Visitor information for Grand Bahama
If you need assistance, call the Ministry of Tourism at 352-8044/5.
Visitors to Grand Bahama can withdraw cash from their accounts 24 hrs a day. ATMs operated by the RBC Royal Bank (Bah) Ltd, Scotiabank (Bah) Ltd, and FirstCaribbean International (Bah) provide round-the-clock convenient banking.
Scotiabank ATMs at The Radisson and Reef Village properties at Our Lucaya Resort provide both US and Bahamian currency. ATMs dispensing Bahamian currency are also located at the main Scotiabank branch in Regent Centre.
RBC Royal Bank ATMs are located at the branch at East Mall and Explorers Way, the FOCOL service station at East Sunrise Hwy and East Atlantic Dr and at Port Lucaya Marketplace. Funds are dispensed in Bahamian dollars.
ATMs of First Caribbean International Bank dispense Bahamian dollars and are located at the Pioneer’s Way FirstCaribbean branch, the Boulevard Service Station at Sommerville Dr, East Sunrise Hwy, the First Financial Centre on East Mall Dr, and Municipal Motors at East Sunrise Hwy and Coral Rd.
Visitors may bring in certain items free of customs and stamp duty. They include apparel, toiletries and similar personal effects; one qt of alcoholic beverage; one qt of wine; one lb in weight of tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars (adults only); and any other articles or gifts up to the value of $100.
Each US resident (including a minor) may take home duty-free purchases up to US$800 in retail value if he or she has been outside the US more than 48 hrs and has not taken the exemption in 30 days. The exemption may include up to two litres (67.6 oz) of liquor per person 21 or older, provided one litre is manufactured in The Bahamas or another CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) country; 200 cigarettes; and 100 cigars (Cuban cigars not allowed) per person 18 or older. A single household family travelling together may pool exemptions, ie, a family of four may take home US$3,200 worth of goods.
Articles up to US$1,000 value accompanying the traveller, in excess of the US$800 duty-free allowance, are assessed at a flat rate of 3%. You may not apply the flat rate more than once every 30 days.
If the returning US resident is not entitled to the US$800 duty exemption due to the 30-day or 48-hr minimum limitations, he or she may still import, duty free, US$200 worth of personal or household items. This exemption may not be pooled and will not be assessed at the 3% flat rate.
Articles purchased in US duty-free shops and brought back into the US may not be included in your exemption.
One person, on one day, may receive a shipment of goods purchased in The Bahamas and sent to an address in the US so long as the value does not exceed US$200. The shipment will be passed free of duty by US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) unless there is reason to believe the shipment is one of several lots of a single order. Supporting documents are required.
Any number of gifts may be sent into the US free of US duty and tax, provided the recipient does not receive in one day gifts exceeding US$100 in value. Gifts may not contain tobacco or liquor. No perfume is free of US duty/tax if valued at more than US$5. Retail value, “unsolicited gift” and “consolidated gift package,” the recipient’s name and nature and value of gifts inside must be written on the package.
Shops and commercial firms may wrap and mail duty-free gifts for customers who pay for them personally in The Bahamas.
Antiques, trademarks, food, US money
Antiques are admitted to the US duty free provided they are more than 100 years old. The Bahamas store selling an antique should provide the buyer with a form indicating the value and age of the object. The buyer must present this form to US Customs & Border Protection.
Importation of fruit, plants, meat, poultry and dairy products is generally prohibited. There are, however, exceptions. Contact the US Customs & Border Protection, Grand Bahama International Airport, tel 352-9225.
More than $10,000 in US or foreign coin, currency, traveller’s cheques, money orders and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form must be reported to a CBP officer. It is not illegal to transport, or cause to be transported, any amount into or out of the US, but more than $10,000 must be reported. Ask a CBP officer for the Currency Reporting Form (FinCen 105).
Certain items carrying a trademark or tradename may be brought into the US in specified amounts only or not at all. Importation of Bahamian tortoise or turtle shell goods is prohibited. Many medicines sold over the counter in The Bahamas are not allowed entry.
For a copy of Know Before You Go, contact US Customs & Border Protection, Grand Bahama International Airport, tel 352-9225, or US Customs, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20229 or visit www.cbp.gov.
A Canadian may take advantage of one of three categories of duty-free exemptions. After being out of Canada for 24 hrs, he or she may make a verbal declaration to claim a CDN$50 duty-free allowance (not to include alcohol and tobacco) any number of times per year. After being out of the country for 48 hrs any number of times per year, a written declaration must be made; he or she may claim a CDN$400 allowance which could include up to 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, seven oz of manufactured tobacco and 200 tobacco sticks. Allowances for alcohol include one of the following: 1.5 litres of wine, 1.14 litres (40 oz) of alcoholic beverages, or up to 8.5 litres of beer or ale.
