Bahamas Travel

Bahamas – Travel To The Bahamas

bahamas_beach-BeautifulThe Bahamas – The moment your toes touch sand and your gaze meets water, you know you’re in The Islands Of The Bahamas. It’s the comfortable ease, the instant sense of belonging. It’s finding that your departure from everyday life is also your arrival at an extraordinary place within yourself.

Bahamas Country Description

The Bahamas is a developed, English-speaking Caribbean nation composed of hundreds of islands covering a territory approximately the size of California.  Tourism and financial services comprise the two largest sectors of the economy.  Independent from the United Kingdom since 1973, The Bahamas is a Commonwealth nation with more than a century-old democratic tradition.  The capital, Nassau, is located on New Providence Island.

Nassau/Paradise Island

You’ll find our capital city, Nassau on New Providence Island, neighbor to Paradise Island. Offering a distinct blend of international glamour and tropical ease, this unique island pair gives you the freedom to do everything or nothing at all. So, kick back. Enjoy

Grand Bahama Island

You can look forward to a memorable mix of historic charm, modern attractions, and ecological wonders on your visit to Grand Bahama Island. There’s truly something for everyone. The warm welcome you’ll receive is just extra insurance that you’ll return again and again.

The Other Islands In The Bahamas

These hidden gems come in the form of small remote villages and a simple way of life. Here you’ll find some of the world’s most stunning beaches, dive sites, and fishing sites – a welcome surprise if you’re looking for that perfect mix of relaxation and adventure

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Weather In The Bahamas

The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout The Islands of The Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate that varies little year-round. Winter temperatures range from 60°F at night to about 75°F during the afternoon in Nassau/PI. Temperatures tend to be similar all over The Bahamas, but are usually somewhat lower than Nassau/PI in the northerly islands during winter and about five degrees higher in the southern islands in summer months. The most refreshing time is between September and May, when the temperature averages 70-75°F. The rest of the year is a bit warmer with temperatures averaging between 80-90°F. Sea surface temperatures normally vary between 74°F in February and 83°F in August.

Humidity is fairly high, especially in the summer months. Winds are predominantly easterly throughout the year, but with a tendency to become northeasterly from October to April and southeasterly from May to September. Wind speeds are, on average below 10 knots; in winter months, periods of a day to two of north and northeast winds of about 25 knots may occur.

There are more than seven hours of bright sunshine per day in Nassau/PI on average, though periods of a day or two of cloudy weather can occur at any time of year. The length of day (the interval between sunrise and sunset) varies from 10 hours and 35 minutes in late December to 13 hours and 41 minutes in late June.

Rain showers occur any time of the year, but the rainy months are May to October. In Nassau/PI, rainfall averages two inches a month from November to April and six inches a month from May to October. In the northern islands, it is up to 20% more. The southern islands normally receive only half the Nassau/PI total. Rainfall is mainly in the form of heavy showers or thundershowers, which clear quickly.

When To Go To The Bahamas

For warm weather, travel from mid-December to mid-April when temperatures range between 70 and 80, with cool tradewinds keeping the air comfortable. Avoid travel from late May to late November if you’ve got your heart set on balmy beaches and basking in one of the 320 days of sun, since rain and humidity hits the islands during these months. June through November is particularly troublesome, since hurricane season is in full swing.

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The Best Bahamas Beaches

The Out Islands of The Bahamas have the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

Fantasizing about a barefoot-on-the-beach wedding or a second honeymoon stroll along the edge of the sea? Day-dreaming about launching a kayak off the sand and into calm clear water, or finning out to snorkel amid the colorful fish and playful sea turtles? Or perhaps your idea of paradise is simply having the time to settle onto a secluded stretch of warm pink sand during your secluded beach vacation and stare at the ocean until all your stress melts away. Whatever you’re looking for in a beautiful beach vacation, the Out Islands of The Bahamas has a special spot waiting for you.

 Seven hundred Caribbean islands and each one of them surrounded by clear blue water: Is it any wonder that The Bahamas contain some of the most beautiful beaches in the world? The Out Islands’ best beaches rival any that you can find anywhere in the Caribbean—and even better, each comes with the added Out Island attraction of being further from the crowds and closer to nature.

