General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.
ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country.
The main banks are FirstCaribbean International Bank (tel 242/352-8391), RBC Royal Bank of Canada (tel 242/352-6631) and Scotiabank (tel 242/352-6774).
FirstCaribbean ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Plus network and dispense Bahamian dollars. They are located at the Pioneer's Way FirstCaribbean branch, the Boulevard Service Station at Sommerville Dr, East Sunrise Hwy, the First Financial Centre on East Mall Dr and Municipal Motors at East Sunrise Hwy and Coral Rd.
RBC ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Cirrus, Plus and Maestro networks and dispense Bahamian dollars. They are located at East Mall and Explorers Way, the FOCOL service station at East Sunrise Hwy and East Atlantic Dr and at the Royal Bank branch at Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Scotiabank ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Plus or Cirrus networks. They are located at Westin & Sheraton resorts at Lucaya (dispense both US and Bahamian currency) and at the main Scotiabank branch in Regent Centre (dispenses Bahamian currency only).
CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Mostly Protestant, including Anglican, Baptist, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Jehovah's Witness, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Seventh-day Adventist. Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Islam, Judaism, Mormon and non-denominational are also represented.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the Bahamian dollar (B$ or BSD), which is divided into 100 cents. Paper money runs in denominations of $1, $3 (rare), $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, and coins in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 15¢ (rare) and 25¢ pieces. Although US dollars are accepted everywhere, you'll receive your change in Bahamian dollars. Most shops, hotels and restaurants accept major credit cards. The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar; however, expect to pay a small commission when exchanging traveller's cheques for local currency and when converting local currency into US dollars.
To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad.
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS American Express: lost or stolen card, 800/327-1267; lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 800/452-0713 Discover Card: 801/902-3100 MasterCard: 800/307-7309 Visa: 800/847-2911 Western Union: 352-6676 (Fidelity Bank)
DEPARTURE TAX Air: A $15 departure tax must be paid by every traveller six years and older upon departure. It is included in the cost of your ticket. Additionally, effective July 1, 2007, all passengers must pay a security fee of $5 ($7.50 at Lynden Pindling International Airport on New Providence). Sea: Passengers travelling by ship pay a built-in $15 departure tax. One-day excursion passengers pay a built-in $13 departure tax. Children under six years are exempt. The departure tax, included in your ticket, is paid by the shipping line with which you are travelling.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS All visitors require a passport valid for six months past the date of their departure from The Bahamas. Citizens of Canada may also present, instead of a passport, an official birth certificate or an original naturalization/citizenship certificate, as well as official photo identification, such as a driver's license. All visitors must also have an onward or return ticket and proof of funds to support the duration of their stay.
Nationals of countries other than Canada, the UK and US may require a visa. For more information contact your nearest Bahamas consulate/embassy or the Bahamas Immigration Department at 242/322-7530.
When you travel to The Bahamas you are given an immigration card to fill in. The immigration officer at the point of entry pulls the card and leaves you with the stub. Be sure to return this portion to the ticket agent upon departure.
Note: As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air, and as of January 1, 2008, all person travelling by land or sea (including ferries) to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport or other documents as determined by the US Department of Homeland Security to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov.
Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
NEAREST FOREIGN REPRESENTATION British representation: 327-5309 or 357-9005 (emergency consular assistance only), 876/510-0700 (High Commission in Jamaica) Consulate of Canada: 242/393-2123 or 393-2124 (Nassau), 876/926-1500 (High Commission in Jamaica), 800/387-3124 (toll free to Ottawa) US Embassy: 242/322-1181 (Nassau) or 242/328-2206 (after hours)
As of June 8, 2007
British pound sterling
European Union euro
HEALTH STANDARDS There are three hospitals on Grand Bahama Island: the Rand Memorial Hospital (tel 352-6735) located on East Atlantic Dr, the privately operated New Sunrise Medical Centre - Hospital Complex (tel 373-3333) on East Sunrise Hwy and the Lucayan Medical Centre East (tel 373-7400) also on East Sunrise Hwy. A hyperbaric chamber is located at the small Lyford Cay Hospital/Bahamas Heart Institute (tel 362-4400) on the western end of New Providence Island.
