Geography: The Bahamas are a chain of approximately 700 islands in the North Atlantic lying southeast of Florida and northeast of Cuba. The land area comprises 10,010 square kilometers or 3,865 square miles (roughly the size of the US state of Connecticut). Thirty of the archipelago's islands are inhabited. The highest point is 64 meters or 210 feet above sea level. The Bahamas are blessed with wide expanses of white and pink sandy beaches.
Population: The population of the Bahamas is more than 390,000. Approximately two-thirds of Bahamians live on New Providence Island, the location of Nassau. At least 83 percent of Bahamians live in urban areas. English is the official language.
Getting to the Bahamas: Most visitors reach the Bahamas by flying into the international airport at Nassau. However, the country has two other international airports at Grand Bahama and The Exumas, as well as nearly 60 smaller airports scattered throughout the islands. The Bahamas also boasts major seaports at Freeport, Nassau, and South Riding Point.
Getting around in the Bahamas: The Bahamas has a well-developed and diverse transportation network. Visitors can island hop by small plane or ferry. Nassau and Freeport have well-established municipal bus services. Taxis and rental cars are also available in urban areas. Bicycle and moped rentals are another option for tourists.
Visa Requirements: Citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and most Latin American countries, can stay in the Bahamas for at least 30 days without a visa. A valid passport is required, although some exemptions are made for non-citizen legal residents. Travelers are also required to show a copy of their return ticket and proof of a hotel reservation. For more information, visit the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at www.bahamas.gov.bs.
Money Matters: The official currency is the Bahamian dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar. Both currencies are accepted. Credit cards (especially Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted in tourist areas.
Food and Drink: The cuisine of the Bahamas shares much in common with its English-speaking Caribbean neighbors. Local fish is a staple. Visitors also have an opportunity to enjoy the fresh tropical fruits that grow in the Islands. Rum and gin are the spirits of choice. The drinking age is 18.
Electricity: 110 volts AC (the same as the United States and Canada) is the standard in the Bahamas.
Time Zone: The Bahamas are in the Eastern time zone (like Miami, New York, and Montreal). Daylight saving time is observed and is on the same schedule as the United States.
Sunscreen: Many of the major brands of sunscreen, such as Coppertone, Banana Boat, Panama Jack, No-Ad, etc., contain chemicals that harm the flora and fauna of coral reefs. PABA, octinoxate, and oxybenzone are among the common ingredients that have been linked to damage of the coral reef ecosystem. Biodegradable reef-safe sunscreens are preferable and widely available. Also, please look for sunscreens that are "waterproof" so that your application doesn't dissolve in the water. If you have any questions about availability, please ask your resort or hotel.
Climate: The Bahamas enjoy a balmy tropical climate throughout the year. Nonetheless, there are two distinct "seasons" that you should take into account as you plan your vacation. The months of December through April are the dry season. Skies are mostly sunny and rain less frequent. December-April is also the height of the tourist season. May-November is the wet season. Temperatures and humidity are higher, but are tempered by sea breezes. Storms roll over the Islands throughout the day, alternating with brilliant sunshine. Water temperatures range from mid-70s (F) during the dry season to low 80s (F) during the wet season.
|Average Temperatures for Nassau, The Bahamas (°F)|
|Average Rainfall for Nassau, The Bahamas (inches)|