The Islands Of The BAHAMAS

General Information

Ours is a nation of islands and cays blessed with sunny skies, powder-white and pink- sand beaches and incredibly clear aqua-blue waters. These constitute The Islands of The Bahamas which lie scattered across 100,000 square miles of the southwest Atlantic Ocean, from the tip of Florida to the edge of the Caribbean near Haiti.
Some, such as Eleuthera and Andros, are quite large, while others are small enough for two people to reach by boat and find themselves delightfully alone on an uninhabited island in paradise.
We invite you to share in these riches, guaranteed to soothe your body and restore your soul. We offer you the calm and excitement of water sports - whether beneath the surface or at water's edge. And when you've had your fill of swimming, boating, fishing, diving and more, we have championship golf and tennis, and many other ways to entice you on land.
We have the dazzle and glitter of cabarets and casinos; we have the peace and quiet of a tiny cay rarely visited by man. And whether you spend the days parasailing and snorkeling or just nurturing a suntan, our star-studded Bahamian nights are undeniably romantic, no matter how you decide to spend them.
While all our sunny islands share sun-swept beaches and magnificent waters, some are action-oriented, others are informal and relaxed - each offering a unique combination of features all its own. Vacation on the one that suits you best, but remember, that whichever golden island you choose, you'll be only a short hop from another of our captivating islands.

Geography

Located in the lower left-hand corner of the Atlantic Ocean is a 70,000-square-mile area of shoals and banks, where the waters are warm and clear. These are the Bahama Banks... and out of them rise more than 700 islands and islets covered with greenery and blossoms fringed with inviting beaches. This is The Bahamas.
The islands are strewn in a generally northwest-southeast array, along a 750-mile stretch from just off Florida, to just off Haiti. Some of the islands are relatively large - Abaco, Andros, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and Long Island, for example. Many are tiny enough to provide a romantic hideaway for two people, with a picnic lunch tucked into their small sailing vessel for an all-day rendezvous away from the world.
The Islands of The Bahamas are low-lying. Cat Island's Mount Alvernia, just over 200-feet above sea level, is the highest point in the nation. Sometimes the water is so shallow you can wade from one island to its neighbour. But there are also passes and cuts that range much deeper. Between Andros and the Exumas, the Tongue of the Ocean suddenly plunges down more than five miles.

Climate

The Islands of The Bahamas enjoy the idyllic climate most people associated with tropic seas. The temperatures seldom drop below 60 degrees (F), or rise above 90 degrees (F). Most of the rain comes in brief summer showers. The surrounding sea normally ranges from the low 80's in the summer, to about 74 degrees (F) in midwinter.

People

The largest concentration of Bahamians dwell on New Providence Island, site of Nassau, the capital. Some families have been Bahamian for more than two centuries. They can claim descent from early English colonists, loyalists who fled North America during the American Revolution, and Southerners, who came during and after the American Civil War. With the colonists, loyalists and transplanted southerners came their slaves, who worked the early plantations. After Emancipation in 1834, they became diligent farmers and seamen.

Government

With the gaining of independence in 1973 and the adoption of a new Constitution, The Bahamas became part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The British Monarch is our sovereign and appoints the Governor General. In the British tradition, The Bahamas has a two-house Parliament, a ministerial Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister and an independent judiciary.

History

Authorities believe the Arawak Indians moved up from the Caribbean into The Bahamas about the turn of the Ninth Century. These were the native people Christopher Columbus first met when he landed here October 12, 1492, when he planted the Spanish flag in the Bahamian soil of one of the islands and named it San Salvador. Columbus sailed on.
The history of today's Bahamas begins with the arrival of the Eleutheran Adventurers who founded a colony on the island of Eleuthera. The Bahamas also became a home base for pirateers, who found the country suitable because of its many islets, cays and complex shoals and channels, all which provided adequate hiding places from which the Buccaneers could dash out to sea, attack a Spanish treasure ship and cargo vessels and return to the hiding places with their loot.
With the American Revolution and the War Between States, the colonists came. First were the Loyalists who left the United States out of faithfulness to their king. Then came Southerners, often with the slaves, who did not wish to live under the victorious Union.
Americans again took note of The Bahamas during the years of Prohibition, when speedy rum-runners paraded the waters between the Islands and the southeastern United States.
During World War II, The Bahamas served as an air and sea way-station in the Atlantic. Since then, the islands have found a new and flourishing role as one of the world's most favoured year-round tourist playgroundS.