Doctors and medical facilities often require immediate payment for services. Serious cases may be transferred to Florida in the US. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended.
There are numerous pharmacies around the island, including ABC Pharmacy (East Sunrise Shopping Centre, tel 373-7664), LMR Drugs (West Mall, tel 352-7327), Lucayan Medical Centre (East Sunrise Hwy, tel 373-7400), Nyo's Rx Pharmacy (Mackenzie St, tel 352-7948), Personal Touch Pharmacy (Merport Plaza Building, tel 351-4968 and Port Lucaya Marketplace, tel 374-6701) and Prescription Parlour Pharmacy (Eight Mile Rock, tel 348-1155).
Emergency phone numbers: - Ambulance/Emergency Medical Services, 352-2689 - Fire Brigade, 352-8888 - Police, 911 - Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Assoc (BASRA), 352-2628 or 911
ILLEGAL ITEMS Strict laws and penalties apply for possession of dangerous drugs and firearms. Any drugs considered dangerous, including marijuana, bring stiff fines and even jail terms if found in the possession of unauthorized persons. Licences for firearms for sporting purposes are available. Handgun licences are issued only in special circumstances.
For more information call the Bahamas Customs Department at 242/326-4401.
POSTAL SERVICES Post offices are located in Freeport (tel 352-9371), Eight Mile Rock (tel 348-2770), Hunters (tel 353-7007) and West End (tel 346-6130). They are generally open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available.
Postcards: Airmail to the US (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands), Canada, the UK, Europe, Bermuda, the West Indies, Central and South America, Africa and Australia - 65¢
Letters: First-class airmail rates (per 1/2 oz): - 75¢ to Canada, the US (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands) and the West Indies - 80¢ to Bermuda, Central and South America, the UK, Europe, the Falkland Islands and the islands of the Mediterranean - 90¢ to Africa (all countries), Asia, Australia, the islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans and New Zealand
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday May/June (seven weeks after Easter) Whit Monday June (first Fri) Labour Day Jul 10 Independence Day Aug (first Mon) Emancipation Day Oct 21 Discovery Day Dec 25 Christmas Day Dec 26 Boxing Day
Note: When a designated holiday falls on a Sat or Sun the public holiday is observed on the previous Fri or the following Mon.
SHOPPING HOURS Shops are generally open Mon-Sat 9/10am-5/6pm. Some International Bazaar and downtown shops, Port Lucaya Marketplace, pharmacies and straw markets are also open on Sun. Call ahead to check for times. Supermarkets, wholesale clubs and building supply stores must close by 12 noon on Sun.
TAXES Hotels charge a 6-12% tax on your room rate, which is added to your bill on check-out. There is a $7 Bahamas government ticket tax and a $5-$25 travel agency service fee on the price of each airline or cruise ship ticket bought in The Bahamas. The ticket tax is included in the price of your ticket. There is no sales tax in The Bahamas.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system in The Bahamas is modern and Internet and cellular services are available.
The country code is 242. Local phone numbers have seven digits. For local directory assistance dial 916 and for the international operator dial 0.
BTC or BaTelCo (Bahamas Telecommunications Company) is the national telecommunications provider. Public coin phones only accept US25¢ coins. Many public phones also accept prepaid BaTelCo Phone Cards, which you insert into the slot. BaTelCo also sells Bahamas Direct Prepaid Cards, which can be used with any Touch-Tone, cellular or public phone in The Bahamas, Canada, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Both cards are available at BaTelCo offices, including Mall Dr (tel 350-1000) and Seahorse Plaza (tel 373-5823), and at vendors throughout The Bahamas.
For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here?
BaTelCo (tel 350-1000) offers cellular services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with them.
TEMPERATURES Because of its northerly location, Grand Bahama has winter temperatures slightly below those of New Providence, although the weather tends to be similar throughout the rest of the year. Temperatures are traditionally at their lowest in Feb, with a daily max of about 76°F. In the summer the daily max is usually in the 80s. The rainy season is May-Oct with rainfall especially heavy in Sept.
Dial 915 for the weather forecast.
TIME ZONE The Bahamas are on Eastern Standard Time, which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Daylight savings time commences at 2am on the second Sunday in March and continues until 2am on the first Sunday in November.
Dial 917 for the time.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.