New Providence may be a mere 7 by 21 miles in size but there's lots of culture and more than 500 years of history to explore. Here are five can't miss sights to see:
1. Arawak Cay: One of the best ways to experience culture is to sample the local cuisine. At Arawak Cay on West Bay Street, you'll find delicious food, refreshing drinks and a truly authentic Bahamian atmosphere. The colorful collection of clapboard buildings house vendors selling a variety of local favorites - conch salad, fresh fish and lobster, local beer and cocktails, to name a few. Locals like to hang out here, too.
2. Historic Charles Towne: Explore this quaint neighborhood just off Bay Street, named in honor of King Charles II of England. The district covers a wide area of downtown, from Nassau Street to the west of Cumberland and Blue Hill Road to the east. Historic buildings and sites line picturesque narrow streets, such as segments of Nassau's first Anglican church, built in 1703, on West hill Street, adjacent to Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant, also one of Nassau's oldest establishments. Other noteworthy sites include the National Art Gallery or the Bahamas, Government House and St Francis Xavier's Cathedral.
3. Pompey Museum: One of the island's most popular museums, the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation tells the story of The Bahamas' slave, abolition and emancipation era through exhibits and displays. The museum was named for Pompey, a brave slave who lived on the Rolle Plantation in Steventon, Exuma. Pompey led a revolt against his slave masters in 1830. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Vendue House, the building in which the museum is housed, was used as a slave marketplace where enslaved Africans were bought and sold until 1834.
4. Queen's Staircase: Another downtown historic gem is the Queen's Staircase, also know as the "66 steps." Located next to the Princess Margaret Hospital, off Shirley Street, this dramatic 102 ft high stet of stairs is cut from solid limestone rock and named for Queen Victoria. There are several versions as to why it was originally built. One is that slaves hand-cut the steps in the 1790s to provide access to a new neighborhood at the top of the hill. No matter what version is correct, Queen's Staircase and its lush surroundings provide a beautiful setting for photographs. It makes for a good workout, too.
5. The Caves: If you're feeling adventurous check out The Caves on the West Bay Street, opposite sparkling turquoise seas and powder white sandy beaches. Known as the "bat caves" among locals, these caves are home to a colony of Buffy Flower Bats, also known as the fruit bat, which are indigenous to The Bahamas. Before you brave the cave, take a photo on the chair made of stone and shells that sits just outside the cave's entrance. According to local lore, the caves may have also been home to Lucayan or Arawak natives centuries ago. It's also said that pirates used the cave to stash their treasure.