The Bahamas or officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is an island country on the archipelago with the same name. The country consists of over 700 islands. The Bahamas border Cuba and the American state Florida. The capital city is Nassau.
The islands have a tropical climate with trade winds, heavy raining and windstorm from June to October. Winter is the best time for spending the holidays in the Bahamas.
The official language is English. The majority of the population are the Christians.
The most popular beach resorts with well-developed tourist infrastructure are on such islands as the Grand Bahama Island and New Providence Island. These islands will suit the tourists who love city resorts, shopping, gastro and event tourism.
All the other islands which make up the Out Islands are good for people who love country holidays and ecological tourism.
Those who prefer secluded islands and isolated places can have a trip to the sparsely populated Crooked Island. Due to its shallow bay, this island is very popular among those who travel with children.
Any Bahamian resort offers everything you need for diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and kitesurfing but the fans of scuba diving choose the coral reefs near the San Salvador Island and the Great Abaco Island.
Andros Island is the best destination for ecological tourists. In the region of Exuma, one can go kayaking and boating. Those who like speleology should visit the caves on the Eleuthera Island. Go to the Cat Island and Long Island for fishing.
Almost all the islands on the Archipelago can offer interesting sights.
British Airways offers direct flights from London to Nassau. There are transit flights from other EU countries with a stop in Great Britain or the USA. Brussels, Iberia, Bahamasair, American Airlines and United offer transit flights to the Bahamas.
The citizens of CIS countries will also need to take transit flights with one or more stops in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto, New York and Miami. Aeroflot, British Airways, delta, American Airlines, KLM, Air France and Air Canada offer flights from CIS countries.
The tourists can travel to the Bahamas by cruise ships which arrive at Prince George Wharf, the main port of the country in Nassau.
The tourists from the EU countries and from the Russian Federation can travel to the Bahamas visa-free and stay there for three or eight months depending on the citizenship. The tourists just need to have a valid international passport and a return ticket.
The residents of other CIS countries must obtain a visa to travel to the Bahamas in the UK Visa Centers. First, the tourists have to fill in a digital form on the web site of the UK Immigration Service. All the submitted documents must be translated into English.
Apply the documents for a visa, at least, a month before the trip because the time for processing the documents can be as long as three weeks.
The visa is valid for three months.
The customs legislation of the Bahamas does not restrict import and export of the foreign currency.
The tourists can import in the Bahamas duty-free the following goods:
- a limited amount of alcohol and tobacco;
- personal belongings including shoes, clothes and accessories;
- legal goods the total cost of which must not exceed 100 US dollars.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- food of plant and animal origin;
- pets without an international vet certificate and certificate of vaccination against canine rabies issued, at least, 24 hours before border crossing;
It is prohibited to export:
- local currency exceeding 70 BSD;
foods, poultry and agricultural products without a special permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The basic characteristic of the Bahamian cuisine is plenty of seafood rich in microelements which are beneficial for the health. That is why, Bahamas is one of the main destinations for the wellness tourism. The staple foods are beans, potato, vegetables, fruits, bacon, spices and seafood.
The Bahamian breakfast is typically British which includes eggs and bacon and toasts with jam.
When it comes to meat dishes, the locals prefer chicken, pork, mutton and goat. On the distant islands, the tourists have a chance to try iguana prepared in accordance with a traditional recipe.
In the Bahamas, the tourists should not miss a chance to try a Rock Lobster with hot Creole sauce, stewed perch with tomatoes, celery and onions, baked crabs and soup with snails Conch.
Try other delicious soups such as Fish Chowder with tomatoes, pea soup, soup with dumplings and corned beef, soup Callaloo and exotic Sause with meat and lime juice.
At the end of the meal, you can order a Johnnycake with coconut flakes, gingerbread, a dessert Guava Duff with sugar syrup or a fruit salad. The meal is usually served with English tea, coffee, juice, coconut water or a Bahamian beverage Switcha.
Do not live the Bahamas without trying a local beer Kalik and a liqueur Nassau Royale. A cocktail Sky juice with gin and coconut milk is also popular here.
The official currency of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is Bahamian dollar (BSD) which is equal to 100 cents. There are bank notes from 1 to 100 dollars and coins from 1 and 2 dollars and 5-50 cents are in circulation.
Within touristic zones, one can easily pay with the US dollars.
The travelers can exchange the money at banks, in hotels and large malls. The best rate is at the banks in Nassau and Freeport. Currency exchange on the resorts outside the cities is not always available because the banks work short hours there.
You can pay with your credit card only in large cities and in touristic centers. There are ATMs only on the large islands.
The travelers can pay with traveler's checks in hotels and restaurants but the commission can be very high. It is better to have the checks in the US dollars.
To avoid robberies from the hotel rooms, we recommend keeping the documents and valuable things in a safe. It is better not to leave the hotel at night.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in the Bahamas
In the Bahamas, there are not UNESCO sites but it does not mean that the country is not interesting for the travelers. It can offer many places to visit and many things to see.
In the capital city, you can have an excursion to the Nassau Old Town and enjoy the architecture of the 18th and 19th century buildings.
The Water Tower in Nassau opens an incredible view on the city. Fort Charlotte built in the 18th century is located on the hill near the capital city and also worth your attention. Of course, the most popular sight in Nassau is the Queen's Staircase which was designed and built in honor of Queen Victoria. The number of stairs corresponds to the number of years the Queen ruled Great Britain.
In Nassau, the tourists can visit the Pirates Museum, Fort Fincastle, Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center. Enjoy the beauty of the nature in the Royal Victoria Garden.
In the lagoon near the Long Island, there is a Dean's Blue Hole which is the deepest underwater cave in the world.
The trips to the Thunderball grotto and the Deadman's reef are arranged for divers.
If you like nature, visit the Lucayan National park with one of the largest cave ecosystems in the world. In the park, there are a lot of tropical plants, rivers, ferneries and mangroves, coniferous forests and beaches.
The Garden of the Groves on the Grand Bahama Island exists since 1973 and deserves a special attention. There are guided tours in the park but you can walk around it yourself. In the park, you will find the Grand Bahama labyrinth.
In the Freeport, you can visit the Rand Memorial Nature Center. In the center, there is the largest human-made coral reef in the world and underwater observatory.
On the Eleuthera Island, the tourists will see a wonder of nature – the Pink Sands Beach. The sand here is pink due to the small particles of corals and microorganisms.
- authentic clothes;
- bijouterie, amulets and national symbols;
- crystal glass and porcelain;
- wooden figurines in the Bahamian style;
- hand-made weavings by the local craftsmen.