Friday, May 6, 2011

Ten Facts about Nassau, the Capital of Bahamas

Author Bio: John Grant is a British entrepreneur and freelance travel writer. He spends his time exploring the hidden treasures of the world and is currently writing for a great site where you can discover today’s best packages for paradise island bahamas travel.

No. 10: For various reasons, the Spanish burnt Nassau to the ground three times, the first being in 1684. At that time Nassau was called Charles Town. After it was rebuilt the following year, it was then renamed Nassau by the Dutch.

No. 9: In 2010, the Guinness Book of Records recorded a new world record for the highest tightrope crossing on a bicycle. And it was held in Nassau. Nik Walenda from the U.S. achieved this amazing feat 238 feet above the ground. That’s over seventy-two meters!

No. 8: A World War Two landing craft sank near Nassau harbor called the LCT. It sank after the war, during which she was being used to take cargo back and forth between Nassau and Paradise Island. The wreck is partially above water and has been used in many films, including the James Bond film Thunderball. Of course, the ship is now almost part of the coral itself, and a great dive for the coral divers who love to explore the wreck.

No. 7: Between Christmas and New Year, the capital of Nassau holds the famous Junkanoo festival. This festival is a street party-cum-parade that traces its roots back to Africa, where many of the slaves came from. The Junkanoo is the African slave being free from his masters. It revolves around being in the bush in Africa and dancing and singing. Nassau has a huge population of families that came from a slave background, and the parade even appeared in the film, Jaws the Revenge. Want to know more about the Junkanoo? Then pop into the Junkanoo Museum on Prince George Wharf. The museum is hands-on, so you will get to wear some of the clothes and play musical instruments, too.

No. 6: Back in 1776, the Americans attacked the British in Nassau by sending amphibious vehicles, which is believed to be one of the first battles by the Continental Navy that would become the United States Navy. Despite the attack, the prominent English used in Nassau is British English.

No. 5: The US citizens who leave the country for more than 48 hours and arrive back at Nassau airport are allowed up to $800 of duty-free products. However, if you are less than 48 hours at Nassau, your duty-free allowance is reduced to only $200. You must be 21 and over, and alcohol and cigarettes have slightly different rulings. The US citizens have separate Duty-Free rules from most of the other nations who visit the Bahamas. So make sure you check before you go.

No. 4: There is in fact a small zoo in Nassau, and the zoo only dates back to 1982, and is situated at the Ardastra. This was the botanical gardens from 1937 to 1982 before a local businessman turned it into the Nassau Zoo. Non-resident adults pay $15 to get in and children, only $7.50. Once inside, be prepared to meet lots of cute Lemurs and Monkeys. Also look out for the “marching” Flamingos.

No. 3: If you would like to enter Nassau on a boat you will pay the Customs and Immigration a fee of $150, or $300 if your boat is over 36 feet long. This will cover up to four people and includes the departure fees, too. If you intend to stay a longer period, then you will need to seek special arrangements with the Bahamas Customs and Immigration before entering. Getting this right will ensure a fantastic Paradise Island Bahamas Travel experience.

No. 2: If you decide you really want to get married in Nassau, or anywhere else in the Bahamas, then you will find many places that will help and assist with all your needs. But be aware of two points: to get married you must have all the correct paperwork, which will include the birth certificates. Also you MUST be resident in the country at least 24 hours before you APPLY to get married.

No. 1: The Queen's staircase off of Shirley Street in Nassau is worth looking at. The limestone stairs look by themselves as nothing too amazing, but the story behind them makes the stairs very special. They were built by the slaves to commemorate the 65 years the Monarch reigned: the Monarch was Queen Victoria. There are 65 steps at 102 feet high, and the whole thing was made by hand. No heavy diggers in the mid-1700s! The staircase remains the same, but everything around it changes as time marches past. It would be akin to looking outside the window as time changes in the HG Wells classic, The Time Machine.

Once you have finished looking around Nassau, take a few minutes’ ferry ride to the beautiful Paradise Island.



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