Bahamas (New Providence/Nassau) Main

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Nassau, the capital of New Providence island, was a cosmopolitan jet-set playground long before the first jet ever flew. It was a getaway for wealthy Europeans and royalty in the years leading up to World War II, and it hasn't slowed down since.

Today as many as ten cruise ships a day dock at Nassau (as most people call the island), and the Bahamas as a whole play host to more than three million visitors a year. Those looking for peace and quiet, deserted beaches, and world-famous fishing and sailing head to the Out Islands. But those who want action come to Nassau. They flock to Cable Beach and the beaches of Paradise Island for water sports and a lively surfside scene. They hit famed Bay Street for hopping nightlife and luxe duty-free shopping. And they may fit in a stroll among the city's pastel colonial buildings, and perhaps play a round or two of golf.

The culture here is not West Indian but distinctly Bahamian; after all, the island chain lies off Florida in the Atlantic, not the Caribbean. It's a culture with its own cuisine, its own music, and a festival, Junkanoo, that celebrates the unique traditions of these islands.