Visitor information for Nassau Bahamas
If you need assistance, call the Ministry of Tourism at 302-2000.
Visitors to Nassau and Paradise Island can get instant cash 24 hours a day. ATMs operated by the RBC Royal Bank (Bah) Ltd, Scotiabank (Bah) Ltd, and FirstCaribbean International (Bah) provide convenient banking services 24 hours a day.
RBC Royal Bank has two ATMs that dispense US dollars. They are located at the Lynden Pindling International Airport and the Lyford Cay Club. The machines accept Visa, MasterCard and any bank card on the Cirrus, Plus and Maestro networks. Minimum withdrawal is $50.
RBC Royal Bank ATMs that dispense Bahamian dollars only are located at RBC Royal Bank branches throughout the island, Royal Bank House on East Hill St, Marina Dr on Paradise Island, and at eight Esso service stations–Village and Soldier Rd roundabout, Wulff Rd at Mackey St, East St and Soldier Rd, Blue Hill and Harrold Rd, Carmichael Rd at Faith Ave, Prince Charles Dr at Fox Hill Rd, JFK Dr at Farrington Rd and on East Bay St at Fowler St. Bahamian-dollar Royal Bank ATMs are also located at Kelly’s Home Centre in the Mall at Marathon, Princess Margaret Hospital on Shirley St and Solomon’s Supercenter on Old Trail Road.
Scotiabank ATMs downtown on Bay St at the Rawson Sq branch, at the Welcome Centre at Prince George Wharf, at the Cable Beach branch, Caves Village branch and in the Casino at Atlantis dispense both Bahamian and US dollars for MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Plus or Cirrus networks. Minimum withdrawal is $20 (Casino at Atlantis is $50). ATMs at other Scotiabank branches dispense Bahamian dollars on the same networks. Minimum withdrawal is $20. ATMs are located at Texaco gas stations throughout Nassau including Faith Ave, East/West Hwy, South Beach, Robinson Rd, Thompson Blvd, Carmichael Rd and East St at Soldier Rd.
FirstCaribbean International Bank ATMs dispense Bahamian dollars and are located at branches throughout New Providence and Paradise Island. ATMs are also located in the Shell stations at Blue Hill and Carmichael Rd, Harrold Rd at Sir Milo Butler Hwy, the Mall at Marathon, QVS Pharmacy at Village and Bernard Rd, Olde Towne at Sandyport and at the corner of Bay and Parliament St. They accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and any bank card on the Plus or Cirrus networks for cash advances and dispense a minimum of $10.
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 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 Dept of Agriculture, Lynden Pindling International Airport, tel 377-7127.
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 trade name 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, Lynden Pindling International Airport, tel 377-8461 or 377-7125, US Customs & Border Protection, 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. 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 comes in half dollar, $1, $3, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Some visitors keep the $3 bill as a souvenir.
There is also an extra Bahamian coin, the 15¢ piece, which is square with rounded corners and decorated with a hibiscus (no longer minted).
US DOLLAR* (US$) 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
Exchange Rates: The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar; however, expect to pay a small commission when exchanging traveller’s cheques for local currency and when converting local currency into US dollars.
The table gives approx values for the major currencies against the US dollar as of Nov 2010. Commercial banks can provide daily rates.
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: Strict laws and penalties apply for possession of dangerous drugs and firearms. Any drug considered dangerous, including marijuana, bring stiff fines and even jail terms if found in the possession of unauthorized persons. 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 1⁄2oz):
• 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: Parcel post rates to overseas destinations vary considerably and information may be obtained at the Main Post Office, East Hill St, tel 322-3025.
Shopping hours: Store hours vary. Most stores on Bay St are open Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm. Some are open on Sun. Most stores in malls and on Paradise Island are open Mon-Fri 9/10am-8pm, on Sat until anytime between 6-11pm, and on Sun until anytime between 1-5pm. If you plan to shop outside the hours of 10am-5pm or on Sun, it is a good idea to call ahead for store hours. 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 6-12% tax on your hotel room rate. It is added to your bill on checkout. Other service charges may apply.
TaxI fares: Taxi fares on New Providence and Grand Bahama are set by government. All taxis are required to have working meters.
General rates: One or two passengers, for the first 1⁄4 mile, $3. For each additional 1⁄4 mile, 40¢. For each additional passenger, $3. No charge for accompanied children under five.
Zone rates: Zone rates can be applied to most standard routes. They apply to one or two passengers. For each additional passenger, add $3. The following rates apply between:
Lynden Pindling International Airport &:
Cable Beach $18
Paradise Island $32
South Ocean $22
Montagu foreshore $34
Cable Beach &:
Paradise Island $20
South Ocean $28
Paradise Island & downtown $11
A $1 bridge toll is added for destinations on Paradise Island.
Waiting charge: Having a taxi wait (except when hired by the hr) costs 30¢ per minute.
