Everything you need to know about the Bahamas…
If you have decided to travel to the Bahamas for a destination wedding, you are in for quite an experience! The Bahamas combine history, beauty, and friendliness to make the perfect destination for anyone seeking relaxation, good weather, and fun. Let’s dig a little deeper into the history of the Bahamas, answer some questions you may have, and provide tips for traveling and staying.
Language: On the islands of the Bahamas, natives speak mostly English. The natives may sound more British than American, and British slang may be used. Often, Bahaman dialects can be found throughout among natives who include words not understood in English. In some areas, Creole may be common due to the overlap of Haitian influence. The national language, however, is English.
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time, the same as the East coast of the United States, is the time zone across the entire expanse of the Bahamas. Also, from April to October, Eastern Daylight Time is observed.
Currency: The Bahaman dollar is of the same value as the U.S. dollar, and both are used frequently across the islands. Those paying in U.S. dollars will receive U.S. dollars in return, and the same congruency applies to Bahaman dollars. ATMs and banks can be found which furnish withdrawal of U.S. dollars as well, so a pre-trip currency conversion is not necessary. It is recommended, however, that any accrued Bahaman dollars are converted back to U.S. dollars before exiting the country.
Drinking age: Eighteen is the legal age for gambling and the consumption of tobacco and alcohol on the Bahaman islands. The use of illegal recreational drugs and illegal prescription drugs is strictly prohibited in the Bahamas.
Rules of the road: British driving rules apply. In the Bahamas, drivers are to drive on the left, and many intersections feature roundabouts. A combination of British and American cars can be found on the island. Visitors can drive legally with their home licenses for up to three months in the Bahamas.
Modesty: There are no nude beaches on the Bahaman islands. In general, the culture is very modest, and tourists would do well to cover up swim attire when walking about.
Bahamas History & Trivia
Most people can easily envision the paradise-like turquoise beaches and ivory sands that comprise the Bahamas, but there are many little-known facts about the islands that may be of note to some visitors, such as:
- The Bahamas have the third highest GDP, making the Bahamas the third richest nation after Canada and the United States.
- It has actually snowed on the islands of the Bahamas. In 1977, upon a freakish cold-front from the coast of Florida, snowflakes fell on the islands. Of course, snow was unable to accumulate and it has never happened since.
- Many are familiar with the deep blue hole off of the coast of Belize. Few are aware that off of the Bahaman coast lays the deepest blue hole, Dean’s Blue Hole. This is a famous site for divers and underwater enthusiasts to challenge records and themselves.
- The highest point on all of the islands of the Bahamas is little more than a hill at only 207 feet above sea level. This ranks the Bahaman high point fifth from the bottom as far as highest national peaks, globally.
- Christopher Columbus touched down on the Bahaman islands. Columbus’s travels and landings have been speculated and debated, but nearly all historians plant Columbus in the Bahamas either directly before or directly after he “discovered America” in total.
Passports: Yes, passports are a must for any international traveler. Though this has been true for air passengers for longer, passports only became a requirement in 2009 for cruise passengers.
Vaccines: Not required but recommended. Many people travel to the Bahamas and never get sick because the island does not house any proprietary tropical diseases. However, other passengers are opting to vaccinate because tuberculosis and malaria are not unheard of, though rare. The choice to vaccinate or not is entirely at traveler discretion.
Cell phones: A majority of American cell phones will be roaming in the Bahaman islands and may receive no service on the outer islands. Cell phones that do not work can be “unlocked” for a small fee once on the island, and international cyberphone options are also available.
Electrical outlets: Outlets and plugs are standard in the Bahamas for American visitors.
When to visit:
- December to February
Climate: Coolest, driest months. Temperatures averaging in the low to mid-seventies.
Advantages: If you like a bustling atmosphere, or want to escape the winter drag at home, this is the time for you. The winter Junkanoo festival is in December.
Disadvantages: Not as serene and relaxing. Usually the busiest and most expensive time of the year. Trips to the Bahamas for these months should be booked the furthest in advance.
- March & April
Climate: Temperate, a mix of precipitation and dry days, average temperatures in the mid to high seventies.
Advantages: If you are a spring-breaker or someone who is looking to party and enjoy libations and loud music, this is the ideal time to visit. The weather is very nice this time of year.
Disadvantages: This is a loud, boisterous time of the year for the Bahamas. If your trip is for business, relaxation, or family fun, this may not be the ideal time to travel. Hotels are likely to be busy and noisy in these months, and beaches will be much more populated.
- May to November
Climate: The warmest time of the year, and the wettest too. Average temperatures in the eighties and up.
Advantages: There is a lot going on at this time of year, especially in June and July. This is overall the best time to travel to the Bahamas. Hotels are usually at their cheapest – 60% or more off of the usual rates.
Disadvantages: The outer islands are usually completely closed to visitors for these months.
Traveling to the Bahamas is a fairly easy international experience, compared to the complicated language barriers and vaccination conundrums that can sometimes hinder international travel. Moreover, the islands are beautiful and festive at any time of year, and the weather is like paradise year-round. The islands are rich with culture, history, and activity that simply cannot be matched. For more information on your destination wedding trip to the Bahamas, contact Chic Bahamas Weddings.