Nassau, the Bahamas

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THE BAHAMAS have long drawn contented visitors — from the Arawak Indians in the ninth century to the Spanish in the 15th to Blackbeard, who in the early 18th century turned New Providence Island, site of Nassau, into a pirate paradise of drinking and prostitution. The real glitz came in the 1960s when a revolution in Cuba diverted tourists from Havana to Nassau, which quickly became the region's tourist hot spot. But the capital of the Bahamas has lost its destination status in recent years, relegated to a port of call for cruise ship passengers or an island hop on the way to more remote outposts. Yet treating it as a humdrum stopover means missing out on a blend of cosmopolitan and uniquely Bahamian experiences.