Since the middle of the 20th century, Freeport has been a major tourist destination, and these days even caters more to visitors than to the local population. This makes it easy for tourists to plan a trip to the area because everything is geared directly to their needs. On the island of Grand Bahama, Freeport is especially well-visited because it is home to the island's port and airport, then when you arrive, it has the largest number of rental car agencies, taxi services, and bus routes. You can even catch a ferry out of Freeport to another island.
While most people prefer air travel, sailing draws a huge following here, and cruising is an important part of tourism as well. What it will likely come down to is your preference for travel.
While most seasoned tourists will tell you that it is not necessary to rent a car in Freeport, it is definitely a possibility. If you decide to skip a rental, you can rely on taxis and the local jitney service to get you around town, and if you'll be visiting other islands, ferries are the way to do it.
Although there are two airports on Grand Bahama, only one, , is regularly used by tourists. Many large international carriers fly into the island on a daily basis, and finding a flight is rarely hard. Another bonus to flying into this airport is that it serves as a point of U.S. Border Control Pre-Clearance, which means if you clear customs here, you won't have to do it again in the United States.
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...strong residential and tourism areas...
With a large international airport, cruise terminal, and ferry service, it is surprising that sailing to Freeport is as popular as it is. Still, many of the smaller islands have more marinas than Freeport does, and the excursion offerings are a bit lacking. That does not mean sailing is boring in Freeport. On the contrary, Freeport can be a great hub for anyone looking for sailing trips around the Bahamas, especially with its strong residential and tourism areas that make for great shopping and restocking of supplies.
Read more about sailing and boating around Freeport by clicking here.
Cruising to Freeport is a great way to quickly see some of the town's most important and popular sites before moving along to your destination, but be aware that when you arrive you'll have to take a taxi or the bus to get to these sites. The cruise terminal is set a ways away from the more populated areas of Freeport.
To rent a car in Freeport, you'll need either an International Driver's License, or a driver's license from your country of origin, you'll need to be at least 21-years-old (but more often 25), and you'll need to be able to pay somewhere between $80 and $120(USD) a day. Rental cars agencies are popularly found at the airport, but some resorts have them on-site, so you can take a taxi to your hotel and then pick up your rental right on site. Once the car is in your position, be prepared to drive on the left side of the road and watch out for pot holes.
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When you arrive in Freeport, you'll find that taxis are readily available, both at the airport and by the pier. Your driver will be able to explain how they charge when you get in, as there are one of two options. Some drivers run on meters which charge a set fee for the ride, plus an additional amount per mile, while others use rates that have been set in advance by the government. If you're taking a taxi from your resort to the nearest beach, which is a common use for these vehicles, let the driver know when you'll be done and if he or she is still on duty at that time, you can arrange to have them pick you up and bring you back to your hotel.
Click here to learn more about taxis in Freeport.
The main bus stop in Freeport is located behind the International Bazaar in the parking lot, and you can catch an inexpensive ride from there around Freeport, but also to nearby Port Lucaya and even out to East End and West End. Buses, which are actually called “jitneys” here, operate every day from 7:00 a.m. to sun down, with a new bus arriving approximately every 15 minutes. Punctuality isn't their strong suit, so it is best to go in knowing you'll probably be waiting on a bus to arrive. The cost is $1(USD) per trip, per person in Freeport and over to Port Lucaya, but it will cost $2(USD) to get a ride elsewhere on the island.
Although there are numerous ferry services throughout the Bahamas, only two regularly offer transportation to and from Freeport. These are the slow-going Mail Boats, run by the government and known for their cheap fares; and an international ferry that sails between Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Freeport six days a week. It is also important to be aware of the other ferry options if you'll be doing some island-hopping.
You can learn all about them when you click here.
Whether you prefer to travel by land, by sea, or by air, the possibility for all of these are very real with regards to getting to and around Freeport.
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