- January 19, 2017
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Bahamas was a short vacation we took to get away from the NYC winter. Just before we left, there was a winter storm so it was a great time to get away for a few days. Or so we thought. The same weather system also caused very windy and choppy waters in the Bahamas. We were unable to go in the water even once because not only was the water cold but there was also wind gusts of 20 mph. Obviously, that didn’t stop us from exploring the island. We hadn’t planned more than a day for beach activities so it really didn’t change our plans too much.
The immigration at Nassau International Airport was very quick and easy. Since we took an early morning flight, first thing I wanted to do was get breakfast. We took a taxi and this was my first sticker shock at how expensive this Caribbean Island is. The restaurant was about 2.5 miles and the taxi cost $15. The other two Caribbean islands we’ve visited (Jamaica and Trinidad) were much cheaper so I was a little surprised. The good thing is that you can use USD in Bahamas so you don’t actually have to get money converted if you are in a rush. Both USD and Bahamian dollar are easily interchangeable. There were times when we paid in Bahamian dollar and got change back in USD.
Compass Point is close to the airport so that’s where we ended up for breakfast. It’s a beautiful resort where you can rent beach front cabins. The restaurant was out of stew fish for breakfast and I was starving so I had to settle for an omelette. After breakfast we tried walking around the beach outside the restaurant but it was so windy that sand was all over our face, including our eyes, nose and mouth within minutes. We still walked around for about half an hour before going back inside the restaurant. We decided it was better to sit indoors and drink compass bliss and Bahamian Mai Tai until we got hungry enough to order lunch. We tried conch fritters for the first time and they are delicious, breaded and deep-fried balls of conch meat that come with ketchup and mayonnaise sauce. Conch is served in many different ways in Bahamas and it’s on almost every menu on the islands.
We decided to stay at an Airbnb because hotel rooms in Nassau are insanely expensive. Our airbnb was in a great location, about a 5 min walk from Junkanoo Beach and about a 15 min walk from Arawak Cay where there are lots of food stalls serving everything from the famous Sky Juice (gin, coconut water, and spices) to burgers, wings, fried fish, conch salads and fritters, and much more. There were lots of little shacks all along Junkanoo beach serving alcohol and food all day long.
During the morning we walked around W Bay St and straw market. The area cateres to American cruise tourists and if you are interested in shopping, this is it. I couldn’t care less about shopping but I did want to walk around for a bit. The only store I did shopping at was The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory. They were serving samples of the pineapple rum cake and chocolate marble rum cake. They also had different variety of rum bottles for sale. I ended up buying a couple of rum cakes and a bottle of rum. There are only a few things to do in Nassau which include going to the beach, walking around, shopping, and/or drinking. We had been walking around all morning, bought some rum cake, and beaches were too windy so the only thing left to do was go to a bar and drink.
If you are interested in a great beach front location with relatively cheap booze I’d recommend Senor Frogs. The waiter was very nice, friendly and attentive to the customers. We had 3 drinks while we waited for a local shack, recommended to us by our airbnb host, to open for lunch. The name of that shack is Captain Vinny’s Hideaway and we went there for breakfast but they were out of the stew fish, chicken souse, and Ackee & Codfish. We weren’t interested in typical eggs breakfast so I ate some rum cake and drank until they
opened for lunch. Captain Vinny’s is a little tricky to find so if you are interested here are the directions: go to the Pompey Museum on Bay st. Once you are there, look around and you’ll see a sunglasses store and right after the sunglasses store is a small alley. Make a left on that alley. It’s really easy to miss this alley so I say after the sunglasses store, make the very first left you can make, walk to the back and you’ll see it. The only people eating there were locals. A few tourists did walk by but they were all looking for a restaurant that was upstairs. The fried fish was totally worth the wait! I wish I had gone there earlier for breakfast before they ran out of stew fish.
