When you are travelling via cruise ship and your ship docks on the picturesque island of Nassau Bahamas you really need to maximize your time in port with only one day to see it all.
You can simply walk around the nearby downtown area shops or spend the day at the beach in Nassau Bahamas but, many first timers plan a trip to Paradise Island and the very popular Atlantis Resort.
Paradise Island / Atlantis Resort
There are public beach areas on Paradise Island but the problem I’ve found with the beachfront in general is that it can be very windy; the surf is high and under toll is strong.
As a result, lounging on the beach is a bit uncomfortable and you can’t really swim in the water. So, unless you plan a visit to Atlantis Resort to hang out in the casino or plan on paying the day rate to enjoy the facilities there really isn’t anything to do there.
Here are your Paradise Island transit options
- Ships tour to Atlantis – full access includes shuttle approx $160US
- Cab for $4 / person / way + bridge toll
- Water taxi for $4 / person / way
There are various day passes available at Atlantis Resort. Costs range from Paradise Island Beach Day Pass (approx. $70US/adult) to Aquaventure Day Pass (approx. $140US/adult) and many are limited based on occupancy.
My preference is to take the “budget option” and skip Paradise Island all together.
Beaches Near the Nassau Bahamas Cruise Ship Terminal
There are 2 beaches within walking distance to the ship. Refer to this map as a guide:
To get to both beaches, walk towards the Straw Market along Bay Street and keep going past the British Colonial Hilton.
Junkanoo Beach is where Fat Tuesdays bar is located. Fat Tuesdays has a DJ, food, drink, restrooms and free wi-fi.
On the beach itself, you’ll find restrooms, food, drinks, music, water sport and chair rentals.
With all these facilities, and the beach’s proximity to the cruise port you can well imagine that it can get very crowded especially when there are lots of ships in port.
The further you walk along the beach the quieter it gets….
If you keep walking further along the beach and palm tree-lined sidewalk, you’ll come to our preferred beach place — Saunders Beach.
Saunders Beach in Nassau Bahamas
From the cruise terminal, it’s about a 20-minute walk. It’s pleasant, there are shaded benches along the way should you need to rest or you could take the #10 bus for $1.25 US each.
There are fewer people here due to the distance. In terms of facilities, there is food and drink available but no chair rentals. We didn’t look for a rest rooms but I suspect that there is one available of accommodate the food vendors.
The water is very shallow on Saunders Beach and as you can see, there are 5 ships in port yet our beach is pretty quiet… which to me, is Paradise!