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What You Need To Know

The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, comprising 700 islands and cays that range from uninhabited to resort-packed. The northernmost, Grand Bahama, and Paradise Island, home to the sprawling Atlantis resort, are among the best known. Scuba diving and snorkeling sites include the massive Andros Barrier Reef, Thunderball Grotto (of James Bond fame) and the black-coral gardens off Bimini.

Area: 5,382 mi²
Population: 377,374 (2013) world bank

Currency

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    • The Bahamian Dollar is the currency of Bahamas. The currency rankings show that the most popular Bahamas Dollar exchange rate is the USD to BSD rate. The currency code for Dollars is BSD, and the currency symbol is $.
    • It’s always advisable to bring money in a variety of forms on a vacation: a mix of cash, credit cards, and traveler’s checks. You should also exchange enough petty cash to cover airport incidentals, tipping, and transportation to your hotel before you leave home, or withdraw money upon arrival at an airport ATM.
      In many international destinations, ATMs offer the best exchange rates. Avoid exchanging money at commercial exchange bureaus and hotels, which often have the highest transaction fees.
    • Credit cards are another safe way to carry money, but their use has become more difficult, especially in The Bahamas. They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can usually withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, provided you know your PIN. Keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time. Also, note that many banks now assess a 1{8b5ce56459424b664d0d750c36f2435bbc9e2caae32e47c4ecd84b4fb0d10efc} to 3{8b5ce56459424b664d0d750c36f2435bbc9e2caae32e47c4ecd84b4fb0d10efc} “transaction fee” on all charges you incur abroad (whether you’re using the local currency or your native currency).
      There is almost no difference in the acceptance of a debit or a standard credit card.

Some establishments in The Bahamas might not accept your credit card unless you have a computer chip imbedded in it. The reason? To cut down on credit card fraud.

Weather

There is no bad time to visit the Bahamas — the weather is great year-round and remains relatively consistent, with temperatures rarely dipping below 60 degrees even in winter. To avoid crowds, visit the Bahamas between May and November, the country’s offseason. Average high temperatures from December to May range from the high 70s to low 80s. The rainy season occurs between May and November, with the hurricane season starting in June. But despite all the rain predictions, the Bahamas see more than 300 days of sunshine every year.

Language

The official language in the Bahamas is English. Although, you might hear Bahamian English. It’s a mixture of Queen’s diction, African influence and island dialect. The “h” is often dropped, so it sounds like “ouse” for “house” or “t’anks” for “thanks.”
The dialect and idioms were influenced by African slaves, English Puritans and other settlers. Because of this combination, you will hear a unique language found only on The Islands Of The Bahamas. For instance, if you hear “day clean” they mean “daybreak” and “first fowl crow” means the first cry a rooster makes in the morning. These idioms are typical of Bahamian English.

Health and security

  • There is one large hospital in Nassau, and over a hundred government clinics are scattered elsewhere. An air ambulance service transports out islanders to the hospital in emergencies. There are about twelve-hundred people per physician, but nurses and paramedics often serve as primary care professionals, especially in remote settlements. “Bush medicine” (herbal treatments) is still found, but its popularity is declining.
  • Armed robberies, property theft, purse snatchings and general theft of personal property remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists. Home break-ins, theft, and robbery are not confined to any specific part of The Bahamas. The upsurge in criminal activity has also led to incidents that could place innocent bystanders at risk. Criminality on Grand Bahama has increased, notably crimes involving the use of machetes. Many criminals in The Bahamas carry firearms, machetes, or knives. In 2014, there was an increase of reported armed robberies using a knife and gun where the assailant assaulted the victim after the victim fought back and resisted. Many of these armed robberies were snatch-and-grabs involving purses, jewelry, and gold necklaces or home invasions.Opportunistic crimes (petty thefts and vehicle theft) and fraudulent use of bank/credit card account numbers do occur. There have been numerous reports of credit and debit card numbers being compromised and unauthorized charges being placed on the card holder’s account from other countries to include the U.S. and Europe.

DON’T

  • If your body is not accustomed to some of these foods or they haven’t been cleaned properly, you may suffer diarrhea. If you tend to have digestive problems, then drink bottled water and avoid ice, unpasteurized milk, and uncooked food such as fresh salads. However, fresh food served in hotels is usually safe to eat.
  • Getting too much sun can be a real issue in The Bahamas. You must, of course, take the usual precautions you would anywhere against sunburn and sunstroke. Your time in the sun should be wisely limited for the first few days until you become accustomed to the more intense rays of the Bahamian sun. Also bring and use strong UVA/UVB sunblock products.

DO

  • There is no finer journey than the one that leads you to paradise. The fish are more colorful, the coral reefs are brighter and the water clearer. Since the moment Christopher Columbus came ashore in the New World, The Bahamas have been a magnet for sea vessels. Everyone from Blackbeard to Ernest Hemingway has made the voyage. Whether you’re planning a quick getaway to The Bimini Islands or a weeklong voyage to Nassau/Paradise Island.
  • The Islands Of The Bahamas offer an array of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. You’ll find sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, underwater caves and forest-like coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. You can even feed and swim with reef sharks—an experience sure to get your adrenaline pumping.