Language and Culture

Our language is English, generally intertwined with a special Bahamian dialect. Some Indian words have maintained their use. For example: cassava and guava.
Many aspects of daily life, including the music, suggests a strong religious background and way of life. Music carries echos of African rhythms, Caribbean Calypso, English folk songs, and our own Goombay beat.

Customs Regulations

Customs Duty - Baggage declaration by temporary visitors is oral, but the baggage is subject to Customs inspections. In case there are dutiable articles, the visitor will be required to complete a Baggage Declaration Form.
Each adult is allowed 50 cigars or 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco and one quart of spirits free of Customs Duty, in addition to personal effects. In addition, purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars ($100.00) are permitted by all arriving passengers.
Household effects, such as china, furniture, linens and appliances are dutiable. All new purchases should be accompanied by valid certificate invoices and used household effects are subject to assessment by Customs Officers.
Customs Departure - Duty Free Allowance - United States residents, including minors may take home duty-free purchases up to $600 in retail value, if they have been out of the United States more than 48 hours, and have not taken the exemption in 30 days. The exemption may include up to one US quart (32 US oz.) of liquor per person over 21. A family may pool exemptions (if living in the same house).
animals, birds, certain articles derived from rare species; e.g. ivory, reptile leather, and all goods made from it. No animal can be landed unless the owners have in their possession a valid rabies licence by the British Government department.

Health

Yellow -Fever - a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas. Travellers arriving in The Bahamas within seven days from the following countries are required to have a valid certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Zaire, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

Departure Tax

Each adult leaving The Bahamas must pay B$15 departure tax. Children under the age of 6 years are exempt. Visitors departing from Nassau and Freeport International Airports for most United States destinations, clear US Customs prior to departure. No further US Customs formalities are required on arrival in the US. European passengers clear customs upon arrival at their destination, i.e., Luxembourg, Frankfurt, London, etc.).

Passports and Visas

British Subjects from the United Kingdom and colonies and Canadian citizens may enter The Bahamas as vistors without passports or visas, for periods not exceeding three weeks. For longer stays, passports are required.
United States citizens travelling on regularly scheduled airlines are pre-cleared through US Customs and Immigration at Nassau International Airport. Proof of citizenship is required.
Transit without visas is allowed to nationals of the Dominican Republic. Citizens of the following countries require passports but no visas: Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lichtenstien, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Turkey. Citizens of the following countries require passports, but no visas for stays of three months or less: Austria, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. For longer stays, visas are required.
Citizens of the following countries require passports, but no visas for stays not exceeding 14 days: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, South Africa,Republic of Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, El Salvador, Uruguay, and Venezuela. For longer stays, visas are required.
Citizens of the following countries require passaports and visas to enter The Bahamas for any purpose: Dominican Republic (except in transit), Haiti, and all Communist countries. Nationals of all other countries are asked to check entry requirements with the Immigration Department, P. O. Box N-831, Nassau, The Bahamas. Tel. (242) 322-7530.

Car Rentals

Cars can be rented from Nassau International Airport or from downtown. Driving is on the left in The Bahamas. A visitor may drive on his/her home licence for up to three (3) months. Bahamians or visitors may apply for an international licence at a cost of $50.

Zoned Taxi Fares

Airport to Cable Beach $12; Airport to downtown $18; Airport to Paradise Island $21 (does not include $2 for bridge toll); Cable Beach to downtown $8; taxi fares are fixed by the government of The Bahamas at $2 for the first 1/4 mile and 30 cents for each additional 1/4 mile.

