NOTE: COVID-19 has heavily impacted everything travel-related. Make sure to read my Guide to Coronavirus Travel if you plan to travel at this time.

The Ultimate Travel Guide To The Bahamas

Everything you need to know about visiting The Bahamas
The flag of the Bahamas which is a top destination for travelers in the Caribbean

What To Expect

The Bahamas are one of the best vacation destinations in the Caribbean and the millions of people that come here every year agree.  It is a collection of over 2000 cays (coral reefs) and 700 islands, many of which are privately owned, with endless white sand beaches and clear, turquoise waters.

It is also home to the world-famous pig beach, where a group of about 20 or so pigs are living their best life, as well as the luxurious Atlantis Paradise Island Resort!  Most people stay in all-inclusive resorts near Nassau, Freeport, Great Exuma, or Andros.

The Bahamas also have several natural wonders like Dean’s Blue Hole, Lucayan National Park, and the Andros Great Barrier Reef.

So if you’re looking for a pure vacation with some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, then the Bahamas are right up your alley!

Atlantis which is a top destination for travelers in the Bahamas
The famous Atlantis Paradise Island Resort

Citizens of most developed countries can enter the Bahamas visa-free for up to 3 or 8 months, depending on the country.

If you are not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you have to go to the nearest Bahamian embassy and apply for a Visitor’s Visa to be granted entry (unless you are an Indian citizen with a valid visa for the US, UK, Canada, or the EU OR permanent residency for Canada or the US, in which case you are eligible for a 90 day visa on arrival).

The Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines are recommended, especially if traveling to rural areas.  Also make sure you are up to date on your standard vaccinations and consult a health professional for further advice.

In addition, a Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory if you are traveling to the Bahamas from a country with a risk of YF transmission, including if you only passed through the airport.

The Bahamas which is a top destination for travelers in the Caribbean

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Key Information

Population: 400 Thousand
Capital City: Nassau
Language Spoken: English
Currency: Bahamian Dollar (BSD/$)
State Railway: None
Driving Side: Left

Largest Airports:
1. Nassau (NAS) – Lynden Pindling
2. Freeport (FPO) – Grand Bahama
3. Great Exuma (GGT)
4. Marsh Harbour (MHH) – Leonard M. Thompson
5. North Eleuthera (ELH)

Best Time To Visit

Similar to most islands in the Caribbean, the Bahamas benefits from a tropical climate that keeps the island nice and warm all year round.  However, there are two seasons which you should be aware of: the dry season, which takes place in the winter and spring, and the rainy season which is in summer and autumn.

The best time to visit the Bahamas is during its dry season (December-April) as temperatures are pleasant and the skies typically stay blue.  If you want to escape the crowds and benefit from lower prices, try going in May.

If you plan to travel in the summer or autumn, be aware that it is typically hurricane season, especially in September and October.  And if traveling during the high season, make sure to reserve your transportation and accommodation in advance to avoid sold-out tickets and fully-booked rooms.

High Season: December – April
Low Season: August – October

Top 5 Destinations

The Bahamas
Nassau
The Bahamas
Freeport
The Bahamas
Eleuthera
The Bahamas
Exuma Cay
The Bahamas
Pig Beach

Currency Information

The Bahamas
Photo by: Subash05102001

The currency used in the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar (BSD/$) which is pegged 1:1 to the US Dollar.  The US Dollar is also accepted by 99% of merchants.  

The notes come in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, & $100.  The Dollar is further divided into 100 Cents (¢) and the coins come in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, & 25¢.

Use the currency converter below to determine the latest exchange rate.

Tipping Guide

Tipping is customary in the Bahamas as locals typically earn lower wages and rely on tips to supplement them.  Tips can be given in US Dollars or Bahamian Dollars.  When tipping, here are some guidelines to follow:

Hotel Bellhops: $1-2 per bag
Hotel Housekeepers: $1-2 per day
Restaurant Servers: most restaurants already include a service charge on the bill, but if not, then tip 15% of the total bill (or $1-2 per meal if staying at an all-inclusive resort)
Bartenders: $1-2 per drink
Taxi/Uber Driver: 10-15% of the total fare
Tour Guide: up to 10% of the total tour price on single-day tours and $5-10 USD per day on multi-day tours

Power Outlet Information

The Type A power outlet which is in use in many places around the world
Type A
The Type B power outlet which is in use in many places around the world
Type B

Just like most of the Americas, the Bahamas uses both the Type A and Type B power outlets interchangeably.  Type A plugs can fit in Type B outlets, but not vice versa.

Get your compatible Type A/B adapter here.

The voltage used in the Bahamas is 120V.  Learn more about how this may affect your electronic devices in my Guide to the Top Travel Accessories.

A resort in the Bahamas which is a top destination for travelers in the Caribbean
A typical resort in the Bahamas

Cellphone Information

The Bahamas does have 4G LTE coverage, but it may be spotty in rural areas.  Make sure your phone is GSM-compatible with the primary 3G frequency and at least one of the 4G LTE bands used in the country to ensure you will always have a connection. 

Learn more about this in my Guide to Travel-Ready Phones.

Note: if you’re only staying in a resort, you may not need to worry about this as most resorts have wifi anyways.

Information about local prepaid SIM cards in the Bahamas

Calling Code: +1242
Emergency Number: 911 (Police, Ambulance & Fire)
3G Frequencies Used: 850 (primary) + 1900
4G LTE Bands Used: 13 & 17

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