There are roughly 700 islands that make up the Bahamas. These islands are filled with white sandy shores, national parks, and a plethora of activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. As we were looking for an easy long weekend getaway from New York City, the easiest part of the Bahamas to get to was Nassau, New Providence. Not only is Nassau a cruise shop port, families often flock to this island to stay in one of the mega resorts, like Atlantis.
As a couple that enjoys activities and quieter destinations, we would have preferred to visit the Exumas. But given our timeframe, we made the Courtyard Junkanoo Beach our base, and primarily spent our time outside of the hotel to make the most of what Nassau and its surroundings had to offer. We had time to explore Paradise Island, downtown Nassau, and of course, visit Junkanoo Beach as it was across the street from the hotel. Additionally, we fit in three activities:
Scuba Diving at Stuart Cove
There is only one dive shop in New Providence: Stuart Cove’s Dive. There used to be more but they didn’t survive. Despite having a friend who knew Stuart, I emailed him with no response. I tried to select the least busy time to book diving but the dive shop refused to provide any guidance. The experience itself was a safe, standard option, but it was impersonal. We booked online and paid online. They sent a shuttle to pick us up from our hotel – this part was seamless although we heard from others that the shuttle left without them so make sure you are on time and waiting. We were given the paperwork on the bus to complete and upon arrival, handed it to the dive shop, who validated our certification. Then, we were then sent to the next step to grab any gear we didn’t bring ourselves, and it was up to us to set it up on the boat and get prepared for the dives. There was no discussion on which dive site, but rather we were just told we were going to Pumpkin Patch, which was an okay dive site and we saw a number of black tip reef sharks. My dive time was 29 minutes and I came up with 150 bar left in my tank so I was wishing we were able to stay and explore a bit longer. Our second dive was Bond Wreck which was slightly longer, but unfortunately, there was minimal life on the wreck. Given the dive shop’s approach and the number of beginners around, we decided to end our dive trip after two dives rather than partake in the afternoon session.
Sunset Sailing with Seahorse Adventures
One of the evenings, we booked a trip with Seahorse Adventures for a sunset sail. Around 6pm, we made our way to Paradise Island to board the catamaran. The boat itself could have held 50-60 passengers but there were only about 30 of us giving us plenty of room to move about. The sail out was lovely and shortly after we were situated, they turned on the music and opened the bar.
We sailed out and then the crew served a delicious, hearty dinner including Caribbean chicken, ribs, pasta, rice and beans. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset on the water before heading back in for the night. It was a fantastic way to spend an evening.
Swimming with the Pigs at Staniel Cay
We had known that swimming with the pigs was a famous thing to do in the Bahamas, so we decided to splurge and book a day trip with Staniel Cay Adventures. We started our morning with an early flight on Flamingo Air to Stanial Cay.
Upon arrival, we boarded a small boat with 4 other guests and made our way out. Our first stop was on a beach to visit the endangered and protected rock iguanas.
Next, it was time to make our way to Big Major Cay and visit the famous pig beach!
As we approached the beach, the pigs saw the boat and knew that we likely had food (which we did!). They quickly came swimming to us, and we were able to jump in the water and hang out with them whiley they enjoyed eating our bread and carrots. Shortly thereafter, we made our way to the beach and were able to get off and visit both the pigs and the piglets that were living on the island. There were about 30 pigs and piglets on the beach, all very cute!
We then stopped at Staniel Cay Yacht Club for a leisurely lunch, which was nice. We then went to James Bond Thunderball Grotto for some snorkeling, which was lovely. We also made our way to Compass Cay to pet the friendly nurse sharks.
We were still due to stop at a sandbar and snorkel at Pablo Escobar’s sunken plane, but the weather had taken a turn for the worse so none of us wanted to do this. Instead we did a drive by of both and decided to spend our last remaining time visiting the pigs a second time!
It was a wonderful day out on the water and well worth a long day. Despite delays with Flamingo Air’s late arrival, we were still back at the hotel in Nassau before 7 and had plenty of time for drinks at The Graycliff and dinner at The Poop Deck!