Atlantis is a large resort with a water park just off of Nassau. A destination all in its self, it can be quite expensive to visit and stay. Starting (currently) at $189 a night with a $49.95 resort fee, you have access to the resort perks. This includes use of the water park and fitness center, wifi, coffee and water in room, and casino lessons. This is not an all inclusive resort, but does provide all amenities you may need on vacation.
Atlantis is a popular day destination for cruisers.
The resort offers the water park with dolphin encounter experiences along with beautiful beaches and a natural habitat. A day pass to the water park will cost around $157 a person. A pass to use their beaches costs around $65. Cruising hack inculdes booking a room at the nearby Comfort Inn, which provides free day passes to Atlantis. This will cost you over $300 (2 adults, 2 kids), but can be a savings.
A view from the water taxi
If you are cruising on a budget, those prices may make your heart skip a beat. There is not much (if anything) in Nassau you can do for completely free, unless you enjoy walking around and resisting the locals trying to sell you something.
While we were in Nassau in March, we were on a TIGHT budget. I made a challenge to see how we could spend our day for little to no money. I had heard you can walk around parts of Atlantis for free, so we decided to try that.
Getting there from the cruise port
When you land in Nassau, you may feel overwhelmed. Some days there are up to 6 cruise ships in port and it will feel like a mass exodus to leave the cruise port. Locals will be shouting at you with different excursions.
There are two inexpensive ways to get to Atlantis from the cruise port. For $4 a person, you can take a taxi or the water shuttle over to the island. My plan was to take the water shuttle over to the island. However, when we got out of the terminal, we saw a sign for $4 to Atlantis and were roped into a taxi ride. As accessibility goes, this is your better option as they drop you right off at the door of Atlantis, while the water shuttle requires a 5-10 minute walk. If you really want to take the water shuttle and need directions be sure to be clear. I asked the woman if this was the “$4 shuttle” when I should have clearly said water shuttle.
Next thing we know, we are walking down the streets of Nassau picking up other tourists on the way. We were put in a van and taken over to Atlantis. There is a bridge that connects the main island from the Atlantis Island. Little did we know that there was a $2 toll and has we approached we were told by the driver we needed to come up with the money. We paid a dollar and another couple paid the other dollar.
We did find the water shuttle for our return trip. As I mentioned, it does require a walk. See above for pictures of secret walkway. It can be located behind the toll booth and there is small signage. I really enjoyed the water shuttle. They pack you into a small boat and I do not recommend this option to those who may need extra help to walk or lift their leg up about a foot. There is a tour guide on board that will tell you the history of the islands in a fun manner. He asks for tips at the end and we each gave him a dollar since we enjoyed his information.
What you can see while there
As a tourist and not a guest, you cannot get into the water park or natural habitat area.
There are staff workers who will turn you around if you venture up to an entrance point. However, you can walk the halls of the resort to see the themed decorations. The casino has interesting items. In my opinion, if you have been to Las Vegas, you may be disappointed. There are many water fountains scattered around that provide great photo opportunities.
There is a nice village area with stores and food shops to walk around as well. Some of the windows show parts of the Natural Habitat, but not much. All in all, it was a nice relaxing day and we both got our steps in.