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FAQ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
interesting questions which were (maybe even repeatedly) asked & answered in forums



 

Which Island is better? Compare Bahamas with Jamaica QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
 
Q From: ray / Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2002
I've lived in both. Jamaica, the land is way prettier. Mountains, waterfalls, rivers. Bahamas has none of these. As for beaches, I would say Cabbage beach, Pink Sands beach and Treasure Cay Beach, are better than Negril. The Bahamas has a bit clearer water and better diving. Jamaica has a more distinct culture. Bahamas is more Americanized. Jamaica has more of an "island" feeling, whereas Nassau has become somewhat "Disneyworldish". The Bahamas has lots of islands. Jamaica only a few. The Bahamian family islands however are very "islandish". Jamaica has real Rastas, Bahamas has "wannabe" Rastas. Bahamas has the best hotel, Atlantis. Service in the Bahamas can often be somewhat surly however there are many that are extremely nice. Service in Jamaica is a bit more genuine. Bahamas is much more expensive. Boating is way better in the Bahamas. There really is no answer to your question. If I was a tourist, I would go to Bahamas. If I was a traveler, I would go to Jamaica. If I could only pick one, I would pick, Paradise Island, Exuma Cays ...The Bahamas!
A From:Danny / Date: Wednesday, December 4, 2002
Well, we've been to both, although a lot more often to the Bahamas than Jamaica. In my opinion the Bahamas has it all over Jamaica. Much closer and more peaceful. Here's the reason I personally say that. In Jamaica they feel it necessary to wall their own people out of resort areas. Most of the resorts are walled or fenced in and you sometimes feel like your contained yourself. No such thing in the Bahamas unless you want to count Atlantis, which seems to have their own way with anything they want from the government. Bahamian people are among the most friendly I've ever met anywhere. Just one person's opinion.

+++Article 8.9.03 "Lessons from Jamaica" A Bahamian Journalist visits Jamaica Nassau Guardian


 


Bringing your pet
 
QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
Q from: GET / Date: Friday, May 31, 2002
My wife is concerned about bringing our dogs to the Bahamas. Can anyone give me any feedback - positive or negative? Thanks
A from: scubagirl /Date: Saturday, June 1, 2002
It depends on where you are staying and when. Most tourist hotels/restaurants etc do not allow pets, so I'm assuming you are going to one of the out islands or staying at a private home. As for the weather, the heat is BRUTAL in the summer months, and some breeds of dogs, (as well as some people) can't take the excessive heat. If you are from the North or your dog is not used to this kind of humidity and heat, I'd be somewhat concerned in the summer months. However, if you're from Florida, then you need only get the proper documentation and paperwork through immigration and enjoy your pet.

QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/bahamas/
Q From:Richard B Date: 9/7/99 8:58:55 AM
What are the requirements to bring a dog and a cat to the Bahamas for a 1 month visit?
A From: Debbie Date: 9/14/99 6:46:11 PM
Yes, you have to check with your airline as to their requirements for pets travelling. Hopefully your pet is small enough to travel inside the cabin with you as there are many months when pets are not allowed to travel in cargo.
As for Bahamian requirements, you need to apply for a permit from the Department of Agriculture - Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. Sorry, I don't have their phone or fax numbers - only their mailing address - P.O. Box N-3028, Nassau Bahamas. You might try directory assistance for their telephone number if you will be travelling soon. The permit fee is $10 (dog or cat) and is valid for 90 days. You also need the following when entering the Bahamas with your pet:
- Valid rabies vaccination (either annual or 3 year)
- Veterinary health certificate issued within 48 hours of importation by a licensed Veterinarian in the country of origin.
We have entered the Bahamas several times with our dog, always with the appropriate documentation & permits. Between us, the Agriculture officers couldn't care less about the paperwork much less about the pet at all. I generally insist on them acknowledging the paperwork, simply because I have gone to the trouble to organize it I'm also a little bit paranoid. It would probably be my luck to meet an Agriculture officer that really pressed for the documentation and not have it. So for my own peace of mind, I will continue to obtain all the necessary info.
Hope this helps!


 
 

Stay for 6 months or more QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
 
Q: . . . I would like to stay for at least 6 months can someone please tell me what the process is and what I need to do in order to stay that long. I know that Americans can stay in the islands for up to 8 months but I need to know who I should check with to stay that long.
A posted by: Scubagirl Date: December 11, 2002 at 15:52:31
Generally speaking... If you are a U.S. citizen, you will need a return ticket dated within 8 months of your arrival as well as your passport/Proper ID for each of you. You will be asked to fill out an immigration card and state the length of your stay. It is up to the discretion of the immigration office to allow your 6 months stay or not. Immigration requires that you prove that you can sustain yourself financially while you are in the Bahamas, and not be a burden on the country. I've only been asked to prove this 3 times in 10 years. (bank statement, proof of income from employer etc. I travel with these just in case). For more information contact the Bahamas Immigration Department, P. O. Box N-831, Nassau. Tel. (242) 322-7530 or the nearest Bahamas embassy or consulate.
Hope this helps! (I've gotten around this by staying only 60days and returning to Miami for 1 day and then back to Nassau, immigration rarely has questioned my travel, quite a few people do this)

 


Import a car from US to Bahamas

Local prices of pre-owned vehicles Nassau Motors http://www.nassaumotor.com/pre-owned.php
 
! see also very detailed "car section" here > State Post Report 2002
QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
Q From: royDate: 1/28/03 4:38:04 PM
I have shipped two cars over the last 10 years. I used Y-2 shipping(YEOCOMICO) out of the Port of Dania in the Fort Lauderdale area. I did not use a broker but had a friend in Eleuthera meet the shipment and pay the duty. Duty was about 55% and shipping was about $600.00
A From:Cal Date: 1/28/03 9:28:25 AM
We just shipped in a car and boat in May, 2000. It went very smooth. / You will need a shipper. / You will need a clear title to your vehicle. /You will need a Customs Broker to do the customs work in the Bahamas. / Here is who we used. It went well....
Shipper G & G Marine, 760 N.E. 7th Avenue, Dania Beach, FL. 33004, 954.920-9292 ext 222, Manuel
Customs Agent Hunt Import/Export, Phone 242.457-9258, Fax 242.351-2060, Agent Clement Hunt
Bahamas Customs 242.352-8500
QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/ (import car and find an apartment)
Q From: Erin  Date:  8/7/03 11:18:00 AM
moving to GBI - Hi, I recently was hired as a teacher on the island. I have searched everywhere for an apartment. I have to leave in about a two weeks. Does anyone have any advice about living on the island (ie. shopping, apartments, should I bring my car? Is there a ferry from Florida? etc.)
A From: Jeff  Date: 8/8/03 12:25:03 AM
You will definitely want a car and it most likely makes financial sense to ship your car. Shipping will cost about $500 and you will have to pay duty and stamp tax which can add up to quite a bit depending on the appraised value of your car. It still will be less expensive than buying one there and you can sell it when you are ready to leave and make little money. You will want to load your trunk as almost anything you bring from the states will cost less than buying it there. There are a lot of condos for rent in a wide variety of price ranges. Try to find a short term rental, look around and see where you want to live and then go for a long term rental.
Whoever hired you should be able to give you some good advise to get started. It is only a full time vacation for visitors and is quite a different place for residents.
A From: Dianne Date: 8/8/03 7:38:08 AM
Anything you bring in your trunk pertaining to the car (I would bring as many spare tires as you can) is duty free. Anything else is subject to duty (40% or more) if they look. Use a customs broker. Tanja Enterprises is who I used and it was absolutely no hassle and I don't think they even bothered with the trunk. Buffie was my agent and she was super. There are some short/long term rentals at Coral Beach, an oceanfront complex. I can get the number of a real estate agent who handles some. Don't have it in front of me. Feel free to email me directly.
A From: Cal  Date: 8/8/03 10:33:32 AM
To take a car is a personal decision. It is pretty easy to get around on the busses. To take a car, you must have a clear title to the car, then you will have to pay about $500 shipping fee and about 52% of the car value as import duty. I wouldn't do this unless you plan to stay for a considerable length of time.
As for an apartment, contact a friend of mine who lives on the island. She knows lots of people with apartments, condos, etc. Her name is Janice Treco. Her E-mail is (janice at coralwave.com). Tell her that Cal gave you her name and said hello.

