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Bahamas: One of nature's best escapades

Bahamas, Travel Bahamas

Visiting island countries has a charm of its own. The Caribbean islands are no different. If the Bahamas is on the agenda, then sure you are witness to one of nature’s best known escapades. That is, but not before you have made sure that your travel check list is quite in place.

The cooler months between September and May are the best time to visit the Bahamas. As with travel requirements, if you are a US National wanting to visit Bahamas, you should possess a return ticket along with your passport. With this, you may be allowed to stay up to a period of eight months. Alternatively, a birth certificate with official photo identification may be used. Similarly naturalization and photo identification for naturalized citizens, and passport and green card for green card holders are relevant documents which visitors are expected to carry.

Umpteen numbers of sites on the Bahamas will roll out several interesting travel booking options and airfare discount offers throughout the year for avid tourists. Earlier you book, the cheaper it works. Huge discounts on hotel bookings, resort bookings, cruise bookings and car rentals are on the anvil. It’s specially so, during the Spring break season between February 28 to April 10. Special travel offers by popular airlines make things way simpler when you’d want to behold the action packed month-long youth festivals filled with beach parties, sports meets and complete musical entertainment.

Inside the Bahamas sure by now you have made your choice of stay. A hotel or a picturesque resort, the 700 plus sun-kissed islands of the Bahamas do have something unique and exciting to experience. Not to miss the historic and modern extravagance of churches, restaurants and casinos, be it in the cosmopolitan Nassau, the laid-back Out Islands, Cable Beach, Paradise Island or the Freeport/Lucaya.

Whichever time of the year one decides to visit Bahamas, everyone, upon entering the country, must comply with the particulars of Bahamian Immigration. Once you are through immigration, you'll find tour desks in the entrance. You can pick up information and newsletters here.
Visitors with vouchers will head to their respective vans to be driven off to their resorts and hotels. Others may have to use taxi cabs and shuttle vans are lined up outside the airport’s arrival building. It is rather wise to check the posted rates in the Arrivals area, lest drivers are known to be unreliable, often quoting a very high price for their service.

No problem for the extra adventurous who’d like to drive on their own. As with driving, British driving rules apply. Visitors may use their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver's license.

Getting around inside the country with local transportation is exciting. Colorful horse drawn carriages queuing up in the streets of Downtown Nassau make interesting getaways to the historic and scenic Nassau in all its hustle and bustle.

Then there are interesting cruise packages including short sunset cruises and dinner cruise – with local bands, native dancers, Latin music and jazz -- that one can consider as part of your travel itinerary.

In the Bahamas, certain chains of hotels and restaurants offer their own shuttle service, usually for free. For example, the Atlantis Casino Shuttle is a free service to Atlantis Hotel guests which runs every half-an-hour from 7am till midnight in a circular route around the famous the Beach tower, the Ocean club and Paradise Island Golf Club. There is also a shuttle service from Harbourside to Atlantis which runs back and forth every now and then. Ditto with the Cable Beach Casino Shuttle.

The half-an-hour walk over the 600 ft long bridge from Paradise Island to Nassau and back is considered to be a `been-there-done-that’ thing in the Bahamas. The area over the bridge is a good 1/2 hour walk from downtown Nassau. The walk will take you through a good glimpse of the fishing, mail boats and work boats. It is also interesting to take the ferry boat between Paradise Island and Nassau that takes you through the historic tour as the ferry passes celebrity homes, Forts and the Water Tower.

The Bahamas has a warm agreeable climate which varies little year round. The most refreshing time is when the temperature averages 70-75F degrees. The rest of the year is a bit warmer with temperatures between 80-85F degrees. So both casual summer-wears during the day and jackets or woolies for cooler evenings may be required. Most restaurants and casinos require jackets for men in the evening, especially in cosmopolitan Nassau, while beach clothing is inappropriate on the streets of downtown Nassau, in churches, restaurants and casinos. On the more laid-back Out Islands, dress-codes are much more flexible.

The best shopping is concentrated in Nassau, Cable Beach, Paradise Island and Freeport/Lucaya; boutiques and gift shops are also found in most major resorts. Everything from duty-free products to local arts and crafts, wood, straw, shells and any such memorabilia are readily available.

So much for Bahamas Travel. While departing, visitors are required to pay a departure tax with exemption for children less than six years. Departures to the US must go through US Customs pre-clearance. US visitors may take home 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 liter of wine, liqueur or liquor and five cartons of cigarettes may be taken duty-free. A Bahamian dollar is the same as a US dollar.

Travelling to the Bahamas is an exciting and a serene getaway. Rest assured, going prepared makes it more rewarding.
Published: 2008-03-24
Author: Paawana Poonacha Cariappa

About the author or the publisher
Byline articles for publications,PR content for corporates, syndicated articles for bigwigs, rhymes and short stories for children, and poetry for the like-minded...taking forward over 10 years experience as journalist/writer, presently working as Content Head for a Mumbai-based communications firm. You can view my bylines as "Paawana Poonacha" or "Paawana Poonacha Cariappa".

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