What type of travel documents do we
As of January 23, 2007, new
United States government regulations will require all US citizens, adults and
children, to have a valid passport for all international travel by air. The new
rules do not apply to cruise ship travel until 2009.
Do I need to obtain vaccinations prior
to going to The Bahamas?
No, you are not required to
get shots to travel to the Islands of The Bahamas. Due to recent outbreaks of
Tuberculosis and Malaria, however, some people are getting vaccinations anyway.
What time zone is The Bahamas on?
Eastern Standard Time, the
same time zone as New York City, is used on all islands. April to October is
Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with U.S. summer hours.
What language is spoken in The
The official language of The
Islands Of The Bahamas is English, more British than American, and generally
intertwined with a unique Bahamian dialect. Some words from the original Indian
inhabitants, like "cassava" and "guava", have been retained in the language. Due
to the influx of immigrants from Haiti over the past 30 years, there are certain
islands where one can detect a Haitian accent. In areas heavily populated by
Haitian-Bahamians Creole is spoken also.
What is the currency in the The
Bahamas and do I need to exchange my money?
The legal tender is the
Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. Both
U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands.
Some Bahamian currency and coins are are considered novelties and make good
souvenirs such as the square 15¢ coin and the $3.00 bill. Note: The
casinos and most shopkeepers will not exchange currency. If you pay in US
dollars, you will usually get US change. If you pay in Bahamian dollars,
you will get Bahamian currency in return. If you have a large amount of Bahamian
money near the end of your stay it would be wise to exchange it at a local bank,
or your hotel.
What is the appropriate dress code?
Casual summer wear can be worn
during the day, any time of the year, but be sure to bring a jacket or sweater
for cooler evenings from December to February. Most hotels, fine restaurants and
casinos require jackets for men in the evening, especially in cosmopolitan
Nassau and Grand Bahama Island. Though walking the streets in swim trunks in
mid-January might sound irresistible, beach clothing is, for the most part,
considered tacky and inappropriate on the streets of downtown Nassau, in
churches, restaurants and casinos. On the more laid-back Out Islands, dress
codes are more flexible.
What is the weather in The Bahamas?
In the winter we are warmed by
the Gulf Stream and in the summer cooled by the trade winds, giving us a
temperate climate. Consult Bahamas-Travel.info's Weather Page for more details
on our weather.
What kind of sun protection do I need?
It gets hot beneath the
Bahamian sun, so we recommend you come prepared. Be sure to bring strong
protection against the sun:
hats & visors
Whatever you need can be purchased locally if you happen to leave them at home.
Is nude or topless sunbathing allowed?
Generally no, it is not legal
to be nude in public. However those who wish to do so will find that there are
certain unfrequented beaches they may go to and privately sunbathe as they
What is the legal age for drinking and
18 years of age.
What are the banking hours and are
Banks are open Monday through
Thursday from 9:30 a.m. through 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. and on Fridays most banks are
open from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Many banks now offer ATM's that tender
Bahamian dollars however there are a few, located in areas of tourism on the
larger islands, which will advance US currency. ATM's are scarce in the
What taxes will I pay?
Those guests at hotels will
pay a government tax of 4% and a resort levy of 4%. There is also a maid service
charge on the hotel room, usually a few dollars a day, per person. Departure tax
is $15.00 throughout The Bahamas however, in Grand Bahama (Freeport) there is an
additional $3.00 airport security fee for a total of $18.00. Small children are
exempt of the departure tax. There is a fee of $2.00 for motorized vehicles to
cross the Paradise Island Bridge and 25¢ for all others.
How much should I tip?
15% is the acceptable amount
to tip wait staff, taxi drivers and others offering personal services. Many
restaurants automatically add the gratuities to the guest's bill, so be sure and
look to see if the establishment has that policy or has already added the tip to
the bill. If you are uncertain of the policy, or if the charge has been added
erroneously, simply ask your waitperson. For bell boys and porters it is
customary to tip $1.00 per bag.
What about ground transportation?
Buses, rental cars, motor
bikes, bicycles, tour cars and limousines are readily available for hire. Taxis
are accessible from all areas at all times. Jitney buses run from downtown and
Cable Beach in Nassau/Paradise Island and from several depots at Freeport/Lucaya
on Grand Bahama Island at ten minute intervals for 75 cents per ride.
What are driving and walking rules?