++Discussions about gas prices

13.10.03 Cal: Gas is expensive ($3/gallon), but the good news is that it is not like driving in the U.S. The island is 100 miles ling and 10 miles wide. You can drive all week on one tank of gas. We have a car there. We visit for 3 weeks at a time. I fill up when we get ther, and it lasts for the 3 weeks. source: Geographia/GB Board (date not available anymore)

16.6.04 John P. "Petrol Prices UK/GBI" Geographia/GB Board


 
 


Working in the Bahamas QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
 
Q from: Mike Date: Monday, December 9, 2002
I am looking to move to the Bahamas but would like to know a little more about the job market there. I am a Web Developer and was wondering where the best place a person like me can locate a job in the Bahamas.
A from: Scubagirl Date: Monday, December 9, 2002
Generally speaking, jobs are not available to non-bahamians, unless your employer can not find a suitable Bahamian to fill the post or train for the position. Web Developers and other IT work are easily filled by Bahamians. Even if you could find a post, you must pay a sizeable fee for a work permit and be sponsored by your employer. The fee for most professional positions is around $5000 per yr. Unemployment in the Bahamas is at an all time high. There's more to these rules and regulations, but that's the gist of it. For years, I got around this by working for a US based company and telecommuting from Nassau. You might look into it.
QA-Source http://www.bahamas-on-line.com/bahamasforum.shtml
Q from: Sabine Date: Sept 23, 2003
I'am looking for an internship, who can help me // I' am a hardworking spontaneous girl, who is looking for an internship in a business related with tourism, can somebody help me? I can provide research skills, product development, marketing and managing activities! If you know a company who can offer me a placement for 6 months please contact me. thanks!
A from: tamara  Date: Sep 23, 2003
By internship, do you mean "no pay"? If so, you should contact the hotels directly, but be aware, that you will still need a work permit / permission from immigration to spend extended time in the bahamas, and you will need to show immigration that you can afford to stay here for up to six months without government help, or an income. If you are looking for a paying job, you're out of luck. Entry Level jobs are not given to foreigners. There are strict rules about these type of jobs going to bahamians only, and a recent crackdown on abusing the law. Here's some interesting reading:
+++Article 22.9.03 "Immigration tightens up on fees, expatriate hiring" Nassau Guardian

 
 


Procedures for obtaining a work permit
 
This material was obtained from http://www.rumcaybahamas.com/annual_residency_permit.htm respectively the Bahamas Handbook 2000 Edition, published by Etienne Dupuch Jr Publications.

An inflexible principle of The Bahamas government is that no expatriate may be offered a position that a suitably qualified Bahamian is available to fill. Employers with vacant posts are required to advertise locally and consult The Bahamas Employment Exchange. If unsuccessful in fulfilling their requirements by these methods, they may apply to the Dept. of Immigration for permission to recruit outside The Bahamas.

The following documentation will then need to be submitted:
1. Application Form 1, Section A, completed and notarized with $4.00 in Bahamian postage stamps affixed.
2. A covering letter from the prospective employer stating reasons for the application, the position, and the period of time needed.
3. Two passport size photographs with signature on reverse of prints.
4. Police certificate covering a period of five years' residence immediately preceding the application or a sworn affidavit in lieu of same.
5. Medical certificate dated not more than 30 days prior to submission.
6. Written references from previous employer(s).
7. Copies of exam certificates referred to in the application.
8. Copies of local newspaper advertisements with replies thereto and results of interviews, if held.
9. Certificate from the Dept. of Labour (Employment Exchange) indicating that a Bahamian is not available to fill the position.
10. A processing fee of $25.00.

Normally an application will not be processed if the prospective employee is already in The Bahamas, having entered as a visitor.
Work permit fees range from $350 to $10,000 per year depending on the category. The Bahamas Immigration Bahamianization Policy, which is critical to the grating of work permits, provides that:
1. Whenever there is a position which a Bahamian is qualified to fill, he should be given the position in preference to anyone else.
2. The Bahamian must be given that job on the same terms and conditions as his expatriate counterpart.
3. Where the company has a career structure, whether here or abroad, the Bahamian employee must be given the same opportunities for advancement as would be afforded other employees.
4. The Bahamian must be helped whenever possible to broaden his skills in his chosen field of endeavour by constant exposure to further training at home and abroad.

Where work permits have been granted, each employer will be required to identify a suitable Bahamian to understudy the expatriate so that the Bahamian trainee will fill the expatriate's position within a reasonable time frame.
Bone fide and genuine investors usually have little difficulty complying with these requirements. Employers may obtain permits for longer periods than the standard one-year period in respect to certain key personnel on contract. Such contracts such indicate their renewal would be subject to their obtaining the necessary immigration permission, and they may be endorsed to the effect that the employee is expected to train or be replaced by a suitable Bahamian within a stipulated period.
Each permit issued by the Immigration Board relates to a specific post. Permits are not altered by the Director of Immigration to reflect change of employment or residence. However, a person holding a work permit may make application for a new one (his new employer having been unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified Bahamian to fill the post) without having to leave the islands. The renewal of a permit on expiration is not automatic. Generally, no expatriate may be continually employed in the country in any capacity for more than five years. However, there are likely to be cases where hardship will be caused by rigid implementation of this policy; according to government, this factor will be kept in mind in applying regulations.
An employer must inform the Department of Immigration within 30 days that a non-Bahamian is no longer employed or liable to a fine not exceeding $150.00.
A non-Bahamian who ceases to be employed must take his permit to the Department of Immigration for cancellation within seven days of ceasing to be employed. The permit will be deemed to be canceled with effect from expiration of that seven-day period. An employee failing to comply with this regulation is liable to prosecution and may, if convicted, be liable to a fine not exceeding $100.00.

Work Permits: If setting up a business in The Bahamas, necessary work permits for key personnel will be granted. Businesses requiring permits for persons other than key personnel are encouraged to discuss these requests with The Bahamas Investment Authority in advance. Source: http://www.durrantharding.com


 

My partner/husband/wive is Bahamian / is a resident of the Bahamas. How/when do I get a resident / a work permit?
 
QA-Source: bahamasguide
Q From: wooten, 7.6.04
Moving / If I had a working permit to work in the Bahamas for some time, would my girlfriend be allowed to come to Bahamas and live with me legally? I know she would'nt be able to work, but what about just living there with me and maybe do volunteer work?
A From: tamara zoo, 8.6.04
 No, she wouldn't be able to stay longer than 8 months at a time if she's a U.S. Citizen, I think it's only 3 months for Canadians. Some get around this by leaving the country for 1 day (flying to Florida, then returning 24 hours later), but this can get tricky. I've done this in the past, and been stopped getting back in the country after spending 8 months in the bahamas. luckily, I still had an apartment in the US, and returned to Nassau 30 days later. If you're married, it's a different story, you're family can live with you, but the work permit is for you alone.

QA-Source: bahamasguide
Q From Cuteydee 16.6.04: I am planning on moving from Ft.Lauderdale Florida to Freeport Bahamas with my fiancee who is already a resident of the Bahamas. What do I have to do to gain residency and to find a job in Freeport. We are also looking for a home to rent , I want to gain perment residency how do I go about doing that. Please help us I have 9 months
A From Toni 30.6.04 You will not be able to apply for residency until you are married. My husband is Bahamian and we moved here from the States and it has been nearly 9 months and I still haven't been granted residency or a work permit. Things move extremely slowly here. They don't grant residency easily or issue work permit and as a foreigner you can't work without a permit. And the only way to get a permit is to be sponsored by a company or to do so because of marriage. You should contact the Department of Immigration and this site should help http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb/home.nsf  Good Luck


 
 
 


Camping in the Bahamas QA-source:Bahamasguide Forums
 
Q From: nuttnless. 07 May 2004 - First let me say hello! Was wandering if anyone had any info on camping on the out islands. I have read some info that says it's ok other sites say it's against the law. Any info would be helpful, Thanks
A From:tamara zoo. 17 Apr 2003 -  Camping is not allowed on public property and there are no campgrounds. SO.. if you know someone who will let you camp on their private property, go for it. But I'd have to warn you that it is unsafe. Camping is not allowed on the beaches. There are several tour groups that include camping on the outislands. Check out http://www.bahamasadventures.com

 
 


Food prices QA-Source: http://www.bahamas-on-line.com/bahamasforum.shtml

++Discussions ... some other interesting discussions on message boards about food prices:
09.06.04 Tracy: "Bahamas on a shoestring" Geographia/GB Board
15.06.04 John P "How expensive can GBI be?" Geographia/GB Board

see also "Bringing Food"
see also "Gas/Petroleum prices"
another possibility: browse through the advertisements in the online-(pdf-)version of The Nassau Guardian
 
Q From: Ed-ore Date: Mon Nov 3, 2003
Freeport area groceries  . . . Have been given the impression that food is pricy over there, as in reg. off the shelf fix your self meals that require seasonings and such, is this a fact that one can expect to pay nearly 7$ for a bag of chips or cookies? . . . perhaps you could price out a list regular groceries for me / carton of eggs: 1/2 gal. milk, loaf of bread, garlic powder, rice, 12 oz of sliced cheese ,lb of ground round (burger). . .. gas prices
A From: Jerry  Date: Tue Nov 4, 2003
... I will try to give a general answer. Most foods in Freeport are about 15% to 20% higher than a chain supermarket in the US. Staples such as bread, milk, etc aren't much higher than in the US. Some foods are actually cheaper. The prices are about in line with a country store in the US away from metropolitan areas. The biggest difference you will see is that choices are sometimes limited. You may have to take whatever brand is on the shelf. This is especially true with seasonings as the selection is limited at times. A few years ago, you would go every day as one day there would be cereal, the next day the cereal shelf was almost empty, but there was lots of lunch meat, and so on. In those days, the food on the shelf was dependent on what ship docked that day. With the new port, ships arrive daily so empty shelves are fairly rare. If you pay $7 for a bag of chips or cookie, those are definitely gourmet cookies. Snacks are somewhat higher, but not excessively higher. Some people bring some of their own food, but I think that is mainly for choice. The savings in price isn't that much anymore. The best places for food are the Winn-Dixie outside Port Lucaya and Solomons out by the airport. Solomons is a warehouse type store that carries just about anything from hotdogs to car tires. Their food prices are pretty good and they typically have some of the best produce and meats at reasonable prices. They carry a lot of frozen foods, soda, bread, and packaged items like cereal and snacks. Some products have a minimum bulk purchase size, so if you are buying for a few days, the options are sometimes limited. Gas prices are very high, but the island is small enough it is hard to use very much. My wife and I go for a few weeks each year and drive all over the place. We typically only use one tank of gas total.