Anyone who has been out of Canada seven days or more, any number of times per year, may make a written declaration and claim the CDN$750 exemption, including the amounts of alcohol and tobacco indicated for the CDN$400 allowance.
In general, the goods brought in under personal exemption must be for personal or household use, as souvenirs of the trip or as gifts for friends or relatives. Goods brought in for commercial use, or on behalf of another person, do not qualify and will be subject to full duties. Goods declared in a child’s name must be for his or her use only.
For the importation of tobacco, the claimant must be 18 years of age or older. In the case of liquor, wine or beer, the person must have attained the age prescribed by the provincial or territorial authority at the point of entry.
Goods acquired in The Bahamas or elsewhere outside continental North America may be shipped or mailed separately if declared at the first port of entry. Gifts mailed to Canada are duty free to the recipient provided they are valued under CDN$60 and do not contain any alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or advertising matter. For more information visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.
UK residents may take back from The Bahamas, free of duty and tax, 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Alcohol allowances permit either, but not both, of the following: one litre of spirits or strong liqueurs over 22% volume; two litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine or any other alcoholic beverage less than 22% volume. Allowances can be combined provided it does not go over the total alcohol allowance. For example, one litre of fortified wine can be combined with half a litre of spirits. In addition, residents can also bring back both of the following: 16 litres of beer; four litres of still wine. These allowances are not for persons under 17. The allowance for perfume is 60ml, toilet water is 250ml.
In addition to these allowances, residents may take back £390 sterling worth of other goods including gifts and souvenirs. If goods are worth more than the limit of £390, duty must be paid on the full value, not just on the value above £390. Residents arriving by private plane or private boat for pleasure purposes are permitted to bring in other goods worth up to £270 tax and duty free.
Individuals travelling as a family or group may not pool allowances towards an item worth more than the limit.
All other goods
Rates of duty and tax are complicated and change from time to time so it is advisable to check with your airline or travel agent for current regulations when making reservations.
Gifts mailed to the UK are duty free to the recipient if sent to a private person from a private individual abroad. They must not be paid for by the recipient, either directly or indirectly, and must be properly declared. The value of the goods must not exceed £40 sterling (45 euro).
Gifts must be of an occasional nature only, for personal or family use and not for commercial or trade use. Any tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, perfumes or toilet waters sent at one time must be within the allowances mentioned. For more information visit www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Banking hrs: Banks are open 9:30am-3pm Mon-Thurs, and 9:30am-4:30pm Fri.
Currency: If you come across a Bahamian $3 bill, it’s OK. Bahamian paper money runs in denominations of half-dollar, $1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Some visitors keep the $3 bill as a souvenir.
There is also an extra Bahamian coin, the 15¢ piece, which is square with rounded corners and decorated with a hibiscus on one side (no longer minted).
Exchange Rates: The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar; however, one can expect to pay a small commission when exchanging traveller’s cheques for local currency and when converting local currency into US dollars.
The following table gives approx values as of Nov 2010 for major currencies in relation to the US dollar. Commercial banks can provide daily rates.
us DOLLAR* (us$) VALUES
British Pound Sterling = US$1.60435
Canadian Dollar = US$0.99167
Euro = US$1.40399
Japanese Yen = US$0.01240
Swiss Franc = US$1.02201
*Equal to Bahamian dollar
Health: All places that serve food and drink to the public, including native restaurants, are licensed and inspected by Bahamas health authorities. Most visitors prefer drinking bottled water.
Illegal items: There are strict laws and penalties for possession of dangerous drugs and firearms.
Possession of dangerous drugs, including marijuana, bring stiff fines and even jail terms.
Licences for firearms for sporting purposes are available. Handgun licences are issued only in special circumstances.
Immigration: When you travel to The Bahamas you are given an immigration card to fill in. The immigration officer at the point of entry pulls the card and leaves you with the stub. Be sure to return this portion to the ticket agent upon departure.
Postcards: Airmail to US (incl Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands); Canada–50¢ standard, 65¢ large; UK; Europe; Bermuda; West Indies–50¢ standard, 70¢ large; Central and South America–50¢ standard, 80¢ large; Africa, Asia and Australia–50¢ standard, 70¢ large.
Letters: First class airmail rates (per 1⁄2 oz):
• 65¢ to Canada; US (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands); West Indies.
• 70¢ to Bermuda; Central and South America; UK; Europe; Falkland Islands; Islands of the Mediterranean.
• 80¢ to Africa (all countries); Asia; Australia; Islands of the Pacific and Indian Ocean; New Zealand.
Air Parcel Post: Rates to overseas destinations vary considerably. Obtain more information at the post office.
Shopping hrs: Shops are generally open Mon-Sat between 9/10am and 5/6pm. Some International Bazaar and downtown shops, Port Lucaya Marketplace, pharmacies and straw markets are also open on Sun. Call ahead to check for times.
