New Providence (a prime area) is the most populated island of the Bahamas. The country’s capital city of Nassau has one of the best sheltered natural small vessel harbours in the Caribbean.
Because of its proximity to the Florida Strait, New Providence was a major base of pirates preying upon Spanish galleons heavily leaden with gold, silver, and other precious cargo. The island spelled economic prosperity for the nation with the illegal cotton trade during the American Civil War and again the illegal liquor trade during Prohibition.
Today, New Providence is the leading industrial, commercial, communications and tourist centre of the Bahamas. Visitors to New Providence’s beaches, colonial districts and duty-free shops are accommodated by hotels, restaurants, casinos and visitors’ centres in Nassau.
The prosperity of the island has attracted inhabitants from nearby hurricane-ravaged islands in the hopes of finding better employment opportunities. However, as a result of this immigration, New Providence has been experiencing some congestion. Its residents account for two-thirds of the entire Bahamian population of 300,000.
Nassau, Lyford Cay, Port New Providence, Paradise Island, Sandyport, Eastern Road, Old Fort Bay, West Bay Street, Caves Point, Cable Beach, Love Beach
The capital city of Nassau is the centre of trade, industry, communications and tourism of the Bahamas.
Ancient forts, pastel-coloured colonial architecture, duty-free shops, markets, restaurants, bars and casinos are some of Nassau’s attractions. Boating, sailing and fishing are best enjoyed in nearby Paradise Island, which is linked to Nassau by a bridge. It is a wealthy tourist’s haven, with luxurious beaches, elegant hotels, a world-class golf course, and the famous Atlantis Resort. Those looking for a taste of the region’s colonial architecture could visit the colourful residences in East End.
There are a number of residential communities being developed in Nassau. These include Coral Harbour, Adelaide, and Lyford Cay.
The private enclave of Lyford Cay is a 1,000-acre gated community consisting of 300 landscaped estates and the Lyford Cay Club. The latter’s exclusive facilities include a championship golf course, 12 tennis courts, a complete marina, and restaurants. It also has a private school.
Port New Providence
Port New Providence is an affluent gated community in the southeastern tip of New Providence.
Homes in the community consist of lavishly landscaped grand estates and colonial-style homes with patios offering scenic views of the seas and canals. Each property has their own private docks, although the community also has a marina.
Port New Providence is only a short drive from Nassau.
Being the site of the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino, Paradise Island is the most expensive place to stay in the Bahamas. It’s hard to believe that it was once known as Hog Island, a site for farming and hog raising. All this changed when A&P heir Huntington Hartford bought the island for more than $11 million and developed it into a tourist paradise.
Another notable attraction on the island is the Cloisters, a 14th century French monastery that William Randolph Hearst bought from Hartford in the 1960s. Hartford imported the Cloisters stone by stone to its current location at the top of a hill on Paradise Island. It is a very popular site for weddings.
Paradise Island’s luxury hotels and resorts are some of the most expensive places to stay in the Bahamas.
Sandyport is situated along a canal on West Bay Street. Still undergoing development, the community already has 500 canal-front townhouses and family homes, with a children’s playground, tennis courts and swimming pools, and restaurants and shops. Residents shop at the Olde Towne Mall.
Soon to be built in Sandyport is a church, a medical walk-in clinic and additional retail shops. Regular visitors to town include celebrities like Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek.
Eastern Road has some of the oldest and most prestigious waterfront real estate properties in the Bahamas. A number of prominent families, dignitaries and wealthy foreigners reside on Eastern Road.
Colonial houses are painted in bright tropical colours, and have sprawling lawns and tropical gardens that reach down to the sea. Some of the estates have heated pools and private docks.
Eastern Road is close to downtown Nassau, shops, schools and marinas.
Old Fort Bay
The waterfront community of Old Fort Bay is east of Lyford Cay along the northern shore of New Providence.
The community grew around lavish estates, such as the 1920s mansions of Jungle Cove and Cynara and the 1950s Hollywood beach house of Xanadu. It includes the islands of Fincastle, Montagu, and Charlotte, and the pristine Venetian Villas and Club Villas.
Properties on Old Fort Bay are either beachfront or canal-front Venetian villas, colonial estates, or palatial mansions near the beaches.
Among the services in Old Fort Bay are a private marina, concierge services, a clubhouse, and a private Old World-style restaurant.
West Bay Street
West Bay Street is an affluent neighbourhood with ocean-front villas and estates. There are good schools and a marina nearby. The community is easily accessible from downtown Nassau.
Caves Point is a gated community across from Caves Village on West Bay Street. It consists of 67 apartments, with three swimming pools and a gymnasium. It is next to two spectacular white sand beaches and directly across an upscale shopping centre. Caves Point is also near some golf courses and the international airport.
Cable Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas, with crystal-blue waters and a backdrop of stately casuarina trees. It was named after a trans-Atlantic telephone cable that was laid here in 1889, connecting the Bahamas to America at Jupiter, Florida.
Much of Cable Beach is reserved for hotels and private houses, extending west to Sandyport. Two public beaches—Saunders Beach and Goodman Bay—are packed with tourists and locals especially during summer weekends. The area has a number of resorts, casinos, restaurants and shops, and is a popular locale for watersports.
Love Beach is on Stella Maris Island, near the new Port St. George development. It offers beachfront bungalows and luxurious condominiums, each boasting scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the amenities in Love Beach include a giant freshwater swimming pool and a cabana.