 


Bringing Food QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
 
Q From: Donna L. WrightDate: 2/26/04
3 weeks to go! Looking at bring food with me. Are there any do's and dont's? Does anyone know the airlines take on this? weight limit? fees?
A From: Cal, Date: 2/26/04
I always take food. You can take in anything except fresh fruits and vegetables. We pack a cardboard box with coffee, tea, packaged pastas, cetreal, canned goods, etc. QWe use the foods and throw the box away. We pack a carry on cooler (no ice allowed) with meats, cream, cheeses, luncheon meats, etc. We freeze the meats and they keep the cheeses, luncheon meats, butter, etc cold. You can take foods in with you (through Bahamian Customs), but you can not bring it(through U.S. customs). You can bring back fish and seafood from the Bahamas. We use the carry on cooler to take in meats and use the same cool to bring back fish/lobster.
A From: Mugsy Date: 2/26/04
Donna, I always bring food with me. The items include cheese, crackers, snacks, bagels, steaks, chicken,cranberry juice, margarita mix and generally stuff that can be packed in a carryon cooler. Fruit and veggies are PROHIBITED.

 


Bringing Money (how much do I need, ATM-availability, Travellers Checks, fees etc.)
 
QA-Source: Geographia/GB board
Q From: Nick Date: 1/13/04 I plan on using my Credit Card for most purchases. but had a few questions on cash. How much money is a fair amount to bring with you (200)? How much should you carry on you when walking around? Do the ATMs give you US or Bahama currency? How much do transactions usually run? Are there a lot of ATMs around? Thanks, Nick
A From: Janice Date: 1/13/04 Hi Nick, How much money to bring is a really tough question. Just depends on what you plan on doing on vacation such as tours, activities, shopping etc.I never suggest that people rely solely on credit cards and ATM's when coming to the island. Some of your best deals in restaurants and some tours you would miss out on if you didn't have cash on hand. Even when shopping you'll sometimes get a better deal on items if you pay cash. There are several ATM's on the island..some give out US dollars and others only Bahamian cash. Finding the ATM isn't a problem. Problem could be that sometimes ALL of the ATM's on the island go down at the same time. Seen many a tourists stranded when they couldn't get cash due to a phone problem or bad weather which attributed to the ATM's not working. My advice is to bring some cash, and travellers cheques for emergencies. If you plan on using ATM's then make sure you replenish your cash supply before you're "broke" so to speak. At least if you still have cash on you and the machines go down, you won't be stuck. Another thing to remember: Lots of tour companies and even some resorts and hotels charge a surcharge of 5% when using credit cards so again, if you want the best deals you're better off with cash or travellers cheques. Janice
A From: connie c. Date: 1/13/04 i wouldn't worry about carrying cash. the casino cashes traveler's checks with no fee. other places charge a fee based on the check's value. we charged groceries at solomon's and they added a small surcharge. we bring a mix of cash, checks and cards! don't know how long you go for, but like janice says it depends on what you like to do. i cook in 1/2 the time in the month we are there.HAVE FUN!!! 

QA-Source: Bahamas-mon board
Q From: Chris 28.6.04 : Are travelers checks widely accepted? I would like to cash them at the hotel lobby (Crowne plaza, but can't get an answer on if they do and if they charge a fee). Also ATM fees? about how much, and I've heard they dispense both types of currency (American and Bahama) . Yes, this is my first time traveling outside the US, and want to be prepared! Thanks in advance for the help!
A From Trea 28.6.04: Most places will cash travelers checks and not charge a fee. That includes your corner bars, hotels and resturants. They will give you American change but you might have to ask for it. If they do give you Bahamian money back just simply ask if you can get American money or use the Bahamian change first. ATM machines in the Casinos dispense American Cash. Royal Oasis ATM fee is $3.00 and The Isle of Capri at the Sheraton/Westin in Port Lucaya charg $2.00. Not sure what the daily limit is on withdrawing cash...$600? Have a great trip.
A From Carrie 28.6.04 Regarding your travelers cheques, since you are staying at the Crowne Plaza resort, just go to the Royal Oasis Casino to cash them - there is no charge at the casino.

QA-Source: Bahamasguide board
Q From ByTheBeachBoi 04.10.04 [...] Are Credit cards like visa and mastercard accepted in alot of placed like corner stores and such?
A From Tamara Zoo 12.10.04 
 [...] Credit cards are accepted in most of the larger venues and markets, but NOT acceptable at the Straw Market, some smaller corner stores and local takeaways. There are plenty of ATM's to allow you to keep some $$$ in your pocket. You will also need cash for Taxi's, tips, jitneys and the like.  [...]

QA-Source: Bahamas-on-line-board
<>Q Form Lottie 16.12.04 what type of travelers checks do they accept in Nassau
<><>A From Chris 18.12.04 They don't like travellers checks. You will have to find a bank and go through an exhausting identification process, and then pay a commission for the exchange.Bring US dollars or, if you are going just to Nassau, most "tourist" places and many others, will take credit cards
A From Roger 20.12.04 I used American Express checks the last time I was there with no problem. I was staying at the Wyndham and cashed them in the casino. Not sure what it's like at any of the stores or restaurants though

 
 


Only 5 days (Nassau) / 7 days (Grand Bahama) in the Bahamas. What to squeeze in?

see also here for tour organizers, shore excursions etc.
see here for snorkel/dive trips
 
Carrie's Things to do
Have a look at the whole range of possibilities (Grand Bahama) first, study Carrie's posting about things to do (source: Geographia/GB)

Cruise - only a few hours on Grand Bahama? see here

From: Stefan Date: Thursday, May 15, 2003 for 5 days in Nassau / PI QA-Source: MoT-Board (not available anymore)
1) visit to Atlantis, go at night, check out casino and try to sneak in the dig for free
2) downtown, Bay Street shopping and straw market
3) fish fry - local food and drink
4) Dolphin Encounter on Blue Lagoon Island
5) Powerboat Adventure to Exumas
From: brian Date: 10/17/03 for 7 days on Grand Bahama  QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
Here is a short list of must do's!
1. Wednesday night fish fry at Taino Beach!
2. Dancing in Count Basie Sq. in Port Lucaya every night.
3. Visit Gold Rock beach if you have a rental car-absolutely beautiful.
4. Stroll the many beautiful beaches..Silver Point to Out Lucaya--stop in at Coral Beach (volleyball net) for Happy Hour 4-6.
5. Go to Bananna Bay for lunch and the view-don't miss this one.
6. In a rainy spell go shopping in Port Lucaya or Freeport.
7. If you like fishing go Reef Fishing with Les. Great time, you WILL catch fish and a wonderful family. Janice, his wife, posts on this board-Lil 'B fishing.
8. Go golfing.
9. Horseback riding at Pinetree Stables
10. Great scuba diving. Search this board for "mike". He posts about the wonderful scuba dives around GBI.
11. Relax and have a great time.
From: Janice Date: 04/21/01 for 5 days in Freeport QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
1. Drive out to Gold Rock Beach..best time to go is low tide.
2. Drive out to Paradise Cove for some offshore snorkeling. Best time to go here is high tide.
3. Try a boat sail/snorkel cruise on the Fantasea Sail/Snorkel tour..definitely worth the money
4. If you're here on a Wednesday go out to the Smith Point fish fry..awesome!
5. Check out Port Lucaya on a Friday or Saturday night.lots of free entertainment in the square.
Brians 15 things to do on GBI for the new folks! Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
From: brian Date: 2/27/04
1. Visiting Gold Rock Beach and National Park with caves—absolutely beautiful!
2. Horseback riding with Pinetree Stables—a lovely ride through different ecosystems and a ride on the beach.
3. Fishing: reef, sport or deep-sea! I recommend Reef fishing with Lil’ B
4. Relaxing a many beautiful beachs
5. Meeting local people, who are absolutely wonderful, at a local watering hole on the beach, like Black beards @ Coral Beach.
6. Visiting Club Caribe and The Sand Box for an afternoon of fun and sun
7. Going to the many Fish Fry’s on the island: Sunday-West End, Wednesday-Taino Beach, and Saturday at Club Caribe if they still have the Saturday fish fry going
8. Spending the day at Banana Bay and soak in the lovely view
9. Snorkeling at one of the many reefs all over the south shore of GBI
10. Scuba diving
11. Swimming with the dolphins
12. Go golfing at the many professional courses on the island or play tennis
13. Go gambling if that’s your gig
14. Go sailing on the Catamaran out of Port Lucaya
15. Go dancing in Port Lucaya in Count Basie Sq at night


