How far is the Straw Market from the Port in Nassau?

How to get to the Straw Market from the Cruise Ship Dock in Nassau.

This was the number one question I would get asked during my morning desk hours as the Port Shopping Guide.  Working as the Port Shopping Guide during the 3 and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas.  Guests would line up at my desk as the ship docked at Prince George Wharf, Nassau, Bahamas.  This is the most common question I would get asked.
The Straw Market is a short 5-10 min from the ship depending on how far away your ship is docked.  Here is an aerial view of where your ship docks and an arrow pointing to the Straw Market and Bay Street shopping. 

Map of Nassau Cruise Ship Dock and how to get to the Straw Market.

What can you Buy at the Straw Market in Nassau?
You will find market stalls full of handmade Bahamian hand-woven straw bags, hats, mats, dolls, conch shell jewellery, beautiful wood carvings, gifts for yourself, and souvenirs for friends and family back home.  Defnitely buy the local delicacies like tubs of homemade Guava Jelly and refreshments such as frozen cocktails made of fresh fruit.  But nothing prepares you for the energy and excitement in the Straw Market.
You can also find souvenirs made in China and Taiwan very cheap, so it is a great place to bulk buy those souvenirs for back home.  You can find imitation brand-name bags and goods.  Everything in the market is potentially very low prices, so don’t look at the tag price and think it is expensive; start bargaining.  You will find tourists and locals shopping in this bustle of activity amongst the 100s of market stores, with vendors always up for hard negotiations with their buyers.

Straw Market, Nassau, Bahamas.

You can use your US or Bahamian cash here in the market.  Be aware that by paying in USD, you may get your change in Bahamian dollars.  Stick to one currency or the other.  See below for shopping strategy and tactics along with a currency conversion calculator.

What Shops are at the Port in Nassau?

The port area in Nassau typically features a variety of shops and markets where you can find local crafts, souvenirs, jewellery, clothing, and more.  Popular shopping areas near the Nassau port include the Straw Market.  Where you can purchase handmade Bahamian crafts and souvenirs.  The Bay Street Shopping District has a mix of local and international stores.
The Bay Street Shopping District has a mix of local and international stores.  From Souvenirs to fine jewellery and branded watches.  One of the most impressive locations is John Bull a high-end, luxury shopping experience.  John Bull is the authorized dealer for high-end watches and jewellery such as Rolex, David Yurman, Tori Burch, Roberto Coin, Tiffany and Co.

Nassau, Bahamas downtown area.

What you will find in the shops and the Straw Market is that non-branded items may be inflated to accommodate bargaining or negotiation from you.  Use your judgment to assess how much you would be comfortable paying. It is a lot of fun. A good indication of if you have the price they would accept is if you put the item down as if you are walking away.  
It’s important to remember that each market stall owner is a small business owner trying to make a living from the tourists.  They will pay for the stock.  Rent the market stall or shop location and need to make a decent profit for a day’s work.  

Can you Walk around Nassau, Bahamas from the Cruise Port?

Yes you can, you’ll find several streets with shopping areas, bars, and restaurants. Here’s a suggested route:

1. Bay Street: Shopping Extravaganza Begin your journey on Bay Street, the main thoroughfare in Nassau. This bustling street is lined with a mix of local boutiques, international stores, and the iconic Straw Market.  Where you can immerse yourself in Bahamian crafts and souvenirs.
2. Woodes Rogers Walk: Harbor Views Take a turn onto Woodes Rogers Walk for picturesque views of Nassau Harbor. This waterfront promenade offers a pleasant stroll with opportunities to appreciate the beauty of the sea.

Nassau, Bahamas, Harbor view.

3. Charlotte Street: Historic Charm Venture onto Charlotte Street to explore the historic heart of Nassau. Here, you’ll find colonial-style buildings and charming architecture.  Perhaps stumble upon local art galleries and smaller shops.
4. George Street: Culinary Delights As you continue, George Street opens up to a variety of restaurants offering Bahamian and international cuisine. This is a perfect spot to indulge in local flavours and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
5. Nassau’s Famous Fish Fry: A Culinary Adventure For a unique dining experience.  Head to Arawak Cay, known as Nassau’s Famous Fish Fry. This area is a short taxi or walk from the port.  It is home to numerous seafood restaurants serving Bahamian delicacies.
6. West Bay Street: Beachfront Bliss If time permits, venture onto West Bay Street for a beachfront walk. Enjoy the stunning views of Cable Beach and relax in the Bahamian sun.
Navigating these streets will provide you with a delightful blend of shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.  Allowing you to make the most of your time exploring Nassau on foot from the Cruise Port.

