The Bahamas Transportation Options

There are many transportation options to help you explore the islands of the Bahamas

Photo credit: © J.M Durán & Susan E. Rutherford
 

The islands that make up the Bahamas are each incredibly unique, and no vacation can be called complete without a sizable bit of exploring. Whether your interests lie just across the street or on a neighboring shore, there are plenty of transportation options to give you access to every nook and cranny of the Bahamas.

Getting There

Vacationers looking to travel to the Bahamas will find plenty of ways to get there. Since the Bahamas is so close to the United States, U.S. travelers can sail or fly themselves to the islands. Visitors who aren't quite so adventurous, or who hail from other countries, have plenty of other options.

Air Travel

...make island-hopping a breeze...

 

There are over 60 airports throughout the Bahamas, though many of them exist without paved runways and welcome only small charter flights. While these are perfect for island hoppers, in order to make it to the Bahamas in the first place an international flight aboard a larger plane is necessary. These commercial jets fly into the two main airports, the Grand Bahama International Airport and the Lynden Pindling International Airport. Direct flights from many large U.S. cities are available, including Miami, which is only 35 minutes away by plane.

Despite being so close to the U.S., and being such a popular tourist destination, the Bahamas consistently ranked low in efficiency polls with regards to ease of air travel. That is why in 2009, the islands budgeted over $405 million to revamp some of the larger airports.

Inter-island travel can be incredibly rewarding, giving vacationers a unique view of the Bahamas. However, it requires a tad more planning than local trips and should be arranged in advance. Small aircrafts are the fastest method of island-hopping; visitors can hire a flight, while experienced aviators can charter their own planes.

Maps

If you plan on using air travel during your journey to the Bahamas, consider reading our Air Travel Guide to the Bahamas, where you will learn about popular airlines, major airports, and the ins and outs of flying to the nation.

Sailing

Abaco, a grouping of islands within the Bahamas, is often called the "Sailing Capital of the World," so it stands to reason that many vacationers choose to make their voyage to the Bahamas aboard a private vessel. Because of the close proximity to Florida, not only can you charter your own yacht, but it is common to sail to the islands aboard a party boat, which can carry 30 to 300 guests, has food and drinks, and a DJ spinning the latest hits. If you're sailing into the Bahamas, chances are you'll sail into Nassau or Freeport. At this time you'll need to have everything ready to clear customs, so arrive prepared.

Nearby for some and easy to reach for all, anyone can visit this chain of Caribbean islands with ease. Click here to learn more.

Cruises

Other visitors travel via cruise ship to take in one or many of the islands during their stay. In fact, the islands in the Bahamas are one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Perhaps this is because it is so close to the state of Florida and thus easy to travel to, but one can't deny the number of landmarks and natural attractions that make for perfect day trips for cruisers. Prince George Wharf on Nassau and Freeport Harbour on Grand Bahama are where most cruise ships dock, so if you're heading to the island's on a cruise, the attractions surrounding these docks are the ones you'll want to plan to visit.

Whether they're traveling from island to island on a longer cruise, or just staying in port for the day, they'll have plenty to explore in the Bahamas. Be sure to click here to learn more about this popular option.

Getting Around

Inter-island travel can be incredibly rewarding, giving vacationers a unique view of the Bahamas. However, it requires a tad more planning than local trips and should be arranged in advance. Small aircrafts are the fastest method of island-hopping; visitors can hire a flight, while experienced aviators can charter their own planes. Seafaring types may prefer to take advantage of the numerous island marinas by riding the Bahamas' mail boats or sailing in on a yacht – again, available both for charter and for hire.

Rental Cars

...no shortage of transportation options...

 

Most tourists would agree that a rental car is often unnecessary, and when it is necessary, can be a hassle. Still, there is a great group of people who feel most comfortable when they are behind the wheel, and for these people, renting a car is the best option. You can expect rental car rates to start at $60(USD) and go up from there. Driving is done on the right side of the road, and like in Europe, fuel is expensive.

If you plan on renting a car in the Bahamas, you'll want to read our local guide to wherever you will be renting - such as our Nassau Rental Car Guide, or our Freeport Rental Car Guide. If you are still unsure of your specific destination, our Bahamas Rental Car Guide can give you a general idea of what to expect.

Bikes and Mopeds

If you're an active traveler who likes to get off the beaten path and experience things outside the norm, renting a bicycle or moped is a great option. Not only are you in charge of the journey, but you'll be able to ride to places inaccessible to larger vehicles, and steer clear of busy roads in metro areas. Note that while renting a moped and especially a bike if often the cheapest way to get around, deposits of upwards of $200(USD) will be required.

Taxis

Taxis are easy to come by in the major tourist areas like Cable Beach and Port Lucaya, but even on the Out Islands you will often be able to hail a cab as well -- even if it means doing so by phone. The thing it is important to be aware of is that there are both government operated and privately owned taxis, and the biggest distinction between the two is whether or not they are metered. Government taxis are metered, so the moment you get in and tell your driver where you're going, he should be able to tell you the flat rate. Unmetered cabs are privately owned and you will want to settle on a fee before you take off. With that tip in mind, you should have no problem getting from place to place via cab. Click here for more information.

Buses

Buses are only available in large cities, so, guests staying on the Out Islands don't have this option as a method of transportation during their time in the Bahamas. Those staying in the large, touristy areas, however, can travel like a local aboard a "jitney." Although the bus lines here have a set schedule that tells you where they will be at any given time, they are not known for keeping to the schedule and are perpetually late. If you have to be somewhere at a specific time, either plan to leave very early or skip the bus all together. You can find more information on buses here.

Ferries

A much more affordable transportation option between the islands of the Bahamas is to take a ferry. There are numerous ferry services providing transport to such islands as Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, and Potters Cay. All of these ferries are privately owned, so the cost and operation schedule stands at the discretion of the owner.

There is one service run by the government, and that is The Mail Boat. This is the method locals typically use to get around, because despite its lack of dependability, it travels to all 14 major islands. Prices vary, but you can expect to spend at least $30(USD) per trip.

Learn more about this useful service here.

There is no shortage of transportation options to suit your traveling needs. Whether your plans include visiting beaches and swimming in the ocean, shopping in the towns, or lounging in a shady hammock, there is a way of getting wherever you will.

 

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