British rules apply, so please
drive on the left and watch those roundabouts! Persons entering a roundabout
(traffic circle) must give way to traffic coming from the right that is already
in the roundabout. Visitors may use their home license for up to three months
and may also apply for an international driver's license. Pedestrians should
remember to look right before crossing streets.
What are the laws concerning
possession of illegal drugs?
It is a serious criminal
offense to be in possession of illegal drugs.
Can I camp in The Bahamas?
The Bahamas does not cater to
campers and does not offer any formal camp grounds. It is not advisable to camp
on the beaches. To camp on privately owned property it is required that you
obtain the permission of the land owner.
What is the electrical service?
Our electricity is standard
US, 120 volt AC, 60 hz. American appliances will work just fine.
Can I drink the water?
The tap water is fine for
drinking but most folks prefer bottled water purely based on flavour. A variety
of local and imported water is is readily available for purchase.
What are the business hours?
For shops in Nassau normal
weekday business hours are from 9am to 5pm and on Grand Bahama they tend to vary
but mainly operate from 10am to 6pm. Many businesses make choices to open early
or stay open later. They are usually open the same hours on Saturdays although
some business reduce the open hours. On Sundays nearly all shops are closed but
you may find some straw vendors still open. Grocery stores open at 7:30am and
close at 9:00pm Monday through Saturday and on Sunday most are only open from
7:30am and close at 10:00am.
Is it possible to work in The Bahamas
if I am not a Bahamian citizen?
Generally no. There are
exceptions for those having skills not available from a Bahamian. The employer
must show proof of exhaustive searching for a suitable Bahamian prior to
applying for a work permit for the foreign candidate. Work permits can be costly
and are assessed based on the value of skills. The field of teaching is an area
of need and many teachers enter on work permits. For more detailed information
on working or conducting business in The Bahamas, please visit Bahamas B2B.
How can I send mail from The Bahamas?
If you are sending letters or
postcards from The Islands Of The Bahamas, be sure to use only Bahamian stamps.
Mail travelling to The Out Islands will arrive a bit more slowly than to Nassau
and Grand Bahama Island since it goes by mailboat.
Can I use my cell phone in The
You can purchase a a
"Cybercell" Bahamas Prepaid SIM Card from BTC (The Bahamas Telecommunications
Company). The SIM card, together with a tri-band unlocked GSM cell phone, will
allow you to have a local cell phone number for the Bahamas while paying local
rates - no roaming charges and no service contract. Many shops will unlock your
US cell phone for a small fee and without much of a wait
About 75% of US cell phone
plans have roaming in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Fewer are operational in the
Family Islands. Most other foreign cell phone service plans will not
usually work within The Bahamas.
You can conveniently recharge
your phone (purchase airtime vouchers) at a wide variety of vendors displaying
the Cybercell sign. Ask for the Rockit airtime vouchers at one of these points
of sale which include many gas stations, the post office and local shops.
Note: GSM service is available
only on Grand Bahama and Nassau/New Providence islands. The following
requirements must be met for the phone to work properly: 1900mhz.
How do I make overseas calls from The
You will find that most pay
telephones in The Bahamas have discontinued accepting quarters. To use these pay
phones you require a prepaid phone card issued by BTC (The Bahamas
Telecommunications Company). The cards are readily for sale from vending
machines, many stores and restaurants, and from BTC offices. They come in
denominations starting at $5.00. If you use a pay phone you can access the
following long distance carriers toll free (but you will need the card to
initiate the call). To use your service from The Bahamas or you can simply use a
AT&T Canada Country Direct
Canada Direct (Stentor) 1-800-463-0501
MCI Call USA 1-800-888-8000
Sprint Express 1-800-389-2111
USA Direct 1-800-872-2881 (AT&T)
U.K. Direct 1-800-389-4444
Blocked phones and prepaid
cards: many local phones do not offer long distance service as they lack the
ability to dial beyond seven (7) digits. In this case you may not use the above
800 numbers to access your service without first initiating the call using a
Bahamas Direct Prepaid Card. These cards differ in appearance and usage and must
be purchased from BTC. At the time of purchase you pay the full amount of the
card value (you can choose denomination from $10 and up). The card renders a
local access number that is only seven (7) digits enabling you to place long
distance calls against your Bahamas Prepaid Card or by dialing one of the above
services at the numbers listed.
Please note that the majority
of toll free numbers available in the US, Canada and other locations are usually
not toll free from The Bahamas. This is the choice of the business setting up
the toll free service as they must designate which countries, regions etc. that
they are willing to incur the charges from.