Jitney/Bus Pick-up

Locations and Fares
The jitney buses run throughout the day normally until dusk. In a westerly direction they depart from the corner between British Colonial Best Western on Bay Street. In an easterly direction from Frederick Street, downtown. If you're not sure of the bus route that you are taking, feel free to ask the driver. Bus fares - Adults 75 cents and children 50 cents.

Scooters - Rentals are possible from most hotels. Prices: $28 - $32, including insurance. Call 326-8329 or 327-6000 ext. 6374 for information on scooters.

Mailboats - Mailboats travel to the Islands weekly. Passengers may rent a cabin for the journey. Contact the Dockmaster's Office at telephone (242) 393-1064.

Telephone - Telephone service on all the islands is controlled by the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, an agency of the Government. Direct Distance Dialing services are available between North America, Europe, United Kingdom, other countries and The Bahamas (Nassau and most of the Family Islands). Cables to The Bahamas are usually delivered by phone or by citizen's band radio.

Postal Service -The Bahamas Postal Department offers first class, second class letters services as well as postcards, air letters and high-speed mail between the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South and Central America, Bermuda, Falkland Islands and Islands of the Mediteranean, Africa, Asia, Australia, Pacific and Indian Oceans, the West Indies and within the Bahama Islands.

Airmail - Postcards to the United States, the U.K. & Canada require a 40 cents stamp. Airmal letters cost 55 cents per half ounce to the US & Canada, 60 cents for Europe.

Weddings - Should non-residents wish to be married in The Bahamas, both parties must spend 15 days in the country and submit proof of presence. The Registrar may use his/her discretion and may allow the parties to marry provided they can prove their stay in The Bahamas for a minimum of 3 days. If either party has been divorced, proof of divorce must be produced. Applications for marriage licences cost $40.00 and are obtainable in New Providence at the Registrar General's Office, Rodney E. Bain Building, Parliament Street. No blood test is required. Minimum age without parental consent is 18 years. For further information call: (242) 326-5371,328-7810, 326-9772.

Taxes & Tolls

Departure tax leaving The Bahamas is $15 payable at the airports.
There is a Government tax of 4% and a Resort Levy of 4% along with a Maid Service Charge levied on all hotel rooms in The Bahamas.
Paradise Island Bridge Toll is $2 for rental cars and taxis, 25 cents for bicycles. Pedestrians free.

Tipping Standard tip is 15%. Many resorts and hotels automatically add a service charge to cover gratituities. Ask your waitress if you are unsure whether this charge has been added to your bill.

Sports Information

Sporting adventures are many in The Bahamas. Visitors may participate in Skin/Scuba diving, fishing, boating, golfing, tennis, parasailing, horseback riding or bungy jumping. Or they may view cricket, soccer, football, softball, baseball, volleyball or rugby matches.

Skin/Scuba Diving

Nassau

  • Bahama Divers Ltd......................................................... (242) 393-5644
  • Nassau Undersea Adventures.......................................... (242) 362-4171
  • Nassau Scuba Centre..................................................... (242) 362-1964
  • Divers Haven.................................................................. (242) 393-0869
  • Dive Dive Dive................................................................ (242) 362-1143
  • Sun Divers..................................................................... (242) 325-8927
  • Sunskiff Divers Ltd.......................................................... (242) 361-4075
  • or.................................................................................. (242) 362-1979
  • Abaco
  • Dive Abaco..................................................................... (242) 367-2787
  • Brendal's Dive Shop........................................................ (242) 365-4411
  • Hope Town Dive Shop..................................................... (242) 366-0029
  • Island Marine Dive Shop.................................................. (242) 366-0282
  • Ocean Exploration Society.............................................. (242) 366-2222
  • Walker's Cay Undersea Adventures.................................. (242) 352-3301
  • Andros
  • Cargill Creek Lodge......................................................... (242) 368-5129
  • Small Hope Bay Lodge..................................................... (242)368-2014
  • Undersea Adventures....................................................... (242)347-2079
  • Cat Island
  • Port Howe ..................................................................... (242) 342-3053
  • Fernandez Bay Village.................................................... (242) 342-5043
  • Exuma
  • Exuma Fantasea............................................................ (242) 336-3483
  • Eleuthera
  • Clearwater Dive Shop...................................................... (242) 332-2146
  • Cove Eleuthera............................................................... (242) 335-5142
  • Ramora Bay Club........................................................ (242) 333-2324/5
  • Valentine's Dive Centre................................................... (242) 333-2080
  • Grand Bahama
  • Deep Water Cay Club..................................................... (242) 348-2112
  • Sunn Odyssey Divers...................................................... (242) 373-4014
  • UNEXSO........................................................................ (242) 373-8956
  • Xanadu Dive Centre......................................................... (242) 352-5856
  • Long Island
  • Stella Maris Inn............................................................... (242)336-2106
  • San Salvador
  • Riding Rock Inn.............................................................. (242) 331-2631
  • Club Med....................................................................... (242) 331-2222
  • Fishing/Nassau

