Nassau is the main international travel hub for the Bahamas, and while Freeport, the Exumas, and other Bahamian destinations have their own airports, Lynden Pindling International Airport is by far the largest and busiest.
The Nassau airport terminal is modern, air-conditioned, and handicapped-accessible; a recent redevelopment project has transformed this facility from an unpleasant eyesore into one of the Caribbean's best airports. Arriving passengers are greeted with music from a live band while waiting to clear local immigration and customs and, often, a chatty pirate as well (Nassau was once a notorious pirates' haven, and was burned to the ground in the 18th century as a result).
Amenities include ample dining choices, duty-free and souvenir shopping, and a bright food court with indoor and outdoor seating.
Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Located on the western end of New Providence Island, Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) is about 20 minutes from downtown Nassau (when there's no traffic, anyway) and very convenient to the hotels on Cable Beach, including the new Baha Mar development. Paradise Island is a bit further away–about half an hour drive by taxi or rental car.
Know Before You Go
Nassau is one of the few Caribbean airports where you pre-clear U.S. Customs before you depart. The modern, new Customs area includes 20 automated, passport-reading kiosks as well as 15 manned Customs booths, and on a quiet day, most travelers will cruise through in moments. Still, this can be a very busy airport, so departing visitors are advised to arrive at the airport three hours early in order to safely negotiate check-in, security, and Customs.
All airport gates are located in a single building, with A, B, and C terminals dedicated to U.S. Departures, International & U.S. Arrivals, and International & Domestic Departures, respectively. Signs boast that no gate is more than a five-minute walk from the central hub.
Nassau has some of the best airlifts in the Caribbean, with 22 airlines currently providing service. Major carriers include: Air Canada, Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines, BahamasAir, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Cubana, Delta Airlines, Flamingo Air, InterCaribbean, jetBlue, LeAir, Pineapple Air, Sky Bahamas, Silver Airways, Southern Air, Southwest Airlines, Sunwing, United, Western Air, and WestJet.
The airport in Nassau offers both short-term and long-term parking. Short term parking is considered anything from 30 minutes to two days. After two days, it's considered long term parking. Rates can be found on the airport website.
The massive Baha Mar development has helped the spur construction of an excellent new four-lane roadway system on the western end of New Providence Island, vastly improving connections between the airport, Cable Beach, and downtown Nassau. That said, driving through the heart of Nassau can be a slow journey, especially when cruise ships are in town (which is almost always) and the streets are jammed with thousands of pedestrians, cabs, and buses.
From downtown Nassau, Cable Beach, or New Providence, follow John F. Kennedy Drive until you reach the airport, where you can take the roundabout onto to Coral Harbour Road. From Coral Harbour Beach, follow Coral Harbour Road until you reach the airport.
Public Transportation and Taxis
Taxis, shuttle buses, and local buses provide a variety of ground transportation options for Nassau visitors. Customer service is another area of vast improvement at the airport, with friendly and informative transport officials on hand to guide arriving visitors swiftly to cabs, buses, and other ground transportation.
There are no public buses that serve the airport, but Majestic Tours and other local companies offer shared bus transfers to local hotels that will cost you somewhat less than a taxi. Nassau's colorful and cheap system of jitney buses, unfortunately, do not serve the airport but are a great option for daytime travel between the major hotel districts and downtown.
Where to Eat and Drink
Dining options include a food court with a Wendy's, Quiznos, Parma Pizza, TCBY, and a sushi restaurant. If you're looking for coffee or sweet treat, you'll find both Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks. For a stronger drink, you can pull up a chair at one of the airport's two full-service bars: Rhum Runners or Bootlegger's Bar.
Nassau's Graycliff hotel operates a very nice VIP lounge, with access available to hotel guests and customers who purchase a certain amount in the adjoining Graycliff shop (selling branded cigars, chocolates, high-end liquor, and other gifts), or for a fee. It is located in the U.S. Departures area near Gate C-41. The lounge also is the only place inside the airport where smoking is allowed. However, the smoking area is separate from the rest of the lounge. It is also available for members of airport lounge programs like Priority Pass and Diners Club Card.
In the International & Domestic departures area, you can pay for admission to The Lignum Club Lounge. Although, access is complimentary to members of lounge loyalty programs. This modern lounge offers an open bar, refreshments, and a business center. The entrance is located near the food court.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Unlimited free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport. There are a few wall outlets where you could plug in and charge your devices, but no dedicated charging stations.
Airport Tips and Tidbits
The airport has a few special amenities, like two outdoor patios located both in the U.S. and International & Domestic Departures areas. These are great for enjoying some last-minute sunshine before your flight. Each area also has a play zone for children and other services, like the post office, nurse station, and ATMs can be found near the check-in area.