The Islands Of The Bahamas form a 100,000-sq-mile archipelago that extends over 500 miles of the clearest water in the world. Our 700 islands, including uninhabited cays and large rocks, total an estimated land area of 5,382 sq. miles, and register the highest land elevation of 206 ft. on Cat Island.
The Bahamas has the world’s third longest barrier reef and about 14. 5% of the world’s coral can be found in our waters. The islands are made entirely of calcium carbonate, which is mainly produced or precipitated by the organisms of coral reefs. There are no rivers in The Bahamas.
Most notable, however, is that each island has its own diversity that continues beyond geography, carrying through to the heart of The Bahamas, the Bahamian people. You’ll find it in our heritage. In our culture. And in our humble pride. These are The Islands Of The Bahamas. Population: somewhere north of 305,000.
With 700 islands sprinkled out over 100,000 sq. miles of ocean, The Bahamas offers the largest assortment of vacation spots of any tropical destination. Islands are circled by cays (pronounced “keys”). Some cays are surrounded by uninhabited rocks. Which island or cay is right for your vacation? Well, you won’t know until you know more about our 14 main islands that serve as hubs for the remaining 686 islands.
There are several options to help you get around each island in The Bahamas and to help you hop from island to island. You must be 21 years old and possess a valid driver’s license for all rentals. Visitors may use their home driver’s license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. But remember, when you take to the road, British rules apply, so please keep to the left.
Bicycles are not generally available for rental, however, a few all-inclusive properties have bikes for use by their guests.
Taxi service is available by telephone/hail in the street or at taxi stands conveniently placed at many large hotels. Although metered rates vary by island, they are reasonable and are fixed by law. Surcharges often apply for more than two persons and extra luggage. Pedestrians should remember to look right before crossing streets.
Nassau Paradise Island is one of the few Caribbean destinations that provides pre-clearance for U.S. Customs and Immigration services, allowing flights from Nassau Paradise Island to enter the United States as domestic flights and bypass the normal U.S. Customs and Immigration clearance encountered on most returns from an international destination.
If you are a U.S. citizen, The Islands of the Bahamas follow the U.S. Government international travel requirements for re-entry into the U.S., namely a valid U.S. Passport. The Bahamian Government may also require proof of return airline ticket and sufficient funds to support your stay. Please be aware that a voter registration or certified birth certificate is no longer accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. If you do not have a passport, please visit Travel State for the most current information about the passport application process.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, please call a Bahamas Consulate for additional information:
New York 212-421-6420 London 0207-408-4488
Miami 305-373-6295 Canada 613-232-1724
Banks, businesses, and many shops are closed on the following public government holidays:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Good Friday (March 21)
- Easter Sunday (March 23)
- Easter Monday (March 24)
- Whit Monday (May 12)
- Labor Day (June 6)
- Independence Day (July 10)
- Emancipation Day (August 4)
- Discovery Day (October 13)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
- Boxing Day (December 26)
Note: Holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are usually celebrated on the following Monday.
Telephone / Television / Internet Access
We offer direct dial telephone service worldwide and satellite television capabilities so that many of our hotels and resorts can offer guests their favorite shows, sporting events, and movie channels. Hi-speed internet access is also available at many of our hotels.
Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with U.S. summer hours.
Traveling with Children
Children under the age of 12 generally stay free. Some hotels offer children’s programs and scheduled activities to keep children entertained. Bonded babysitting services are also available.
Traveling with Pets
A valid import permit ($10) is required to import any animal into The Bahamas. Animals must be six months or older. Persons wishing to apply for an import permit may phone in their request to 242-325-7502 or write to:
The Director of AgricultureMinistry of Agriculture, Trade & Industry
Please state your name and address, the type, age and number of animals you wish to import, the country of export and origin, the purpose for importing the animal (s) as well as an anticipated date of arrival and destination in The Bahamas.
For the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, the main provisions of the import permit as it applies to dogs and cats are:
Dogs and cats over the age of six months arriving from the U.S. and Canada must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued within 48 hours of embarkation, and a valid certificate of rabies vaccination for either the one-year or three-year-duration vaccine.
The one-year-duration vaccine must have been administered within not more than 10 months and not less than one month prior to arrival in The Bahamas.
The three-year-duration vaccine must have been administered within not more than 34 months and not less than one month prior to arrival in The Bahamas.
Dogs and cats under six months old are prohibited importation from the U.S. and Canada and all countries that are rabies endemic. Dogs and cats from the UK or any rabies-free country may enter without a rabies vaccination if accompanied by a veterinary health certificate and the certificate stating there have been no cases of rabies in that country of origin for the previous year.
Animals not meeting these conditions are not allowed to enter the Commonwealth.
A duty for permanent entry of all animals into The Bahamas is levied, based on the value of the animal plus 2% stamp duty.