Welcome to Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. Can you smell the salty breeze? It blows on those alabaster shores and merges with the fragrances of food getting prepared on the restaurants by the sea, together with the flavour of rum from the distilleries. The perfect romantic affair between modernity and folklore. The city was in fact a key stronghold of the pirates of the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy, but its transformation, throughout the years, has turned it one of the most vibrant tourist attraction in the Bahamas. Be sure of one thing: you won't get bored visiting this paradise, there is undoubtedly something for you especially if you set sails around here.
Nassau beaches: Sailing around the Caribbean island
You have just landed from your aeroplane and can’t wait to enjoy some sunbathing on your boat.
Despite the urbanized look, this city has much to offer also in this sense, just like the not-so-far Miami. Just like in Florida, in fact, here you can find tropical beaches right next to the most modern and elegant skyscrapers.
If you fancy snorkelling, then sail to Cable beach, a man-made reef inside the Baja Mar area, populated by hundreds of Cownose stingrays and colourful tropical fish.
Cownose stingrays at Paradise Island
If you're into water sports, especially jet skis and parasailing, we recommend Cabbage Beach: 3 km of white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, surrounded by numerous resorts, bars and restaurants. It's a great place for the whole family, with activities and fun until the morning, as well as secluded places to relax. Water sports equipment can be rented on-site and those who are less experienced can take lessons from experienced local instructors.
Parasailing and Jetskiing by Cabbage Beach
If you're into more isolated and secluded spots, then sail towards the east part of the island: here you'll find Yamacraw Hill beach, quite tricky to get to from land so you'll certainly enjoy a quieter spot for you and the crew.
Always in the eastern part of Nassau, on Paradise Island lies Montague beach. If you can not resist the fascination of the pirate tales of Roberto Louis Stevenson make sure you sail to this beach, which lays at the foot of the homonymous artillery fort built in 1741 by the British to keep an eye on the settlement. You definitely won’t see any black sail at the horizon while having a walk on this snow-white ribbon of the shore!
All hands on deck: sail toward the Exumas
You’ve been exploring the city, now it’s time for the best part of the journey. The crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas are in fact best enjoyed by the deck of a boat. The best spot to start this wonderful adventure is the South-Eastern side of the city: by renting a boat in Palm Cay Marina, you are already aiming the prow in the right direction to discover the Exumas archipelago.
Big Major Cay (Exuma) and the local colony of feral pigs
Within half a day of sailing, you’ll reach this group of islands, whose tip is located roughly 36 miles away from Nassau: a true chest of wonders and natural jewels. The list of isolated cays one can only reach by boat is countless, but there are definitely some that represent a must-see during your vacation. First of all, there is Allen Cay: a biological reserve, world-famous for its iguana population, especially the rare Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas.
Within a stone’s throw, you’ll also find the vibrant atmosphere of Highbourne Cay. The small island is privately owned, but it definitely offers some interesting activities for those into water sports, especially spearfishing and snorkelling. From here onward, the number of small islands and cays you can reach is simply countless, and a good map-endowed guide could be the best companion for designing your route, however, we feel like recommending a couple more spots you definitely have to visit.
Warderick Wells Cay
Warderick Wells Cay is your main hub for mooring and information, being home to the central office of the Exuma National Park. From here, a short sailing trip can lead you to a place that adrenaline lovers will certainly cherish.
Warderick Wells Cay
Compass Cay Island
Do you remember “Jaws”? In Compass Cay Island you can live similar atmospheres without putting anyone's life at risk! The harmless nurse sharks swim in the low waters close to the beak waiting for you to feed them and caress their fins: go on daredevil! If the idea of sharks still makes you a bit uncomfortable, there are other animals you can meet in the Exumas.
Compass Cay Island
Staniel Cay Island
Head towards Staniel Cay Island to meet some of the cutest swimmers you ever saw. This island is in fact home to the worldwide famous “Pig Beach”, where these animals roam freely and take dips in the clear waters while cuddled by both locals and tourists.
Pig on Staniel Cay, an island in the Exumas
If this is not enough for you, what about some more snorkelling, this time in the belly of a sunken aeroplane? The wreck lays in a natural turquoise water pond close to the island’s local airport and represents a rather original theatre to gaze upon the underwater life. It belonged to smugglers who were flying to the USA back in the 70s when Pablo Escobar was on the front page of every newspaper. It definitely serves a better purpose now!