Bahamas Bash: What to do When the Sun Says Goodnight

Type “beautiful tropical island” into your search engine, and you’ll see one mouth-watering picture after another of stunning beaches, clear blue skies and sparkling aquamarine water.

Click on a few of them (you know you want to). It’s a good bet that some of those breathtaking pictures are from the Bahamas.

Often mistaken as a place in the Caribbean, the Bahamas are actually a group of about 700 islands and cays scattered over 180,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean. But the actual geography doesn’t seem to matter much to the 5 million visitors who come to the idyllic island paradise each year. It’s an island getaway par excellence.

If your stay in the Bahamas includes time in Nassau or Eleuthera, you’ll want to take full advantage of the sunshine, beaches, water activities, historic sites, etc. But save enough energy for some after-hours fun. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Nassau After Dark

Located on the island of New Providence, Nassau isn’t just the capital of the Bahamas – it’s the country’s largest and most active city. Its reputation as a prime party city is well-deserved. So if your vacation plans include kicking it until the wee hours, you’ve come to the right place; there is plenty to do in Nassau in an evening. You’re sure to find something that suits your style, taste, energy level and the company you’re hanging with.

- Restaurants. From fine dining to casual seaside fare, you’ll find it all in Nassau. The specialty is, of course, seafood, but you can also find Bahamian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Caribbean, pizza, steaks, pub fare, etc. You’ll have no problem finding a place that suits your mood and palate for an evening out that centers on a good dinner.

- Bars. What’s your desire? A custom cocktail assembled by a trained mixologist, a classic drink in a tiki hut or a simple glass of hops and barley? There are plenty of drinking establishments that will be happy to serve you. Live music, games, lots of TV screens and ocean views are some of the various amenities.

-  Clubs. There are several of them in Nassau, each with its own particular vibe and clientele. Choose by location, size, music – it’s completely up to you. From huge venues that can accommodate 5,000 people to smaller, more intimate establishments, you’re sure to find the perfect place to get your groove on. The music options are many as well – reggae, rock, disco, European electronic, local, international and more. Keep in mind that most clubs have a cover charge. Also, it’s best to show up in something fancier than what you wore to the beach that day. Something dressier than jeans and sneakers is best.

- Casinos. Feeling lucky? Try your hand at roulette, blackjack, baccarat, slots…wherever your nose tells you the odds are in your favor. Over a dozen casinos are scattered throughout Nassau.

- Sunset cruises. If your idea of a night out leans toward the romantic, there are several great options. Take in the sights of Paradise Island, Athol Island, Rose Island and Nassau Harbour as the sun paints a glorious picture in the western sky. Various tours feature a buffet dinner, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, champagne and/or soft music.

- The best nights for a great party vibe are Thursday-Sunday. Most of the city’s nightlife takes place on the north side of East Bay Street or across the bridge on Paradise Island, and lets not forget the luxury resort complex of Baha Mar! Be sure to have some cash with you, as some of the small lounges and clubs don’t take plastic.

Eleuthera – A Pace You Can Live With
The name of the island is Greek for “freedom.” Eleuthera is as quiet and laid-back a place as there is in the whole Caribbean and feels a million miles away from the bustle and cares of daily life. Here’s where you come to de-stress, relax, disconnect and reconnect. And the main assets of the island – 100 miles of pink sand beaches, slender palm trees, gentle ocean breezes, gorgeous turquoise water – make it so easy.

That being said, what is there to do when twilight falls over this Elysian isle?

Your best bet is Governor’s Harbour, the principal settlement and administrative center of mainland Eleuthera. The charming town has a few quaint seaside restaurants where you can get a casual bite to eat or have drinks at the bar. Some establishments have live music or a DJ, so you can tap your foot or get up and show off your moves.

Every Friday night in Governor’s Harbour there is a sort of street party. The main attraction: a delicious fish fry dinner. (If you prefer, you can opt for pork or barbecue chicken instead.) Add mac and cheese, a fresh conch salad, a Bahama Mama and some lively music, and you’ve got yourself a great evening out, Eleuthera style.

If you have a car (and you really should on Eleuthera), you’ve got 100 miles of Queen’s Highway to explore. Hit the beaches by day, but in the evening you can venture farther afield and check out the local bars and restaurants along the way. From Spanish Wells in the north (although you will have to take a ferry there) to Bannerman Town in the south, you’ll find friendly faces, great food and drinks and good company among the locals and visitors.

New Providence and Eleuthera are worlds apart – more than the 30 or so miles of ocean between them would suggest. One houses a lively city that doesn’t even try to slow down after sunset, while the other is a quiet, idyllic paradise where no one is ever in a hurry to do anything. In either case, you can always find something to keep you busy and entertained.

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