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Getting around in the Bahamas

Once you arrived in the Bahamas, it is easy to get around on the islands.

The most convenient way is to go by taxi. Taxis can be found at the airport, at every hotel, at the ferry and mailboat docks and in the city centers of Nassau and Freeport. You can hire taxis even for half day or a day sightseeing tour.

Visa Requirements and Customs and Immigration

Do you want know what are the visa, customs and immigration requirements in order to travel to the Bahamas?

Learn more on the Visa and Customs website.

If you prefer to drive on your own, you can rent on every island a rental car or motor scooter. This is recommended particularly on the Out Island where the distances can be significant and the hotels and resorts are in remote locations.

If you prefer a true Bahamas travel experience to get around in Nassau, Paradise Island or Grand Bahama and Freeport, you can use the public bus service which is also the cheapest way to travel around on the islands.

The easiest way to travel from one island to another is by plane. Bahamasair and other smaller charter flight carrier are flying daily or several times a week from Nassau to the Out Islands and Grand Bahama.

You can find more information about flights between the Bahamas islands on the Bahamas Flights website.

If you bring more time with you, you can also travel by ferry or mailboat from island to island, particularly the travel by mailboat is a true Bahamian experience.

If you want to find out more about different resorts, villas and hotels in the Bahamas, than visit the Bahamas Hotels website.

You can find more details about the possibilities to get around in the Bahamas on the website below:

Travel by Rental Car or Scooter

Renting a car is usually advisable in large islands like Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Long Islands, and Andros, where bus service is sparse or non-existent.

It is a good choice, if you want to explore the island on your own pace and interest. You need to plan with about 80-120 USD per day for a medium sized car.

You can't take your car to the Bahamas unless it is shipped which is very expensive and not advisable for a vacation.

In Nassau and Grand Bahama you will find the well known big car rental companies which are also represented at the airport, Nassau downtown at Paradise Island and at some larger resorts.

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However, in the Out Islands rental cars are offered by small privately owned companies or individuals.

In the Out Islands, it's best to contact the hotel reception for any bookings of a rental car.

Two people can easily ride around the islands on a motor scooter for about $50 per day. Helmets and insurance are mandatory and included in the rental price.

Many larger hotels have scooters on premises or if you are in Nassau or Paradise Island you can try any of the scooter rental booths on West Bay Street or in downtown at the British Colonial Hilton and at Rawson Square.

Travel by Ferry or Boat

Bahamas Mailboat
From Florida, the Discovery Cruise Line travels daily to Grand Bahama island with it's 1'100 passenger Discovers Sun, complete with swimming pool, casino, live entertainment, disco and buffets. Passengers can either make a day trip arriving in the morning and departing in the afternoon or stay to a few days.

Within the Bahamas, Bahamas Ferries has the most and most comfortable options for island-hopping by ferry. The ferries serve most of the major tourist destinations from Nassau, including Spanish Wells, Governor's Harbor, Harbor Island, Abaco, Exuma and Andros. Schedules do rather change frequently and bad weather can cause delays. So check carefully the updated time tables and allow enough time cushion.

Local ferries in the Out Islands transport islanders and visitors from the main island to smaller cays. Usually, these ferries make several round-trip a day and keep a punctual time table.

The most traditional and cheapest way to travel between the Bahamas islands is by mail boat. The mail boat serves every major islands from Nassau. The trip makes a true Bahamian experience.

Although modern, fast and air-conditioned boats are in service for the main routes, but remote destinations are still served by old and slow crafts. If you choose the mail boat route, you may even find yourself sharing company with goats or chicken, and making your way on deck through piles of cargo. You need to expect to spend 5 - 12 hours or more on the boat, slowly making your way through the islands.

It is recommended to check the details in Nassau with the dock master's office at Potter's Cay. You can also purchase tickets there or directly on the boat.

If you are setting sail yourself, note that cruising boats must clear customs at the nearest port of entry before beginning any diving or snorkeling. A fee for the boat and the passengers must be paid at the port.

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Travel by Bus or Taxi

There are regular bus services in Nassau and on Grand Bahama. The buses are called jitneys and are actually vans. Route numbers are clearly marked and they run from early morning until dusk. Although there are established stops, you can sometimes hail a jitney. Tell the driver where to let you off. There is no bus service on most of the Out Islands.

Once you leave the airport on any islands you will find a taxi stand nearby. Taxis come in all shapes - from compact car to van - so there is no uniform look, but most will display the taxi sign. Inside there is a driver identification tag posted on the dash or hanging from the rearview mirror.

The taxi fares are set by the government and are more or less fixed, little negotiation is possible.

Taxis can be found at the airports, in Nassau along Bay Street and outside of every major hotel and cruise ship dock. You can call the Taxi Cab Union directly for a cab or ask your hotel front desk.

It's common to rent a driver with a van on most islands, and prices are negotiable. Most drivers charge by the half day or full day. It is customary to pay for the driver's lunch.

All tour guides in the Bahamas are required to take a tourism course and need a special license to drive the taxi. This is a good and flexible method to get to know the islands without the need to drive a car yourself.

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