If ever there was a destination made for diving then Nassau / Paradise Island is surely it. Dive below the year-round crystal clear warm waters and discover incredible walls and reefs, soaring drop-offs close to shore, caves and blue holes, historical and artificial wrecks, and thrilling shark dives. There is something here for all kinds of diver and a diverse array of marine life including all manner of sharks including reef sharks, silkies and hammerheads, dolphins, turtles, masses of schooling reef fish, and the famous Nassau Grouper, national fish of the Bahamas.
Regaldive’s partner in Nassau is the renowned diving pioneer Stuart Cove who operates a two tank morning and two tank afternoon dive programme. The first dive is usually a wall dive, followed by a second shallower reef or wreck dive.
The aptly-named Shark Wall starts around 10m and drops away thousands of metres below. This is a thrilling dive with Caribbean reef sharks, stingrays, plenty of Nassau and black groupers, eagle rays, lobster and green-eyed morays lurking on rocky ledges. The wall is covered in spectacularly colourful corals including a large variety of purple tube sponges.
The most famous wreck dives in Nassau are the James Bond Wrecks which rest in a sandy bowl surrounded by a variety of soft and hard corals at a maximum of 15m. Divers will delight in reliving Sean Connery’s adventure as 007 in Never Say Never Again by exploring the remains of the 27m freighter Tears of Allah, and the film prop Vulcan bomber from Thunderball. Spreading gorgonians, colourful sponge growth and lots of fish make these wrecks a photographer's dream. Thousands of tiny silversides have made the wrecks their home, alongside parrotfish, snappers and occasional stingrays and nurse sharks.
Another famous wreck dive site is that of the former island mail boat, the Willaurie, which was sunk in Nassau's harbour in 1988 and subsequently raised and sunk again. Now lying at a depth of 70ft, her steel framework is coated in red and orange corals and sponges which make her exceptionally colourful. Schools of master fish, snapper and grouper are usually found here alongside turtles and conch. This is also a popular site with macro lovers who can hunt out tiny shrimps, file clams and arrow crabs.
Shark Adventure Programme
Most divers visiting Nassau will want to dive with sharks and Stuart Cove’s Shark Adventure™ is a special two-tank dive program which introduces thrill seeking divers to wild sharks and provides you with a close up look at these magnificent creatures. Dives are undertaken on a combination of famous dive sites: either Shark Wall and the Arena, or Runway Wall and the Runway. At either location, close encounters with Caribbean Reef Sharks are consistent.
The first dive comprises a free swim with sharks on a magnificent wall dive. No bait is exposed on this dive although the sharks congregate here as they know what is coming next. The second ‘shark feeding’ dive is spent kneeling on the sandy bottom in front of a professional shark feeder who releases food from a bait box in a controlled way. The sharks swim very close to the divers and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to observe sharks in such close proximity. Many divers choose to complete a Shark Awareness Specialty here.
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas is the largest full service dive operator on the island of New Providence and a PADI Five-Star, Universal Referral, and SSI training facility. Based on the southwest of the island close to the major dive sites, Stuart Cove has a fleet of eight boats and is still owned and operated by well-known underwater film pioneers Stuart and Michelle Cove. The dive centre has been used in numerous film and TV shows but is a fully operational diving facility with an emphasis on providing excellence of customer service.
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas facility offers a state of the art digital classroom and one of the Caribbean’s leading underwater photo centres. There is plenty of storage and rinsing space, as well as a full service equipment rental department and retail boutique for dive accessories and souvenirs.
Boat diving is offered on a two-tank basis and guests can opt to dive in the morning, afternoon or full day (four dives). Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas has a full training programme and offers the very latest PADI courses and a variety of specialities to satisfy every diver’s need.
- Upgrade to 4 dives per day: £62 per day
- Night dive: £59
- Shark Adventure (PM: free swim and feeding dives): £117
- 32% Nitrox Tank: $15 per tank
- 36% Nitrox Tank: $15 per tank
- Unlimited Nitrox: $25 per day (32% or 36%)
With great all year round diving conditions, the Bahamas is ideal for those looking for diverse diving and especially shark dives. Combine excellent diving and snorkelling with relaxing on beautiful beaches and a variety of tourist and historical attractions topside.
The main islands of the Bahamas are well-established as tourist destinations. Taxis are readily available and you can phone a taxi, flag one down on the street or stroll along to the taxi stands conveniently located at most large hotels and at airports throughout the islands.
