Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida lies the district of the Biminis, a group of three main islands and dozens of cays in the Bahamas. North, South, and East Bimini are the main islands, and the majority of the group's population resides in Bailey Town on North Bimini. Many famous names were known to have vacationed and even lived on the island including Jimmy Buffet, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ernest Hemingway. Tourists who want to follow in their footsteps have their choice of several transportation options that will get them to the area, and as many ways to get around when they arrive.
Two constants in travel to the Bahamas is that air travel and yachting are the two main ways that people get to the islands from international locations. To get to the Biminis, a third option exists, and that is sailing to the islands aboard an international ferry from the south coast of Florida.
The number of cars on the road in the Biminis is limited thanks to the small size of the islands which makes them unnecessary for the most part. There are a few rental and taxi options available, as well as a shuttle bus on North Bimini, and local ferries offer a way to get to other islands in the Bahamas.
Featuring one asphalted runway that measures 5,430 feet long, the South Bimini Airport (BIM) on South Bimini is the only airport in the island group. It is a small airport that welcomes minimum daily traffic, with flights arriving from the Bahamian islands of New Providence Island and Grand Bahama, as well as the State of Florida, a flight that takes about 25 minutes. Certified charter planes often fly into this airport as well.
Just over forty miles from Miami, you can bet that the Bimini Islands are a popular destination for sailers, experienced and otherwise, especially since there is more than one port on the Bimini Islands that offer customs and immigration services. However, sailing is not just limited to those from the US. Despite its low tourism (relatively to Nassau), there is a good deal of tourist services on the islands, including boat rentals and charters.
If you're staying on North Bimini, you may be able to rent a car for around $100(USD) a day; however, even on this island and others in the Biminis it is more common to rent golf carts. These can be rented from resorts or a few vendors around the islands for between $70 and $90(USD) a day. Hourly rental are also available, starting at $20 for the first hour, then $10(USD) for each hour after that.
You'll need to be 21-years-old and have a driver's license from home to rent a vehicle in the Biminis. If you do get behind the wheel on these islands, be aware that traffic moves on the left side of the road like in England, and roads are not very well maintained. There are two paved roads on North Bimini that run from one end of the island to the other. King's Highway is the main road and where you'll find restaurants, shops, and hotels; while Queen's Highway is the road to the beaches. Go at a slow pace and drive with extreme caution as you learn to navigate this unfamiliar landscape.
Taxis are available on both North and South Bimini, in particular from the ferry docks or the South Bimini Airport to your accommodations. Taxi drivers are independent operators who you can call to pick you up from other locations.
Fares are set by the government, so you never have to wonder how much you'll pay to get around. There is a set rate of $3 for two people to ride, plus $.40(USD) for each quarter mile traveled. If you're traveling with more than two people, it will be an extra $3(USD) per person, and you'll have to pay to store luggage in the trunk if you have more than two pieces per person. Remember that tips are a huge source of income for drivers, so make sure to reward them for their good service with around 15 percent of the total bill.
...a quick and easy day trip ...
Over the years, there have been a number of tries at launching a ferry service between the U.S. state of Florida and the Biminis, but time and again the services have failed. Yet, again in July of 2013 they gave it another go. The ferry is called Maverick, and leaves from Port of Miami on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 9:00 a.m., arriving in Alice Town, North Bimini at around noon. The ferry can carry over 350 and costs $49.50(USD) for each passenger one way. The return trip leaves Bimini at 5:00 p.m. and arrives back in Miami at 8:00 p.m., making it a quick and easy day trip opportunity. Features of the boat include an on-board casino, a la carte restaurant, several fast food restaurants, a swimming pool, and a disco.
The transportation options linked to the Biminis are plentiful, so tourists planning their getaway have a lot to think about. Most people have an idea of how they'd like to travel as they begin their planning, but a quick review of your options will never hurt.
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