if you’re short on supplies.
Even if you’re not staying at Atlantis, you might still be able to use the resort’s impressive Aquaventure Water Park, marine habitat or beaches. If you’re at one of the resort’s partner properties instead (or are on a cruise with one of the top cruise lines), you can purchase one of the resort’s day passes.
The most popular of these is the Aquaventure Water Park Day Pass, which—at $89 for kids ages 4-12 and $129 for adults—will give you access to the property’s 141-acre waterpark. Other passes include dolphin interactions, snorkeling at the Ruins and paddle boarding at Dolphin Cay.
Or you can try your hand at kiteboarding, parasailing and jet skiing if you’re the adventurous type. Many watersports operators offer such experiences right on the beach at most of the island’s most popular beach.
PHOTO: The Royal Towers on Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas. (photo via Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar)