BAHAMAS SOLO TRAVEL
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! BAHAMAS TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR BAHAMAS SOLO TRAVEL
- THE BAHAMAS: DID YOU KNOW?
- BAHAMAS TRAVEL PLANNING
- BAHAMAS TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- BAHAMAS TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
- CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
- HOW TO BOOK BAHAMAS TRAVEL
- BAHAMAS ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
- BAHAMAS TRAVEL SAFETY
- BAHAMAS BUDGET TRAVEL
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WELCOME TO THE BAHAMAS!
Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 28 years of solo global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to the Bahamas Islands from my Bahamas travel so you plan and book your Bahamas solo travel with ease. What are you waiting for?
THE BAHAMAS: DID YOU KNOW?
About The Bahamas
The Bahamas – home to Junkanoo, pink beaches, blue holes (Cousteau putting the ‘Big Yard’ on the map), world-class snorkeling and diving, Grand Bahama, Nassau, Paradise Island, the Loyalist Cays, and Pig Beach – all of which reside over an archipelago of 700-plus islands and cays that make up some of the world’s largest coral reef systems in the world.
Languages in The Bahamas
The official language is English, with a ‘Bahamian Dialect’, but Haitian Creole can also be heard spoken.
The Bahamian culture derives mostly from African influences combined with British and American culture. Claiming independence from the British in 1973, the Bahamas Christianity is the predominant religion in the country. Combined with the African influence, Bahamians enjoy a mix of indigenous forms of music, dance, art and cuisine.
Like Belizeans, Bahamians are considered laid back, easy going and very friendly. You’re more than apt to experience a welcome smile and friendly demeanor amongst the Bahamians on their 30 inhabited coral-based islands.
Popular Bahamas Activities
Considering The Bahamas make up such a large reef system, it goes without saying that the top activities enjoyed here are fishing, diving and snorkeling. Boating, of course, is also popular. Dance, music and sport also play a big part of Bahamian activities.
The big event for the Bahamas is Junkanoo parade, a street carnival that has been taking place for over 500 years. This historic, cultural even takes place on Boxing Day (December 26th), New Year’s Day and in the summer. If you go The Bahamas, try to attend one of these – you will not be disappointed.
Popular Bahama Activities
BAHAMAS TRAVEL PLANNING
The Bahamian dollar (BSD or $) is basically a one-to-one exchange rate with the U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars can be used in The Bahamas but do not be surprised to receive Bahamian dollars in the exchange, which should be used or exchanged before leaving The Bahamas.
Tipping in The Bahamas
Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules. That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated.
What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc. For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.
For dining, it is customary for 15% gratuity to be automatically added to your bill in The Bahamas. However, confirm this with your waiter if it is unclear on the bill. You may tip extra for very good service. For fine dining, it may be automatically expected to tip more than 15%.
Additionally, you should always tip in the local (or U.S.) currency if tipping in cash. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not. Tipping will not be considered offensive in The Bahamas like it is in Japan.
It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.
Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Bahamas travel planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in The Bahamas.
BAHAMAS TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel Documents for The Bahamas
From the U.S., you will need a valid passport valid at time of entry that allows for two pages required for entry stamp. A Bahamas travel visa is not required for U.S. citizens. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when visiting The Bahamas. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
Choose from Top Travel Document Holders
Vaccinations for The Bahamas
There are normally no vaccinations required for The Bahamas. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information to visit Bahamas islands. It is advised to always check for any Bahamas travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
BAHAMAS TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Electronics for The Bahamas
Want to use your 110 V electronics while traveling in The Bahamas? The Bahamas’ voltage is 120V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz and use both Type A and Type B adapters, like the U.S. Therefore, U.S. electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) should not require a voltage converter in The Bahamas.
Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.
Although you don’t have to bring an adapter, check your electronics – if you have one requiring a 3-prong outlet you may want to bring a Type B adapter just in case.
If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to The Bahamas, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.
Cyber Security While Traveling
Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.
CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Bahamian destinations, all from my travel in The Bahamas, to plan your best Bahamas solo travel.
The more I travel in The Bahamas, the more that gets added to this Bahamas Travel Guide. Keep checking back.
I recently revisited Nassau, Bahamas in 2023. Until I write about it, here are my 5 MUST DOs in Nassau for Bahamas solo travel, especially if it’s your first time Nassau travel, with my other recommended best things to do in Nassau.
More Best Things to Do in Nassau
HOW TO BOOK BAHAMAS TRAVEL
It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.
Cheap Flights to The Bahamas
With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to The Bahamas, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to The Bahamas now.
Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to The Bahamas
Bahamas Places to Stay
Second in importance to buying airline tickets to The Bahamas is finding the best place to stay in The Bahamas for your Bahamas solo travel. Develop your Bahamas travel itinerary now and find the best Bahamas solo travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.
Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in The Bahamas
Getting Around The Bahamas
The most popular form of ground transportation is the taxi, so getting around, booking transportation in advance, or working on the fly is no problem. You can book a taxi in advance or just hail one. Always confirm the full rate first before you ride.
Of course, you can easily find a rental a car in The Bahamas if you are comfortable driving on the left side of the road and it better suits your Bahamas travel itinerary.
Find the Best Deals on Bahamas Rental Cars
What to Do in The Bahamas
Here are some of the top things to do in The Bahamas to book for your Bahamas solo travel.
Popular Food and Drink Activities in The Bahamas
BAHAMAS ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in The Bahamas. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.
Air Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in The Bahamas are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter, depending on which island you stay.
These forms of transportation, of course, cost less than rental cars and taxis. However, for safety, bikes and e-scooter rentals may be better on certain islands than others. Busy islands, like New Providence, have some narrow streets without sidewalks and quick moving car traffic.
Explore Bahamas Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals
Look for Bahamas accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Bahamas and other Caribbean Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for certifications.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find accommodations in The Bahamas implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.
Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in The Bahamas
Eco-Friendly Things To Do
The Bahamas ecotourism ideas are available to explore for your next vacation.
Book Now, Pay Later – Eco-Friendly Activities in The Bahamas
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect The Bahamas’ environment.
BAHAMAS TRAVEL SAFETY
Before You Go
Always consult your government’s Bahamas travel advisory for your Bahamas travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.
Buy Bahamas travel insurance and international medical insurance for your solo trip to The Bahamas to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.
If you are unfamiliar with driving on the left side of the road, forgo renting a car and walk, use public transportation or taxis instead for ground transportation.
Safety in The Bahamas
Bahamians are very friendly and accommodating. They are easily approachable for assistance and will offer directions.
Still, petty and violent crimes can exist in The Bahamas during the day and in tourist areas – more so in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Be smart and take precautions while traveling and consult local and U.S.-based advisory boards in advance, if need be.
Research areas that may be unsafe to walk or walk at night, such as the “Over the Hill” area in Nassau. Ask your hotel for recommendations also.
Beyond that, my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:
- always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
- always be “street wise”.
- always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
- be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
- research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
- if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.
BAHAMAS BUDGET TRAVEL
Before You Go
As stated before, if you are from the U.S., there is zero reason to exchange to Bahamian currency before your Bahamas solo trip, which means no extra exchange fees.
However, cash is a staple among taxi drivers and some vendors, so it is essential to travel with cash in the Bahamas. ATM fees are high in The Bahamas, and your bank may charge an extra ATM fee. To avoid these fees, calculate your cash expenses in advance and bring the necessary U.S. cash with you.
If you are not from the U.S., also calculate your cash needs in advance so you can do one currency exchange before your solo trip to The Bahamas.
Best Time to Visit The Bahamas
The Bahamas’ high season, due to the best (dry) weather conditions, is November to mid-April but, of course, this could make it the highest cost time to go as well. A lower cost time to go is from June to October, but that is also a much hotter and humid time to visit. June through November is also considered hurricane season, so plan well and have travel insurance in case you need to rebook or get delayed due to weather.
Like Belize, I would recommend going to The Bahamas at the end of high season in April to May to avoid the higher costs, the crowds, and before it gets too hot and humid.
Try to avoid the large, casino-type resorts as these are very pricey. However, if you book in advance and do your research, an “all inclusive” package may be similar to paying for meals a la carte in addition to your hotel costs.
“All inclusive” deals, however, may tend to make you feel “trapped” at your hotel and not wanting to spend more money exploring and dining outside of your resort. Keep in mind what type of traveler you are before you book.
Staying in Bahamas hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in The Bahamas, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.
Many hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in The Bahamas – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.
Don’t overlook exploring hostels in The Bahamas if you’re on a budget.
Reserve Your Bahamas Hostel
Best Time to Book Travel
The Bahamas are a pricey destination. The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.
Ready to book Bahamas solo travel? Don’t miss out and find the best Bahamas travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling to The Bahamas.
Book Bahamas Travel Early to Save Money
I first went to The Bahamas during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season 2000 (and the “Y2K scare”) with my then-husband as a delayed honeymoon. The weather was beautiful, but the water chilly.
A highlight was the Junkanoo Festival, with the dancing and colorful costumes, the day after Christmas. I recommend trying to catch one. Another highlight was seeing Michael Jordan on the golf course!
After 23 years, I was able to get back to The Bahamas in January 2023. I went to Nassau again, since it had been so long, and I’m very happy I did.
The weather still did not disappoint, and the water seemed warmer this time around, which made for fantastic diving and snorkeling with sea turtles. I was able to explore more beaches, Bahamian food and drink, and take in historic Nassau sites. It made for fabulous Bahamas solo travel. I look forward to sharing my Nassau travel itinerary and travel tips.