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Nassau Cable

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence – one of the archipelago country’s smallest islands. It’s a rather different town from its sister city, Freeport, which is a hundred miles to the north on Grand Bahama. In Nassau you get much more of a sense of the Bahamas’ imperial history – although the country is parliamentary democracy, Queen Elizabeth II remains the head of state. Nassau town is full of reminders of British influences past and present.

The Nassau Beach Hotel is typical of the sort of hotel you might find yourself in if you choose to take a vacation in the Bahamas. It’s located right by the sea, on Nassau’s famous Cable Beach. A three-star establishment, the Nassau Beach is a mere stone’s throw from the water’s edge and immediately next to the Marriott Casino and the Cable Beach Golf Club. The hotel has no fewer than six restaurants, plus facilities for water sports and regular cocktail parties. So if your idea of a great vacation is dining and dancing, swimming and sunbathing, golfing and gambling, it’s almost certainly the right hotel for you!

Nassau Beach Cable Beach itself is long, white and lovely. It gets its name from the cables that were buried here in the early part of the twentieth century to accommodate transatlantic telephone calls. These days the cutting edge of the telecommunications industry has moved into the hotels – most of which have internet suites and business centers. Cable Beach is very definitely a place for fun and relaxation. At the height of the tourist season – which is pretty much all year round these days – it can get very crowded. Vacationers seeking beaches to themselves would be well-advised to travel a little further away from Nassau, perhaps to the more quiet western end of New Providence Island. If, however, you enjoy a good vacation vibe, this is the beach for you. On busy days it can be a Copacabana-like experience, with all kinds of fascinating sights and activities taking place.

The Nassau Beach Hotel is also a great base for exploring Nassau town. Probably the best place to start is Parliament Square. The Square is lined by beautiful, pastel-shaded buildings erected in the early nineteenth century as the seat of local government. As if to hammer home the notion of exactly who was in charge, the authorities of the day had a large statue of Queen Victoria erected in the center of the square. If you have the chance to be in the square during the seasonal opening ceremony of the Bahamas’ Supreme Court you will be able to witness a display of red-robed and bewigged pomp and ceremony that is a reminder of the fact that although the islands are now independent the British way of life and government is very deeply imprinted on local culture.

Nassau Lighthouse Just a little way from Parliament Square you’ll find the atmospheric Fort Charlotte. It was built by the British in 1789, and named after the wife of the then king of England, George III. The fort has never been besieged, or even fired a shot in anger – testament, perhaps, to its formidable strength, and the fact that nobody was really prepared to take on it and its garrison in battle. Despite its peaceful history, many British soldiers died here. In the days before modern medicine and sanitation had largely eradicated dangerous diseases from the area, the Bahamas weren’t so much a paradise as a hell on earth. Many soldiers died of tropical fevers – in fact, being sent to the Bahamas was often regarded as a punishment!

These days the islands are dedicated to pleasure rather than punishment. No trip to Nassau would be complete without a visit to Paradise Island, which lies to the east of town and is reached by bridge. Paradise Island has been so integral to Nassau’s development as a tourist center that the whole area is sometimes referred to as Nassau/Paradise Island. Whether or not Paradise Island is actually a paradise is rather a matter of taste: if you like celebrity-spotting, and funfairs, and all the apparatus of the tourist trade then you’ll love it.

If peace, quiet and relaxation are what you’re after, you would do worse than to head out of Nassau itself and over towards the western end of New Providence island. Once you’re beyond Cable Beach things get a lot quieter. This part of the island is full of peaceful pine forest and long, sandy white beaches which are often completely deserted.

New Providence island is not the largest of the islands in the Bahamas group by a long way. But it’s one of the most beautiful and varied, and, because it’s the location of the Bahamas’ capital, one of the most lively. If you fancy a short break in paradise, Nassau is the vacation destination for you!

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