For island culture that goes beyond the laid-back beaches and stunning tropical water views, a visit to the Bahamas is the perfect vacation for international travelers looking to lounge, relax and enjoy a beach vacation in the Caribbean. With more than 70 percent of visitors reporting they would highly recommend their friends and family visit the Bahamas, here are some tips for first-time visitors heading to this little island paradise.
Because the Bahamas is a foreign country, you’ll need your passport to travel here. In fact, you won’t even be able to leave the country without showing it. Americans are required to have two blank pages for entry and exit stamps. You won’t need a tourist visa, though it’s recommended to have a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your trip just to be safe.
Drive on the Left
If you’ll be driving during your visit to the Bahamas, the most important thing to take note of is that cars drive on the left side of the road. This is a big difference from the rest of North America. Even if you are just walking around town, always remember to check for oncoming traffic from the right.
Carry Your Return Ticket
While you might wish to stay in the Bahamas forever, chances are you’ll need to return home eventually. To make sure you aren’t overstaying your tourist allowance, officials may ask to see your return ticket, so keep a copy with you at all times.
US Dollars Accepted as Currency
Because the Bahamian dollar is set to the same value as the US dollar, there’s no need to exchange currency. Both forms of money are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands, meaning you can load up on cash before you leave. Even better, Mastercard, Visa, and American Express are all accepted in main tourist spots. If you do need cash while in the Bahamas, ATMs are readily available.
Forget the Electronic Adapters
For those who live in North America, the Bahamas use the same electrical outlets, meaning all of your electronics will work without an issue. Travelers from the UK or Europe may need an adapter to charge up their devices.
Set Your Watch
The Bahamas run on Eastern Standard Time, meaning that they are five hours behind UTC. Note that since the islands do observe Daylight Saving Time, they are only four hours behind UTC for part of the year.
The Bahamas are more connected than ever before, with free Wi-Fi available at most hotels and establishments. You can use these networks to call your friends and family back home. Don’t forget to share your best memories on Facebook and Instagram for true vacation envy. Share on Instagram with “#MyBeachDay” for a chance to be featured on Beach.com.
Speak English with Confidence
Believe it or not, English is the official language of the Bahamas. This means you’ll be able to communicate with everyone during your stay on the island. However, locals do have an interesting accent that’s a mix of African influence, Queen’s diction, and island slang. It will take some getting used to, but by the end of your trip, you’ll feel like a native.
Visiting the Bahamas should be relaxing and stress-free. By learning everything about the Bahamas before you go, you can avoid culture shock and have the trip of your life.