Shopping in Nassau Bahamas

Nassau, New Providence’s most populous city, provides more shopping opportunities than any other city on the islands. Bay Street and the adjoining side streets are jam-packed with everything from local arts and crafts to the very best fashions and perfumes from London, Paris, New York, and Milan. You can spend hours wandering the tiny side streets, browsing the shops, and enjoying snacks and cups of coffee. You’ll find hundreds of unusual bargains and gifts, all at duty-free prices far below those you’ll pay at home. The sample listed below is simply to whet your appetite. The image at left is of some of the shops on Bay Street.

The Best Spots:

The International Bazaar, 95 Bay Street, offers a large selection of swimwear and beach clothing. The Bazaar carries lines by Jag, Just Take Cover, Tonga, Ipanema, and Mashua.
The Big Kahuna, on Bay Street, carries a wide range of brand name tee shirts, sandals, sun-tan products, and Caribbean steel drums.
The Brass & Leather Shops – one is on Charlotte Street and another is in the Mall at Marathon – are specialty shops. They carry lines by such designer companies as Bottega Veneta, Furla, and Pierre Balmain.
Cole’s of Nassau, on Parliament Street, is the place to go for fine fashions and accessories. They carry a wide range of designer dresses for day and evening wear, as well as coordinated sportswear and separates.
Cartier, on Bay Street, is Nassau’s latest attraction for shoppers. There, you can choose from a wide range of items, all carrying the Cartier name: watches, jewelry, fragrances, china, pens, and sunglasses.
Cameo Parfums, on Bay Street opposite the Straw Market, carries a variety of fragrances and skin care products by most of the world’s famous manufacturers.
Bye-Bye Bahamas, on East Street North, is Nassau’s hottest store for casual and sports clothing. High-quality silk screened shirts, pullovers, shorts, bags, kid’s wear and a variety of accessories, are a sample of what’s on sale.
The Burns House, on Bay Street, is the best place for your duty-free liquor at prices as much as 45% off what you pay at home. See page 13 for customs restrictions.

The Straw Market :

Unfortunately, the Straw Market as I knew it, just off Bay Street, is no more. Only a week before terrorists hit the World Trade Center in New York the old Straw Market burned to the ground taking with it the Ministry of Tourism and more than a block of the surrounding buildings and businesses.

It was a microcosm of Bahamian culture, where tiny stalls and cafés crowded together almost on top of another. But no one was hurt in the fire, and the good people who made the old market what it was rallied round and put the whole thing under canvas, while a new Straw Market rises out of the ashes to be better than it was before. So, while the old, bustling little corner of Nassau is now gone, along with its atmosphere, you can still brave the same singsong voices of the vendors and haggle for bargains.

In the Straw Market, even now, the fun of striking a deal is as important to the traders as it is to you. Crafts, clothing, gifts, antiques, collectibles and bric-a-brac of every description are piled high with little or no thought for security or shoplifters. Pick the stuff up, turn it over, and rummage until you find what you want. And then it begins: a laughing, fun-filled session of bantering back and forth over just how much you’ll pay for your prize. You’ll walk away happy, and sure that you’ve struck the bargain of a lifetime, only to turn and see your adversary waving with a smile, and you wonder....


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Getting There:

For visitors arriving by air, the Bahamas are served through Nassau by most US airlines and by international airlines from Canada and Europe, and to a slightly more limited degree through Freeport.

The Out Islands are served mainly by Bahamas Air via connections in Nassau and Freeport.

The Bahamas is also a major destination for the cruise ship industry

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