Everybody wants to have their vacation go smoothly, especially if they have been planning it for a long time.
No one can deny that when it comes to vacation destinations, the Bahamas should definitely be part of anyone's bucket list.
Then again, aside from all the fun activities and exciting sceneries you wish to enjoy, you should also be cautious about your safety.
What should I avoid in the Bahamas?
Before hopping on the next flight to the Bahamas, it’s important that you ask this question. This is to ensure your safety so that you will enjoy your stay without complications.
The Bahamas is a country inside the Lucayan Archipelago. It is part of an island group that is located in the Caribbean.
Most of the archipelago's population is found in the Bahamas, which also occupies 97% of its land area.
It is composed of a series of islands and cays with numbers of up to 700, of which most are still inhabited.
Nassau is the country's largest city, which happens to be its capital, as well. It is found in the New Providence island.
The Bahamas is among the wealthiest countries where the economy is much dependent on its tourism activities.
It is well known for its magnificent views, immaculate beaches, clear shallow waters, abundant sea life, luxurious hotels, and more.
With that said, it is no wonder that many tourists from around the globe wish to visit this beautiful place.
Unfortunately, because of the many tourists in the islands, criminals also lurk around, waiting for their next victims.
Safety in the Bahamas
In recent years, the criminal threat level in Nassau has been rated critical by the US Department of State. The Grand Bahama Island is on a high-risk level.
Though there are visible police foot patrols within the tourist areas, there are still reports of armed robberies, burglaries, and sexual assaults, even during the day.
In light of this, travel advisories released by the Bahamas government warn everyone to practice added caution when in the area.
What Should I Avoid in the Bahamas?
Here are some of the things that visitors need to avoid to prevent being victimized while in the Bahamas.
1. Riding a Taxi Without Knowing Your Fare
Most cabs in the Bahamas don't have meters; hence, it would be smart to ask the driver in advance for the fare even before entering the vehicle.
Negotiating with the driver is more straightforward compared to starting your journey and getting surprised by the charge upon reaching your destination.
Ensure that the cab driver is licensed before you hire him, and refrain from hitching a ride from total strangers.
2. Driving on the Right Side
Different places have varying rules regarding driving. In the Bahamas, they practice left-side driving.
If you feel uncomfortable with that kind of set-up, you can simply hail a cab if you need to go to another place.
If you choose to brave it and drive a rental, you have to be alert at all times, as there are many aggressive drivers in the Bahamas.
Also, ensure that your car windows are rolled up, and the doors are locked. This is especially important when you are at a stop, and a stranger tries to talk to you.
3. Going Out Without Cash on Hand
Make it a habit to always bring cash each time you go out. This is for emergency purposes, especially medical ones.
Medical facilities in the Bahamas are quite expensive and only accept cash for all kinds of medical treatments.
Still, you should also be very careful with your valuables and keep it secured at all times, including your ATM password.
4. Traveling to the Bahamas Between June to November
It is not advisable to spend your vacation during these months as it is the hurricane and storm season.
In addition to flight delays, you will not be able to enjoy the beach and other outdoor activities that the Bahamas is famous for.
5. Going to Remote Areas at Night
News of violent crimes targeting tourists abounds on the island, such as sexual assaults and armed robberies, which usually happen at night.
As a precautionary measure, guests are advised to stay within areas meant for tourists to prevent any untoward incidents.
Always travel in groups if possible, and don't provoke strangers who might happen to be armed criminals.
6. Using All Your Time at the Beach
You may consider yourself a beach person, but the Bahamas has many other things to offer apart from the beach.
You can choose to join various tours that will satisfy the interest of all kinds of tourists.
7. Renting a Jet Ski
As much as you want to be adventurous and try riding a jet ski, control the urge unless you are entirely sure that you are safe and protected.
There are no rules and regulations in the Bahamas when it comes to watersports; hence, many of the equipment are not well-maintained.
Additionally, the personnel from these equipment rental establishments are not adequately trained to handle rescues and emergencies.
There are also reports of sexual assaults perpetrated by the jet ski operators.
8. Wearing Beachwear When Not on the Beach
The Bahamas may be famous for its beaches, but they also follow dress codes in certain areas, especially when it comes to donning beachwear when you are far from the beach.
