Top 10 Things To Do In Freeport, Bahamas

More than ten unique things to do and ways to enjoy your vacation in Freeport, the most popular city in the Bahamas.

Want to get away from it all, but still have plenty to see and do during your vacation? Freeport in the Bahamas is a perfect choice.

The Freeport area has a colorful history, including 18th-century piracy, and the city acquired its name as the first area where British slaves were set free. In more modern times, Freeport was famous for smuggling liquor to nearby Miami during the Prohibition era.

Today, Grand Bahama is the fourth-largest island in the Bahamas, and Freeport is its largest and most popular city. Freeport is where you go to relax and soak up the sun. This city has a definitely laid-back feeling, and it's an ideal place to visit after spending time in nearby Nassau.

Freeport is a first-choice for nature lovers; its ecotourism is very popular. Classic golf courses--some dating back to the 1920s--also offer unique appeal to visitors. But, shopping is one of the best reasons to visit Freeport, because your purchases are tax- and duty-free.

1. Goombay Park Straw Market - Almost every major island in the Bahamas and the Caribbean has a Straw Market, and this one is a must-see. Haggle to pay the lowest prices for fabulous local crafts at Freeport's Straw Market; bargaining is an art and part of the of fun at this market!

2. International Bazaar - Get ready for one of the best shopping adventures of your life! Just a short walk from the Straw Market, the Bazaar covers about an acre and features over 100 shops; many offer designer clothing and accessories costing up to 40% less than the best prices you'll find at home. Be sure to visit the jewelry stores, which are famous for their breathtakingly beautiful emerald jewelry. There's no haggling at these shops, but with such low prices--all duty-free--you'll be amazed at how far your dollar will go.

Pause for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack at any of the Bazaar's 13 restaurants. From relaxing cafes to gourmet eateries, you'll find something to suit every taste and budget.

3. Perfume Factory - Imagine a perfect replica of an elegant 19th-century mansion, and some of the richest aromas in the world. Now, what if you could create your own personalized fragrance to take home? Take a free tour of their mixology lab and discover the many ways to combine aromas such as jasmine, ginger, gardenia, and cinnamon. Design your own perfume, name it, bottle it, and take some home. Look for the plum and white mansion at the back of Freeport's International Bazaar, about a block from the Straw Market.

4. Underwater adventures - Whether this is your first or your fiftieth dive, Freeport offers unique underwater opportunities. You can learn to snorkel in pools and shallow water, choose a dolphin encounter, or even dive with the sharks. Many specialized dives include photos or a video of your adventures in the Bahamas' famous blue waters.

If you're not a swimmer, you can see underwater wonders through a glass-bottom boat. Nearby Port Lucaya offers the widest selection of boat tours.

5. Sharks at a safer distance - Make a dinner reservation at Freeport's famous Pier One Restaurant. You can watch shark feeding from your table. Ask about feeding times, and if an outside table is available for close-up views of the sharks.

6. Fish Fry Night - When you're in an area that's famous for fresh seafood, it's a treat to eat where the locals do. Outriggers Native Restaurant at Smith's Point won't look like much from the outside; inside, this popular eatery is immaculate with the freshest and most delicious fish you'll find anywhere in the world. Wednesday night is their famous "Fish Fry Night" and you'll be rubbing elbows with the locals. Try the restaurant's cracked conch, lobster tails or--if you're not fond of fish--order their incredibly juicy, delicious barbecued chicken. Most visitors agree that Fish Fry Night is a must-do treat. It's a unique chance to experience real Bahamian culture and food.

7. Take an island tour - Freeport has just a few historical sights, and most can be seen in an hour or two, but local tour companies combine history, local culture and more for unforgettable experiences. You might choose an off-road adventure that includes lunch on a deserted island and blue-hole snorkeling. Or, set out on a "booze cruise" followed by surf-and-turf dining and a native show. If you'd like to learn more about island ecology and water life, a full-day kayak tour can be fascinating. Ask your hotel to recommend the best tours of the area, to match your schedule and interests.

Next, explore nature on your own. For many visitors, Rand Memorial Nature Centre and Garden of the Groves feature the very best of the Bahamas.

8. Rand Memorial Nature Centre - This 100 acre park is part of the Bahamas National Trust, and it offers the best birding on the island. Along its trails you'll see about 130 varieties of native plants, including magnificent wild orchids. When you arrive at the famous observation deck at Flamingo Pond, you'll be glad that you brought your camera. The birds are vibrantly colored and comfortable with tourists. You'll capture some great photos of whimsical flamingos, thrushes, tanagers, hawks, hummingbirds, and more.

At the center of the park, look for the Lucayan Village. This is a recreation of a chieftain's house and more, to show what life was like when the Lucaya Indians inhabited this beautiful island.

9. Garden of the Groves - Although this is a much smaller park than Rand Memorial Nature Centre, its 12 acres offer many varieties of birds as well as a popular petting zoo. However, one of the best reasons to visit this Freeport park is for a romantic stroll around its botanical gardens, waterfalls, and bridges. You'll soon see why this is a favorite spot for weddings, and for couples who want a memorable setting to renew their wedding vows.

10. One of the best early evening entertainments is the show at the Crowne Plaza Tower hotel, by the Royal Oasis. This free show takes place several nights each week, and features a dramatic tiki torch ceremony accompanied by music, dancing, and a fire show. Call ahead to find out the days and times of this popular attraction. The show takes place at the beach pool, and lasts about 45 minutes.

Then, stroll to the Royal Oasis for an evening of casino gaming and gambling. Amid 28,000 square feet, look for state-of-the-art slot machines, Caribbean stud poker, roulette, baccarat, and more. It's an exciting way to conclude a wonderful vacation in fabulous Freeport.

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