Bahamas
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Practical information Bahamas

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Bahamas : Travel Information before you go!

Area

5358.0 sq. mi

Flights

Between 10 and 12 hours. Nassau is 4,339 mi from London.

Jet Lag

-5 hours in summer, -4 in winter

Population

330,000

Airports

Nassau International Airport is 8 miles from Nassau. Taxi is the best way of getting to Nassau ($16), Paradise Island ($23) or Cable Beach ($23).

Security

Dangers linked to fauna and flora among the 10 species of snake, including the Bahamian boa constrictor and the pygmy boa, none are poisonous. On the other hand, the black widow can be fatal (this spider is recognisable by its black colour and a red mark in the shape of an hourglass on its back). Beware of the millipedes, Cuban tree frogs, and certain stingrays and jellyfish. With the example of the manchineel, some types of trees and ivies are poisonous (avoid contact with the skin).
Crime: although you are in absolutely no danger at all on all the islands of the archipelago, crime has increased at a worrying rate in Nassau, where you are advised not to walk alone at night.

Languages

English and Creole.

Required travel documents for

Your passport must be valid during the length of your stay. A tourist permit, valid for 3 months, will be issued upon arrival. You may be asked to prove justifcation of your return date.

Religion

32% Baptist, 20% Anglican, 19% Roman Catholic, 12% Protestant, 6% Methodist, and 6% Church of Christ.

Currency

The currency in the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar (BSD).
1 = 1.51 BSD.
Travellers cheques and international cards are widely accepted (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.).
On the New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, banks open from 9:30am to 3:00pm, Monday to Thursday, and until 5:00pm on Fridays.

Local transportation

Bus
The jitneys (buses) shuttle between Nassau (from Navy Lion Road), the hotels, Paradise Island, the public beaches, and the residential districts. The trip costs 75 cents and the service continues until 7pm.
Boats
Taxi boats rotate every 20mins between the Prince George jetty in Nassau and Paradise Island. The crossing costs $2. The 'mail boats' serve connections between Paradise Island (leaving from Potter's Cay, under the large bridge) and the Out Islands. Allow for $40 return to Eleuthera and $140 return to Inagua, which is further away. There is a restaurant service on some of the 'mail boats'.
Plane
The company Bahamas Air serves some twenty internal connections on the archipelago, and also flights to Florida and the Turks & Caicos Islands. However, the company is not popular for its punctuality nor its prices, and a private flight can be a better solution for getting on to one of the Out Islands. Take advice from your hotel, which can usually negotiate an air transfer at reasonable prices for you.
Taxis
On New Providence Island, the taxi is the ideal form of transport. Allow for $2.20 minimum, and then around 75 cents/mile. The prices increase according to the number of passengers.
Car
It is easy to hire a car at New Providence from companies such as Avis, Budget and Hertz. You can also hire scooters, shop around for the best price. Driving is on the left, and an international driving licence is recommended.

Health

No vaccine is required. Only visitors arriving from areas contaminated by yellow fever need to have the vaccine. Good health services are available, but are very expensive. Subscribe to good health insurance before leaving. Finally, note that the HIV infection rate is particularly high.

Electricity

Voltage is 120 V. Two-pin plugs, an adaptor is needed.

Taxes and tips

Tips usually given to waiters and taxi drivers represent about 15% of the total amount. Some hotels and restaurants automatically include 15% in their prices. In hotels, a 10% tax (in Nassau and Grand Bahama) or an 8% tax (on the other islands) may be deducted. At the airport, on your way out of the country, you will have to pay a mandatory tax of $15, payable by cash only.

Telephone

From London to the Bahamas: dial 00 1 242 + the 7 numbers of the other party.
From the Bahamas to London: 011 + 44 + 20 + number.

Bahamas : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

The Bahamas Tourist Office
10 Chesterfield Street, London W1J 5JL, UK
Telephone: (020) 7355 0800
Internet: www.bahamas.co.uk
Email: info@bahamas.co.uk

Bahamas High Commission
10 Chesterfield Street, London W1J 5JL, UK
Telephone: (020) 7408 4488

At the destination

British High Commission, Nassau, Bahamas
Postal Address: Ansbacher House (3rd Floor), East Street, PO Box N7516, Nassau
Telephone: (001) (242) 325 7471
Fax: (001) (242) 323 3871
Opening Hours: 1330-1800h and 1900-2130h GMT
British High Commission
British High Commission
P O Box 575
28 Trafalgar Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica

Email PPA.Kingston@fco.gov.uk

Switchboard (001) (876) 936 0700

Facsmile (001) (876) 936 0737

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 8:00am to 4:30pm
Friday: 8:00am to 1:00pm