Nurse Shark in Exumas, The Bahamas
Nurse Shark in Exumas, The Bahamas

Sharks in Exuma

Nurse shark off the stern of a sailboat in The Bahamas.
Photo by Ryan Geller

BAHAMAS

Carribean

Bahamas Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Nassau

Location:

chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba

Currency:

Bahamian dollars (BSD)

Area:

13,880 sq km

Population:

352,655 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

Religion:

Protestant 69.9% (includes Baptist 34.9%, Anglican 13.7%, Pentecostal 8.9% Seventh Day Adventist 4.4%, Methodist 3.6%, Church of God 1.9%, Brethren 1.6%, other Protestant .9%), Roman Catholic 12%, other Christian 13% (includes Jehovah's Witness 1.1%), other 0.6%, none 1.9%, unspecified 2.6% (2010 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC-5

Tel Code:

+1242

Weather

Climate

The Bahamas have a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The temperature typically ranges from the low 70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit. The rainy season is from May to October, with the most rainfall occurring in September and October.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Bahamas is from December to April, when the weather is dry and pleasant. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and more crowded beaches. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons in May and November, when the weather is still warm but there are fewer tourists.

Transportation

Air Travel

The most common way to get to the Bahamas is by air, with several major airlines offering flights to the Bahamas from major airports in the United States and Canada. There are several airports in the Bahamas, including Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau and Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport.

Ferry

Another option for traveling to the Bahamas is by ferry. A few companies offer ferry service between the Bahamas and Florida, with departure points in cities like Miami and West Palm Beach.

Boat

If you have your own boat, the Bahamas are easy to reach by water. Many marinas in Florida offer boat storage and maintenance services, and the Bahamas are a popular destination for boaters.

Taxi and Bus

Once you are in the Bahamas, taxis and buses are the most common form of transportation. Taxis are readily available at airports and major tourist areas, and buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around on the larger islands.

Car Rental

Car rental is also an option for getting around in the Bahamas, but it is not as common as taxis or buses. Car rental companies are available in the major tourist areas, but you will need to be over 25 years of age and have a valid driver's license.

Accommodation

Hotels

The Bahamas offer a wide variety of hotel options for visitors, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly properties. Some popular hotel chains with properties in the Bahamas include Atlantis, Sandals, and Breezes. Many hotels in the Bahamas are all-inclusive, which can be a great option for those looking for a stress-free vacation.

Vacation Rentals

Another popular option for accommodation in the Bahamas is a vacation rental. This can be a great option for those traveling with a large group or looking for more privacy. Vacation rentals can range from apartments and condos to private villas. Popular platforms for finding vacation rentals in the Bahamas include Airbnb and VRBO.

Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts

Another option for accommodation in the Bahamas are guesthouses and bed & breakfasts. These types of properties can offer a more authentic and intimate experience compared to hotels, and often feature locally-owned and operated.

Camping

Bahamas have no official campground, but you can find a few RV parks and campgrounds. However, camping is not a common option in the Bahamas and it is not something you would find easily, but if you are looking for a unique experience and willing to do it, you can contact tour operators that provide camping experiences in specific islands.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

Things to Do

The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Florida. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes, the Bahamas is a popular destination for tourists looking for relaxation and adventure. With a wide variety of activities and attractions, the Bahamas has something to offer for every type of traveler.

1. Visit Nassau

Nassau, the capital and largest city of the Bahamas, is a must-see destination. With its vibrant colonial architecture, charming streets, and rich history, Nassau is a great place to explore. Some of the top attractions in Nassau include the Queen's Staircase, the Pirates of Nassau Museum, and Fort Charlotte.

2. Explore the beaches

The Bahamas is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty to choose from. Some of the most popular beaches in the Bahamas include Cable Beach, Cabbage Beach, and Love Beach.

3. Swim with the pigs

One of the most unique experiences in the Bahamas is swimming with the pigs in Exuma. These friendly pigs are known to swim out to boats in search of food and will happily swim with visitors.

4. Go snorkeling or diving

The Bahamas is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the world. The clear waters and diverse marine life make it a popular destination for diving enthusiasts.

5. Visit Andros Island

Andros Island is the largest of the Bahamas' islands and is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the famous Blue Holes. The island is also home to the Andros Barrier Reef, the third-largest barrier reef in the world.

6. Take a catamaran tour

A catamaran tour is a great way to explore the Bahamas' crystal-clear waters and see the beautiful islands from the perspective of the sea.

7. Visit the Straw Market

The Straw Market in Nassau is a great place to shop for souvenirs and local crafts. It's a bustling market filled with vendors selling everything from handmade baskets to jewelry.

8. Visit the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Centre

The Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Centre is home to a variety of exotic animals, including parrots, flamingos, and iguanas. The zoo also has a conservation program dedicated to the protection and breeding of endangered species.

9. Take a day trip to the Exuma Cays

The Exuma Cays are a chain of 365 small islands located just southeast of Nassau. The Exuma Cays, spanning over 100,000 acres of ocean, islands, blue holes, coral reefs and estuaries, was the first land and sea park established in the world. It is also the oldest national park in The Bahamas.

10. Visit the Clifton Heritage National Park

The Clifton Heritage National Park is a beautiful protected area located on the western end of New Providence Island. The park offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the Bahamas and the enslaved people who once lived and worked on the property. Visitors can explore the remains of the Clifton Plantation, which was once one of the largest cotton plantations in the Bahamas, as well as the slave village and other historic structures.

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