After lunch, we decided to check out Ardastra Gardens and Zoo. The zoo itself is very small
but peaceful. Their main attraction is the Flamingos show 3 times a day. We went there just in time and the show is definitely a great experience. You also get to “participate” in the show because they ask a few people to do a flamingo impression while the flamingos walk around you. They had a few parrots, iguanas, turtles, black swan, a white peacock and other animals. It’s a small but pretty zoo. We spent maybe 2 hours at the zoo and we had covered everything at a very leisurely pace. After that, we decided to visit Harold and Wilson Ponds National Park. Again, it’s a little tricky to find this place because the sign is small. Its next to a very industrial looking parking lot. The park has a small little green patch which is supposed to be their parking lot, I think. We were literally the only people interested in this national park because there was no one else around. We started walking on the boardwalk and we didn’t get very far before we realised it’s not safe at all. The boradwalk was heavily damaged, I assume from hurricaine
Matthew. The walkway was very unstable and we were afraind of falling through. It felt like a perfect recipe for one of those horror movie plots so we turned back around. Their website clearly wasn’t updated because we checked to get some basic information and it mentioned nothing about the damage, hours, or if it’s closed to public. If you plan on visiting this park, be VERY careful and make sure someone knows where you are. In case you fall through, they can send help. Our initial plan was to go to Bonefish pond after Harold and Wilson ponds but we figured, it also might be damaged. So we just decided to go back to our Airbnb for a bit before dinner.
For dinner, we wanted to try food stalls near Arawak Cay. We were a little early for dinner so we found one shack serving drinks, so we got us a sky juice each and walked around the beach for a bit. Once the stalls started opening and we got a little hungry, it was time to eat. First thing we ordered was the only conch dish I hadn’t tried yet – conch salad. I don’t know if this is common practice at Arawak Cay but the stall we ordered from made the salad in front of us. It took a while for the salad to be ready but we had so much fun just watching the guy make it. The salad is more like a ceviche and tasted delicious, fresh, and light. I would definitely recommed it.
After the conch salad, we wanted some chicken wings so we kept on walking. After a short while, you can tell it becomes less touristy. The restaurants and bars aren’t as brightly lit or as “nice” and there are less people around, but at no point did we feel unsafe. Toward the end of the street, we saw Eddie’s Fish Fry was serving wings (and they were cheap). Of course, we walked in and ordered wings along with with more sky juice. The wings really were juicy and flavorful. There was no sauce but these wings didn’t need sauce or anything else to make them taste better. Initially, there was only one other person at the bar and he seemed to know the bartender/owner, Eddie. The four of us stared talking and we learned that this bar hosts local darts competition. Eddie’s friend showd us youtube video of a competition between the top two darts players in the world, Van Gerwen and Anderson. I never knew darts was so competitive. Soon after that, more and more people started coming in. Everyone had their own darts and they lined up to practice.
One of the guys participating in the competition explained the rules and how to keep score. Lets just say it’s not as easy as throw the dart and try to hit bulls eye. It was so much fun watching people play darts at this place. Everyone was enthuiastic, knew everyone else, I even saw a full bottle of vodka at one table so they didn’t have to keep going to the bar. Eddie’s Fish Fry also has a beautiful outdoor section but be careful. I noticed a part of the fence was damaged and if you are drunk, you could fall over into the
water. We talked to the chef who made our wings and a few other people at the bar. One of them, Calvin, even drove us to our Airbnb. At one point, Gaurav asked Eddie if he had any Cuban cigars. Eddie said he does have a few Cubans he generally sells for $10 but he liked us and gave it to us for $5. We acutally noticed this later on in the night when another guy came in to buy a cigar and paid $10 for it.
All in all, Eddie’s Fish Fry was definitely the best bar I’ve visited in Bahamas. If you are looking for a less touristy place with cheap drinks, definitely stop by Eddie’s. I don’t plan on visiting Nassau again but if I did, I’ll definitely stop by for a drink and some wings while I try my hands at darts.
For more photos, please visit my instagram page: Rupal’s Travel Diaries