A trip into another country that is not familiar must be carefully planned in advance – everything from flight, to transportation, to accommodations. Remember that accessible standards can be different from your own standards back home. Ask lots of questions when planning your trip abroad to ensure your accessible needs are met.
Nassau is the largest city of the Bahamas, and also serves as the capital. It is a busy port on the Caribbean cruise ship circuit, and is worth a visit. Paradise Island, home to the famous Atlantis Resort and Casino, is a short drive from both the cruise terminal and Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The official language of the Bahamas is English.
The official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
Lynden Pindling International Airport, located west of Nassau, offers convenient access to New Providence Island. Accessible transportation should be arranged before flying into Nassau.
Nassau has a large dock capable of accommodating multiple cruise ships at one time. Shops are situated directly adjacent to the port, and can be accessed without ground transport. However, ground transport is necessary for a visit to Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.
“If you cruise with a mobility scooter there is no problem on the pier. You can get around downtown but watch your curb access areas – there are few and they are not very friendly (steep and narrow). Even though sidewalks do have ramps MOST stores do not. A few the owners are friendly and if asked will bring items out for you to see. Several just acted like they didn’t understand English or ignored me. The open market with stalls is accessible but due to the amount of junk and to the narrowness of the aisles plan on only shopping the center aisle and the outside edge stalls. But then again, all the other aisles have the same junk so the center aisle is more than enough.” Pepper, 5/25/2011
Couteous Transfers and Tours: “There is a company in nassau that caters to disabled passengers also. The name is Courteous Transfers and Tours. They have several accessible vans.” Gerard, 6/13/2010
Taxis are readily available outside of the cruise terminal, and come in the form of cars and small vans. We were unable to find wheelchair accessible taxis equipped with a ramp and chose to leave my electric wheelchair onboard our cruise ship, exchanging it for my manual chair so we could visit Atlantis Resort.
Majestic Tours: Rents a “private handicapped van.”For more details visit the transportation page of their website.
Riu Resort Bahamas: “The Riu Resort Bahamas recently had a multi million dollar renovation. To my disappointment they have eliminated the wheelchair accessible rooms. Before the renovations they had rooms with roll in showers!” Fred, 11/6/2010
Atlantis: Atlantis Hotel located in Paradise Island, a short drive from Nassau, is almost completely wheelchair accessible. Disabled rooms are offered on a limited basis so when booking a room, contact the hotel to verify availability, and to secure the room in advance. According to the hotel, the disabled rooms offered have safety grab bars in the bathroom, lowered sinks, and some of the rooms offer roll in showers. Closets have not been modified (lowered) for accessibility.
Elevators in the hotel are located near staircases for easy access and most public areas at Atlantis are wheelchair accessible. The beach and water slides are not accessible for the visitor who has a mobility impairment.
Bahamas Experience Tours: This company offers tours and has a variety of cars in its fleet, including a wheelchair accessible van with ramp.
Dan Knowles Tours: This company offers sightseeing tours and wheelchair accessible transportation via passenger van with lift gate.
Ardastra Gardens: Ardastra Gardens, is one of the first zoos in the Bahamas, and is home to over 300 animals and to a variety of plant species. The zoo is widely known for its lush gardens, Dancing Flamingo show, and Lory Parrot exhibit. The Lory Parrot show/feeding is wheelchair friendly and participants will get a thrill feeding the many species of Lory Parrots. Ardastra Gardens is about 70% wheelchair accessible, with most pathways accessible. However, patrons should plan ahead as there is not a wheelchair accessible bathroom available at the property.
Junkanoo Parade: The Junkanoo Parade is a Bahamian cultural event that happens twice a year on December 26th (Boxing Day) and January 1st (New Years) from 2AM to 9AM. The parade floats and participants are elaborately decorated in vibrant colored costumes made from only six materials. The dancers and musicians fill the streets with various instruments such as cowbells, drums, horns, scrapers, whistles, and brass instruments. The atmosphere is very high energy and festive. The parade is free, however to get the best view and photo opportunities, tickets can be purchased.
Blue Lagoon Island: “lists the Dolphin Encounter and Observations as being “accessible.” The boat to the island was not accessible in any way, they pushed an orange crate up to a 14-16″ curb which had to be stepped over then on to a rocking boat (no rails) – then they stood there expectantly looking at my husband in his chair. Unless you are traveling with a disabled child whom you can carry – this activity is not accessible (despite their site info).” Tiskismet, 3/5/12
There are two main hospitals located in Nassau that offer a variety of medical services.
Princess Margaret Hospital: Phone: 242 322-2861
Doctors Hospital Phone: 242 302-4600
Bahamas Medical and Surgical Supplies Limited: Rents wheelchairs and beds. The company is located in Nassau and will deliver requested items to a person’s visiting destination or deliver items to a delivery/ mail boat if the customer will be residing at one of the neighboring islands. More info coming soon! Phone: 242 328-5057 Fax: 242 328-5052
Cardinal Mobility: Cardinal Mobility rents both motorized and manual chairs, scooters, walkers, canes, and baby strollers for a fee. To rent equipment, you must call Cardinal Mobility in advance. 242 363-3000 extension 65036. Cardinal Mobility is located at Atlantis Resort.
Paradise Island is some distance from the cruise terminal. If you manage to secure accessible transportation to Atlantis Resort, make sure you are confident you can get back to the port in time for your ship’s departure.
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