Is it Worth Getting off the Boat in Nassau?

For cruisers contemplating whether to disembark in Nassau.  The vibrant capital of the Bahamas.  There are numerous compelling reasons to explore this enchanting destination. Here’s a roundup of the amazing experiences that await those who choose to step off the ship:

Cruise ship docked in Nassau, Bahamas.

1. Rich Bahamian Culture: Nassau offers a captivating immersion into Bahamian culture. From the lively Straw Market, where local artisans showcase their crafts.  To the historic charm of streets like Bay Street and Charlotte Street.  Cruisers can absorb the unique atmosphere and traditions that define Nassau.
2. Unique Shopping Opportunities: Cruise-goers who disembark in Nassau can indulge in a shopping extravaganza. Bay Street is renowned for its eclectic mix of boutiques, international brands, and the iconic Straw Market.  Ensuring a diverse range of souvenirs, jewellery, and Bahamian crafts.
3. Culinary Delights: Nassau is a culinary paradise, offering a delectable array of Bahamian and international cuisine. From the vibrant restaurants along George Street to the famous Fish Fry at Arawak Cay.  Cruisers can savour mouthwatering flavours and immerse themselves in the island’s gastronomic scene.
4. Historical Gems: History buffs will find Nassau fascinating, with its historic sites such as Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase. Exploring these landmarks provides insight into Nassau’s colonial past and architectural beauty.
5. Nassau’s Famous Fish Fry: A visit to Nassau is incomplete without experiencing the Famous Fish Fry at Arawak Cay. This culinary hub is a seafood lover’s paradise.  Offering a chance to taste authentic Bahamian dishes in a lively and vibrant setting.
6. Pristine Beaches and Crystal-Clear Waters: Nassau is surrounded by breathtaking beaches and crystal-clear waters. Cruisers can venture to Cable Beach or take a short excursion to nearby paradises.  Enjoying sun-kissed shores and the soothing sound of the ocean.

Pristine Beach Bahamas.

7. Warm Bahamian Hospitality: One of the most memorable aspects of stepping ashore in Nassau is the warm hospitality of the Bahamian people. From friendly locals to welcoming shopkeepers.  Cruisers will feel the genuine friendliness that characterizes this tropical haven.
Disembarking in Nassau is an opportunity to create lasting memories.  You will find that some Cruisers are looking for cultural immersion, shopping delights, culinary adventures and historical exploration.  Or simply the pleasure of basking in the beauty of the Bahamas. Nassau beckons with open arms, promising a truly unforgettable experience for those who choose to explore beyond the ship’s deck.

Here are some Shopping Strategies and Tactics in the Nassau, Straw Market.

  1. Use all the same currencies; if you start to switch currencies, you will get confused. Use this Currency Converter for exchange rates.  Click here.
  2. Shop early or late for good deals and bargains.   
  3. Take it all in your stride.  It can feel weird being approached by the stall owners.  They are trying to get a sale and you are trying to get the best price for yourself.   The price to pay is the one you are happy with if you are not happy, walk away.   If they come after you with a price or agree to your price, you get a good deal.
  4. They are all trying to make a living. Decide on a $10, $50, $100 + USD budget and support the local economy in Nassau, the Bahamas.  Possibly a 3rd generation Straw Market trader.  If the market stall owner isn’t busy, chat, ask their name, and how long you have been there.
  5. Ask for a picture with the market trader you just purchased from.  One thing about shopping in the Caribbean is the memories.  Every time you look at your souvenirs, you will remember the moment of the person who sold them to you. Please take a photo of you with them (with their permission) and cherish it.   Next time you visit, go and see them, they will be there and guess what they will remember you.
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