Most Regaldive guests will not need to hire a car but if required, British rules apply. Driving in the Bahamas is just like driving at home, but with less traffic! Visitors may use their UK licences for up to three months and may also apply for an international driving licence. The minimum age for driving a hire car in the Bahamas is 25. Note: driving is on the left but most cars are left-hand drive!
The main islands are connected by inter-island air services and Bahamas Fast Ferries provides high-speed transportation from Nassau to Harbour Island and Eleuthera. There are many well established tour agents that can arrange excursions to the island’s wealth of cultural attractions.
The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout the Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate which hardly varies all year round. The most refreshing time to explore is between September and May, when the temperature averages 21-24°C.The rest of the year is a bit warmer, with higher humidity and rain in the summer months and temperatures between 27 and 29°C.
Peak season is from mid-December through to mid-April when the days are mild and dry. Hurricanes have been known to occur during the year from June to November.
Water Temperature and Underwater Visibility
Water temperature tends to mirror air temperature ranging from 22- 28°C. Visibility is generally excellent all year round and in excess of 20-30m is the norm. Even in the rainy season the water is generally clear as there is virtually no runoff from the land. A 3-5mm wetsuit is generally advised.
The Bahamas is 5 hours behind GMT.
The legal tender throughout the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar (B$), which is on par with the US dollar. Though The Bahamas mints and circulates its own legal tender, both US and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands. ATMs are available throughout the islands and Credit Cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
English is the official language of the Bahamas and most locals speak Bahamian English, the islands' dialect.
Telephone and Internet
4G is available throughout the islands and many hotels and resorts provide Wi-Fi for guests.
Over the centuries, each new population that has settled in the Bahamas, with their different backgrounds, traditions and beliefs, has shaped Bahamian culture into the unique, colourful patchwork of life and lifestyles that it is today.
The islands of the Bahamas gained independence from Great Britain on 10 July 1973, which is celebrated as Bahamian Independence Day. As a member of the British Commonwealth, the Bahamas has a symbolic link to Great Britain and there is even a Changing of the Guards ceremony which takes place at Government House in Nassau every two weeks. Other events include the world famous Junkanoo carnivals.
Nassau boasts excellent shopping, casinos, golf, museums, historical forts and nightlife whilst the pace on Grand Bahama is a little less frenetic. Find a spot to relax on pristine beaches, explore tropical gardens or get closer to nature in the incredible national parks.
British Airways flies from London to Nassau airport (Sir Lynden Pindling International - NAS) five times a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The direct flight takes nine hours. Airports on other islands can be reached via cities in the USA such as Miami and Orlando.
Bahamasair offers seven flights daily from Nassau to Grand Bahama Island.
Departure tax: $15.00 throughout The Bahamas.
In Grand Bahama (Freeport) there is an additional $3.00 airport security fee for a total of $18.00.
Transfers: Nassau Hotels - between 5-25 minutes to / from the airport.
Twin centre: The Bahamas makes an ideal twin centre destination and you can combine a land-based holiday with a liveaboard for the ultimate dive holiday. Please ask one of our sales executives for more information.
Passports & Visas
Passengers travelling to the Bahamas must have six months valid on their passport from the date of entry into the Bahamas. British passport holders visiting the Bahamas as a tourist do not need a visa, but you do need to complete an immigration card on arrival.
Note: If you are travelling to the Bahamas via the US, even if you are only transiting, you must check the US entry requirements. If you do not have the correct authorisation you will not be allowed to travel to or transit through the US.
Guests should note that you may well be asked for proof of an exit or onward ticket and of sufficient funds to finance your stay ($200 / day) upon arrival in the country.
There are no compulsory vaccinations, but we recommend protection against tetanus and hepatitis A. Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.
Guests should note that proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are travelling from an infected area.
Compass Point Beach Resort
I Had a Wonderful Time and Didn’t Even Notice I Was on My Own!
"Thank you so much for organising and suggesting the Bahamas. I had a wonderful time and didn’t even notice I was on my own.
Compass point is lovely; its quaint, comfortable, friendly and in the best location. I am so glad I didn’t pick the Hilton. Stuarts cove is a seriously organised outfit, and the Shark dive was fantastic.
Just one thing you might want to tell future travellers – the breakfast at compass point starts at 8 am and Stuarts cove collect at 8 am. However, if you ask the night before at reception, they will make you up a breakfast cold box quite happily.
And as for going on my own – I don’t know why I was concerned!
I’m sure I’ll be back in touch reasonably soon to make another booking.
- UK | 16 May 2016