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The Bahamas Facts

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Country: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas (BF). Independent State within the British Commonwealth. The name Bahamas comes from the Spanish words “baja mar” meaning shallow sea. 

Nationality:  Bahamian(s). 

Language: English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants).

Capital: Nassau (New Providence Island).

Population: 377,374 (2013 est.).

Climate: tropical marine; moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream.


Area: 13,940 sq km (land: 10,070 sq km, water: 3,870 sq km).

Coastline: 3,542 km.

Flora and fauna: The Bahamas offer more that 109 bird species and over 120 plants type.

Geographic coordinates: 24° 15' N, 76° 00' W.

Highest point: Mount Alvernia, on Cat Island 63 m.

Location: Caribbean, chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba.

Size: New Provedence Island: 10 km x 30 km, Grand Bahama: 25 km x 92 km, Andros: 180 km x 70 km.

Terrain: long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills.

Tourist Information

Overview: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an independent nation in the West Indies. An archipelago of 700 islands and cays (which are small islands) make up the Bahamas. 

Accommodations: Many first class hotels with a full range of modern facilities. The Bahamas even includes private island resort like Little Whale Cay in the Berry Islands. Some budget Hotels and guest houses are also available.

Activities: swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, golf, tennis, horse ridding, cricket.

Average tourist arrivals: 1,327,005 (2009).

Entry Requirements: The Islands of the Bahamas Implements the Same Entry Requirements as the United States

Extension of stay: Visitors may apply to the Bahamas Immigration Department for extensions of stay.

Time: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time). Daylight saving time: +1 hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November.


Cost of living: High. Value for money is poor. Nassau is ranked number 18 of the most expensive places in the world (Barbados 108, Tampa Fla 235).

Credit cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted. 

Currency:  Bahamian dollar (BSD). Exchange rates: 1 Bahamian dollars per US dollar. US dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands.

Electricity: 120 volts, 60 cycles AC. American plugs.

Telephone: The international country code for The Bahamas is 1-242 followed by seven digits. On the island, use the seven digits alone.

Tipping: Tip is generally 15 %. Many establishments include the gratuity in their bills. 


Airport: Nassau International Airport (NAS). The airport is situated 16km (10 miles) west of Nassau on New Providence Island. Head west on West Bay Street to Blake Road which leads to JFK Drive. Take a right turn on JFK and the airport is about 3km (2 miles) on the left-hand side. The airport is well sign-posted from Nassau.
Freeport International Airport (FPO) is situated on Grand Bahama Island, 5km (3 miles) north of downtown Freeport. From the centre of Freeport, take the East Mall Drive or the West Mall Drive north to The Mall and follow signs to the airport. Coming from the west, take Queens Highway and take the airport exit north of Freeport. From the east, take the Grand Bahama Highway and take the airport exit to the north of Freeport.

Departure Tax: Airport departure tax is US$ 15. There are no income taxes. Most taxes in the Bahamas consist of duties. 

Ferry Service: A high speed, daily ferry link between Nassau and North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Governers Harbour. The old mail boat system connecting the 14 inhabited islands of The Bahamas to the capital Nassau. Many mail boats travel through the night.

Ports and harbors: Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point.

Land Transport: Getting around in Nassau/Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island and most of the Out Islands is easy. The various modes of on-Island transportation include rental cars, taxis (which are plentiful) buses (called jitneys) which for a small fare can take you to and from many locations, motorbikes (mopeds), and bicycles. Driving is on the left.


Ethnic groups: Black 85 %, white 12 %, Asian and Hispanic 3 %.

Government type: Constitutional parliamentary democracy.

Legal system: Based on English common law.

Literacy: 95.6 % (male: 94.7 %, female: 96.5%).

Religions: Baptist 35.4%, Anglican 15.1%, Roman Catholic 13.5%, Pentecostal 8.1%, Church of God 4.8%, Methodist 4.2%, other Christian 15.2%, none or unspecified 2.9%, other 0.8% (2000 census).


Agriculture-products: Citrus, vegetables; poultry.

GDP per capita: US$ 22,300 (2013 est.).

Industries: Tourism, banking, cement, oil transshipment, salt, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe.

Natural resources: Salt, aragonite, timber, arable land.

Unemployment rate: 15.4 % (2014 est.).