Travelers looking for a leafy oasis while exploring the capital of the Bahamas will want to head to the Retreat Garden Nassau. With 11 acres of rare palms and lush foliage, flowers, birds, and more, visiting the garden is one of the top things to do in Nassau.
While most travelers might want to head straight for the beach, Nassau is bursting with beauty in many other locations, particularly at the Retreat Garden Nassau. Stretching across 11 acres, the park is home to myriad palm trees, flowers, water features, and birdlife, both migratory and resident. Because of that, anyone wondering what to do in Nassau Bahamas will want to plan a visit.
The site has a history that stretches back to the early 20th century.
In 1925, a colonial civil servant named Arthur Charles Langlois purchased a small home on an 11-acre property. As they restored the gardens after a string of hurricanes passed over the island, they discovered several species of palm trees. This began their collection, which ultimately became one of the largest private palm collections in the world.
Over the next few decades, their collection grew and expanded to other plant life, including cycads and evergreens. They began creating paths and trails through their garden, including around limestone sinkholes, which the locals called banana holes.
After Arthur died in 1977, his wife Margaret proposed that the Bahamas National Trust take over the property to serve as a plant and bird refuge. Today, it’s a public venue that offers opportunities to learn about plants, birds, reptiles, insects, and more.
While it may only be 11 acres, you should set around one to two hours to soak up all of the sites at the Retreat Garden Nassau.
The Retreat Garden Nassau contains one of the most extensive palm collections in the world. Even if you’re not a plant fanatic, that still makes the garden a great answer to anyone wondering what to do in Nassau Bahamas.
With the garden showcasing palms from the Bahamas and the Caribbean, as well as transplanted palms from as far away as Indonesia and Madagascar, you’ll feel like you’re touring the world as you traverse the area.
Since its conception, the garden has expanded to include other types of foliage. Many of the plants displayed are native to the Bahamas, allowing you to imagine what the island looked like before it was developed.
If you’re a bird lover, make sure to bring a pair of binoculars and a good camera to snap some pictures. The Retreat Garden Nassau is home to quite a few feathered friends. At certain points throughout the year, there are even more birds residing in the area.
As is the case with most Nassau destinations, taking a taxi to the Retreat Garden Nassau will be the most comfortable and straightforward way to get there. If you’re in Downtown Nassau or Paradise Island, you can expect a ride of around 10-15 minutes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider hopping on a jitney bus there. You’ll save money and feel like a local navigating the island!
The park is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Once you arrive, you can expect the following entry fees (as of 2023):
Guided tours are also an option, but you need to arrange them before you get to the garden.
Given its small size and downtown location, you don’t have to worry about stumbling through forests or climbing down ravines when you visit the Retreat Garden Bahamas. All of the paths through the garden are clean and easy to follow.
As you make your way around the park, try to keep an eye (and an ear) out for the different species of birds that live there. Some reside there year-round, while others migrate through at different points throughout the year.
While getting a taxi to the Retreat Garden Nassau is easy, getting one back to where you came from can be a challenge. Consider hopping on a local jitney to return to Downtown Nassau. The #11 or #19 buses loop through southeastern parts of Nassau, but ultimately end up by the Nassau Straw Market. Riding either bus is a great way to save money and see more of New Providence.
The Retreat Garden Nassau is a beautiful educational site that anyone passing through New Providence should think about seeing. With its extensive plant collection, the site functions as one of the best things to do in Nassau.
After walking through the garden, you’ll be right in the heart of Nassau. Consider learning about history at Fort Fincastle, sampling rum at John Watling’s Distillery, or grabbing a bite to eat at Arawak Cay.
Nassau is full of attractions that standard tour guides don’t cover. If you’re looking for all of the top destination guides, make sure to check out other posts. You’ll also want to spend some time browsing our interactive travel map.Explore our Nassau Travel Guides