  • Chubasco Charters......................................................... (242) 322-8148
  • Nirvana........................................................................... (242) 324-2061
  • Born Free....................................................................... (242) 363-2002
  • Andros
  • Jolly Boys Enterprise...................................................... (242) 369-4767
  • Exuma
  • Rolle's Charter Fishing.................................................... (242) 358-0023
  • Parasailing Sea & Ski Divers........................................... (242) 363-3370
  • Horseback Riding

  • Happy Trails Stable........................................................ (242) 362-1820
  • Public Holidays

    1997

    New Year's Day 1 January
    Good Friday 28 March
    Easter Monday 31 March
    Whit Monday 26 May
    Labour Day 6 June
    Independence Day 10 July
    Emancipation Day 4 August
    Discovery Day 12 October
    Christmas Day 25 December
    Boxing Day 26 December
    (Dates of holidays falling on weekends are subject to change)

    Meeting & Convention Facilities

    All major hotels provide conference/convention rooms and arrange equipment for such meetings.

    Service Clubs & Associations

    Rotary Club Meetings

    Rotary Club of New Providence
    Mondays at 6:30 p.m. - Green Shutters

    Nassau City Rotary Club
    Tuesdays at 12:30p.m -Buena Vista

    South East Rotary Club
    Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. - East Villa

    Rotary Club of West Nassau
    Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. - Buena Vista

    Rotary Club of East Nassau
    Fridays at 12:30 p.m. -Yacht Club


    Rotary Club, Abaco
    - Marsh Harbour -Mondays 6:30pm

    Rotary Club, Freeport
    - Tuesdays and Thursdays

    Kiwanis Club Meetings

    Kiwanis Club of New Providence
    Tuesdays 7:30p.m., Radisson Grand Hotel

    Kiwanis Club A.M.
    Mondays - 7:30p.m.- Casuarinas Hotel

    Kiwanis Club of Nassau
    Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. -Bahamas Cricket Association, West Bay Street

    Kiwanis Club of Fort Montagu
    Tuesdays at 7 p.m. - Down Home Restaurant & Bar

    Kiwanis Club of Cable Beach
    - Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. - Tony Romas, West Bay Street

    Kiwanis Club of Over-the-Hill
    Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. - Same Ole Place

    Zonta Club of Nassau
    - Every 4th Thursday at 12:30 p.m. - Buena Vista

    Airline Charter Service

  • Abaco Air...................................................................... (242) 367-2266
  • Aerojet.......................................................................... (954) 772-5070
  • Air Link.......................................................................... (800) 882-LINK
  • Bimini Island Air............................................................. (954) 776-0890
  • Bizjet............................................................................ (800) 327-6222
  • Cherokee Air.................................................................. (242) 367-2089
  • Congo Air...................................................................... (242) 327-5382
  • Global Air....................................................................... (305) 359-3617
  • Miami Air Charter........................................................... (800) 333-4698
  • Princess Vacations........................................................ (800) 545-1300
  • Walker's Cay Air............................................................ (800) 432-2092
  • Fernandez Bay Village.................................................... (800) 940-1905
  • Small Hope Bay Lodge................................................... (800) 223-6961
  • Stella Maris Resort Club................................................. (800) 426-0466
  • Ground Tour & Sightseeing Operators

