An Insider's Guide to Nassau, Bahamas with Nicole Mehta
Trying to decide on your next destination vacation? Consider the Bahamas capital Nassau City, a small paradise full of sandy beaches, mouth-watering seafood, and a local art scene worth a double-take. Nicole Mehta recently got back from there, and her travel guide ahead will have you sold. Keep reading to explore Nassau with the Houston-living influencer and founder of The Perfect Ensemble, a lifestyle and fashion blog Mehta started in 2011.
We stayed at Baha Mar in Nassau City. I was really looking for a mini weekend getaway that involved the beach as well as a fun spot for a group trip with lots to do. This was my first time staying for an extended period and I was so happy with our visit.
Baha Mar is the perfect little paradise town in Nassau City. Located a little further away from the hustle and bustle of the market/city proper area but still close to the airport, Baha Mar pretty much has everything you need to enjoy a beach vacation without having to leave the neighborhood.
The Bahamas has a distinct culture which has evolved over generations, from a mixture of mostly African, combined with some British and American influences, which developed into a unique and colorful style of Bahamian self-expression. They have an amazing marriage of African and Western influence in the art scene all over the city as well as their local music and dance form, Junkanoo.
Beauty Packing List
The best thing about spending a few days under the sun is that you really can go “au natural” and still look fabulous! For this trip, I took the following items to keep my hair and face intact:
- T3 Micro Whirl Trio Styling Wand
- T3 Micro Paddle Brush
- OUAI Wave Spray
- OUAI Volume Spray
- OUAI Hair & Body Shine Mist
- Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment
- Summer Fridays Overtime Mask
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 55
- Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 Facial Sunscreen
Fashion Packing List
- Straw-bags and beach bags
- Sandals and slides
- Gold layered necklaces
- Statement jewelry
Booking the Trip
We received a lot of recommendations from Instagram followers as well as friends but I also cross-checked on Thrillist and Trip Advisor for sightseeing and restaurant suggestions. Luckily, you can go ahead and make dinner or lunch reservations online for most of the hot spots. To book travel, we used Google flights and booked through the hotel site. Usually I use Orbitz for hotel bookings.
Where to Stay
Hotels are your best bet when it comes to staying in Nassau. All the hotels have been designed with the tourists in mind and the hospitality is first class. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar Resorts and I am already dying to go back.
Dressing the Part
- Pack light – it's humid all day long so you won’t be getting cold at night!
- Bring lots of swimsuits – there are so many different pools and you gotta get those 'gram pics on the beach. You can always mix and match pieces on vacation so try to bring separates that are still complementary in color or style! Easy to make several outfits out of just a few pieces.
- Plan for casual chic for dinner plans. I packed a few jumpsuits and midi dresses.
- Coverups are definitely in and I made it a point to pack a few cute coverups to style with my swimsuit. It rains for about 20 minutes in the afternoon so that’s a great time to layer up and walk around the resort.
Expect to take taxis! They have cars everywhere and some restaurants will call taxis ahead of time to ensure there is one waiting for you once you wrap up your meal.
Tip for First-Timers
The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollars, there are no adaptors required for electronics, and everyone is super friendly.
10AM Palms Bar was the spot to go before starting off our day on the beach. We were able to snag a spot mid-morning and enjoy some acai bowls and coffee. We wanted something quick and easy and the Palms bar was the perfect stop for that.
12PM Snorkeling and Kayaking! We took some time in the mid afternoon to explore the blue waters of Baha Mar and check out all the underwater creatures. I switched to Kayaking after a while and rode out into the waves.
1PM Baha Mar Food Trucks- one of the best parts of our stay was the food trucks. After a long morning of beach time, kayaking and snorkeling, we walked over to the food trucks and airstreams to grab a hearty lunch. They had everything from briskets to poke bowls and hot dogs! We went over to Sandy Dog, it was a meal that hit the spot on a hot sunny day. I’d recommend the Chicago Dog or Detroit Dog. Each hot dog was unique to its namesake city so you get to taste what each city is known for. In my opinion, Chicago Dog was the best.
3PM The Straw Market in Nassau City is great for shopping. It’s a traditional open-air market selling handwoven straw crafts, Bahamian souvenirs, and tourist trinkets. You can find so many cute things there and it helps the local economy.
4PM- Resort Beach! White sand, beach chairs and coconut water on demand! There was plenty of space to roll around in the sand and get a solid tan (…and maybe sunburn haha).
7PM The Blue Sail – this dinner spot was about a 10 minute taxi ride from the resort to the Blue Sail. This restaurant was a tropical escape with such a clean view. We popped a bottle of champagne and enjoyed dinner, family style 😊
9PM Both the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort as well as Atlantis are known for their vast casino floors. A lot of hotel guests spent the evening watching sports games and gambling the night in the common casino area.
11AM Madeline Café – such a cute French-inspired café! I highly recommend getting there early and starting off the day with some crepes and eggs benedict 😊 Not to mention, their pastry spread looked scrumptious!
1PM The Queens Staircase - The Queen's Staircase, also known as the 66 steps, was carved out of solid limestone rock by slaves between 1793 and 1794. It is a major landmark located in Nassau, Bahamas. So much history and it's quite picturesque.
2pm Grand Hyatt has plenty of shopping whether you got lucky at the casino or need to pick up a few souvenirs. We went back to the same resort beach for another sunny afternoon and to lay out on the group floats.
3PM The Swimming Pig. The pub burger, nachos, and mac and cheese were the plates we tried out and they did not disappoint. Even went there again at night for a fourth meal :D
4PM The ice cream stand Scoops is adorable! Take a break to cool down with a menu of hard and soft ice cream with delicious toppings, ice pops, and iced coffee. I had plenty of soft serve to beat the heat. Sprinkles, please 😊
8PM Nobu was for dinner. We headed over to Atlantis on Paradise island to explore the property and finally checked out the celebrated Nobu restaurant. Bahamas is known for their seafood and Nobu is one of the best in the game. The rock shrimp and Wagyu Gyoza were my two favorites! My mouth is still watering from the dumplings..and the rich cheesecake.
10PM There are plenty of relaxing spots at Baha Mar to wrap up the day. I would suggest Cleo or Katsuya for a drink and dessert. Baha Mar also has a club if you have a big group and want to dance 😊