 
 


What Clothing to pack? QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/default.htm
 
Q From: Amy Date: 1/24/03 10:51:39 PM
My Husband and I will be arriving in Freeport on Mon. 1/27/03 (hurray)! We have heard different suggestions about weather and what kind of clothing to pack for this time of year. We will be staying at pelican bay at Lucaya. Time is drawing very near 2- days, any suggestions?
We are first timers. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
A From: Renee O'B Date: 1/25/03 10:07:33 AM
Hi, Amy. I had this list from years ago, but it's still pretty good for a 5-day trip to Freeport around this time of year. Hope it helps! What I take to Bahamas:
- Wear on plane: Jeans T-shirt Hooded sweatshirt Jean jacket Sneakers & socks
- Small carry-on/purse: toiletries camera makeup $$/passport/travel info book/magazine
- Pack: 2 bathing suits 1 beach shorts/top or coverup 1 pajama/sleepwear 4 shorts 1 pair of khaki pants (maybe also 1 pair of dress pants) 2-3 dresses - 2 long, one short (only 2 if bring dress pants) 2 sleeveless tops 3 short-sleeved shirts 2 long-sleeved shirts (1 for dress pants) 1 shirt/light sweater to wear over dresses if chilly 1 low-heeled sandals 1 higher-heeled sandals 1 extra pair socks 7 sets of undergarments
-Various: jewelry hair clips baseball cap glasses sunglasses perfume CD player, CDs & adapter camera & film washcloth & headband beach bag & towel

 


Beaches

Best Beaches
! Scubagirl's tips & descriptions - Nassau/PI http://www.bahamas-treasures.com/bahamas/Beaches.html
Frommer's -  Nassau/PI & Out Islands http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bahamas/0205020110.html
Expedia's - Nassau/PI http://www.expedia.com/daily/cruise/geo/ports.asp?tiid=2519
Expedia's - Grand Bahama http://www.expedia.com/daily/cruise/geo/ports.asp?tiid=1245&rfrr=-26933&CCheck=1
Royal Oasis - Grand Bahama http://www.theroyaloasis.com/grand_bahama_guide/beaches.html

see here for Beaches for Cruise Passengers

++Discussion re access to beaches Cruise Critics

Public Vs Private Beaches QA-Source: http://www.the-bahamas-islands.com/cgi-bin/eboard30/index.cgi?board=Nassau&frames=no
Q From: Bahamas visitor, Date 20/9/03
I am planning to visit New Providence/Paradise Islands. Some hotels have private beaches and others (cheaper) are near the beach, which is public. Is there any advantage in paying more for being on a private beach rather than public? If there is, can one use the private beaches of the hotels for a fee, anyone have an idea of the prices for this?
A From scubagirl, Date: 20/9/03
All beaches in the bahamas are PUBLIC. The trick is, getting access to them. For Cabbage Beach (Atlantis) you can access thru the public walkway next to the Sheraton on Paradise Island, for Cable Beach, you can access thru any of the Hotel lobbies and out the back door. Hotels reserve the right to limit lounger use, towel service and pools to guests only, but you can certainly plop down your towel on any beach in the bahamas. Some hotels such as Sandals and Breezes do not allow access thru their property, as well as other private properties, but you can walk along the beach in any direction and not be stopped.
Q From: Hibiscus04, 20.5.04
I've heard that most of the beaches in Nassau are private and you have to pay to access them. Is this the case and if not could someone let me know where some nice public beaches are near East Bay Street where we will be docked. Thanks in advance!! -Sara 
A From: Scubagirl, 20.5.04
Actually.. all beaches in the bahamas are PUBLIC.. but accessing them sometimes is a problem. Most hotels (except Atlantis, Sandals and Breezes) allow you to walk thru their lobbies to use their beaches. There are public beaches both east and west of town. West of town is Lighthouse Beach, east is Montegue. Monteque has no amenities, just a stretch of beach. It's about 1/4 mile east of the marinas across from Waterloo.

 
 


Riding
+++Article 04.05.04 "New Providence horse show huge success" Nassau Guardian
see also Abaco Wild Horses here
 

Riding in NASSAU/PI:
Happy Trails Stables http://www.bahamasvacationguide.com/happyt.html - http://www.bahamasgo.com/happytrails.htm
 

Riding in FREEPORT:
Trikk Pony http://www.trikkpony.com

Pinetree Stables http://thebahamian.com/pinetree/ (temp. phone no. Dez 04: 242-375-2355 / 242-359-4304  - source Geographia/GBI Board)
++Discussion started by Gail on 01.02.05 "Pinetree Stables fire" Geographia/GBI Board
+++Article 01.02.05 "Intensive manhunt, For arsonists who set local stables on fire" Freeport News

Q From Joanna 17.11.04 QA-Source: Geographia/GBI board
Horseback riding? Trikk Pony or Pinetree Stables? Need to make reservations and can not decide???? 
A From Cal 
Pinetree is a larger stable with standard rides and host larger numbers of riders on their rides.
Trik Pony is a smaller stable and specializes in more customized rides and smaller number of riders. Both are good. 
A From Janice
As Cal said both are good companies but last time I checked Trik was significantly cheaper and they did smaller groups so you get more personalized service. Also, they had more beach time on their ride. They max out at 3 though so book fast if you want to get on tour with them.

Q From Esther, 8.10.03 QA-Source: http://www.the-bahamas-islands.com/cgi-bin/eboard30/index.cgi?board=Freeport&frames=no
(Grand Bahama) My husband & I will be at the Westin Our Lucaya at the end of the month. I had looked into a trail ride (with Pinetree Stables http://thebahamian.com/pinetree/). I am an experienced rider & have always wanted to go riding on the beach, is this worth $75/person for a 2-hr ride? (I know this is an average price for 2hrs.) Suggestions welcome on any activities  (this is our first time to the Bahamas). Thanks! A From Jerry, 8.10.03 Only you can determine if it is worth the price, but Pinetree does have nice rides. They currently have over 50 quality horses and typically handle groups of 10 or more with 2 trail riders. The trail riders give a running commentary on the area as well as guiding the ride. Unless the water is rough, which doesn't happen often, you will get a chance to go swimming with the horses. Many of the horses like it so much, they don't want to get out. They get many experieiced riders, so let them know your background and they can match you up with horse to fit your skill level. A From Esther, 8.10.03 Thanks for the input; I am going to make a reservation with Pinetree. I have been in contact with them via email and they seem very helpful. $75 for 2hrs is reasonable. Most riding are $40/hr, and 1hr just isn't enough time -especially for a former horse owner ; ). I don't normally go to riding stables, but because I am not close to a beach this is novel. And I am glad to know they have quality horses, that's important! Thanks again!!
Q From Mara, 21.11.03 QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/ (Grand Bahama) I saw advertising for a new riding stable that will do beach runs only.Name? It is not pinetree stables A From Beth, 22.11.03 The new stable is Trikk Pony. 374-4449 or 359-4232. Leo is the owner and she is great. She does pick up and drop off and an excellent beach ride. http://www.trikkpony.com
A From Lori Date: 3/9/04 QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
While in Freeport mid February, I called both stables. I also felt $75 was steep for a ride (we pay $15 for 1 hour here at home), but went with Pinetree because my 9 year old daughter was unable to ride at Trikk Pony (their min. age is 12). Pinetree will pick you up and take you home (a savings if you are taking a taxi) and Pinetree is 2 hours and Trikk Pony is 1.5 (there is the cost difference!!). Pinetree was definitely worth it. The owner is a hoot and the staff are incredibly talkative and friendly. I would advise taking a bottle of water with you -before the ride they suggest YOU WILL GET THIRSTY, and will sell you water if you don't have (they attach a bag to the saddle for your water bottle). They also have disposible camera's for sale as they suggest you not take your's in case it gets wet. I took my digital and didn't have a problem - they attach a bag to the saddle and it is high enough up (and you can grab it while in the water) that it doesn't get soaked. I would suggest taking a second pair of shoes and maybe a change of pants (shorts) if you can. I wore pants (for riding) and runners (with socks) which both got soaked from the ocean. We went in the water so the horse was swimming and I didn't have the foresight to bring any change of clothes or shoes. Was an uncomfortable ride home...
Q From: cathy, 27.5.04 QA Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
How much does it cost to ride? I will be staying at the Coral Beach hotel. Do they pick you up at your hotel? If not how do you think much would it cost to get there?
A From: carriek5, 27.5.04 / Coral Beach is a nice place to stay. Regarding horseback riding, if you go with Pinetree Stables, the cost is $75 per person (same price for children) for the ride. Reservations are required. I did this several years ago. The phone number for Pinetree stables, when you are on the island, is 373-3600. Pinetree Stables is located midway between Port Lucaya and the International Bazaar on Beachway Drive North. Pinetree Stables is a large, established operation with over 40 horses. A guided trail guide leads you down a trail through the pine forest to a secluded native beach - Williams Town Beach - where the Island Seas Resort is located but at the other end - with a ride along the shoreline and out into the surf. Each group is usually from 4 to 10 horses. The trail guides will lead the 
horses out into the water (if the water is calm) for a bit. Just dress accordingly since you will get probably get wet. Jeans and sneakers are usually suggested as comfortable wear for the ride but it's up to you. Please note that wearing jeans or long pants will be more comfortable, because the trails have many bushes that can scratch your legs if you wear shorts. The ride is approximately two hours in length and goes every day except Monday at 9:00 am and 11:30 am only. Closed on Mondays. Don't forget to bring your camera (preferably waterproof - try to take one of  those disposable waterproof cameras). They do NOT offer FREE transportation anymore. Many years ago, they did. Pinetree Stables is kind of on the public bus route. Just ask the busdriver and he will let you off at the Charthouse restaurant (which is no longer open) bus stop. It would then be about a 7 minute walk from there. Taxi from the Coral Beach apartment hotel (in the Lucaya area) to Pinetree Stables would be about $8-$10 for two people (about $3 for each additional head). 
A From Jerry, 22.08.04 QA-Source BVG Board
Pine tree typically has 2 rides a day with the exception on Mondays, when they are closed. The ride lasts about 2 hours and you will go through a wooded area to the beach, where you will go into the water unless the water is very rough. The horses like to go swimming. They have about 50 horses total and the trail horses are very well behaved. You should make reservations at least a few days ahead, as some of the rides do fill up. They normally limit the number of riders to about 10 and have two trail riders with every group. You would need to take a taxi to the stables.