  • B & B Tours................................................................... (242) 325-8849
  • Bahamas Experience...................................................... (242) 393-6081
  • Dan Knowles Bus & Livery Services Ltd............................ (242) 393-7448
  • Majestic Tours Ltd.......................................................... (242) 322-2606/9
  • Tourism Contacts

    Bahamas Hotel Association
    Hotel's House, Dean's Lane, Nassau, Bahamas Tel: 242- 322-8381 Fax: 242-326-5346

    Nassau Tourism & Development Board
    P.O. Box N 208, Nassau, N. P. The Bahamas Tel: 242- 394-3575 Fax: 242- 393-0452

    Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board
    Lee Wagner Boulevard Suite No. 204 Lauderdale, Fl. 33315 Tel: 954-359-8099/1-800-688-4752 Fax: 954-359-8098

    Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board

    Freeport
    International Bazaar P.O. Box F40251 Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas Tel: 242- 352-8044/5 Fax: 242-352-2714
    Miami
    One Turnberry Place 19495 Biscayne Boulevard 8th Floor Aventura, Florida 33180 Tel: (305) 935-9461

    Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board

    Nassau
    Hotel's House, Dean's Lane, Nassau, Bahamas Tel: 242-322-8383 Fax:242-326-5346

    Miami One Turnberry Place 19495 Biscayne Boulevard 8th Floor Aventura, Florida 33180 Tel: 305 931-1555 Fax: 305 931-3005

    Bahamas Tourism Offices

    Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
    P.O. Box N 3701 Tel. 242- 322-7500 Fax: 242-328-0945

    Abaco Tourist Office
    P.O. Box AB 20663, Marsh Harbour Tel. 242-357-3067 - Fax.242-367-3313

    Bimini Tourist Office
    Alice Town, Bimini Tel. 242-347-3529 - Fax.242-347-3530

    Eleuthera Tourist Office
    General Post Office, Governor's Harbour. Tel. 242-332-2142 - Fax. 242-332-2480

    Harbour Island Tourist Office
    General Post Office, Harbour Island Tel. 242-333-2621 - Fax: 242-333-2622

    Exuma Tourist Office
    P.O. Box EX 29169, George Town, Exuma. Tel. 242-246-2430 Fac: 242-246-2431

    Canada
    Toronto 121 Bloor Street East Suite 1101 Toronto, Ontario M4W 3M5 Tel: (416) 968-2999 Fax: (416) 968-6711

    England
    Surrey 3 The Billings Walnut Tree Close Guilford, Surrey, GU1 4UL, England Tel: 48 344 8900 Fax: 48 344 8990

    France
    Paris 60 Rue Saint Lazare 75009 Paris Tel: 011 33 14 526 6262 Fax: 011 33 14 874 0605

    Italy
    Milan Via Cusani, No. 7 20121 Milan, Italy Tel: (2) 7202 3003/2526 Fax: (2) 7202-3123

    West Germany
    Frankfurt Leipziger Strasse 67D 60487 Frankfurt Main Tel: 011 49 69 970 8340 Fax: 011 49 970 83434

    LATIN AMERICA
    One Turnberry Place 19495 Biscayne Blvd., 8th Floor Aventura, Florida, 33810 Tel: (305) 932-0051

    United States

    Chicago
    8600 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue Suite 820 Chicago, Illinois 60631 Tel: (312) 693-1500 Fax: (312) 693-1114

    Dallas
    World Trade Centre, Suite 116 2050 Stemmons Freeway P. O. Box 581408 Dallas, Texas 75258-1408 Tel: (214) 742-1886 Fax: (214) 741-4118

    Los Angeles
    3450 Wilshire, Suite 208 Los Angeles, California 90010 Tel: (213) 385 - 0033 Fax: (213) 383-3966

    Miami
    One Turnberry Place 19495 Biscayne Boulevard 8th Floor Aventura, Florida 33180 Tel: (305) 932-0051 Fax: (305) 682-8758

