Nassau/Paradise Island is a very developed cosmopolitan island. Shopping is excellant, gambling is legal, and the US dollar is accepted everywhere. Nassau is a quick flight from Cincinnati and all of the resorts are within a half hour of the airport. To the casual observer in Nassau/Paradise Island, the British influence is easy to see. The automobile drivers on the left side of the road, the starched uniforms of the Royal Bahamian Police Force, the changing of the guard ceremony at Government House—these things show that Great Britain has played a big role in Nassau/Paradise Island’s history. West Africa has shaped this area, too. Among other things, it’s evident in the compellingly rhythmic Junkanoo festival, the rousing spirituals at church services and the Bahamian specialty of johnny cake. Although Nassau/Paradise Island has been influenced by other countries, such as the United States of America and Haiti, its culture is distinctly Bahamian—a unique blend of British and African customs, traditions, and beliefs.
Tourism, mostly concentrated in Nassau, slowly grew during the first half of the twentieth century. In the 1950s and 1960s, tourists flocked to the new resorts just west of Nassau at Cable Beach (named for the first telegraph cable laid there in 1892). Visitors were then drawn to Paradise Island in the 1960s and 1970s, partly because in 1966 the government built a bridge connecting Nassau to Paradise Island.
Before Huntington Hartford bought and developed Paradise Island in the 1960s, it was called Hog Island and was used mostly for farming. With its beautiful beaches and ideal location, Paradise Island soon drew other investors like Merv Griffin, Donald Trump and Sol Kerzner, who developed the fancy hotels and fabulous resorts that dominate the island and make it a top resort destination today.
Activities and attractions
Dining - The restaurants of Nassau/Paradise Island offer virtually every type of cuisine, from simple dishes to exotic Bahamian and International menus. If you’re looking for local specialties, the fish fry at Arawak Cay provides excellent outdoor dining and offers Bahamian delicacies like conch salad and fried fish, while the stalls at Potter’s Cay dock serve up scorched conch and conch salad—all made before your eyes. And if you happen to become homesick for an old-fashioned American hamburger, you’ll find that Nassau/Paradise Island is also home to some familiar fast-food favorites.
SCUBA - Warm, crystal-clear waters and drop-offs close to shore make our islands a diver's dream. Mysterious blue holes and caves, historical wrecks and vibrant living reefs, soaring wall dives and thrilling shark watches, all await learning and experienced divers. From packages that include instruction, lodging, and meals to solo launches for expert divers, Nassau/Paradise Island has dives for any certified bottom-dweller. Shark dives are very popular in the Bahamas.
Fishing - Deep-sea fishing takes place where the dropoff from the reef to the Atlantic is steep. It involves trolling the deep waters with large fishing tackle (furnished) that’s baited for marlin or sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi, or mackerel. Fishermen can also hook billfish, bottom fish, or reef fish.
Shopping - Today’s Bahamians continue the tradition of the early Lucayan and Taino Indians by producing distinctive arts and crafts that reflect the skill and artistry of their heritage. Bahamians utilize local resources to create unique foods, spices, ceramics, crafts, art, and music.
Join in with the fun of bargaining at our famous Straw Market, savor the colorful bustle of our outdoor fruit and vegetable stalls and fresh fish market, or be entranced by the fashionable elegance of Bay Street's international boutiques.
Golf - Nassau/Paradise Island averages seven hours of completely sunny skies per day, and rain seldom lasts for longer than it takes to get under cover—even during the rainy season. Golfers from around the world play here, with pros playing in the world-class tournaments.
Casinos - Nassau/Paradise Island boasts world-class casinos offering something for players of every level. Take a spin at roulette. Play a hand of Caribbean poker. Or, try your luck at blackjack, craps, baccarat, and our many slot machines. Our casinos offer the widest selection of gaming and sports-book betting and are the largest in the Caribbean. But remember, you must be over 18 to gamble.