 The range of beautiful beaches in The Bahamas Out Islands is dazzling. Many of the most beautiful Bahama beaches are right out in front of the Out Island’s finest hotels and beach resorts (that’s probably why they built there!). While you’ll come across other stunning strands far away from any sign of development, there are spots where yours are sure to be the only footprints that secluded beach will see all day.

 One of the most memorable experiences you can have in the Out Islands is to have your beach resort pack you a lunch and then direct you to their favorite “secret” secluded Caribbean beaches. Some (especially on Andros, Acklins and Crooked) may not even have an official name, so feel free to call that beautiful beach your own.

Bahamas Beaches

How To Get Around In The Bahamas

Cruise ships heading to the Bahamas typically depart from Florida ports. Discovery Cruise Line runs a daily ferry between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Freeport, Grand Bahama, leaving at 8 a.m. and returning at 10 p.m. Air travelers generally fly into Nassau International Airport or Grand Bahama International Airport, where they may stay or connect to smaller flights to Abacos, Andros, Eleuthera, Exumas and New Providence. Passengers also travel between islands by water taxi or ferry and around the islands by car, golf cart or bicycle rental, according to Lonely Planet.

 

Money In The Bahamas

The Bahamian dollar is one-to-one with the US dollar, so US currency is accepted everywhere. The main islands of Nassau and Grand Bahama offer many commercial banks, ATMs and credit card machines. However, you may have a hard time accessing your funds or paying by credit in the outlying islands. Therefore, Lonely Planet recommends that you bring extra cash for small meals, tips and purchases for the smaller islands and water taxis.

Bahamas Attractions and Things To Do In The Bahamas

If you’re looking for the best excursions in the Bahamas, you’ve come to the right place. Visitors to the Bahamas will no doubt enjoy the splendor of the white sandy beaches, the beauty of its crystal blue waters and its rich abundance of marine life.

The real fun begins when you participate in one of our many fantastic tours and activities offered in Nassau Bahamas and Freeport Bahamas. Whether it’s sailing, scuba diving or relaxing in the sun, there is no shortage of things to do in the Bahamas. We’re confident we have something that will interest every visitor, so we invite you to immerse yourself in these treasures of the Caribbean and explore our Bahamas Tour Center.

 

Bahamas Entry / Exit Requirements

Travel by Air: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport in order to enter or re-enter the United States when travelling by air.  U.S. citizens do not need visas for short trips to The Bahamas for tourist/business purposes. It is important to note that although the Bahamian government only requires proof of citizenship and identity in order to enter The Bahamas, the U.S. government requires that Americans have a valid passport in order to fly home. Most airlines will not permit a U.S. citizen to fly to The Bahamas without a valid U.S. passport and risk getting stranded.

Travel by Sea: Americans may enter the Unites States from The Bahamas by sea using a passport, passport card, or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. Travelers arriving via private watercraft are charged docking fees.

We strongly encourage all American citizen travelers to apply for a U.S. passport or passport card well in advance of anticipated travel.  American citizens can visit the Department of State website or call 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778) for information on how to apply for their passports.

U.S. citizens planning on an extended stay should be prepared to present proof or evidence of financial solvency upon entry to The Bahamas.

 

Safety and Security in the Bahamas

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.

The water sports and scooter rental industries in The Bahamas are not carefully regulated.  Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless, or reckless operation of scooters, jet-skis, and personal watercraft or scuba/snorkeling equipment.  Visitors should rent equipment only from reputable operators, and should insist on sufficient training before using the equipment.  There have been reports that some operators do not actually provide insurance coverage even when the renter opted (and paid) for insurance coverage. Visitors should insist on seeing proof that operators have sufficient medical and liability insurance.

Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment at all times. Engaging in high-risk behavior such as excessive consumption of alcohol can ultimately be dangerous as it greatly increases the vulnerability of an individual to accidents or opportunistic crime. Visitors should not accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers.

 

Crime In The Bahamas

The Bahamas has a high crime rate. New Providence Island in particular has experienced a spike in crime that has adversely affected the traveling public. Pickpocketing and theft remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists. However, there has been a spate of more violent criminal activity in 2009. Three separate groups of tourists were held at gunpoint and robbed at popular tourist sites in and near Nassau; each of these incidents occurred during daylight hours and involved groups of more than eight persons. Several other groups of tourists allegedly were victims of armed robbery at more remote locations.

