Memo to a Tourist in the Bahamas

Memo to a Tourist in the Bahamas

North America

Visa: Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit the Bahamas if the stay does not exceed 90 days.

Customs: There are no exchange controls and restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency. The export of local currency over 70 BSD per person must be authorized by the Central Bank of the Bahamas. Duty-free import of 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 450 g of tobacco, up to 0.94 liters of strong alcoholic beverages and up to 0.94 liters of wine, as well as any other goods and products with a total value of up to 100 USD is allowed. The transit of narcotic and explosive substances, objects of historical and cultural value and weapons is prohibited – without appropriate permits. The export of agricultural products, plants of all kinds and wood carvings requires permission from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of the country.

Important: It is necessary to keep all immigration documents – they will be needed when leaving the country!

Time: 8 hours behind Moscow
telephone code: 242
currency: Bahamian dollar / BSD (1 BSD = 100 cents), 1 BSD = 1 USD
tips: 15% of the bill
car rental per day: 35-55 USD
capital, main cities: Nassau (New Providence Island)
official language: English, Creole or Patois is also common.
population: about 300 thousand people.


Useful phones:

Rescue Service: 911 Ambulance: 322-2121 (New Providence), 352-2689 (Freeport) Air Ambulance Service at Sea (BASRA): 322-3877

Communications: Payphones for making international calls are ubiquitous and work with calling cards sold at post offices, telephone company offices, hotels and supermarkets. You can also make a call from a payphone through an operator. As a rule, the cost of a call from a hotel is 10-15% more expensive than from a pay phone. You can also call to another country from the post office.

Security: All popular tourist areas are fairly safe, but petty crimes are not uncommon: theft in hotel rooms and pickpocketing. With the onset of darkness, tourists, and especially women, are better off walking alone. Spearfishing with the use of spearguns and other devices is prohibited on the islands. Sport fishing is allowed, but a fee of up to 20 USD must be paid for one trip to the sea, provided that no more than six reels of fishing line are installed on the vessel. Independent archaeological work on sunken ships is also prohibited. Violation of these rules can result in a hefty fine and deportation from the country.
Local laws regarding the drug trade are very strict: for the sale and even the simple use of drugs, it is quite possible to get a long prison term.

Weather: The climate is tropical trade winds in the north and subtropical in the south. The average summer temperature is +26..+32°C. On the southern islands (Big and Small Inagua, Mayaguana) in summer it is much warmer than in the central part of the archipelago. In winter, the average temperature is +18..+22°C, the coolest is in the northwestern islands. The average water temperature is usually +27°C in summer and around +23°C in winter. The best time to visit the country is the cool season from September to May. In winter, rain is rare, usually in the form of short but powerful downpours. From May to November, hurricanes and tropical storms are possible, bringing heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds.

Money:Currency can be exchanged at bank offices, hotels and large stores. The Bahamian dollar is firmly pegged to the US dollar, but exchange rates can vary quite a lot between institutions. The most stable exchange rate is at the offices of international banks in Nassau and Freeport; changing money in tourist areas is the most unprofitable. All types of credit cards are accepted for payment. Traveler’s checks can be cashed in the same place where you can change currency – at bank offices, hotels and large stores. Some hotels, restaurants, and money changers charge high commissions for cashing checks, so advise your travelers to always check the terms in advance. Tipping is usually 15% in most places, including taxis. Some hotels and restaurants include them in the bill. Messengers, guides, porters and porters usually expect about 1 USD per piece of luggage or excursion, and maids, depending on the hotel, 1-2 USD per day. A government tax is added to the bills of many hotels, from 10% (Nassau and Grand Bahama) to 8% (Family Islands). Banks are usually open from 9:00-9:30 to 15:00 from Monday to Thursday, on Fridays – from 9:30 to 17:00. However, opening hours on different islands may vary. Some banks in the periphery have very limited opening hours and are often only open one or two days a week.
US dollars are freely circulating in the country.

Shopping: The Trade Center of the Bahamas is the world-famous Bay street. There you can buy everything at very competitive prices – watches of famous brands, jewelry, porcelain, crystal, leather bags, perfumes. All these purchases are exempt from taxes.

Meals: Local delicacies: charcoal-roasted shells of all kinds, seafood salads, spiny lobsters and shrimps, charcoal-roasted crabs and red snapper (reef perch) fillets, etc. The most popular soft drinks are tea (English style) and coffee (mostly very strong Colombian or Brazilian). The islands produce classic rum, the best variety of which is Nassau Royal, and imported alcohol is also sold everywhere. The local beer “Kalik” tastes good and is sold everywhere on the islands.

Memo to a Tourist in the Bahamas