Traveling to the Bahamas: Need to Know Guide
The Bahamas. The world-famous Bahamas. Situated in the Caribbean and an archipelago of the West Indies, this group of islands is an immensely popular holiday destination and it’s no wonder why. Consisting of over 2,000 islands, they spread across 100,000 square miles of some of the world’s clearest waters. The incredible white sand beaches, the warm, welcoming locals, and the wildlife are just some of the reasons people choose to visit the Bahamas and we’ve put together a guide to those who will be visiting us on Grand Bahama Island! We hope you find it useful.
There are countless locations to choose from if you’re considering where to go in The Bahamas for a vacation. The capital of The Bahamas is Nassau and that lies on New Providence Island but with 2,000 other islands to choose from, the list is endless.
At Taste of the Bahamas, we are based just outside of Freeport: the main city on Grand Bahama. The Grand Bahama Island has many attractions including the Garden of the Groves, Taino Beach, Lucaya Beach, and Freeport itself is fun to explore for a day! With Sawyer’s Fresh Market, Port Lucaya Market and Straw Market, it’s the perfect place to wander around, chat to the friendly locals, and of course, indulge in the cuisine! But don’t forget Grum Ma’s House Cultural Center, the hub of Bahamian heritage and artifacts. After a few days exploring the beaches and the markets, take a breather from the other tourists and join us to learn more about the culture and cuisine of our islands!
So, what do you need to know before coming here?
What Is The Weather In The Bahamas?
You’ve seen the pictures. The crystal clear waters, the incredible white sand beaches, the turtles calmly swimming with the palm trees swaying in the background. And it’s not a lie! We’re lucky to be based in such a beautiful part of the world but occasionally, we can have the odd tropical storm or two.
The general climate for The Bahamas is mostly tropical savannah with two distinct seasons: a hot and humid summer followed by a dry winter. The hot rainy season is from May to October and the slightly cooler season is from November to April. Because the islands are so spread out, the average temperature differs from place to place but, generally, July and August being the warmest months at around 28°C (82°F) and the winter (December to March) being around 10°C (50°F).
Is The Bahamas Safe?
We see this question being asked a lot. Like every country in the world: where there are cities, there is crime. So here are a few pointers from us when coming to The Bahamas:
- If you’re planning on taking a tour, we recommend checking with the local official tourist information center to get a list of certified tour operators (don’t worry, you’ll find us on there!)
- When in the bigger towns keep your belongings in a bum bag or fanny pack
- Always take a licenced taxi to a club or restaurant when out and about in the evenings
- Keep any valuable belongings in a locked safe in your accommodation
The local communities on the islands are incredibly welcoming and warm to tourists. As in any new country, it is always best to exercise on the side of caution when you aren’t as familiar with your surroundings.
The Currency & Tipping In The Bahamas
The official currency throughout the country is the Bahamian dollar (B$1). However, US dollars is an accepted currency and if you do decide to pay in US dollars, you will normally get your change in US dollars. The exchange rate fluctuates regularly, so we recommend checking before you arrive.
In regards to tipping, it is generally customary to tip 10-15%, just like in the US. If you feel you have received exceptional service however, it is up to yourself to leave a larger gratuity. Service staff and hotel workers expect to be tipped around the 15% mark with bag porters around $1-$2 per bag. For your hotel cleaning person, around $1 to $3 per day is the customary rate.
What To Pack For The Bahamas
As we mentioned earlier, the Bahamas have two seasons and most choose to come in the hot months to enjoy the refreshing ocean! And we agree, this is the best time to visit The Bahamas. This packing list is general and will vary from traveler to traveler but here are a few must-pack essentials for your vacation to the beautiful Bahamas:
- Passport and a copy of it. We also recommend sending a copy to your personal email.
- Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa. Remember to bring that and make yourself a copy as well.
- Driver’s licence and a copy of your car hire number (if you’re hiring a car)
- All travel insurance documents, plus an emailed copy of it
- Your airplane boarding pass and any other tickets or confirmations of your transport
- All of your chargers for your phone and camera so you don’t miss the chance to get that Instagram-worthy snap!
- A small travel-sized first aid kit
- A day bag or backpack so that you can spend the day out and about without worrying about running back to the hotel for anything
- Suncream! With the heat comes a high UV index and you don’t want a sunburn spoiling your beach bliss
- All of your best beach holiday clothes: you’ll fit right in with tropical shirts, flip flops, and shorts
This is just a basic guide for your Bahamas packing list but we know that everyone has their own packing style. If you’re after more information, get in touch with us and we would be happy to help you out as a Bahamas travel guide. Or check out our offerings to see what you can experience while here!