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Nassau Holidays Overview
Nassau is the largest city and the capital of the Bahamas. This island chain of 700 islands and over 2,000 keys was encountered by Christopher Columbus on his 1492 voyage. In the 1600s, this became a haven for pirates such as Blackbeard. Early in the 18th Century, the British imposed a strict policy to expel the pirates. After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, the casinos here anchored the new Caribbean paradise for the US jet setting crowd. It continued under British rule until independence until 1973.
Nassau is on New Providence Islandís northeast coast. This island, and the chain itís part of, lie east of Miami and north of eastern Cuba. By footbridge, the city connects to Paradise Island. These 2 islands are home to roughly 200,000 inhabitants, 2/3 of the population of the country. Local currency is pegged to the US dollar. US currency can be used freely. Day time temperature averages 21 degrees Celsius in winter and 26 degrees in summer.
The main downtown streets are filled with stores as well as nightclubs. While there are numerous restaurants of varied cuisines they are not on the main thoroughfares as much as smaller streets. Paradise Island is also home to many of the more upscale eateries. Drinking local rum drinks, enjoying the beaches and water sports are the most popular activities for visitors. The economy here is driven by tourism. Buses run here until 7 PM, taxi boats as well as land taxis provide transport here.
People looking for slightly more value for their money and less crowded beaches should head out to the smaller and more remote islands. Banking facilities off of the main islands are few and far between. Accommodations from December through April can sell out. Reservations for this time of year should be made in advance. In the remaining months, discount rates are often available.
Local culture is a mix of African and European heritage. A variety of folk art forms are prevalent as well as local music, Junkanoo, which has a distinctly afro-Caribbean flavor. Local culture maintains a strong repertoire of natural medicines based in the traditional knowledge of plants passed down for generations.
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holidays - Top Events
The Annual Bahamas International Film Festival is a yearly event since 2004. The event is held in the winter for 1 week. Numerous panel discussions are held as well as award ceremonies and film screenings. (http://www.bintlfilmfest.com/)
The Annual Bahamas Arts Festival occurs in the fall. It began in the late 1990s as a trade festival to promote local artwork and crafts. It is a 2-day event organized by the national government. (http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb2/home.nsf/vContentW/GOV--Other--BahamArt+Festival+2009/$FILE/Application%20for%20BahamArts%20Festival%202009%20Cable%20Bahamas.pdf)
The Junakanoo Festival is held annually on every Saturday in July. It is a celebration of local music and culture, celebrated on the 6 main islands. Music, dance, food and drink fill the streets. (http://www.bahamas.com/news-announcement/2009/05/junkanoo-summer-festival-2009-moves-downtown-nassau)
The San Salvadorís Discovery Day Festival is held in October for 3 days coinciding with Columbus Day in the US (October 12). This is a national holiday in the Bahamas as well. There is a sloop regatta boat race as well as music, food and dancing at Grahamís Harbour. (http://www.bahamas.com/out-islands/events/san-salvadors-discovery-day-festival)
In early November, the Governorís Harbour Homecoming Festival is held each year. This is another one of the many annual parties celebrated on these islands. The weekend is the culmination with music and games. (http://www.bahamas.com/out-islands/events/san-salvadors-discovery-day-festival)
holidays - How to Get There
American Airlines flies from Sydney (SYD) to this location (NAS) in 22 hours and 34 minutes with 2 stops. Delta's shortest estimated travel time is 40 hours and 40 minutes with 2 lengthy layovers. United Airlines flies here in 37 hours. There is no Embassy or Consulate-General here. Australians can obtain assistance from the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago. (http://www.trinidadandtobago.embassy.gov.au/)