The Bahamas are one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. People from all over the United States and other countries flock to these islands, which have beautiful weather for the entire year. Whether you’re escaping the winter or going on a summer retreat, the Bahamas are a great destination for making memories and relaxing.
If you want to have a memorable vacation, these are the top five tips to navigating the islands and planning your trip:
1. Time Your Vacation Right
Timing isn’t just a matter of avoiding crowds. Though the Bahamas don’t have seasons that are as pronounced as those in northern North America or Europe, they do still have weather changes and unusual weather patterns.
Unlike other Caribbean islands, the Bahamas have a climate that’s closer to Florida’s than to another tropical island’s. The main three islands especially mirror Florida’s hot and humid climate. Nights are sometimes chilly, even in December.
Peak tourist season is between the months of January and March. The rates of vacation packages decrease in April and May, so if you want to save money, that’s your best bet.
The temperature is always lovely on the islands, but the rainy season might come with unusual weather patterns. If you visit between May and November, you may find yourself stuck inside during tropical storms. Timing your visit is a matter of whether you prefer rain or crowds.
2. Arrive at the Right Airport
There are technically seven international airports on the Bahamas, but only two are on the two main islands. You should become familiar with the island that you’ll be staying on. It helps to book a flight that will land at the closest airport to your hotel or other destination.
Most airlines in the United States and Europe have access to the Bahamas. Some planes will directly fly to the island, but oftentimes you’ll have to catch a connecting flight in Miami. You should plan for a potentially long day of travel, especially if you have children with you.
3. Try the Minibuses
There are taxis all over the island that you can use if you need to go somewhere quickly. You can also negotiate the price of your fare with the taxi driver, something that may be new to American tourists. But the real pride of the island are the jitney minibuses.
Jitney minibuses often stop near resorts. Their routes will take you all over the island. Unlike traditional bus routes, the jitney minibuses will take you on sightseeing expeditions. It’s hard to find any places in the Bahamas that aren’t beautiful.
You might also want to rent a car. If you’re an American driver, remember that drivers drive on the left side of the road on the Bahamas, as it’s an English colony.
4. Have the Right Money
Most islanders and businesses on the islands will accept the U.S. dollar, but the official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar. This is equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. Before you purchase any goods or services, you should double check the currency they accept. If need be, exchange some of your United States currency for Bahamian currency to cover your vacation.
5. Have Fun on the Ocean
The Bahamas are famous for their gorgeous beaches and pristine oceans. If you go there on vacation, chances are you already have plans for some serious beach time. But you can go above and beyond general beach-going and ocean splashing. Many businesses offer sports like parasailing and jet-skiing across the waves. You can also go on boat tours of the island, kayak and canoe, and learn about the history of the islands.
There are endless opportunities to interact with and learn about the ocean and the beaches. From diving to snorkeling to parasailing, you’ll have experiences on the island that you could never find at a resort in the United States.