Baggage charges: There is no charge for up to two pieces of hand baggage, plus small bags and packages carried by each passenger. Each additional piece of regular-sized luggage, 75¢; large duffel bags and boxes, $1.
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 advent of the horse and buggy. If you rent a car, most have the steering wheel on the left. Remember to keep left. Seat belt use is mandatory. The speed limit through the city, Cable Beach and congested areas is 25mph/40kmh unless otherwise indicated. In school zones the limit is 15mph/24kmh (7:30-9am and 2:45-3:30pm). Everywhere else it is 30mph/49kmh except for west of the Ministry of Works building on John F Kennedy Dr (towards the airport) and Harrold Rd, where the speed limit is 45mph/73kmh.
If you decide to see the island by motor scooter, be sure to get a helmet from the rental agency. It is for your protection and is required by law. If you are walking where there is no sidewalk, face oncoming traffic.
Call for weekday services/functions, and to confirm times of Sun evening services from Mar 2011 (EDT).
Christ Church Cathedral, King & George St, tel 322-4186. Sun: Mass 7:30, 9 & 11:15am & 6pm.
St Matthew’s, Shirley & Church St, tel 323-8220. Sun: Eucharist 7:15am & 10:30am; solemn evensong, sermon and benediction 7pm.
ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Evangelistic Temple, Collins Ave, tel 322-8304. Sun: evangelistic service 8:30 & 11am; 6:30pm.
Golden Gates Assembly World Outreach Ministries, Carmichael Rd, tel 361-3347 or 361-4097. Sun: worship & praise celebration 7:30 & 11am.
Mission Baptist Church, East & Hay St, tel 322-8495. Sun: worship service 10:45am, 7pm.
Zion Baptist Church, East & Shirley St, tel 325-3556 (church). Sun: worship services 8 & 11am & 7pm (except for first Sun of each month).
CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY
Church of Christ, Highbury Park, tel 393-2486. Sun: worship services 9:30am-12 noon & 6pm.
Annunciation, West St. Sat: service, 5:30pm. Sun: divine liturgy service 10-11:30am (approx).
Jamaat Ul Islam, Carmichael Rd, tel 557-5021. Fri worship 1pm. Daily prayer sessions.
Assembly Hall, Edmond St off Dolphin Dr, tel 325-1623. Sun: meeting 10am & 4pm.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Soldier Rd (east of East St), tel 393-1539 (missionaries). Sun: sacrament meeting 10:30am.
Lutheran Church of Nassau, John F Kennedy Dr, tel 323-4107 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Sun: service 11am.
Trinity, Frederick St, tel 325-2552. Sun: worship services 11am.
Ebenezer, East Shirley St, tel 393-2936 (church) or 393-1765. Sun: worship service 11am & 7pm.
New Providence Community Church, Blake Rd, tel 327-1660. Sun: worship 11am.
Unity Center of Light, East Ave N, Centreville, tel 328-1325 (centre), e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sun: time of praise and service 11am.
St Andrew’s Kirk, Prince’s St, tel 322-5475. Sun: worship 10:30am.
The Salvation Army, Mackey St, tel 393-2340. Sun: services 11am.
St Francis Xavier Cathedral, West and West Hill St, tel 322-8528 or 356-3008/9. Sun: Mass 8:30 & 11am; Sat vigil 6pm.
Sacred Heart, East Shirley St, tel 326-6004, or 326-7341 (residence). Sun: Mass 8:30 & 10:30am; Sat vigil 6:30pm.
Centreville Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 5th Terrace, tel 325-3097. Wed: prayer meeting 7:15pm; Sat: divine worship 11am.
Alcoholics Anonymous Nassau Group
David Knowles 322-1685
Meets Mon-Fri 1 & 6pm, Sat 10am, 6pm & 8:30pm and Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat 8:30pm at Rosetta House, 16 Rosetta St. Fri 6pm at Sacred Heart Church, East Shirley St. Wed 7pm at St Anselm’s, Bernard Rd. Thurs & Sun 7pm at New Providence Community Church, Blake Rd. Mon, Wed & Thurs 1pm at Branville McCartney’s Bamboo Town Constituency Office, East St.
American Women’s Club
Jayne Holland 362-4431
Bahamas Girl Guides Association
Julia Burnside 322-4342
Canadian Men’s Club
Peter Goudie 393-2545
Canadian Women’s Club
Shelley Wagner-Schafer 677-4654
Innerwheel Club of East Nassau
Heather Peterson 393-8630
Roy Davis 394-4354
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Rotary Club of Nassau
Scout Association of The Bahamas
Headquarters 325-2757 or 323-5330
DTM George Taylor 328-3984 or 468-6907
Women’s Corona Society in The Bahamas
Carolyn Wardle 362-1574
Zonta Club of Nassau
Janet Johnson 427-3757
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.