Overall The Bahamas is a member of the British Commonwealth, and a former British Colony. The principle industry here is tourism, and the primary attractions are the ocean and warm weather. If you enjoy beaches, fishing, diving, boating and other watersports; the Bahamas are a great place to visit. The pace of life is less hectic and moves slower than in other places, making it perfect to relax and soak up the sun.
Cost Of Visiting
: Moderate to Expensive
Currency U.S. dollars, Bahamian dollars
How To Get There Commercial carriers fly daily to the larger airports in Nassau and Freeport. There are daily flights to Marsh Harbor and Eleuthera from the U.S. mainland. There are also several smaller carriers that travel between islands and carriers flying from Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. We found it more practical to ask our resort what they recommend, as it may be difficult to identify the carriers and charter companies. Many travel agencies will not have the information in their computer systems.
Location A collection of islands just off the eastern shores of the U.S.A (Florida) and just North of the Caribbean.
Technology Level Telephones, cable television from the U.S. mainland and satellite, cellular phones are all widely available. Internet access is available for locals, but does not seem to be popular with most of the hotels (perhaps due to low demand fromguest there to relax).
Transportation Rental cars, hotel transport, boats, ferries, charter flights and taxis
Facilities Nassau has many large hotels and casinos. There is also a wide variety of shops and markets for vacationers, although prices are rarely a bargain. Native crafts and souveniers such as conch shells, coconuts and items woven from palm fronds are fun and inexpensive. The outer islands are a bit more restricted in their offerings and hours of operation.
Advantages Easy access from the U.S. mainland and straightforward tourism policies. When we last visited no visas were required for citizens of the U.S. and many other countries. The weather and pretty beaches are popular. Water sports of all kinds, from boating to fishing to scuba diving all widely available. The out(er) islanders seem friendly and welcoming.
Challenges The laid back attitude is great if you are a guest trying to relax, but it often means that maintenance is lax and attention to detail is a bit hard to find. Most of the properties seem to have trouble finding good workers to care for the resorts once they are built. Initial construction is usually quite good, but the ocean and elements exert tremendous pressure on the construction components and paint. This gives everything a bit of a “weathered” look and sometimes means the power does not stay on, the water may not always be working and air conditioning may not always be available. Note that there are high and low seasons, and many properties may not have all their facilities operational during low season (for example, some areas only offer scuba diving and deep sea fishing during the high season. Hurricanes are also a serious challenge. We keep an eye on the Atlantic when planning a trip between July and October.
Article by Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox