The Best Snorkeling Experience: Nassau, Bahamas Edition
Clifton Heritage National Park in Nassau, Bahamas, is a fantastic destination for snorkeling fanatics. This location offers snorkelers a chance to explore the largest underwater statue, also referred to as “Ocean Atlas.” This statue is 5 meters tall, and weighs about 60 tons. The statue was created by Jason deCaires Taylor, an artist, photographer and diver. While exploring the Coral Reef Garden, I was able to see many man-made reef balls, statues, natural reefs and colorful fish.
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Where to stay in Nassau, Bahamas
Margaritaville Downtown Nassau
Embrace the island spirit at Margaritaville Downtown Nassau, located in the heart of the vibrant Bahamian capital.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
From pristine waters to authentic Bahamian service, this beachfront Bahamas resort provides stunning golf and tennis facilities, eight pools, water sports like snorkeling and kayaking, and a unique wildlife sanctuary.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.
The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas
Elegant Bahamas hotel known for its distinguished guests featuring Balinese-style spa villas, Ocean Club Golf Course, Martini Bar and Lounge for a nightcap and a classic tiered garden.
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Things to do in Nassau, Bahamas
This destination is on the west side of New Providence Island on Nassau, on the Southwest Road. We traveled by cruise, therefore, we had to arrange round-trip transportation to the site and back to the terminal. We found a few taxi drivers once we arrived in Nassau and requested to visit Ocean Atlas at Clifton Heritage National Park. All of the taxi drivers are locals, so they are aware of what you are requesting. We also requested that the driver pick us up at 2:00pm to return to the terminal because the cruise ship departed at 5:00pm. This was also not a cruise-related excursion. Therefore, one should be wary of how much time they have. The taxi was $120 round-trip.
I brought my own snorkel gear, so there was no need to rent any. A $10 fee is required to explore the Coral Reef Garden at the Clifton Heritage National Park Gift Shop & Museum, located near the main parking lot.
The Gift Shop employees will give you a band for your wrist once you pay the required fee, and will explain where to find the Coral Reef Statue Garden. It is located down the road (walking distance) near the beach area.
The site will have many signs stating that the area is the Coral Reef Statue Garden.
Once you reach the site, if you look out into the water, you will notice there is a flag and a circle of surface buoys. This marks where the statue is located. On your way out to the big statue, you should see other statues.
If you’re not a strong swimmer, I highly suggest taking a life jacket and/or renting a board as the swim out to the statue is not for the faint of heart. It’s about a 50-80 yard swim out to the statue and the drop-off starts about 7 steps out into the water.
This is a very rare sighting, and not many people can say they have explored the Coral Reef Statue Garden.
Altogether, I spent $140 for the day on the excursion and taxi ride. However, I had a very unique and private snorkeling experience.
Jaws Beach is a small walking distance from the park and is one of the clearest beaches on the island and offers an array of sea life.
Places to eat & drink in Nassau, Bahamas
I highly recommend eating breakfast on the cruise ship before you leave for the park.
I bought snacks at the Gift Shop after I finished snorkeling at the park. I waited until I boarded the cruise ship again to eat lunch. However, if you’re not someone that can eat snacks to hold you off until you get back, then I suggest buying a small meal to-go. Unless you would like to eat lunch in town.
The Picnic Brunch - this restaurant is located right in front of the terminals and offers a variety of international cuisines.
Athena Cafe - this restaurant is very close to the Picnic Brunch and is known for its Greek cuisine.
Senor Frog’s - once you exit the ship, if you take a right down Woodes Rodgers Walk, you can locate this restaurant that offers Mexican cuisine. This restaurant is located closer to the water than others and has very vibrant colors.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Elizabeth Kaczka's guide, A Romantic Relaxing Guide to the Bahamas
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Bahamas.