One of the most common emails I get from readers is asking how to get to Paradise Island when docked in Nassau, Bahamas. A lot of cruisers assume that they need to purchase an island tour or buy a day pass to the Aquaventure waterpark to be able to enjoy the lost city (which is very expensive).
However, it’s as simple as walking off your cruise ship, hopping on a water taxi and enjoying a 20-minute ride over to Paradise Island. This self-guided tour is a perfect sightseeing tour alternative.
If you’re wondering what Paradise Island is, it’s a 685-acre barrier island located just off the coast of Nassau. It’s connected to Nassau by two bridges that cross Nassau Harbor.
Getting to Paradise Island from Nassau Cruise Port
You can purchase tickets on both the Nassau side and the Paradise Island side.
- One Way: $4
- Round Trip: $8
- Cash only, no credit cards are accepted
- Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
For the sake of comparison, the last time I was in Nassau it was $4 per person to take a land taxi from the cruise port to Paradise Island. However, most of the taxi cabs in Nassau don’t have air condition and can get very sweaty, especially during the summer months.
Step by Step
1. When you walk off the cruise ship, exit the terminal and walk towards all the shops along the bayfront. Once you exit the gate turn right, walking towards the straw market.
2. You will be on a sidewalk that goes along the pier. One of the first covered shops along the pier is the building that sells tickets for the water taxi from Nassau, Bahamas to Paradise Island. This kiosk is where you’ll buy your water taxi ticket from one of the employees. This is a cash only system and from past experience, correct change is appreciated.
3. Once the company fills the water taxi, you’ll start your 20-minute journey from the Nassau cruise pier to Paradise Island. There’ll be a guide on the boat that gives you some great insight on the island, the rich and famous that occupy the million dollar homes, and points out other landmarks along the way.
4. The water taxi will drop you off at a pier that is across the street from the Atlantis. The best advice here is to follow the crowd of people heading towards Atlantis because there is only one way to go. It’s hard to miss Atlantis because there are a lot of shops in Marina Village surrounding the property and the hotel towers over you. You’ll be able to see Atlantis from pretty much anywhere on Paradise Island.
Returning to Your Cruise Ship
To return, just head back to the same loading area and wait in line to board the ferry. The ferry schedule is the same returning except the last ferry leaves Paradise Island at 5:30. You can also taxi back to the pier for approximately $10.
Paradise Island Water Taxi Tips:
- The water taxi does not take reservations, it’s first come, first serve.
- There are days when Nassau has over 20,000 cruise guests and crew, so get there early to avoid lines.
- The tour guide will ask for a tip at the end of the voyage. He is not a paid employee of the water taxi company and works on gratuities. If you feel like giving him a couple dollars for his insight, he’ll be greatly appreciative.
- The best views are from the top of the water taxi in the open air. If you do sit up top, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on because there is no shade.
- If you want to take a cab back to the ship, you can pick one up at the entrance to the Atlantis hotel. Depending on traffic, it could be 10 to 30 minutes.
- Someone is usually selling water for $1 per bottle on the water taxi. You can also get frozen drinks and beverages before you board the boat on the Paradise Island side.
Before leaving the ship, make sure you know when your cruise ship is setting sail. Even though it would be a beautiful picture watching your ship sail into the sunset, you don’t want to be the one on the pier taking it!
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