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New Providence
Nassau City
Type of Location
About Location

Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial centre of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population of 248,948 (2010 census), 70 percent of the entire population of The Bahamas (353,658).Lynden Pindling International Airport, the major airport for The Bahamas, is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of Nassau city centre, and has daily flights to major cities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and the Caribbean.The city is located on the island of New Providence, which functions much like a business district.Nassau is the site of the House of Assembly and various judicial departments and was considered historically to be a stronghold of pirates.Nassau's modern growth began just over 200 years ago with the influx of thousands of American Loyalists and enslaved Africans to the Bahamas following the American War of Independence.Many of them settled in Nassau (the then and still commerce capital of the Bahamas) and eventually came to outnumber the original inhabitants.

As the population of Nassau grew, so did the built-up areas.Today the city dominates the entire island and its satellite, Paradise Island. However, until the post-Second World War era, the outer suburbs scarcely existed.Most of New Providence was uncultivated bush until the loyalists came in the 1780s and established several plantations such as Clifton and Tusculum.When the British abolished the international slave Trade in 1807, thousands of liberated Africans freed from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled on New Providence (at Adelaide Village and Gambier Village)along with other islands such as, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco and Inagua.The largest concentration of Africans lived in the "Over-the-Hill" suburbs of Grants Town and Bain Town to the south of the city of Nassau, while most of the European descent inhabitants lived on the island's northern coastal ridges.Nassau grew up directly behind the port area.New Providence provides 200 km2 of relatively flat and low-lying land intersected by low ridges (none of which restricted settlement).In the centre of the island there are several shallow lakes that are tidally connected.

The city's proximity to the United States (290 km east-southeast of Miami, Florida) has contributed to its popularity as a holiday resort, especially after the banning of American travel to Cuba.The Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island accounts for more tourist arrivals to the city than any other hotel property.The mega-resort also employs over 6,000 Bahamians,and is the largest employer outside of government.In the last 40 years residential development has been quite different, and has consisted of mainly of planned sub-divisions (housing estates) for middle income families.From the 1960s government-sponsored low-cost housing developments built at Yellow Elder, Elizabeth Estates, and Pinewood Gardens, all in the outer ring of development.Housing now extends as far east and south as the sea, and as far west as Gladstone Road.

During the 19th century, New Providence's population contracted towards Nassau, but growth since the 1950s has been outwards from the town.The 1788 heart of Nassau was just a few blocks of buildings between Government House and the harbor, but the town gradually expanded east to Malcolm's Park, south to Wulff Road, and west to Nassau Street. Grants Town and Bain Town south of the city became the main residential areas for blacks, and until about 30 years ago was the most populous part of the city.Most whites built houses along the shore, east as far as Fort Montagu, west as far as Saunders Beach and along the ridge edging the city.The 20th century saw extensions to all these areas, and the city spread eastwards to Village Road and westwards to Fort Charlotte and Oakes Field.This semicircle of residential development was the main area of settlement until after the Second World War, and marks a distinct phase in the city's expansion, the outer boundary to this zone being the effective limit of the continuous built-up area.The wealthier residents continued to spread east (to East End Point) and West (to Cable Beach).

How to Reach

By Air

Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (IATA: NAS, ICAO: MYNN) is the largest airport in the Bahamas.Most major U.S. airlines (with the notable exception of Southwest) have flights to Nassau. Limited service from Toronto and London also exists.The airport itself has seen better days, but the free drinks occasionally served on arrival and the live band serenading the Immigration hall help set the tone.No public transport is available at the airport, but there's a list of fixed taxi fares posted at the exit. It's about US$25 and 10 mi (16 km) to most hotels in central Nassau.

By Cruise

Nassau is a favorite port of call for the many cruise ships plying the Bahamas.Up to seven cruise ships can dock at the Prince George Wharf Cruise Terminal adjacent to downtown Nassau.

By Bus

Minibuses (locally know as jitneys) act as the bus system of Nassau city and New Providence island.Jitneys are found on and near Bay Street.The famous Jitney to Cable Beach loads passengers on George & Bay Streets (in front of McDonalds, across from the British Colonial Hilton). Other jitneys are located on Charlotte & Bay Streets.A bus will typically wait until it's full before departing.Understanding the various routes can be complex. Many have destinations painted on the bus, but there is no standard as they are run by multiple companies and individuals.Ask around for your destination.Note that there is no jitney that goes to Paradise Island (Atlantis Resort).

Key places to visit
Junkanoo, Cable Beach, Downtown, National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, Fort Fincastle


Places to Visit


The city's chief festival is Junkanoo, an energetic, colorful street parade of brightly costumed people dancing to the rhythmic accompaniment of cowbells, drums and whistles.The celebration occurs on December 26 and January 1, beginning in the early hours of the morning (1:00 a.m.) and ending around 10 a.m.

Cable Beach

Cable Beach is recognised as the hotel district of Nassau.Five enormous hotels two of which are all inclusive are located on this strip.The area is also known for its dining options, the Crystal Palace Casino, and the golden sands of Cable Beach itself.Most of the area's restaurants are located either in the hotels or across the street.BBQ Beach, Androsia and Capriccio are three of the best dining options in the Cable Beach area, each offering unique décor, a serene atmosphere, and distinctive cuisine.There is little to no nightlife.There is a bit of shopping, most of it located in the Wyndham. Two small arcades are also in the hotel.One is above ground and one is in the walkway between the Wyndham and the Sheraton Hotels.


Downtown is the hub for all activities in Nassau.Thousands of people visit daily, to shop, dine, sightsee and to enjoy the tropical climate of the city.While the busiest part of Downtown is the Bay Street thoroughfare and the Woodes Rogers Walk, located across the street from the port and parallel to Bay, the area actually extends for several blocks in each direction.It starts at West Bay, around the Junkanoo Beach area.A few hotels and restaurants are located on West Bay, most notably Compass Point, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn, and Chez Willie.The next landmark is the British Colonial Hotel, which marks the beginning of Bay Street proper.Pirates of Nassau Museum is just across from the British Colonial Hilton.

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

Opened in 2003, this showcases Bahamian art from the precolonial era to the present.The quality of art is rather uneven to say the least, but the renovated building once the residence of the Chief Justice is a sight in itself. Adults USD 5, Students/seniors USD 3.Art gallery will be open from Tuesday-Saturday,10AM-4PM.

Fort Fincastle

A small fort built in 1793 which overlooks the city of Nassau from a small hill south of town.Several cannons are on display. Tours are conducted Monday through Sunday, 8am to 3pm.

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