Supermarkets, wholesale clubs and building supply stores must close by 12 noon on Sun.
Taxes: There is no sales tax in The Bahamas. However, there are several other taxes of which visitors should be aware.
There is a 12% tax on your hotel room rate. It is added to your bill on checkout. Other service charges may apply.
Taxi fares: Taxi fares are set by government. All taxis are required to have meters in good working condition.
General rates: For one or two passengers, first 1⁄4 mile is $3. Each additional 1⁄4 mile is 40¢. Each additional passenger is $3. Accompanied children under three ride free.
Waiting charge: 30¢ per min except when hired by the hr.
Baggage charges: No charge for up to
two pieces of hand luggage, plus small bags and packages carried by the passenger. Each additional piece of luggage costs 75¢. Large duffel bags and large boxes cost $1 each.
Tour cars: Tour cars may be hired for sightseeing at $45 per hr (five or fewer persons). For each additional 1⁄2 hr or part thereof, $22.50; large cars, $60 per hr (up to twelve persons), $30 for each additional 1⁄2 hr.
Traffic rules: The British custom of driving on the left has been practised here since the horse and buggy. Most rental cars have the steering wheel on the left. Seat belt use is mandatory. Freeport and Lucaya speed limits are 25 mph in congested areas; 15 mph in school zones; and 45 mph for cars, 30 mph for trucks in the outskirts.
Call for weekday services, functions and to confirm times of Sun evening services from Mar 2011, (EDT).
Christ The King, East Atlantic Dr and Pioneer’s Way, tel 352-5255. Sun: Mass and sermon, 7:30 and 10am; evensong, sermon and benediction, 7pm.
ASSEMBLIES OF GOD
Calvary Temple, Clive Ave, tel 352-7578. Wed: midday service, 12 noon. Sun: worship, 10am; evening service, 6:30pm.
ASSEMBLIES OF BRETHREN
Freeport Gospel Chapel, Sanderline Cir and Kite St, Yeoman Wood, tel 373-5600. Sun: Breaking of Bread service, 10am; Gospel service, 11am.
First Baptist Church, Nansen Ave and Columbus Dr, tel 352-9224 (church), 352-5295 (res). Sun: worship service, 11am and 7pm. St John’s Cathedral, East Settler’s Way, tel 352-5013. Sun: Morning Glory service, 9am and 6pm year-round.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
Freeport Church of Christ, East Beach Dr South, tel 373-1082. Sun: services, 11am and 6:30pm.
Freeport Hebrew Congregation, East Sunrise Hwy, tel 373-9457, 373-2008 or 373-8994. Fri service, 8pm (call to confirm times).
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness, Columbus Dr and Settler’s Way, tel 352-8505 or 351-6711. Sun: meeting, 10am; Comet Rd location, 5pm.
Our Saviour Lutheran Church, East Sunrise Hwy, tel 373-3500. Sun: service, 11am.
St Paul’s Methodist Church, East Sunrise Hwy and Beachway Dr, tel 373-5752. Sun: services, 7 and 10am, 7pm.
Calvary Bible Church, Sergeant Major and Cromwell Drs, tel 373-4975. Sun: services, 11am and 6:30pm.
Lucaya Presbyterian Kirk, West Beach Rd off East Sunrise Hwy, tel 373-2568. Sun: service, 11am.
Salvation Army Freeport Corps and Community Services, West Atlantic Dr, tel 352-4863. Sun: worship service, 11am.
Mary Star of the Sea, East Sunrise Hwy and East Beach Rd, tel 373-3300. Sun: Mass, 10am; Sat vigil, 5:30pm.
Seventh-Day Adventist Church, East Beach Way and Gambier Dr, tel 373-3349 or 374-2051 (mission office). Worship services, Sat 11am and 5:30pm summer; 4:30pm winter.
Alcoholics Anonymous 52-6267
American Women’s Club
Ann Bain 727-5075
Bahamas Red Cross,
Grand Bahama Centre 352-7163
Bahamian Women’s Club
Annalise Miller 352-7222
Business & Professional Women’s Club
Cabrena Adderley 373-6424 or 557-6071
Canadian Women’s Club
Agnes Biswange 373-2625
Freeport Toastmasters 1425
Antoine Brooks 646-1272
Kiwanis Club of Eight Mile Rock
Roscoe Saunders 457-5890
Pilot Club of Freeport
Donna Jones 351-8501
Rotary Club of Freeport
Constance McDonald 352-4545
Rotary Club of GB Sunrise
Jamie Rose 352-9246
Rotary Club of Lucaya
Debra Delancy 352-8928
Many of these phone numbers are office numbers of volunteer individuals and are subject to change.
Information in editorial and listings is subject to change at any time.