The U.S. Embassy has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as in casinos, outside hotels, or on cruise ships. In several incidents the victim had reportedly been drugged. The Bahamas has the highest incidence of rape in the Caribbean according to a 2007 United Nations report on crime, violence, and development trends. Much of the violent crime occurs outside of areas frequented by tourists, such as the “over-the-hill” section of Nassau. Two American citizens were murdered in Nassau in 2009, both allegedly in residential areas. Home break-ins, theft, and robbery are not confined to any specific part of the island.

The upsurge in criminal activity has also led to incidents which, while not directed at tourists, could place innocent bystanders at risk. An altercation at a major resort resulted in the shooting of two security officers, while several daytime robberies in Nassau led to exchanges of gunfire on busy streets.

Criminal activity in the outlying family islands does occur, but on a much lesser degree than on New Providence Island. The Embassy has received reports of burglaries and thefts, especially thefts of boats and/or outboard motors on Abaco and Bimini.

The Embassy has not received reports of harassment or hate crimes motivated by race, religion, or citizenship. There have been reports of harassment of persons based on sexual orientation. In addition, women have reported incidents of verbal harassment and unwanted attention.

Counterfeit and pirated goods are available in The Bahamas. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under Bahamian law, even though those laws are not routinely enforced. In addition, bringing such products into the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

Some organized crime activity is believed to occur in The Bahamas, primarily related to the illegal importation and smuggling of illicit drugs or human trafficking. The Bahamas, due to its numerous uninhabited islands and cays, has historically been favored by smugglers and pirates. Most visitors to The Bahamas would not have noticeable interaction with organized crime elements; however, persons who operate their own water craft or air craft should be alert to the possibility of encountering similar vessels operated by smugglers engaged in illicit activities on the open seas or air space in or near The Bahamas.

Visitors are advised to report crime to the Royal Bahamas Police Force as quickly as possible. Early reports frequently improve the likelihood of identifying and apprehending suspected perpetrators In general, the Royal Bahamian Police Force is responsive to reports of crime and takes the threat of crime against tourists very seriously. However, the police response is sometimes slowed by a lack of resources or by the physical constraints imposed by geography and infrastructure.

 

Criminal Penalties In The Bahamas

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.  Persons violating Bahamian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

 

Customs In The Bahamas

 The Bahamas’ customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or exportation of firearms. U.S. citizens have been arrested and face stiff penalties for entering The Bahamas with firearms or ammunition, including so much as one forgotten bullet lost in a backpack. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Washington or one of the Bahamian consulates in the U.S. for specific information regarding customs requirements.  Tourists who plan to arrive by private boat may seek permission to declare firearms to Bahamian Customs and leave firearms securely on the boat for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas.  Please see our information on Customs Regulations. 

 

Boating/Fishing

Boaters should be aware that long-line fishing in Bahamian waters is illegal.  All long-line fishing gear is required to be stowed below deck while transiting through Bahamian waters.  Fishermen should note that stiff penalties are imposed for catching crawfish (lobster) or other marine life out of season, undersized, or in protected areas.

 

Wildlife In The Bahamas

Hunting of certain types of fowl in The Bahamas requires a special license and may only be done in season.  All other hunting is prohibited in The Bahamas.  A number of endangered and/or protected species reside in The Bahamas.  U.S. citizens should not disturb, harass, or otherwise threaten wildlife, including species that may be huntable in the U.S.  Americans have been arrested and prosecuted in The Bahamas for disturbing and/or hunting animals, including reptiles and birds.  Specific information is available from the Bahamian Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

 

Time-Shares In The Bahamas

U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some time-share sales representatives.  Bahamian law allows time-share purchasers five days to cancel the contract for full reimbursement.  Disputes that arise after that period can be very time-consuming and expensive to resolve through the local legal system.

 

Hurricanes In The Bahamas

The Bahamas, like all countries in the Caribbean basin, is vulnerable to hurricanes.  Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, although hurricanes have been known to occur outside that time period.  Visitors to The Bahamas during hurricane season are advised to familiarize themselves with the Department of State’s preparedness tips and to monitor weather reports closely in order to be prepared for any potential threats.  Be aware that airports and seaports invariably cease operations well before a predicted storm actually arrives, and that seats on most commercial transportation are sold out far in advance. General information about disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Travel To The Bahamas – Travel To Paradise

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