Page 28 - I&MI Media The Magazine 3/2012

28 The Magazine
SEP/OCT 2012
Historic Hike
The Queen’s Staircase on nearby Nassau
Island is a set of 65 steps carved out of
the natural limestone between 1793 and
The 31-meter/102-foot staircase
was originally built to provide British
troops a protected route to Fort Fincastle,
perched on the highest point of the island
as a lookout. To plan a walking tour of the
Queen’s Staircase and other historical sites
it leads to, visitors can pick up walking tour
maps at the main Nassau Island tourist
center, where guided tours can also be
booked. To reach the Queen’s Staircase
and other nearby sites, you’ll likely want to
start in New Providence at Rawson Square
so you can also see some of the old town.
Not the Last
The largest and most well known
Straw Market in the Bahamas
is located in Nassau near the
Bay Street shopping center and
George Street. Here you’ll find an
array of handmade straw goods,
as well as homemade wood
crafts. About 200 vendors will comprise the market on a typical day,
and tourists hoping to visit the market at its liveliest should visit during
the middle of the day or afternoon. Shoppers should note that although
bartering is not a part of shopping at the hotels, it is very much a part
of shopping at the Straw Market and some of the other public markets
in the Bahamas. A trip through the Nassau Straw Market is a great way
to experience a unique cultural ritual and pick up interesting souvenirs
such as hand-woven straw hats, bags, mats, dolls, conch shell jewelry
and wood carvings.
Aqua at the Atlantis
For guests at the Atlantis Paradise
Island resort, Dolphin Cay offers
an intimate and one-of-a-kind
experience. With its 6.6 million
gallons of crystal clear seawater,
it’s one of the largest and most
sophisticated marine habitats
and dolphin rescue/rehabilitation
facilities anywhere in the world. And it’s a place where vacationers
have the opportunity to get up close and personal with dolphins like
never before. Or if you’re just looking for water without the wildlife, try
Aquaventure, a 570,607 sqm/6.1 million sqft water park with thrilling
high-speed water slides, a mile-long river ride with rolling rapids and
wave surges, 20 swimming areas, a spectacular kids water-play fort
and 11 unique and refreshing swimming pools connected by a lush,
tropical environment that’s both immersive and interconnected.
Herds of Birds
Waterfowl and wading birds
are dominant throughout
Nassau and Paradise Island.
You’ll likely encounter egrets
and herons, Bahama pintails,
ruddy ducks and Caribbean
coots. And if you keep an
eye on the sky you might
see beautiful ospreys and
belted kingfishers. Serious birdwatchers should try Bonefish
Pond, Da Flat, Harold & Wilson Ponds National Park, Primeval
Forest or The Retreat, an 11-acre property that houses one
of the largest private collections of rare and exotic palms in
the world. The Retreat is open to the general public Monday
through Friday and guided tours are available, or the park can
provide a map for you to take a self-guided tour.
The Other Versailles Gardens
The entirety of Paradise Island was once owned by a man named
Huntington Hartford, who purchased a set of French cloisters and
statues from an estate in California and brought them to Versailles
Garden in the Bahamas. The pieces did not arrive at the Versailles
Garden with any instruction on their original arrangement or set up,
and it wasn’t until 1962 that Huntington employed Jean Castre-
Manne to reassemble the pieces in the Versailles Gardens. The
Gardens also feature unique flowers and plants, as well as a small
temple facing the ocean and a gazebo facing Nassau Harbor that is
often used for special events. The Gardens are located on a piece
of property that is now owned by the Ocean Club hotel, but access
is not limited to guests of the hotel and this site remains one of the
most popular Paradise Island attractions.