Updated: Apr 4, 2018
Bus No. 10 in Nassau, Bahamas
It was February when I visited Nassau for the first time. The weather wasn’t exactly what I expected. It was gloomy, blustery, and a little chilly. I recall eyeing the luxurious pool and the famous Cable Beach from my hotel window. Oddly, I had no desire to swim. Instead, I set out to explore the island. Getting a map and some tips from the tour desk, I took the local bus downtown.
Some call it the jitney. Most call it a bus. But by my standards, it's a 32-seat shuttle. If you’re lucky, you might catch one that is air-conditioned. Across from my hotel entrance is a bus pick-up/drop off point next to a daiquiri shack. (More on that later). There I stood and waited for my ride.
I waited for the bus in front of the Daiquiri Shack.
Bus number 10 took a straight shot down West Bay Street heading to the east side of the island. It only cost $1.25 one way and the bus route showed me brightly hued buildings, lush trees, and a view of the turquoise ocean. The trip would have been shorter but we were on a single-track road. The traffic congestion didn’t help. Along the way, passengers randomly got on and off at no designated bus stops. Whenever there’s a break, the bus would pick up speed and I had to latch on to anything I could grasp.
I hopped off in front of the Christ Church Cathedral on King Street -- the end of the bus route. Even though it wasn’t a Catholic church, I stopped in for my customary three wishes. (Read about this from a previous post.) It's beautiful inside.
Inside the Christ Church Cathedral on King Street.
I was in the heart of downtown near the cruise ship dock and the straw market. Walking past the Pirates Museum, I was reminded that Nassau was once the Republic of Pirates in the 1700’s.
The Pirates Museum showcases a large part of Nassau Harbor's history.
Through my self-guided tour, I discovered the iconic British Colonial Hilton and shamelessly took selfies with a member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. His Wolseley pith helmet was a dead giveaway.
A selfie with the po-po (Royal Bahamas Police).
My meanderings led me to places I consider cruise passenger magnets. Junkanoo Beach is hard to miss with its lively music and cheerfully colored shacks. Then there’s Arawak Cay (pronounced “Key”) also known as Fish Fry where they prepare made-to-order conch salads. I didn’t have time to sit down and try it, unfortunately. The looming dark clouds warned that I should be heading back to my hotel.
Junkanoo Beach in Downtown Nassau
Colorful shacks offering food, drinks, beach rentals, and even massages.
At Arawak Cay a.k.a Fish Fry
The restaurants and bars at Fish Fry
Junkanoo Beach is the closest to the cruise ship dock.
Click on the video below for a taste of Junkanoo Beach.
I braved crossing the street to catch my return bus. On this island, they drive on the left-hand side just like in Britain. I boarded another bus number 10 not realizing that it was almost empty. Its only other passenger disembarked at a nearby gas station. After a few hundred feet, the driver pulled to the side of the road in front of KFC. He got up and turned to me, “I’m just going to pick up lunch, ok?”
My face spoke for me.
“Do you want me to get you another bus?” he offered. Before I could utter a word, he yelled after an approaching Number 10 but it just passed us by. “Oh well,” he shrugged, “I won’t be long.”
Neither was the next bus. I soon learned that the Number 10 transport was frequent. I quickly found another one to ride and made it back safely. By the way, that wasn’t the most unusual bus ride I've experienced here. The other time, my bus driver stopped for a beer.
Travel Tips: If you're planning a trip to Nassau for the first time, click here to visit their official website for helpful information. Find more advice on my previous post Traveling to The Bahamas.