Need to know how warm it will be, what the time zone is and how gratuity is handled? Our handy list will give you a little bit of advance information to travel to The Bahamas.
Average air temperatures
A tropical climate maintains even temperatures throughout the year, ranging from 27-32°C (80-89°F) during the humid, summer season of (Jun-Oct) and 21-26°C (69-79°F) in winter (Dec-Mar). Evenings can be cool due to the breeze from shore. The rainy season is considered to be May and June.
Average water temperatures
Temperatures vary ranging from 28°C (82°F) Jun-Oct to 25°C (77°F) Dec-Mar.
Wind and sea
The Bahamas has prevailing warm trade winds that are northerly between 10-15mph throughout the year. Navigation is line of sight, but care is needed for shallow reefs. The tidal range is 3.5 metres.
Lynden Pindling International Airport, Nassau. There are also international airports in some of the Out Islands served by major airports in the United States and Canada.
How to get to the Bahamas from North America
American Airlines, Delta, United, Air Canada and many commercial airlines flying direct to The Bahamas every day from major gateways in the United States and Canada. Ferry services are also offered from Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach in Florida.
How to The Bahamas from within Europe
British Airways flies non-stop through London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Munich, Moscow, Paris, Rome and Zurich.
Travel within The Bahamas to the Out Islands
There are many easy connections to all the Out Islands operated daily by local airlines of Bahamas Air, Southern Air, Flamingo Air to name but a few. Allow at least 1.5 hours to clear Immigration and Customs at Nassau before proceeding to the domestic terminal flights.Private charter flights are also easily accessible from various companies such as Air Flight Charters, Elite Airways, Aztec Airways and Trans Island Airways.
While it is relatively safe in the Out Islands, there is violent crime, mainly in Nassau (New Providence) and the island of Grand Bahama, which includes the city of Freeport. Armed robberies, burglaries, sexual assault, and other violent crimes do take place, along with purse snatches. Tourists should exercise great caution, not walk alone and remain vigilant if visiting these areas.
There are no travel visas required by North American or European visitors to the Bahamas with up to 8 months granted upon arrival. Guests traveling from outside North America or Europe or not holding valid US, Canadian or European passport, must check with their nearest Bahamian Embassy. You require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay.
Vaccinations, insurance and health
It is advisable to check that your tetanus shot is up to date and a certificate of vaccination against tetanus, hepatitis A and B is recommended (but not compulsory) to all travellers. A yellow fever vaccination is compulsory for travellers coming from zones known as infected. There are three government hospitals: Princess Margaret Hospital, Sandilands Rehabilitation Center, and Rand Memorial Hospitals in Nassau and Freeport - Grand Bahama. Medical and dental services can be found in the Out Islands as well as clinics, dispensaries, and a few private practitioners. It is advised to purchase medical and cancellation/interruption insurance when traveling abroad on adventurous holidays.
GMT -5 hours
The currency used in The Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar and its abbreviation is B$. The B$ is pegged to the USD on a 1:1 basis. any business will accept either US or Bahamian currency and many of the businesses that serve tourists have extra US dollars on hand for the convenience of American tourists. There are many ATM machines available for cash withdrawal in Nassau but very few in the Out Islands so be sure to have sufficient cash when leaving Nassau airport.
On shore: 110/220v North American plug so North American can use appliances without an adaptor.
On yacht: Generally, the power supply aboard yachts is 12V DC by cigarette adapter so an AC anywhere cigarette 12 volt inverter device is a handy thing to pack if you wish to charge at all times. Yachts can also offer power from yacht electrical sockets when connected to shore power. The power supply will then be the same as on shore power. Be sure to check device compatibility especially for medical equipment such as CPAP machines.
Supermarkets and markets of varying sizes are found around the islands with the largest found in Nassau, New Providence. Smaller provisioning stores can be found in the Out Islands. For charters boarding in Nassau, a Soloman's supermarket is approx 1.5km from the base on Yamacraw Hill Road. Local farming produce as well as handicraft products can be found in the Out Islands.
Telephone and internet services
The Bahama's country code is +1 242. The main local mobile network providers are BTC and Aliv and local SIM cards can be purchased or roaming from your home provider. Most Bahamian towns and cities are home to at least one a cafe, restaurant or business that offers Wi-Fi either for free or for a fee. If the Wi-Fi is free, it is expected you will patronize that business.
Seafood is a staple in the Bahamas as well as tropical fruits, rice and pork. The national food of the Bahamas is conch which is a small mollusk enjoyed throughout the whole island chain. Most popular is conch chowder, conch fritters or conch salad, all delicious when mixed with local flavours. Rum is the national drink and a good Bahama Mama will go down well with anything as will the local beers of Kalik and Sands which are super refreshing on a hot day! Many speciality dishes are offered in fine dining restaurants all over the region as well as shack type stands and restaurants. Meals vary in price, a lunch ashore could cost USD15 while dinner could be USD30 per person.
Service staff expect to be tipped in the Bahamas. The usual tip for taxi driver or waiter is 15%. Many hotels and restaurants automatically add a 15% gratuity to the bill; if not, a 15% to 20% tip at a restaurant is appropriate.