 
 
 


Best time?
 
The Bahamas' sub-tropical climate makes the islands a year round destination. Generally a little cooler in the North Western Bahamas, temperatures range from 20°C in the winter to 30°C during the summer. Pronounced chances for rainfall would be during the months of August, September and October, which also represents the Hurricane season [more about hurricane season here]. The so-called 'peak season' runs from mid-December to mid-April, when hotel prices are at their highest. source: Barefoot Traveller

++Discussion started by Dancingfish on 15.12.04see here for "what if it rains and/or is cold?!" cruise critics

Hotel seasons
Hotel season dates may vary slightly from year to year, but usually the high season runs from mid-December to mid-April; low season runs from mid-April to mid-December. Visitor rates reach a peak during the Christmas holidays and again during Spring Break weeks, starting at the end of February and running until mid-April. During these weeks it's a good idea to have advance reservations. Kitfoxes

 
QA-Source: http://thebahamasguide.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=303
Q From: Jessica, 11.11.03 
I have just recently gotten engaged and my fiance and I have yet to set a date. we have a few dates picked out but can't decide. Alot has to do with the honeymoon which we plan on taking in the Bahamas. Can someone tell me the best time of year to travel to the Bahamas with the weather and tourists etc.? Thanks!!
A From: tamara zoo, 13.11.03
It depends on what you are looking for and what you want to do. Jan and Feb are still low season, few tourists, but the water can be a bit chilly. March thru Easter week is Spring Break. TONS of teens partying. Late April, May and Early June.. quiet and delightful. Start of the rainy season, but rain last only a few minutes and dries up quickly. My favorite time of year. June, July and August is hot and overrun with families, this is also the rainy season, but the showers burn off quickly.  If you are going to a place like Sandals or Breezes, this won't be a problem, I'd choose May or June at Sandals. Sept, and October are calm and the weather is great, but it's off season, and Hurricane Season, so you run the risk of a storm passing thru. It's rare, but it happens. November (also the end of hurricane season) can start to get chilly, and thanksgiving is a heavy family week. December is off season until mid month for the crazy holiday season. Weather can be quite nice, but again, if a cold front comes in, you could be wearing a sweatshirt instead of a bathing suit. For me.. I think April, May and Early June (before schools are out)are the best, but you won't find a ton of tourists and a party atmosphere. Hope this helps!

. . .  more opinions about when (not) to go to the Bahamas -
Lots of regulars (e.g. US/Canadian citizens who own property in the Bahamas) prefer February / beginning of March. They say the weather is just perfect then and go the same time each year. Source: bahamaslinks

Do not underestimate hurricane season; June 1 through November 30, peak mid-August through October. Even if it's rare, there is always a risk of a major storm passing through. Check when you book if the hotel offers a "hurricane insurance" (e.g. Sandals). Don't panick. Stay informed. Watch the weather. If a storm is approaching get/keep in touch with your travel agent, airline, hotel, etc., check message boards. Do the same if a storm has passed through your holiday area just before you  go there. If your hotel (or its attractions, landscape, beach) has suffered hurricane damage it might be closed for days or weeks, some attractions in the areas might not be available, clean-up works will be under way. Don't cancel right away, get information, consider reschedule. Source: bahamaslinks

Danny about Dec-Feb on GBI: Temps in December should run into the mid-70s to low-80s on average. You can get cool spells where it won't get that warm but the "average" daily temperature on GBI in December is 71 degrees. Ocean temps should be in the mid-70s. Depending on where you are from that's either cool or fine. Being from New England mid-70s ocean temps are like a sauna. :) Just be aware there are ever-present trade winds from the gulf stream so air temps can seem cooler than they are along the water. My wife always says it's warmer in the ocean than on the beach, and we go in February. Take a light jacket or sweater in case the evenings get cool. Remember this is for normal weather. It may well be warmer, but there is also a chance it will be cooler although December isn't as prone to cool spells as much as January and February. Even than cool spells usually mean low 70s for highs and mid-60s for lows. That's been our experience in 25 years of traveling to the Bahamas, 21 of them to GBI. source: Geographia/GBI

The Bahamas is affected by the refreshing trade-wind flow generated by an area of high atmospheric pressure covering a large part of the subtropical North Atlantic, so the climate varies little during the year. The most pleasant time is between December and May, when the temperature averages 70°-75°F (21-24°C). It stands to reason that hotel prices during this period are at their highest -- around 30% higher than during the less popular times. The rest of the year is hot and humid and prone to tropical storms; the temperature hovers around 80°-85°F (26-29°C). 
Whether you want to join it or avoid it, be advised that Spring Break takes place between the end of February and mid-April. This means lots of vacationing college students, beach parties, sports events, and entertainment. Source: Fodors
Spring Break Fact Sheet US State Dep


 


Drinking water?
Q From: Kayli, 13.11.03 QA-source: Bahamasguide-Board
My husband and I are wondering if it is safe to drink the water in Nassua? We have heard conflicting stories. We want to know if it is safe to drink the water, have ice, etc. at out hotel-Sandals and then at the restuarants in town, bars, etc. I know other tropical places they say it is safe to drink water at resort and bars, etc. but no where else. Can anyone help us?
A From: tamara zoo, 14.11.03
It's safe, but not very tasty. Most places make ice with filtered water, so I wouldn't worry about that, I've never had a problem with frozen drinks, ice or water in a restaurant/bar. You can brush your teeth without a problem. For drinking purposes, use bottled water. It's available everywhere.

Q From Matt 11.08.04 QA-source Geographia/GBI Board
If you cannot tell by all of my recent posts, I am leaving soon to spend an extended weekend on GBI. How safe is the tap water or should we be drinking bottled water? 
A From Danny 11.08.04: Tap water is very good on GBI. Different story on New Providence (Nassau), but GBI water is not a problem. We've been going there for over twenty years now and never had a bit of a problem. 
A From Cal 11.08.04: I concur with Danny. We have been visiting for 17 years. We have a condo there and visit about 7 weeks a year. the tap water is good to drink. since the island is comprised of limestone, the water has some lime in it, but it is pure and good. 
A From Patty: 11.08.04: I just got back from Freeport and i am a BIG water drinker. I ended up buying bottled water for the beach/pools but drank the water in the hotel and also used it for lemonade. No problems.. 
A From Don 11.08.04: Water is just ok as least compared to the water at home. While there I preferred bottled water.