Make sure to wear appropriate clothes when you are in public and common places other than the beach.
9. Being Too Informal
The locals are known to be very formal when dealing with guests and strangers. As such, they expect the same courtesy to be given to them.
Addressing them by their last name and shaking their hands is the standard for locals unless you are considered a friend.
10. Being Too Defensive and Withdrawn
One of the locals' most notable traits is their sense of humor, which they would display by teasing tourists.
They love guests who know how to have fun and not take offense when making jokes about them.
Safe Islands in the Bahamas
Currently, the Out Islands are considered safer as compared to New Providence, though the area is not free from crimes.
These fresh and unpolluted islands offer clean beaches as well as plush hotels and resorts for all their visitors.
It is the perfect location for outdoor recreation, island hopping, and beach exploring, among others.
There are various transportation methods to reach this destination, such as via boat or a cruise ship. However, traveling by air through a direct flight is still the best option.
Things to Know When Traveling to the Bahamas
You should learn as much information as possible about the Bahamas before you book a flight not only for your safety but also for enjoying a well-planned vacation.
Here are some of the essential things that you need to take note of as you plan your dream Bahamas vacation.
If you plan to go to the Bahamas, you must have an updated passport that should be valid for a minimum of six months after your travel.
Using a passport near its expiration might be an issue, as renewal and processing may take a while.
There is no issue regarding currency as US dollars are accepted and have the same equivalent as the Bahamian dollar.
Major debit cards and traveler's cheques are also welcome. However, there are credit card companies that charge with additional fees for international transactions.
You will also find banks open during weekdays, while ATMs are available conveniently.
3. Return Ticket
Make sure that you always have evidence of your return ticket. There will be times when you will be asked to present that information upon arrival.
Most travelers always worry about how they will be able to use their gadgets and would typically bring adaptors with them.
If you are using American devices, you can plug it directly to all the electrical outlets on the island as the standard power voltage is 120V.
5. Wi-Fi Connection
The Bahamas offers a powerful internet connection, so you don't have to worry about keeping in touch with your loved ones.
There are various online apps that you can use for free, eliminating the need to spend loads of money to update your friends and family.
You can also watch your favorite shows and listen to non-stop music through popular apps as long as you stay connected to the Internet.
6. Monetary Tips
Most bars and restaurants in the Bahamas automatically include a 15% gratuity in your bill, eliminating the need to leave a tip. However, handing out extra cash is not discouraged.
7. Eastern Standard Time
The whole of the Bahamas functions on Eastern Standard Time; hence, it would be best to set your watch accordingly.
They also comply with Daylight Savings Time, along with other countries in the Caribbean.
There is no issue when it comes to communication since Bahamians consider English as their official language.
You might notice a slight difference with how the locals speak the language, as the Bahamian English is a combination of the island's dialect, the Queen's diction, and African influence.
The locals would generally drop the "h" sound in words, such as in “house” and “thanks”, which they would pronounce as "ouse" and "tanks”.
9. Pre-Clearance US Entry
Most travelers encounter issues with the US Customs and Immigration when they try to enter the United States from abroad.
Luckily, passengers leaving from the Bahamas are provided with a pre-clearance entry to the United States as part of the US Customs and Border Protection policy.
The US Customs and Immigration Services have personnel cleverly stationed at the Bahamas airport to inspect and check the passengers before leaving the island.
10. Health Safety
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends that travelers going to the Bahamas get vaccinated before travel to ensure that they stay healthy during their vacation.
Since the Bahamas has a tropical climate, you need to be ready with mosquito repellents to prevent getting ill with Zika or dengue fever.
Fruits and vegetables bought from the local fruit stands should always be thoroughly washed and then peeled for added precautionary measures.
What should I avoid in the Bahamas? This is just one of the most common questions a prospective visitor asks when thinking of visiting the Bahamas.
Though there are numerous stories about the criminality level in the Bahamas in recent times, tourists are still encouraged to visit the island and enjoy everything that it offers.
This tropical island is still the best vacation destination for the whole family, as it offers different activities that will be enjoyed by youngsters and adults alike.