With the Caribbean beckoning, Shay Mitchell embraced her role as Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Adventurist—an all-around adventure adviser and storyteller— and set sail on her ultimate Caribbean adventure. She first stopped in The Bahamas to immerse herself in local culture, taste Bahamian delicacies, and of course, enjoy the natural beauty of the island.
Known as an avid traveler from her #Shaycation videos, Shay was an ideal fit for our first Adventurist, curating her perfect day at each port of call. You can experience her journey to the Caribbean too! From eating conch salad for lunch to learning about local, festive traditions, here’s a look at Shay’s exciting highlights from her journey to The Bahamas:
Cultural Sights, Interesting Bites
The Bahamas is known for its parties, and the island nation’s annual Junkanoo festival is their biggest. To find out more about this colorful, national celebration, Shay visited the Junkanoo Educational Center and got the lowdown on this yearly street parade. She even donned one of the flamboyant, custom-made headdresses worn throughout the festivity and experienced some of the sounds of Junkanoo in a room full of customary instruments, including the traditional drums and cowbells so central to the celebration.
Part of any new cultural experience, of course, is the food. Shay sampled the local flavor at the Fish Fry, where she tried a local delicacy of fresh conch salad—with the main ingredient pulled straight from its shell right before her eyes.
After that, Shay strolled through the Straw Market, a can’t-miss site for local artisan wares, where she talked to some artists while they hand carved statues. You can stroll through this bustling Bahamian bazaar as part of your own Essential Nassau tour, or take in the Junkanoo Experience and other historical and cultural hotspots in a stretch, open-topped Jeep.
True to her motto “expect the unexpected,” Shay didn’t stop there, but dove deeper into what makes Nassau so unique.
At John Watling’s Distillery, named after the famous British pirate, Shay tasted the world-renowned rum—even getting to experience their products while still in the barrel. She also witnessed the distinctive distilling process at the 200-year-old estate, where all bottles are filled, labeled and individually numbered by hand.
Shay later traversed the iconic Queen’s Staircase. This 18th-century, 102-foot wonder is carved out of solid limestone, took 16 years to build and turns out to be, rightfully, one of the most photographed sites in all of Nassau. Once up top, she took in sweeping views of the island from the connected Fort Fincastle Historic Complex, a fort constructed from limestone in 1793 and perched high atop a hill overlooking Nassau harbor.
If you want to immerse yourself further in the culture of The Bahamas, you can take a tour of the Nassau Rum Cake Factory and Fort Montagu, where the crucial Battle of Nassau was fought during the American Revolutionary War.
The Bahamas was an incredible experience for our Adventurist, but she’s not done exploring yet. You can follow her travels on Instagram, and check out more of her journeys with #Shaycation and #ComeSeek. Inspired to plan your own Caribbean escape? Take a look at what’s at your fingertips here, and you can chart your course to this island gem.