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Sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean are the main allure for people visiting the Bahamas. Travellers to this tropical cluster of islands have been known to spend their days basking in the sun and sipping cool drinks. There are also a bevy of other activities to enjoy while visiting this island, including beach-hopping by car.
While driving in the capital is straight-forward, driving outside of the city can be challenging. Some of the roads are poorly maintained or unpaved, and locals do not always adhere to traffic laws including speed limits. Yet the roads have a very British feel, so UK visitors will feel at home behind the wheel here.
Driving licences: UK drivers are permitted to drive in the Bahamas with a UK photo licence for up to 90 days.
Which side does the Bahamas drive on: the left.
Congested areas: 25mph (40kph)
School areas: 15mph (24kph)
All other areas: 45mph (72kph)
Alcohol limits: on par with those in the UK at 0.08 per cent.
Driving age: 21 years.
Seatbelts: mandatory for all passengers. An infant weighing less than 1.4 stones (nine kilograms) has to face the rear of the vehicle while secured in an infant seat in the rear seat. Children 12 years and younger must be securely seated in a suitable restraint in the rear seat.
Mobile phones and GPS: drivers are not permitted to use hand-held mobile phones while driving. However, using a phone with a hands-free device is acceptable. Using GPS is permitted and can be handy.
Cost of fuel in the Bahamas: more or less the same as in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payment is accepted at most petrol stations and car hire outlets. Travellers should notify their card company of their travel plans prior to leaving home.
Insurance: third-party insurance is included with car hire but excess insurance is recommended.
Traffic and parking: drivers should not park near pedestrian crossings, junctions, bus stops, on two white lines or where a ‘No Parking’ sign is displayed. Nassau suffers frequent traffic congestion.
There are plenty of taxis operating in the Bahamas. Taxis are not metered but instead they operate based on fares which are fixed by the government according to the distance travelled. These often expensive fares are usually applied to two passengers, with an additional fee for each additional passenger. The journey from Cable Beach to the airport costs around £10.
There are dozens of private minibuses (‘jitneys’) on several of the major islands. These minibuses travel along set routes and are a convenient way of traversing the islands. Jitney buses are generally available from early in the morning to around 19:00. Bus stops are clearly marked and fares are cheap. Rides within Nassau cost around £0.80.
There is a ferry service connecting Nassau with Eleuthera Island, Andros, the Exhumas and Marsh Harbour. In addition to these services, there is a ferry service available between the Bahamas and Ft. Lauderdale and Miami in the United States. Ferry services offer an excellent way to do some island hopping while visiting the Bahamas, with the route from downtown Nassau to Paradise Island costing around £4.
Nassau and Freeport airports are the main gateways, but just about all of the islands that attract tourists are served by at least one small airport that receives flights. However, inter-island flights are expensive. Lynden Pindling International Airport receives direct British Airways flights from London-Heathrow.
With over 700 islands and many more cays to explore, the Bahamas makes for a fantastic travel destination. Beaches feature on most visitors’ itineraries, with countless idyllic stretches of sand to choose from on Eleuthera and in the Exumas and Out Islands.
Nassau, on New Providence Island, is where visitors come to learn about the country’s past connection with pirates and smugglers. The Pirate Museum along with the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, located on the site where slaves were once sold, offer interesting exhibits related to buccaneers and slavery.
Blue Lagoon, a private island located offshore from Nassau, offers visitors the opportunity to not only touch dolphins, but swim with them as well. Nearby Paradise Island’s Lagoon and Dolphin Cay offer visitors the chance to experience further aquatic life via underwater tunnels as well as petting lagoons.
Grand Bahama has six varied eco-systems as well as duty-free shopping, which the Bahamas is famous for. Its Lucayan and Peterson Cay national parks are wonderful spots for nature lovers.
The Bahamas' main attraction for tourists is its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and year-round sunny weather. Temperatures of this tropical island fluctuate from about 24 to 29°C. December through April offers the least amount of rainfall. Conversely, June through November represents the official hurricane and tropical storms season for the islands. However, hurricanes only hit the islands once every decade or so.