++more discussions
started Ray by 06.02.05 on Geographia/GBI board


 


Hair Braiding
encarta africana, Cornrows: Style & Substance http://www.africana.com/articles/daily/hb20040129cornrow.asp

some discussions about price, precautions, care etc.
started by Carmel 10.05.04 cruisecritics
started by littlegoo75 04.05.04 cruisecritics
started by csteck 24.09.04 cruisecritics
started by triptakers 03.05.04 cruise-forums
started by Margareth 08.04.04 aruba board
 
 


Fish Fry 1 - in Grand Bahama, Freeport
 
Carrie's abundant description (Freeport), 23.05.04 source: Geographia/Grand Bahama Board
The Wednesday Night Fish Fry is located outside of Outriggers Restaurant at Smith's Point, just adjacent to Taino Beach, just east of the Stoned Crab Restaurant. Situated on the top street at Smith's Point, the fish fry is hard to miss. All taxi drivers know where it is. You'll know you're here because it is the "big" one - more people are gathered at this fish fry than the other smaller areas further up. But later in the evening, people do wander to the other stalls further up. The Outrigger's Fish Fry at Smith's Point is run by the Wilson family. The Wednesday Night Outrigger's Fish Fry at Smith's Point fish is not in a restaurant - the Wilson family and their relatives host this OUTDOOR weekly event. Every Wednesday night, from about 6:30pm tourists and locals begin to line up at this locally famous OUTDOOR fish fry for platters of fried or steamed fish, priced at approximately $10-$13 each. At times, they also have fried chicken or fileted fish. I have gone to the fish fry many times and I would highly recommend it as a "Thing to Do". It's like a taste of Bahamian culture - you get to meet lots of Bahamians when you attend this weekly inexpensive fish fry. Locals and tourists hang out in a fun atmosphere. Remember to bring cash ONLY....since you have to pay in cash!! The only problem is that the music is a trifle loud and, if you want to leave earlier, it is sometimes hard to get a taxi. All the taxi drivers, who frequent the fish fry, want to stay on till the end! Ask the price of the taxi ride before entering any taxi, just so that you won't get surprised. The taxi ride for two is about $12 from the Lucaya area (add about $3 for each additional person). It should be noted that the fare for two is more costly at about $16 from the downtown International Bazaar/Crowne Plaza Golf Resort & Casino at Royal Oasis area (add about $3 for each additional person). We were there for about 8:00 p.m. which is a good time. We stayed till about 10pm. It's advisable to get there for about 7:15 pm. since they sometimes run out of food. There is quite a line up after 8:15 pm. Because of the informal setting directly on the beach, dress casually...ladies wear your sandals. The atmosphere is relaxing and everyone has a good time. There are some picnic tables and benches on the sand right next to the booth/hut where you give your order to one of the Wilson women. The picnic tables and benches are just a few feet from the water's edge. So you can eat and wiggle your toes in the sand. There is an outdoor wooden deck with additional eating......you walk up a few steps, and there is a small dance floor, a bar and tables set up on the deck. The overhead deck is next to the little hut where the Wilson women take the orders. Don't ask to see a menu because there isn't one! A wooden booth/hut is used for placing orders. You can get there for about 7:00pm and you will see that a long line has already formed. Sometimes it takes as long as 15-30 minutes to get to the head of the line and place your order. You place your fish order with one of the women. The line to order your fish forms to the right, and once you get to the front of the booth, after ordering, you move to the other side to get the side dishes. It is not all that organized but just follow the line. Once you finish ordering your fish, as I mentioned, you have to go around to the other side where you pay and can order any side orders such as peas and rice, cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato bread (mmm...almost like a dessert..soooo good). The dinners usually come with 3 side orders. You can also order conch fritters. The night we were there they had both red snapper and fried chicken. It should be noted that some tourists are not too keen on seeing the fish head when eating fish - you get the whole fish on your plate, including the head!! I just eat everything but the head. Just beware that the smoke, coming out of the hut/booth, is really strong and will sting your eyes when you're standing in line. I find it's easier if you stand to the extreme left of the hut...let one person get the food and the other can go get a seat before the seating gets taken. Sodas cost extra (besides what you pay at the booth/hut for your fish plate and side orders) and have to be purchased from the small overhead deck. We chose the fried red snapper along with peas n' rice (spiced rice with pigeon peas), macaroni n' cheese, and potato bread (approximately $13 per plate) - as mentioned above, the dinner usually comes with three side dishes. Sodas were extra. If you like your fish mildly seasoned, the Wilson family season the fish just enough for tasting. Ask for the special lemon pepper sauce if you prefer your fish on the hot side! Mmmm. Also try the conch fritters - about 4 for about $4. Some people complain of the occasional nuisance of sandflies. I encountered NONE when I went to the fish fry (I was there from about 8pm-10pm). The sandflies can be an all year round pest. Perhaps the sandflies are abundant when it is daylight like at 6:00 pm. It's probably best to wear insect repellant just in case.

QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
Q From John, 10.2.04 Can you explain to me all the talk about the fish fry. Thank you.
A From Janice, 10.2.04: (Grand Bahama) The fish fry is every Wednesday evening at Smith Point which is right on Taino Beach. This was a local thing that happened every week that the tourists have basically invaded. Don't get me wrong tourists are more than welcome. In the beginning it was just a fish fry on the beach and locals went and ordered their fish, talked and hung out with friends they hadn't seen in awhile. Fish were served with the heads on as locals like them and barracudas were and still are served. Since the tourist invasion, although they've kept the local flavour they've now added a bonfire, music and dancing and when available they also serve filleted fish and chicken. They still serve those barracuda so don't eat those ok. Tourists really like the fish fry mainly because it's inexpensive and it's a truly native thing to do. It's become extremely popular and one of those "must do's" when you come to the island.
Q From Love that Lobster, 11.2.04: Janice.Are you sure the locals don't mind us tourists going to the fish fry.I know we are there main source of revenue but I want to make sure we feel comfortable and don't step on any toes.Sometimes they may want there own space.Tell me your thoughts on this since you are a local. Also is Seaview and the pub in Port Lucaya the same? We also are looking for a great place for lobster but not to to expensive. When we were there last year one of the locals said there was a restraunt in the square known for its conch chowderI think it was Silvanos.Does that sound correct? Thanks. Does Captain Les cook your catch or do we find someone else to do this? How do you book a fishing trip with his company?
A From Brian 12.2.04: The Fish Fry is open for everyone to enjoy-locals, tourists, semi-locals (can I call myself that yet??). Everyone is friendly and it's a blast. The event actually is spread out over many different places starting with the Bus-Stop, then up the hill to the beach with the big fry area (you pick your food) and dancing / bonfire, then if you keep going on that street along the beach for about 200 yards there are about 4 or 5 other places that really get going about 10:00pm-there are lots of locals here but also folks liek me! It's crowded and parking is a premium but it's so much fun dancing, drinking and running into old and new friends.....ENJOY !!!


 
 

Fish Fry 2 - in Nassau
 
Q From: Ginny, 10.6.04 - Source: The-bahamas-islands board
We are going to be staying at Atlantis and heard about a local "fish fry" under a bridge. Does anyone know about this? If so, what days of the week is it held and at what time? Also, how far is it from Atlantis? Lastly, is the food good? 
A From: Paulie, 11.6.04 : The fish market is under the old bridge going to PI. You can get some limited food there and if you can walk over the bridge it is in walking distance. However, the fish market is not the fish fry. The fish fry is a mile west of downtown (Bay Street shopping district) so it really is a cab ride away from Atlantis. On the way in from the airport a few minutes after you pass the Cable Beach casino start looking out the water side windows and you will see a group of colorfully painted shanties and a bunch of Kalik signs. That is the fish fry. The fish fry is really just a bunch of take-out food stands although limited seating can be found and some of the places are more like restaurants than pure take-out stands. I've only been there for lunch and I know it most places are open for lunch at least Mon-Sat. I suspect that most places are also open for early dinner. Understand that this is not the community jump-up fish fry like Smith Point on GBI or Shirley Heights in Antigua. However, if you have the time it is really about the only place where tourists can get out among the people and mingle. The food is very good at most places and inexpensive. For lunch and early dinners it is also absolutely safe. Anyone who is staying for more than a few days should stop in. 
Some pictures of the fish fry: http://cruiseclues.com/galaxy/nassau.htm (scroll down to fish fry pictures)

Fish Fry in Nassau: "The "Fish Fry" (usually outdoor, impromptu cookouts which grow into permanent events such a Arawak Cay in Nassau, and Club Caribe in Freeport); Conch Salad made fresh-fresh before your very eyes at th Fish Fry, under the Paradise Island Bridge at Potter's Cay and all over the Family Islands; Here are other events to enjoy, usually associated with the traditional food and drinks. "
source: http://www.sawyerfoods.com/calendar.htm

+++Article (Fish Fry in Nassau): 18.03.04 "Fish Fry 'going to pot' " Nassau Guardian


 


Download pictures off digital camera in local photoshop? QA-Source: http://www.geographia.com/guestbook/gbahama/
 
A From: canuck4 Date 21.2.04
I was wondering if there is a photo shop on Grand Bahama where one can download pictures off of their digital camera and get them put on a Cd. I am not sure if I will have enough memory for all the pictures I want to take.
A From: Doug Date 22.2.04
Regarding downloading your camera memory. I just got back from Freeport last week end and wanted to do the same thing. I visited several cyber cafes and got the same answer, no, their computers did not have the ability to do that. They would have been willing to let me hook up to the USB port but I did not bring my cable and it probably would not have done me any good because mine requires a USB 2.0. Here is my recommendation. Take a card reader with you. You could then record to a CD if they can burn them, or you could upload to a web drive like ZDrive.com. The hotel we stayed at had a business center that would let you use the computers and internet for $10.00 a day or about 35 cents a minute.

