Long Island is an island of contrasts beginning with the fact that it is divided in half by the Tropic of Cancer. Because of this, half of the island features a rocky coastline, while the other half is filled with beaches of soft, white sands. Thanks in part to the difference in topography that extends to the waters, tourists might visit for a variety of reasons, including diving, fishing, sailing, hiking, or simply just relaxing on the beach. Whatever your desired activities, the first step in planning your Long Island getaway will be learning about your transportation options.
The two standard ways of getting to most islands in the Bahamas is either to fly aboard a commercial airline before switching to a much smaller plane to make your final decent into the islands, or to sail yourself. Both are hugely popular, though flying has the edge thanks to the convenience and the limited number of travelers with sailing knowledge.
While most locals make their way around the island by hitchhiking, this is not a travel option tourists should consider. Thanks to the large size of Long Island, rental cars may be necessary for those who plan on exploring. Taxis are available but should be used sparsely because the price can quickly begin to add up. If you'll stick close to home, many resorts and hotels offer bicycles for their guests to use as their main source of transportation.
The most convenient method of transportation to Long Island is by air, and most tourists will arrive on the island this way. There are two airports to choose from,(SML) and (LGI). They are named for the towns in which they are located, a fact that should quickly help you to determine which airport is closer to your accommodations. Unfortunately, there are no regular international flights available for either of these airports, but you can book a flight to the international airport on New Providence Island, then fly the remainder of the way with one of two popular local airlines BahamasAir or Sky Bahamas.
Take a look at our Air Travel Guide for more information about airlines known to fly to Long Island.
...looking more for peace and quiet...
Sailing to Long Island can be quite a journey. However, once you arrive, you'll be treated to a pristine and large Bahamian island with relatively few people on it. You will want to keep in mind though that tourism is not as developed on Long Island as it is elsewhere in the Bahamas. With a residential focus, people who do visit are looking more for peace and quiet than excursions and beach parties.
Rental cars are available to tourists who are over the age of 21 and in possession of either a valid driver's license or an International Driver's License. The rental car agencies are mainly located near the airports, making it easy for those who fly in to pick up a vehicle right away. All of the agencies are locally owned and most rental agreements are informal, so make sure to ask for a receipt for your protection.
The chart on this page provides contact information for the rental car agencies on Long Island.
On Long Island all of the taxis are independently owned, but tourists shouldn't worry about price gauging because the fares are regulated by the government. You'll pay $2 for two people to ride in the cab as the base rate, then an additional $0.40(USD) per quarter mile. An additional $2(USD) is charged per person if you're riding with more than two, and you'll have to pay a bit extra to store more than two piece of luggage per person in the trunk. The cost of a taxi may seem low, but if you plan to use taxis to explore the island, the price can quickly add up. Read more here.
The Bahamas offers a ferry service that travels throughout the islands called Mail Boats. They are run by the government and transport freight, mail, and people. Most boats visit each island on their roster once a week, and Long Island is one stop along the way. If you're considering using water transport to get from New Providence Island to Long Island, you can do so on Tuesday, but be aware that the trip takes 12 hours.
Find out more about using ferries as a transportation option when you click here.
Transportation options on Long Island are not unlike most of the other Out Islands of the Bahamas, with air travel and sailing the way to get there, and rental cars, taxis, and ferries as the main ways to get around. Once you've learned all you can about each choice, you'll be able to begin making your final vacation plans.
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