Bahamas Travel Facts
DIVE EQUIPMENT: All Bahamas diving operators maintain modern equipment for instruction and rental by certified divers.
DIVING SEASONS: The Bahamas has a yearlong diving season, with water temperatures ranging from 76°F in the winter in the Northern Bahamas to 84°F throughout the islands in the summer. The topside temperature is fairly constant during the year, averaging about 82°F (except in the northwestern Bahamas, which are somewhat cooler in the winters), and usually accompanied by a mild breeze.
Diver can use Lycra, Darlexx and Polartec suits during late spring, summer and well into the fall. During winter, experienced divers usually bring along a neoprene shorty or jumpsuit as well. Operators do have wet suits for rental.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Citizens of the United States, Canada and The United Kingdom and Colonies do not need a passport for a visit that does not extend beyond three weeks. Visitors from these areas do need to present adequate proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate and photo identification. For further information on extended stays and passport/visa requirements for visitors from other countries not listed above, please contact The Bahamas Consulate in your country.
BAHAMAS CURRENCY AND BANKING: The Bahamian dollar (B$) is freely interchanged with American dollar throughout The Bahamas. It trades on an even oar with the
U.S. dollar and it is not necessary to change U.S. dollars into Bahamian currency. Traveler's checks in dollar denominations may be cashed almost anywhere. Credit cards are widely accepted. The Bahamas maintains cordial relations with all international banks and is known internationally for its banking and financial services.
AIR TRANSPORTATION: Major airlines and charter companies fly into The Bahamas from Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and many U.S. gateway cities. Check with your travel agent for flight schedules. Private planes may enter The Bahamas through any of 27 ports of entry. Call (800) 866DIVE for more information.
ELECTRICITY: Electricity in The Bahamas is North American standard 120 volts at 60 cycles.
TIME: Eastern Standard Time prevails on all the islands except during the summer, when Eastern Daylight Savings Time is adopted.
COMMUNICATIONS: Direct dial telephones, fax and telex service is widely available in Nassau, Freeport and many of the outislands.
TIPPING: The usual tip on the islands, similar to U.S. practice, is 15 percent. Many resorts and hotels add a service charge to cover gratuities. While most bills clearly state the service charge, ask if such charges have been included in your bill.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Excellent medical care is available in The Bahamas. Hospitals in Nassau and Freeport offer private, general and maternity care and provide the services of a variety of specialists. Dental clinics and dentists are also available. Modern, dependable medical centers and private practitioners serve the outislands.
DIVING MEDICAL CARE: There is a hyperbaric chamber in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Air evacuation services are available on all islands that supply diving services. All Bahamas diving operators carry oxygen and emergency first aid supplies.
TRANSPORTATION: Car rentals are available in Nassau, Freeport and on some of the larger outislands. Taxis or private transportation are widely available. Helmets are compulsory when using a motor scooter. All drivers should be advised that throughout The Bahamas, driving is on the left side of the road.
DEPARTURE TAX: In keeping with the custom of all tourism-related islands, The Bahamas requires each person leaving to pay a $15 departure tax. Children under the age of three years are exempt.
CUSTOMS/ENTERING: To protect the marine environment, spearfishing using scuba gear and possession of spearguns are illegal in The Bahamas. (Free diving with an Hawaiian sling is permitted.) Cruising boats must clear customs at the nearest port of entry before beginning any diving or fishing activities.
As part of the customs inspection, your luggage, including dive and photo gear, may be searched thoroughly upon entering The Bahamas, so use common sense when packing. Bahamian customs inspectors are friendly and courteous as they recognize the importance of tourism to their local economy. Those who cooperate by having their luggage ready for inspection will be on their way quickly and the procedure will go smoothly.
CUSTOMS/DEPARTING: Please make sure you are familiar with current customs rules in your own country to facilitate your return trip. Here is a brief but not totally complete guideline to use.
U.S. residents are allowed to take home, duty free, items valued at up to $600 per traveler (over the age of 21). This limit includes 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars, one liter of alcohol or two liters if one is the product of a Caribbean Basin Country.
Canadian residents who have been out of the country for seven days or more may bring home, duty free, goods valued at not more than $300 once each calendar year. This limit includes 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 2 pounds of tobacco (persons over the age of 16), up to 40 ounces of wine or liquor or 24 cans of beer (age requirements must be met).
UK residents may take home, duty free, two ounces of perfume, nine ounces of toilet water and other goods worth a total of L$32. In addition, persons at least 17 years old may bring onehalf pound of tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars. The importation of some goods is restricted.
Note: Although every effort has been made to present up to date, accurate information in this brochure, conditions and various other factors are subject to change.
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