Bahama Island Information
Population: Bahama Islands: 299,697
Land Area: total: 13,940 sq km, land: 10,070 sq km, water: 3,870 sq km
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with US summer hours.
Location: Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba.
Weather: The Bahamas consist of more than 700 islands and cays, many of which are not inhabited. The islands cover an area of 100,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean, located between Hispaniola and South Florida.
Bahama welcomes its visitors with an ideal climate avaeraging 80-90 degrees F in the summer and 70 - 80 degrees F during the winter month. Water temperatures in the Bahamas are never below 72 degreesF. Rainy season is between May and September, but showers generally come and go very quickly.
Currency: The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. Most of the times, you can either pay in US Dollars or Bahamian Dollars.
Custom Regulations: Upon entering The Bahamas, everyone must fill out and sign an Immigration form, keeping a portion of the card in hand until departing. Adults are allowed to bring a maximum of 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco, one quart of spirits, and a variety of personal effects. Purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars are permitted by all arriving passengers.
When departing, all visitors (over 6 years old)are required to pay a $15.00 departure tax ($18.00 from Grand Bahama); Departures to the US must go through US Customs pre-clearance. you may bring home up to US $600 worth of duty-free merchandise. The next $l,000 is taxed at 10%. Gifts valued up to $50 may be mailed home duty-free. One litre of wine, liqueur or liquor and five cartons of cigarettes can be taken duty-free.
Tipping: Waiters and Tab drivers receive 15% according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag. Some establishments include the gratuity in their bills.
Electricity: Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. American appliances are fully compatible.
Getting Around: Driving in the Bahamas is influenced by the British, so cars drive on the left. Visitors can drive using their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver's license. Pedestrians please be careful and remember to look to your right before crossing streets.
Taxis are widely available at airports, hotels and business areas. Cabs can also be hired by the hour. Be sure to agree on a fare before you get in.
Buses are called Jitneys in Nassau and Freeport, and they provide an inexpensive way to get around. Buses stop near most hotels and exact change of 75 cents or $1 is required.
Districts of the Bahama Islands
The Districts of the Bahamas provide a system of local government everywhere in The Bahamas except New Providence, whose affairs are handled directly by the central government. The current system dates from 1996 when 23 districts were defined – a further 8 were added in 1999.