 
 


HELP - afraid of sharks!
 
Q From: Wheels, 14.4.04 / QA-Source: http://www.the-bahamas-islands.com/
We are going to Lucaya in a couple days and hubby wants to snorkel but I am deathly afraid of sharks (okay - even big fish) Can anyone tell me anything to calm me down? I don't think it would be wise to snorkel on a bottle of xanax :-) Thanks in advance! 
A From: Cal, 15.4.04 / It depends on how bad you want to snorkel. The only thing that can help is to understand the odds. My wife and I visit Grand Bahama seven weeks every year, and have for 8 years. We have our own boat there and we snorkel often. In the depth of water we snorkel, I have never seen a shark in 8 years. You might take the snorkel tour at Paradise cove where you can snorkel off the beach. Or, take the Kayak snorkel trip to Petersons Cay. At the cay, where we snorkel, the water is so shallow that we can stand up in the water, but there are thousands of fish to see. If you just can't convince yourself to do it, take the glass bottom boat tour or the semi-submarine tour. Or, take the Fantasea sailing/snorkeling tour with Reef Tours. If you choose not to snorkel, the sailing is fabulous. Snorkeling is a fabulous experience, but it is not worth emotionally ruining your trip for. 

Q From Laplante Family 25.11.04 QA-Source: Geographia/GBI Board
Hi I,m wondering does a person have to be cocerned about every shark?What kind of sharks are there in the grand bahama Island?My wife is worried about the sharks can anyone give me some advice ...Thanks 
A From David 26.11.04
Yes, there are sharks around the Bahamas and every other island, along the coast of the US and all other countries that have and ocean boundry. As for the sharks around GBI, they are mostly Cariibean Reef Sharks that are lot happier to be away from you. We have been diving around GBI for several years and have seen sharks mostly where they were feeding them off the coast for the shark dives. Of coarse we have seen sharks diving in the Florida keys, Grand Cayman, and other islands. In fact we enjoy diving with them as they really are a beautiful animal. There is a simple rule, leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Sharks do not go looking for people and the odds of being attacked by are shark are less then being hit by lightning. Generally, sharks only come close to shore when there is a storm out at sea that move the smaller fish in closer to shore. If the water is murky from the sand, it's possible for a shark to bite a human as it can't see very well and your actions imitate a fish. As for Great Whites, I have not seen or heard of anyone seeing one around GBI. If you want to understand the odds, there are more shark attacks along the coast of Florida and California then in the entire Carribean. So there are a lot of different fish, crabs, lobester, sea turtles and yes sharks, you are in the ocean. Don't worry about them, they realy don't like the taste of people and people are not on their menu. If you are really interested or just want to know more, there is a Web site that registers all shark activities around the world inlcuding encounters with people. 


 


Snorkel Mask & Glasses?QA-Source: BVG-Board
 
Q From: Ginny, 14.4.04 / Are there any snorkel mask that can go over prescription glasses? If so, where can I get one? If not, does anyone know where to get a prescription mask made? 
A from: scubagirl, 14.4.04 / You can't wear your mask over your glasses, but if you are near sighted, you can get optical lenses fit for some (not all) masks. Lens cost about $30 each lens (plus the cost of your mask), and you can get them thru places like Paragon Sports or online places like Divers Direct or any Dive shop. They also sell stick on film like lenses at paragon for about $20. You may not even need lenses though, I need 2.0/2.5 lenses, and don't use corrective lenses while snorkeling or diving. The water naturally magnifies your site by 25%.

 


Snorkel near the ports, off shore (more info about snorkel here)
QA-source cruisecritics board (message not accessible anymore)
Q From: Vermonter16,  7.7.04: Hello, does anybody know a decent beach for snorkeling in freeport that might be either near the cruise ship, offered on a private excursion with a company... I'd love to go snorkeling....I don't necessarily want to go through renting a vehicle... Anyone have any suggestions. Your prior experiences or ideas would be great! Thank you.
A From: Cindy,  26.7.04: You can take a cab to Paradise Cove. Cab ride is $16 round trip. Snorkel gear rental is $8. If you have your own gear beach access is $3. Good place to snorkel.

QA-source ccruisecritics board (message not accessible anymore)
Q From soon2bcruising 17.7.04: I have been reading "all" the snorkeling stuff, but I can't find where there is anywhere to go near the ports to just do good snorkeling. Someone wrote that Paradise Cove was great, but $16/pp rt taxi, and $3 to get on beach, well that is like $100 to go snorkeling for 5 people. Are there really no beaches close to port? Maybe because of the ships there aren't. Any suggestions?? Thanks
A From Scubagirl 17.7.04 I can't speak for Freeport, but your right about Nassau. The area near the cruise ships is a major port area, and has been dredged to allow these huge ships to enter the harbour. Any reef areas along the harbour have long been destroyed. Even the reefs along the hotel beaches have been overused and no longer hold much interest. Jet skis, water skiing, fins and sunscreen pollution have depleted these small reefs, so there is little snorkeling off shore unless you rent a car and go to the far end of the island. If you just want a nice day at the beach and find a few fishes and coral to view, you can either head to the Radisson on Cable Beach, or take the ferry to Paradise Island and walk up to Cabblage Beach. There's an area to the far left called the Cove (inside the breakwater) that usually has some interesting inhabitants. I must tell you, this is a bit of a hike along the beach, and there is no other access at this time. The reefs that you'll encounter on a snorkeling tour are teaming with fishes and corals, there is no comparison.


 
 
 

Attitudes toward marriage in the Bahama Islands Source: an archived (google) version of a no more active website
(see also here)
H. Lowe, Prof. Brownwell, Anthropology 11, 5/12/94

Americans marry for many different reasons, the foremost being love and a desire to be legally bonded for life with another person. This is the typical Western romantic idealism that you might base your unions on, however the vast majority of the population in the Caribbean and West Indies have formed a totally opposing attitude toward marriage. 

History and Origins of the Caribbean People 
In the mid 1600's the Caribbean region became part of Britain's plans to form a settler society, and an influx of expatriate Scottish and English immigrants settled in the region. During the same period, the USA had established a flourishing slave trade, and the Caribbean soon became a stop-over port, where many slaves were released (Burnard 1994: 63). By as early as 1650 there was a black majority in the region, and these freed slaves had shaped almost every aspect of society, with their African culture and slave practices.

This racial mix of white, high-class expatriates, and freed slaves, were challenged by severe demographic constraints, and had to learn to adapt to a more brutal way of life (pp.65). Many of the original settlers died of tropical diseases, and coupled with the harsh conditions of the islands and tropic weather, this lead to fragile family bonds. The British soon rejected their cultural propriety and customs and began to look on marriage unions in a new light. Because of the high mortality within marriage unions, women often re-married (which at the time was a social taboo) to have a husband to support them and their children. And at the same time, the white settlers were asslimilating the customs of the black majority. One such custom was the social acceptance of the common-law marriage, which had come about because slaves were not allowed to legally marry (pp. 72-4). From these diffenet influences and circumstances a new attitude was formed, one that still shapes familly life in th Caribbean region today. 

Attitudes toward marriages today
Today, the overwhelming attitude towards marriage is still influenced by these early years. The purpose of marriages today are almost exclusively economic, in contrast to the USA where marriages continue to function for the formation and maintainence of families and providing an environment for child rearing (Payne & Vandewield 1987: 715)

Types of marriage unions found in the Bahamas.
Today there are three socially recognized and distinguished types of unions in the Caribbeaan (Wright 1989:353). The first is the legal marriage that we are all familiar with, but surprisingly is not one of the most popular amongst many Bahamians. The second is the common-law marriage, which is not legally recognized but is accepted in the community. This is one of the more popular unions, and many of the families in this area live in such arrangements. the third is the visiting union, this is just a man and a woman occasionally seeing each other without legal or social commitment. These types of unions tend to be the most unstable, and Wright states (pp.355) that the woman often enters into this type of relationship for the sole purpose of obtaining financial support. In my own observations of families in these types of unions in the Bahamas, I have concluded that the couple may start out with this sort of arrangement, and that often the woman may have a child for her 'sweetie' in the hopes of moving to one of the more stable unions (but which is not often the case).

