Bahamas FAQ – Bahamas Gateway
If you plan to visit The Islands Of The Bahamas and need information, this page is a good place to start.
Most of the larger islands have ATMs located in airport terminals, branch banks, most casinos and other convenient locations. Most machines dispense local currency. Machines in casinos and at Rawson Square in Nassau dispense U.S. dollars.
Banking hours are 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Fridays. Most automatic teller machines (ATMs) are open 24 hours. Queries relating to banking regulations may be addressed to the Bank Supervision Department, Central Bank of The Bahamas, P.O. Box N-4868, Nassau, Bahamas, or call 242-322-2193.
The Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BaTelCo) has automatic roaming agreements with cellular carriers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. BaTelCo’s roaming partners include Aliant Cellular, Ameritech Cellular, BCTEL Mobility, Bell Mobility, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile, BellSouth Mobility, Blue Ridge Cellular, Cantel, Cellular Holding, Cellular One Bay Area Cellular, Cellular One of Illinois, Cellular One of Southwest Florida, Comcast Cellular, Crowley Cellular, Dansbury Cellular, Pioneer/Enid Cellular, MT&T Mobile, NBTel Mobility, Radiofone, 360° Communications, Telcel, TELUS Mobility U.S. Cellular and Western Wireless.
If your home carrier has a roaming agreement with BaTelCo and your cellular number is active in The Islands Of The Bahamas, you can enjoy cellular service. Simply ensure that your phone is switched to system B and dial away!
– To place a call, dial 7 digits for local calls and 10 digits for calls to the United States and Canada.
– To receive a call, the caller must dial BaTelCo’s access code (242-359-7626), wait for the second dial tone and dial the roamer’s cellular number including the area code.
– Billing is a breeze … There are no activation fees for Roaming in The Bahamas and you will be billed via your home carrier at a rate of $3.00 per day and $0.99 per minute (plus toll charges for long distance calls).
Note: Roaming agreements are subject to change without notice. Additionally, a carrier may have a Roaming agreement with BaTelCo but opt to disallow Roaming in The Bahamas for some of their markets.
The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate which varies little year-round. The most refreshing time is from September through May when the temperature averages 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rest of the year is a bit warmer with temperatures between 80-85 degrees. Rainfall is scarce from November through April each year; however, showers can occur during the months of May through October.
Casual summer wear can be worn during the day any time of the year, but be sure to bring a jacket or sweater for cooler evenings from December to February. Most hotels, restaurants and casinos require jackets for men in the evening, especially in cosmopolitan Nassau and Grand Bahama Island. Though walking the streets in swim trunks in mid-January might sound irresistible, beach clothing is inappropriate on the streets of downtown Nassau, in churches, restaurants and casinos. On the more laid-back Out Islands, dress codes are more flexible.
Are things expensive in The Islands Of The Bahamas? Prices in The Islands Of The Bahamas are comparable to other destinations. Prices vary in relation to the product. Some luxury items, for example, liquor, perfume, watches and photography equipment can be more reasonably priced than in the Unites States. Breadbasket items tend to be more expensive than in the United States. Can I spend U.S. dollars in The Islands Of The Bahamas? Yes. The United States dollar is on par with the Bahamian dollar.
The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. Both U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands.
British rules apply, so please drive on the left and watch those roundabouts! Persons entering a roundabout (traffic circle) must give way to traffic coming from the right already on the roundabout. Visitors may use their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. Pedestrians should remember to look right before crossing streets.
Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. American appliances are fully compatible.
The visitor emergency number for travelers in distress is 242-326-HELP.
Employment in the Bahamas for non-Bahamians is extremely difficult! The best possibility is if your employer arranges to transfer you to a branch in the Bahamas and pays for your work permit. This usually happens with bank and insurance company employees. Another possibility is if a foreign man/woman marries a Bahamian man/woman and acquires Permanent Residency status. The Bahamas is geared towards hiring mainly Bahamian people. Unless you have special skills i.e. speak several languages, etc. employment in the Bahamas is almost impossible. Work permits are quite costly, therefore businesses in the Bahamas hire 99% Bahamian people.
The official language of The Islands Of The Bahamas is English, more British than American, and generally intertwined with a special Bahamian dialect. Some Indian words like “cassava” and “guava” have been retained in the language.
If you are sending letters or postcards from The Islands Of The Bahamas, be sure to use only Bahamian stamps. Mail traveling to The Out Islands will arrive a bit more slowly than to Nassau and Grand Bahama Island since it goes by mail boat.
The Islands Of The Bahamas have a variety of water sports activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, water/jet-skiing, windsurfing, fishing, sailing and boating. Land sport activities include tennis, golf, cricket, soccer, bowling, squash, track and field events, basketball, American football, baseball, volleyball, roller-skating and field hockey. And big game fishing.
Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with U.S. summer hours.
Tip according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag, while most other servers (waiters, taxis, etc.) receive 15%. Many establishments include the gratuity in their bills.
Buses, rental cars, motor bikes, bicycles, tour cars and limousines. Taxis are accessible from all areas at all times. Jitney buses run from downtown and Cable Beach in Nassau/Paradise Island and from several depots at Freeport/Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island at ten minute intervals for 75 cents per ride.