    New York
    150 East 52nd Street 28th Floor North New York, New York 10022 Tel: (212) 758-2777 Fax: (212) 753-6531

    Bahamas Overseas Missions

    Canada
    Bahamas High Commissioner Suite 1020 360 Albert Street Ottawa, Ontario KIR 7X7, Canada Tel: (613) 232-1724 Telex: 21-053-3739 Fax: 613-232-0097

    Haiti
    Embassy Of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas P.O. Box 309 Rue Edmond Mangones No. 17 Berthe, Petion Ville, Haiti Tel: (509) 570-454 Fax: (509) 570-602

    Taiwan
    Honorary Consulate of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas 18F, 27, An Ho Road, Taipei, Taiwan Roc Tel: 02-721-8443 Fax: 02-771-0378

    United Kingdom
    Bahamas High Commissioner Bahamas High Commission 10 Chesterfield Street London, WIX 8AH, England Tel: (011) 44 171 408 4488 Telex: 892617 Fax: (011) 44 171 499 9937

    United States

    Miami
    Bahamas Consulate General Ingraham Building 25 S.E. 2nd Avenue, Suite 818 Miami, Florida 33131, USA Tel: (305) 373-6295 -Telex: 203-807-849 Fax: (305) 373-6312

    New York
    Permanent Representative Bahamas Permanent Mission To The United Nations 231 East 46th Street New York, N. Y. 10017 Tel: (212) 421-6925 Telex: 2343-2580 Fax: (212) 759-2135

    Bahamas Consul General

    Bahamas Consulate General
    Bahamas House 231 East 46th Street New York, New York 10017 Tel: 212-421-6420 Telex: 2343-2580 Fax: 212-759-2135

    Washington
    Ambassador Embassy Of The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas 2220 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. Washington, D. C. 20008 Tel: (202) 319-2660/7 Telex: 257-10825-0435 Fax: (202) 319-2668

    TOUR OPERATORS

    Canada

  • Alba Tours.................................................................... (800) 605-ALBA
  • Canadian Holidays.......................................................... (800) 661-8881
  • Conquest Tours.............................................................. (800) 268-1205
  • Adventure Tours............................................................. (800) 268-7073
  • Sunquest Tours.............................................................. (800) 268-8899
  • NASSAU/PARADISE ISLAND
  • Delta Dream Vacations................................................... (800) 233-7260
  • Flyaway Vacations......................................................... (800) 832-8383
  • GoGo Tours.................................................................... (800) 821-3731
  • Nassau Paradise Island Express................................ (800) 7-BAHAMAS
  • Paradise Island vacations................................................ (800) 722-7466
  • Travel Impressions.......................................................... (800) 284-0044
  • Air Fun Tours................................................................ (800) 441-4FUN
  • Apple Vacations (East)................................................... (800) 727-3550
  • Apple Vacations (West).................................................. (800) 365-2775
  • Friendly Holidays............................................................ (800) 221-9740
  • Fun Jet Vacations........................................................... (800) 559-3060
  • USAir Vacations............................................................. (800) 455-0123
  • ABACO
  • Bahamasair.................................................................... (800) 222-4262
  • American Eagle.............................................................. (800) 433-7300
  • USAir Express............................................................... (800) 622-1015
  • Gulfstream International........................................................ (800) 992-8
  • ANDROS
  • Bahamasair.................................................................... (800) 423-7714
  • American Eagle.............................................................. (800) 433-7300
  • Bahamasair................................................................... (800) 222-4262
  • BIMINI
  • PanAm Air Bridge........................................................... (800) 424-2557
  • GRAND BAHAMA
  • Delta Dream Vacations................................................... (800) 872-7786
  • GoGo Tours.................................................................... (800) 821-3731
  • Nassau Paradise Island Express................................... (800) BAHAMAS
  • Travel Impressions.......................................................... (800) 284-0044
  • Apple Vacations (East)................................................... (800) 727-3550
  • Apple Vacations (West).................................................. (800) 365-2775
  • Friendly Holidays............................................................ (800) 221-9740