Reasons behind formation of these types of unions
There have been numerous suggestions as to why this complex system of unions and the overall pessimistic attitude towards marriage in the Bahamas has developed over the years (Payne & Vandewiele 1987: 718-19). 
The first is in the history of the Bahamas and the harsh life the settlers had to face, which lent to viewing marriage as an economic means of support. This idea is a basic, and ingrained part of our culture, in which a marriage is closely linked with "socio-economic status, and a man's ability to provide a financially secure environment for his family" (Payne pp.723). even today in the age of technology and computers, much of the Bahamas' economy still relies on agriculture and farming, which are unpredictable and seasonal forms of employment for many men. As a result, I feel these types of unions with little or no commitment are still so popular.

The second factor according to Payne and Vandewile (pp.719) is the mother-child relationship which formed due to slavery and the economic ensecurity they faced. For many women this is the only love attachment they accept, because the marriage unions are so tenous and unpredictable. These women see marriage as unnecessary as long as they have their blood-relatives to support them. Because of this prevalent attitude, women often have children out of wedlock without any worries of stigma that most un-wed Western women might have, and many Bahamian families are based on this sentiment.
The third factor is the double standards in male-female relationships. When a man is guaranteed good social status and a steady income it is almost expected of him to marry, and at the same time to engage in a visiting union with another woman (pp.720). Many married men often have two or more different families and lead different lives, yet this is a widespread and socially accepted 'Bahamian tradition'. While some wives may become vocal about her husbands' lovers and bastard children, many Bahamian women tend not to worry so long as she and her children are comfortably supported.

Marriages, and peoples' desire to join together in these unions have survived for hundreds of years. Yet while many view marriage through rose-coloured glasses and with romantic idealism, the population of the Bahamas have a different attitude. for many, marriage is an institution or an economic means of survival, not something to base frivolously on love. Today, with the assimilation of western ideas into Caribbean culture things are slowly beginning to change, but these new ideas still have to compete with attitudes that are hundreds of years old.


 

Native Life -  Favorite Bahamian Foods / Things we do / You know you're a native if... / Sip-Sip and local slang
Source: an archived (yahoo) (google) version of a no more active website (see also here)
Native Life

There's more to being a Bahamian native than simply living here. Not everyone has what it takes to be a true-true, full fledged Bahamian but if you can relate to any of these you're on the right track. 

Bahamian dishes and foods 

If there's one thing that you MUST do on your vacation to the Bahamas, it's to eat at least one traditional Bahamian dish. Bahamians have strong opinions on the subject of food, mainly that it should be spicy, greasy, and there should be lots of it. The only way I can try to relate this ingrained love for eating and food is to compare it to the Roman god Bacchus' love of wine and good living.

Unfortunately, this love of food leads to...well...stout?rotund? how about chubby people. A common phrase heard here is,"She got peas'n'rice bungy" (i.e. "she's got a sizeable rear due to her love of a Bahamian dish of rice and native peas, which is eaten at practically every meal). Please note however that this isn't meant as an insult, but rather admiration for her obvious love of rich foods. As a result, many Bahamian men have a definate preference towards women with larger proportions. Simply put, "bone is for dog, and meat is for man". 

 Bahamians love seafood (is that any great surprise?) The sea has provided us with food for hundreds of years, and much of the old industry in the Bahamas stemmed from smack-boat building (a unique Bahamian fishing vessel), sponging, and now; crawfishing. Today crawfishing is an important cash catch (aka. spiny lobster) and is a great delicacy here in the Bahamas.

Conch - Pronounced "konk", the queen conch (Strombus gigas) is one of the most popular and delicious foods here. Bahamians swear that conch is a sure 'bush medicine' cure for impotance, and many Bahamian men will tell you that, "conch does gie' you strong back". Whether you feel you could benefit from this or not, I'd still recommend you try at least one of the conch dishes I've listed below. Any restaurant you go to will have at least one conch dish on its menu. 

Conch fritters, Conch salad, Cracked conch, Conch chowder.
 

Things we do 

Bahamians have a different attitude towards life in general than the American culture. Simply put, anything which causes undue stress or rush is unnecessary. If you plan on visiting the Bahamas this is an important cultural quirk you need to remember. We're not doing it just to annoy you.

If there's one thing Bahamians do take seriously it's our weekends and free time. Weekends here are devoted to shopping on Saturday, and church-going and beaching/boating on Sundays. Many Bahamians after church service, head to the beach for an afternoon of socializing and eating with friends and family (Please note that if you're from the Bahamas you're usually related to just about everyone else living here). The 'Fish Fry' on Arawak Cay is a popular spot to go most Sundays. 

Shopping is another Bahamian cultural pastime, and many Bahamians make an annual pilgramage to the USA (Florida is a favorite) on extensive shopping sprees. 

Bahamians will use just about any excuse to have some sort of get-together or party. Socializing, visiting and gossiping are national pastimes (or I sometimes wonder) and much time and energy is invested in speculation and sensationalism. This also applies to weddings (which are usually lavish, and expensive 'events') and funerals (if you don't have a marching band, a limousine train of relatives, and at least one wife or sweet-heart throwing themselves at the coffin as it is lowered, then you weren't a true Bahamian).

Asue - An asue is a sort of money saving scheme that many 'true-true' Bahamians participate in. The asue is part of the African heritage of many Bahamians. Participants each 'throw in' a set sum of money for a certain number of weeks. At the end of each week, one person will get all of the money and this continues until everyone has recieved their share.
Many Americans have expressed disbelief that such a system of trust actually works, but Bahamians take this seriously. I've heard of groups, who after losing money to a cheat have actually gotten approval from his place of work to garnish his paycheck until the money is replaced. 
 

You're a native if... 

 Someone calls you a: Sheep-runner, a Beagle, a Sigillian, or a Crab (ie. nick-names of people originating from different family islands) 
 You own a 'pot-cake dog' (a local mixed breed dog of questionable lineage) that spends more of its time in the street than in your yard.
 Drink our locally brewed beer called Kalik. 
 Have bought at least one dish of food from a road-side cookout, or the back of a strangers car. 
 You can call just about anyone 'cousin' and it is a true statement. 
 You find yourself saying, "her sista's daddy on he gran-auntie's side was your cousin's chile", and know what you're talking about. 
 When all your cold medicine is picked off of someone's fence. 
 When you can borrow a "slow" $10, $20 etc. (NOTE: "slow" being that it's slow to be reimbursed)
 When you go to a regatta but can't say who won the race. 
 You know what: a 'Gussie-Mae', 'over-da-hill people', and someone with 'mango skin' all refer to. 
 

Sip-Sip and Local Slang

 If you are going to be a 'true-true' Bahamian and not just some sunburned tourist wearing a straw hat, you're going to need to know the lingo. First off Bahamians speak English. Americans claim that our accent and vocabulary are British, and the British claim we sound American. It's up to you to figure it out. Accents and slang vary depending on which of the Family Islands [there was a link here which no longer works] you're planning on visiting, these however are just some general ones that should work. 


 
 

Cell Phones

some discussion threads
starting 28.10.04 Abaco board
starting 08.10.04 Geographia/GBI board
starting 28.07.04 Geographia/GBI board
starting 28.07.04 Freeport board
starting 01.07.04 Fodors board
starting 06.05.04 Cruisecritics board
starting 21.08.01 (-Nov 03) Fodors board

Ministry of Tourism about cellular phone use http://www.bahamas.com/bahamas/about/general.aspx?sectionid=23128&level=3
Batelco about cellular phones http://www.btcbahamas.com/main_flash.html > Products & Services > Cellular Phones

Cell phones in the Bahamas:
Finally info on cell phone use in the Bahamas: Cingular and other cell phones (with the exception of Sprint) should work in Nassau and Grand Bahama, on the country’s new GSM system. Although is still a pricey call, it is a step in the right direction. 10 August, 2004Source: yachtmansguide

Message Board
! Very active board. If not sure whether cell phone will work in the Bahamas, might be worth to try and post a question on this board
HowardForums "Your Mobile Phone Community & Resource" http://www.howardforums.com/index.php?s=29d41979aaf7e19f4c7c8044d76200ba - search results for "Bahamas"
 

People to People Programm
Geographia about "People to People Program" http://www.geographia.com/bahamas/people2people.htm
Ministry of Tourism about "People to People Program" http://www.bahamas.com/bahamas/experience/experience.aspx?sectionid=41776

Dan Healing, Edmonton Sun (dated?) "Get To Know Us Better" People-to-People Program http://www.go-abacos.com/travel/people.html
Wanderlust, Don George "Bahamians are going - all out for tourists." (1997) http://www.salon.com/may97/wanderlust/lustletter970506.html


++ Discussion started by firsttriptonassau on 13.01.05
Fodors board



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