Nassau, Bahamas

VacationWiser.com Guide to NASSAU & PARADISE ISLAND

(Information courtesy of www.bahamas.com)

With the lure of a big city and the ease of tropical utopia, Nassau & Paradise Island are considered by many as, well, paradise. Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is a bustling metropolitan hub full of culture and modern amenities. To the north lies Paradise Island. Its name tells you everything. It’s 685 acres of pure euphoria, developed almost exclusively to delight and accommodate visitors. The island boasts resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops, nightlife, a golf course, an aquarium and a casino.

Nassau, Bahamas Basics

Before diving into everything that’s great about Nassau, let’s cover some basics:

·         Getting there: Nassau & Paradise Island is very accessible by air and sea. Visitors can arrive by scheduled and chartered flights at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), as well as by cruise ship into the Prince George Dock. Bahamas Ferry Services provides daily, twice-weekly or weekly service from several islands on a fully air-conditioned vessel, and there is weekly (or more frequent) mailboat service from all of the other islands.


·         GETTING AROUND: There are several options to help you get around Nassau & Paradise Island. Rental cars, motor scooters, buses and taxis are the most common means of public transportation. Bicycles are not generally available for rental, but some hotels will offer them for the use of their guests. UK rules apply in The Bahamas, so please drive on the left and be very careful on the roundabouts.  Pedestrians should remember to first look right and then left before crossing streets.


·         What to Wear: Casual summer wear can be worn during the day at any time of the year; but be sure to bring a jacket or sweater for the cooler evenings from December to February. Most hotels / restaurants / casinos require jackets for men at night, especially in more cosmopolitan areas, such as Nassau / Paradise Island and Freeport / Lucaya.

Beachwear is inappropriate in churches, restaurants, and casinos. Away from the beach or the pool, you should cover your swimsuit with shorts or a long shirt when walking the city streets. In the more relaxed remote areas, the dress code is more flexible.


·         TIME ZONE: The Bahamas falls in the Eastern Time Zone.  Bahamas follows Daylight Saving Time policy—the same one followed by parts of Canada and the United States. As a result, Daylight Saving Time begins each year on the second Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. and ends on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m.


·         Entry Requirements: When arriving by air, U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport.  Those traveling to the Bahamas on a cruise may use another compliant document such as a Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License.  U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port are able to enter the U.S. with a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID.  However, we strongly recommend you obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires you to disembark and return by air.


·         Climate: The trade winds provide warm year-round weather, with winter lows averaging a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit and summer highs with high humidity at around 80–90, with a gentle dip at night of just 5 to 7 degrees. Hurricane season officially lasts from June to November. The islands have rain year-round, which explains the lush vegetation. Squalls and thundershowers pass through quickly, so the rain never has to ruin your day. May and June are the months with most rain, typically with about twice as much falling in the northern islands as in the southern ones.


·         Banking and Currency: Bank opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Some banks are open on Saturday; hours vary between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  In Nassau / Paradise Island, there are ATM machines at Paradise Island casinos and commercial banks.


The Bahamian dollar is maintained at the same level as the U.S. dollar and both are accepted interchangeably on all islands. Credit cards and traveler's checks are accepted at most locations on Nassau / Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island.


·         Language: English is the official language. Although, you might hear Bahamian English. It’s a mixture of Queen’s diction, African influence and island dialect. The “h” is often dropped, so it sounds like “ouse” for “house” or “t’anks” for “thanks.”


·         COMMUNICATIONS: Visitors and business travelers will find that telecommunication services in The Bahamas are comparable to the services found in most developed countries.  The United States and Canada are accessible by a direct call and most hotels offer direct dialing from the rooms and / or the conference center. For those who want to use their mobile phones, Bahamas Telephone Company has roaming agreements with 128 companies around the world. 


·         ELECTRICITY: Electrical outlets in The Bahamas are 60 cycles / 120 volts, which is compatible with all American devices.


·         TIPPING:  Tipping in The Bahamas should be treated just like where you come from, and you should tip according to the quality of service you receive. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag, while most other servers (waiters, taxis, etc.) receive 15%. Many establishments include the gratuity in the total, so make sure you check your bill to see if it has already been added.


·         Distance from Airport: The Island of New Providence is only 21-miles long.  Everything is within a 30 minute ride from the airport.

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