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If you’ve only ever seen the beautiful Bahamian island of Nassau while downing Aztec Sacrifice shots on the deck of Señor Frog’s, it’s time to get out and explore a bit more. Visit a pirate’s home, make your own wine, down some conch fritters, view underwater sculptures and get your thrills at some of the best water slides you’ll ever scream your way down. Here are 10 things to check out on the two most visited Bahamian islands.

RELATED: 10 cheap things to do in Fort Lauderdale

Photo courtesy of Jan Schroder

Be a winemaker for a day

You’ll have flashbacks to high school science class when you sit down in front of a set of beakers to blend your own private label wine at Nassau’s Bahama Barrels, the country’s first winery. But this class is way more fun—the beakers are filled with several varietals of wine! Pick your favorite mixture, name it, bottle it and cork it with your own private label.

Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

Chow down on Bahamian cuisine

You haven’t really been to the Bahamas until you’ve downed a conch fritter or two—or maybe a dozen. Get an authentic taste of the islands at Bahamian Cookin’ where you can also enjoy island delights like steamed chicken and rice ‘n’ peas. If time allows, take the three-hour Tru Bahamian Food Tour, where you’ll get a little island history as well. For your fill of fish and conch salad, hit the restaurants at Arawak Cay, also called the Fish Fry.

Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

Sip, snorkel and sunbathe—all in one spot

The 2.5-mile stretch of white sand at Nassau’s Cable Beach is perfect for relaxing, snorkeling, paddle boarding or just lounging and taking in the view of the impossibly turquoise water. Upscale resorts line the beach, with plenty of restaurants for lunch and bars to enjoy adult beverages.

Photo courtesy of Atlantis

 

Get soaking wet (and stay that way all day)

Spend a waterlogged day at Aquaventure, a giant waterpark at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort where you can climb to the top of replica Mayan Temples that then take you on a stomach-dropping plunge down various water slides—including one that shoots you safely through a shark-filled lagoon. Explore the park’s 11 pools and a not-so-lazy river featuring rapids, waves and tunnels that threaten to flip your tube. Guests at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort get in free. Non-guests can purchase a day pass, but these can sell out. Tip: Guests at the more budget-minded Comfort Suites Paradise Island get free entrance, too.

Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

Get your glam on at a five-star resort

If you’re ready to ditch the flip-flops for heels and celebrate with a special night out, head to Paradise Island’s The Ocean Club, which recently became a Four Seasons resort. While you can’t access all of the resort if you’re a non-guest, you can still enjoy a drink at The Dune and take in the view of a magnificent stretch of beach. Also, stop by for a martini at library bar where James Bond enjoyed one in the movie “Casino Royale.”

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Photo courtesy of People to People

Tour with a local (for free)

Hit Nassau’s hot spots, attend a sporting event and even enjoy a meal in a home with a local Bahamian with People to People, a free program offered by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.  Just submit a request online including your interests and you’ll be paired with a Bahamian ambassador who’ll escort you around the island and show you the sites. If you don’t have time to take advantage of the program, you can still enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea party at Government House, which is the state home of the Governor General. Tip: Submit your request at least two few weeks in advance.

Photo courtesy of BREEF Lily Wagner

View an underwater sculpture garden

Nassau is home to the world’s largest underwater sculpture, an 18-foot-high, 60-ton piece of art called “Ocean Atlas” by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Snorkel or scuba to see it in the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, behind Clifton Heritage Park and reachable by boat or by land.

Photo courtesy of JJan Schroder

Toast to Nassau’s pirate past 

Take a free tour of John Watling’s Distillery, then belly on up to the bar at this 1789 estate to try a signature Bahamian cocktail made with island rum. Don’t settle for just one: Try a flight of rums and make a toast to Watling who was referred to as the Pious Pirate because he didn’t gamble and observed the Sabbath. 

Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

Watch flamingos march

Catch these shrimp-pink birds while they march around their pen at the Flamingo Experience show at Ardastra Gardens near downtown Nassau. These wading birds live nearly twice as long in captivity. 

Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

Spend a day at a famous pirate mansion

Maybe a stay at a five-star hotel isn’t in your budget, but you can enjoy all the amenities of one with a day pass at Graycliff, a 300-year-old property that dates back to the time when Nassau was a hideout for pirates. Enjoy a welcome drink, a tour of the property, access to its gorgeous pool and a three-course lunch. The property includes the Graycliff Chocolatier and Graycliff Cigar Company, where you can view Cuban cigar rollers at work and even take a class and learn to make them yourself.

Tagged: Caribbean

Jan Schroder

Jan Schroder

An award-winner writer based in Atlanta, Jan is also an editor, book author, publisher of Girl on the Go and a really pathetic packer for a travel writer. She is also editorial director of The 100 Companies, a publishing platform with 100-word stories and 100-second videos.

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