Getting there & away
The sheltered waters of the 750-mile-long archipelago attract thousands of yachters each year. Winds and currents favor the passage south. Sailing conditions are at their best in summer, though hurricanes can be a threat throughout the season.
Discovery Cruise Line (800-259-1579; www.discoverycruiseline.com) runs daily between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Freeport, Grand Bahama (US$140). It departs Florida at 8am, returning at 10pm. Rates include three buffet meals and a Las Vegas–style casino.
All visitors must carry a valid passport and a return or onward ticket as well as sufficient funds to support their stay. This requirement will be extended to sea travel for US citizens; check for updates before you leave.
This section addresses transportation to the Bahamas from other countries. See p108 for information on travel between the islands.
The departure tax of US$15 is typically included in the ticket price. For a brief summary of airlines and flight schedules by island, check www.bahamas.com. The two largest airports are Nassau International Airport and Grand Bahama International Airport. A few airlines fly directly to airports on the larger Out Islands, but the majority of flights arrive in Nassau or Freeport where passengers will connect to another flight before continuing to the Out Islands.
The national airline Bahamasair (242-377-5505, in Freeport 242-352-8341; www.bahamasair.com) has an unblemished safety record and its pilots have an excellent reputation. Delays, however, are regular occurrences and flights are canceled without warning. Bahamians say ‘If you have time to spare, fly Bahamasair.’
The listings below include international cities offering direct flights to the destination; keep in mind, however, that this information changes regularly.
Abacos has two airports: Marsh Harbour International Airport (MHH; 242-367-3039; Marsh Harbour, Abacos) and Treasure Cay International Airport (TCB), located 25 miles north of Marsh Harbour. Taxis between Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbor can run US$60, so pick the right airport when making reservations.
The following airlines fly into Marsh Harbour:
Continental flies directly from Ft Lauderdale and West Palm Beach to Treasure Cay. Island Express, Twin Air (242-365-8660), Vintage Props & Jets and Yellow Air Taxi fly into Treasure Cay from the same departure points listed above.
There are four airports on Andros. Be sure to choose the correct one based on your lodging. The Andros Town Airport (242-368-2724) in Central Andros is currently serviced by Continental Connection/Gulfstream International (242-377-5486, 800-231-0856; www.continental.com, www.gulfstreamair.com), which has flights from Fort Lauderdale, Nassau, West Palm Beach.
In 100-mile-long Eleuthera, try to fly into the airport closest to your destination. North Eleuthera International Airport (ELH; 242-335-1242; North Eleuthera) is close to the ferry dock across the sound from Harbour Island. Governor’s Harbor is in the middle of the island and Rock Sound is further south.
All airlines listed below also fly into Governor’s Harbor from Fort Lauderdale.
Located a few miles north of George Town, Exuma International Airport (GGT; George Town, Exuma) offers a handful of car rental agencies and a restaurant. Taxis meet most flights.
New Providence’s main airport is Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS; 242-377-7281; Nassau, New Providence), called the Nassau International Airport until 2008. This hub services international and domestic flights, with most interisland flights originating and returning here. New US and international terminals are due for completion in 2011. In the meantime, you’ll find a couple of ATMs, a few cafés and a bunch of duty-free shops.
The following airlines fly into the airport:
British Airways (242-377-2338; www.ba.com) London