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Nassau, Bahamas

By John Sage

Nassau Bahamas Disabled Access Review by John SageA popular destination for both cruise passengers and resort guests, Nassau disabled access is much better than many other Caribbean islands. 

The Bahamas were part of Great Britain until 1973 and remain part of the Commonwealth until today.  Wheelchair access has been influenced by British heritage so it’s better than many Caribbean islands.

The island of New Providence (where Nassau is located) offers many accessible activities for disabled visitors including accessible beaches, accessible pools, and accessible swimming with the dolphins.

I gave Nassau a 4 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because there is a step-free exit to the port and accessible van transportation is available to reach the main attractions on Paradise Island.  It did not get a higher rating because the both the main island and Paradise Island have hills.


View Nassau accessible shore excursions


Best Aspects of Nassau Disabled Access

Wheelchair accessible exit to the Nassau cruise port – If you arrive in Nassau by cruise ship, you’ll arrive at the Nassau cruise terminal.  There is step-free access from the dock (shown in the photo on the left), through the cruise terminal (shown in the photo on the right), and out of the cruise port.

Nassau cruise port Wheelchair accessible


Accessible swim with the dolphins is available – While many of the islands in the Caribbean offer “swim with the dolphins” cruise excursions, Nassau is one that has truly disabled accessible swim with the dolphins options.  Looking for proof?  That’s me getting pulled by two dolphins on the right!

4 5

6Nassau wheelchair accessible van transportation is available – There are only 3 wheelchair accessible vans on the entire island and rarely are all of them operational. 

Additionally, the demand for accessible vans can be huge when cruise ships arrive (on the day we visited there were over 10,000 people on 3 ships). 

If you need a wheelchair accessible van in Nassau (shown in the photo on the left), be sure to book it weeks or months in advance! 

Wheelchair accessible beaches are available – Unlike many other accessible Caribbean vacation destinations, Nassau has truly wheelchair accessible beaches. They have wooden boardwalks that allow wheelchair users to roll into the water.


Communication in English – English is the native language so you will have no problems communicating your accessibility needs.  The Bahamian accent is not nearly as difficult to understand as the Jamaican accent.

Roll-in access at some Atlantis pools – Some of the 12 pools at Atlantis have roll-in access (shown on the left).  Others have stairs leading to them (shown on the right)

Pools at Atlantis Stairs leading


Worst Aspects of Nassau Disabled Access

Hills in Nassau – Nassau is not as flat as some other islands like Key West, Freeport (Bahamas), Grand Turk, and Grand Cayman.  Places like The Queen’s Staircase andFort Fincastle present significant accessibility challenges to disabled visitors.

Paradise Island Steep bridge to Paradise Island – In addition to the steepness of natural features, the bridge from the cruise terminal to Paradise Island is long and high (shown in the photo on the right), and too difficult for a manual wheelchair user to push over it by themselves. The total distance from the cruise dock to Paradise Island is 1.6 miles.

Transportation is needed to reach most major attractions–Unlike St. Maarten, Key West, and San Juan, the cruise dock is not located next to the primary attractions in Nassau.  If you want to swim with the dolphins or hang out at an accessible Nassau beach, you’ll need to book Nassau disabled access transportation to get there.

Long distances in Atlantis– Traveling from one part of the Atlantis resort to another can involve long distances.  For example, the map below shows the 0.9 mile accessible route from The Reef Atlantis Tower to the Beach Tower.

Long distances in Atlantis  

Atlantis shuttle is not accessible – Most guests at Atlantis use the complimentary shuttle to travel the long distances between the 5 hotel towers.  Wheelchair guests won’t be able to do this because it doesn’t have a wheelchair lift or a wheelchair ramp.


View Nassau accessible shore excursions