Fact file: Bahamas

Did you know?
The Bahamas was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Language
Bahamian Standard English and some island creole.
Visas
Citizens of the UK or US may enter the Bahamas without a visa for up to three weeks.
Getting there
The Bahamas has seven international airports, including Nassau and Freeport.
Flying time from London
Approximately nine hours direct, more if you have to change in Miami.
Getting around
Use night-time mail boats or unreliable but handy Bahamasair inter-island flights to travel between islands. For travel around islands, use buses, hire cars, taxis, scooters, bikes to go from A to B.
Currency
Bahamian dollar
Costs
Prices will fluctuate but in general: moderate restaurant meal costs about £7-£10, bottle of beer about £1.50, roll of camera film roughly £3, four-mile taxi ride about £7, litre of petrol about 50p.
Weather
Sunshine 320 days per year. The temperature rarely drops below 15C (60F) in winter, or rises above 32C (90F) in summer. Even at 90F there is a cool breeze. The rainy season begins in May or June and ends in November and usually consists of daily thunderstorms. There is also a smallish risk of hurricanes hitting the islands.
Time difference
Five hours behind GMT
International dialling code from the UK
00 1242
Voltage
110v. Sockets are usually 2-3 pronged as in the US. You'll need an adaptor if you're bringing electrical equipment from the UK.
Opening hours
Shops open from 9am-5pm, although in the cities they sometimes stay open later when there is a cruise ship in port. Bars and clubs close at around 2-3am.
Health - Before you go
Buy health insurance and put together a small medical kit. No vaccinations are necessary unless you are arriving in the Bahamas within seven days of visiting a country where yellow fever is a threat, such as Bolivia, Brazil or Nigeria.
Health - When you are there
Watch what you eat and drink. Most of the food is OK, but the water is sometimes dodgy. Take the usual precautions in the sun and use insect repellent.
Warnings
Don't eat the fruit of the manchineel tree because it is highly poisonous. Also avoid sitting under these trees as raindrops running off the leaves can cause blisters. When swimming, beware of dangerous undertows and currents. Keep bags, etc, with you at all times when in Nassau.
Emergency
The emergency number is 919. The British Consulate is at British High Commission, Bitco Building, East Street, Nassau. Tel: (242) 325 7471.
Customs
Bahamians are well-known for always being late for appointments. Some Bahamians run on BT (Bahamian Time) while others prefer to call it being fashionably late.
Pets
The Bahamas is not included in the Pet Travel Scheme so although you can take a pet into the Bahamas with the correct documentation, they would have to go into quarantine when returning to the UK.
Tipping
10-15% in restaurants. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but still appreciate one.
Tourist office
The Bahamas Tourist Office, 10 Chesterfield Street, London W1J 5JL. Tel: 020 7355 0800.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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