- Full name: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
- Capital: Nassau
- Largest city: Nassau
- Official language: English
- Area: 13,878 km2
- Population: 391,232 (2016)
- Currency: Bahamian Dollar (BSD) 1 BSD = 100 cent
- Foreign tourists: 6.1 million (2016)
- Travel risks and hazards: Hurricane season, crime.
The Bahamas consist of 700 islands, islets, and cays making it a little haven from the world’s troubles. This tourist paradise economy is solely based on tourism and finances meaning that resorts and tourist attractions await you on every step. Besides these Bahamas boast with wonderful beaches, the clearest sky blue water in the world, old colonial forts, a variety of cultures and most of all, all-year-round warm weather. As wonderful as the Bahamas maybe there are still hazards tourists should watch out for.
Tourists from certain nations will require to obtain a Visa in order to travel to the Bahamas while others are allowed a stay of 3 up to 8 months without the requirement of a Visa. (List of nations requiring a Visa in sources). Tourist drivers in the Bahamas may use their domestic or International drivers permit for up to 3 months in the country. You should apply for your IDP in the country your license was issued in. The minimum age to drive in the Bahamas is 17, to rent a car it is 21. All traffic in the Bahamas drives on the left-hand side. If fined for committing a traffic violation you are required to pay on the spot. Fuel is relatively cheap as both diesel and petrol cost roughly a dollar per liter. Visitors who wish to drive in the Bahamas may do so using their national driving permits. These, however, are valid only for 90 days and must be later exchanged for a Bahaman driving permit.
In terms of driving Bahamas is relatively safe as the main roads are well maintained and toll-free. Rural roads are in poorer conditions and may be narrow in certain places making it more difficult for inexperienced drivers. The biggest hazards on roads are often mistakes of tourists coming from nations using the right-hand side traffic. As earlier mentioned the Bahaman state is using the left side of the road to drive however most of the vehicles are imported from the US meaning that most cars or even rental cars steering wheel are on the left-hand side. This, in turn, can be chaotic and overwhelming for some, especially inexperienced drivers.
There are no large land animals in the Bahamas that would pose any threat to humans however there are small animals that may cause severe problems or even result in death. Brown recluse spider and the banana spider are the two types of arachnids that can pose danger to humans. Although neither of the two has venom potent enough to kill a human they certainly can ruin one’s vacation. Another of the little killers inhabiting the islands of Bahamas is the poison dart frog. This little has luminous bright colors on its body and enough venom on its skin to kill 20 men, or 10 thousand mice. It has never attacked a human directly however some tourists have been known to stroke this little amphibian not realizing its potential danger. Screwworms although rarer now due to eradication efforts can still be a possibility in the Bahamas. These are carried by blowflies also known as new world screwworm flies which lay eggs in even the smallest wounds on humans and animals. The screwworms are extremely dangerous as they feed on live tissue meaning that these as silly as it sounds may even feed on the human brain if eggs were laid in a wound on a neck or head. The waters are generally safe at daytime although it is advisable not to swim after dusk as the sharks come very close to the shores. It is best to swim in areas with lifeguards or resort beaches as these are generally safe. Jet skis and motorboats scare off the big fish from the coast however jellyfish no matter, day or night are still dangerous mainly for people with allergies with a similar effect to a wasp sting. In terms of weather conditions and hazards, Bahamas experiences a storm season which spans from late summer until early fall. Tornadoes and tropical cyclones happen to hit the Bahamas causing great devastation. Except for the storms and tornadoes Bahamas is generally safe with an all year round warm temperatures.
The Bahamas has only one health requirement before entering and that is the yellow fever vaccination for those who travel from countries with a risk of transmission of yellow fever. This requirement also applies to those who have traveled through any of these countries for more than 12 hours. (Country list in sources). Any other vaccinations are not mandatory but some are recommended and these include routine vaccines aka MMR vaccines, hepatitis A and B, rabies and typhoid vaccinations. Medical staff in the Bahamas are highly regarded and all will speak English. You can expect physicians, nurses, therapists, technologists, and a range of other medical professionals to be on hand in the Bahamian system, all dedicated to providing the best possible care. It is advised to purchase insurance to cover all medical expenses in case of an accident or an emergency. In case of an emergency dial 911 or 919.
The Bahamas became significantly safer in recent years. The crime has dropped by nearly 30% in recent years. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs still advises exercising increased caution. Currently, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is cracking down on crime especially in the tourist areas with high visibility police checkpoints. The most popular tourist areas and resorts are generally safe although minor pickpocketing and scams may happen. Armed robberies and assaults happen in the less popular areas although the criminals are not keen on engaging in violence unless resisted. These may be avoided by keeping cautious and avoiding non-tourist areas. Best way to avoid being a victim of crime is to leave most of your expensive belongings at the hotel if possible, money belts are a great option to avoid pickpocketing and it is advised to stay vigilant while going anywhere at night.
The Bahamas is a great tourist destination when it comes to leisure and sightseeing. It is generally free of diseases and safe in the tourist areas. Remember that planning your trip with Travset.com will give you the quickest information about nearest emergency services and will also help you purchase indispensable travel insurance for the trip of your lifetime. Please feel free to comment and share the experiences of your travels with Travset.com.