Go beyond the beach and dig into fun, interesting, and unique tales from Nassau Paradise Island – pirate hangout, flamingo haven, filmmaker’s dream destination! Learn about our legendary wine cellar, our joyful Junkanoo celebrations, and our mouthwatering local cuisines.
What once began as a temporary celebration of freedom for slaves who were given three days off for Christmas soon blossomed into an exuberant, colorful parade. And now Junkanoo—a Bahamian cultural expression—occurs during the dark hours of December 26 and again on New Year’s Day with a lively, colorful parade featuring elaborate costumes and joyful music. Onlookers have a chance to see costumes made out of cardboard and decorated with brightly colored paper. Rhythmic goombay drums, cowbells and mouth whistles can be heard during performances parading through Bay Street.
To experience Junkanoo for yourself all year long, head to the Educulture Junkanoo Museum on Bay Street for a hands-on history of Junkanoo’s origins and evolution. Try your hand at crafting your very own Junkanoo mask or playing some celebratory tunes and see authentic artifacts on display. There are also Junkanoo festivals and events throughout the year – keep an eye on our events calendar to jump in da line.
A paradise for seafood lovers, Bahamian cuisine revolves around the freshest fish and shellfish, flavorful spices, and homestyle cooking to satisfy any appetite. What’s one must-try menu item in Nassau Paradise Island? Conch – a firm, white meat that’s one of the most popular foods in The Bahamas. Conch can be enjoyed raw with lime juice as a ceviche, in a salad with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and added to foods such as chowder to provide a delicious, nourishing base. Deep-fried conch fritters and cracked conch – a fried dish similar to calamari – are two other tasty options. Check out the Arawak Cay Fish Fry to try conch in all its forms in a laid-back, lighthearted atmosphere.
Other traditional Bahamian foods include local rock lobster, crabs, and snapper, while desserts might feature natural flavors like coconut and guava. Side dishes are likely to be hearty and filling – Bahamian mac’n’cheese is a staple, and everyone’s recipe is the best! To sample authentic Bahamian dishes, check out the Bites of Nassau walking tour, a fantastic introduction to the dishes, drinks and desserts of Paradise.
In August 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi, was destroyed, leaving 17 dolphins and 10 sea lions stranded. Fortunately, these animals were rescued, nursed back to health and given a new home when Dolphin Cay was built at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Since that time, “the Katrina Dolphins” family has grown, welcoming three new baby calves in 2007—and now, it’s time for you to join in this wonderful family story.
With a size equal to 10 American football fields and a continuous flow of fresh saltwater, Dolphin Cay at Atlantis is one of the largest and most sophisticated marine habitats and animal rescue-rehabilitation facilities in the world. This dolphin habitat also features an educational center, where we encourage you to learn a little more about these incredible mammals and discover what you can do to help protect them. Plan your visit to Dolphin Cay, and learn more about the incredible opportunities to spend time with these gentle, intelligent creatures.
Lights, Camera, Paradise
A warm, temperate climate, stunning beaches, and countless scene-stealing settings makes Nassau Paradise Island an ideal choice for movie producers. The Bahamas is the show-stopping guest star in many movies, with underwater scenes and tropical adventures shot on our islands.
James Bond fans will recognize backdrops from four 007 flicks: Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, Never Say Never Again, and Casino Royale, which featured The Ocean Club in numerous scenes. Two Pirates of the Caribbean movies – Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End – also chose Nassau Paradise Island’s turquoise seas and sandy beaches for filming.
Other noteworthy movies filmed in The Bahamas include the Beatles’ Help!, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Splash, Flipper, and even a scene from The Silence of the Lambs.
Graycliff Wine Cellar
Thinking about Bahamian beverages might call to mind classic rum cocktails like Bahama Mama and Sky Juice. You might be surprised to learn Nassau Paradise Island is also home to one of the largest private wine collections in the world! The Graycliff Wine Cellar has an inventory of more than 250,000 bottles, including an 1865 Château Lafite to one of the oldest (and priciest) bottles in the world – a 1727 Rudesheimer Apostelwein worth $200,000. The collection, worth an estimated $20 million, has received countless prestigious recognitions, including the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 1988 and the World of Fine Wines 3-stars since 2015.
Visitors to Nassau Paradise Island can explore Graycliff’s legendary wine collection in plenty of ways. Enjoy a Wine Luncheon, a tour and tasting led by Graycliff’s sommeliers followed by a four-course meal with wine pairings. Create your own delectable dishes at the Graycliff Culinary Academy or savor fine wines matched with cheese from around the world during a wine and cheese pairing. More of a spirits fan? Graycliff’s chocolate and spirits pairing indulges your sweet tooth.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Before his appointment as Royal Governor of The Bahamas in 1717, Woodes Rogers was an English sea captain and privateer. In 1707, his support was sought to lead a privateering voyage against the Spanish, with whom the British were at war. Captain Rogers led an expedition, and in the ensuing years, circumnavigated the world, captured a number of ships and even rescued the marooned Alexander Selkirk in the South Pacific, whose plight is believed to be the inspiration behind the novel, Robinson Crusoe.
Although Rogers’ returned to England a hero, his own fortunes ebbed and flowed until he was able to use his personal connections with King George I to forge an agreement to manage the pirate-infested Bahamas in exchange for a share of the British colony’s profits. Not only did Rogers now have British monetary and military resources at his disposal, but he also had ability to give the King’s pardon to pirates. Eventually, Rogers was able to establish a well-organized government and expel all pirates from Nassau.
Over the years, Nassau Paradise Island was a pirate hangout for notorious plunderers like Henry Avery, Calico Jack Rackham, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, and many more. Today, you can step back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy at the Pirates of Nassau Museum.
March of the Flamingos
During the 1950s, the Caribbean flamingo was headed for extinction, with its population dwindling from 100,000 to fewer than 5,000 birds. The Bahamian government imposed a law prohibiting the hunting of flamingos, and today their population is healthy and flourishing. Flamingos were sent to Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre in Nassau in hopes that they’d breed in captivity. While that experiment proved unsuccessful, the birds became more comfortable around people, and with lots of time and more than a few treats to entice them, the March of the Flamingos was born.
Three times a day, visitors can witness these beautiful birds on parade at Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre – a delightful spectacle for guests of all ages. Keep your eyes peeled for bright pink flamingo feathers as you explore Nassau Paradise Island (fun fact: flamingos’ pink hues are a result of all the brine shrimp they love to eat!) For visitors who’d like to get in on the activity, join a Flamingo Yoga class at Baha Mar and find your zen with the rest of the flock.
Navigate your way around Nassau Paradise Island with local maps that show you all the area hot spots and must-see attractions.