The food, the drinks, the amenities – if you're staying in a resort in the Bahamas, it's likely you won't want to leave once you land. But to take full advantage of all the 700-plus islands have to offer, you'll have to head out.
Admittedly, getting around the Bahamas is a little tricky with inter-island flights or ferries, but not a major hassle if you plan ahead. Conveniences like Uber and Lyft do not exist, but there are plenty of local taxis or buses to get you where you need to go. Here are the best ways to get around the Bahamas.
Planes are the best way to island-hop
Travel between the islands of the Bahamas is best done by plane. Inter-island flights to popular locations such as Andros, Harbour Island, Eleuthera, the Exumas and the Abacos cost around US$125 to $150, with flight times ranging from 25 to 60 minutes.
Domestic airlines such as Bahsmamsair, Flamingo Air and Southern Air fly to the Out Islands, which locals refer to as the Family Islands, daily. Most planes are smaller with one row, so pack light, but bags are always checked, so they don't have to be carry-on sized.
There are 20 international airports in the country, but Lynden Pindling International Airport, located on the western end of New Providence island, is the biggest and busiest. It also serves as a hub for inter-island flights.
You'll have to arrange a shuttle service or grab a taxi once at the airport. Most taxi services will have a fixed rate based on distance. There are no public transportation options available.
To see more of the country, go by car
Hitting the road in the Bahamas is a great way to cover more ground and explore the Out Islands. Driving in the Bahamas, especially in Nassau, is filled with one-way streets, narrow roads and heavy traffic. Heads up: folks drive on the left side of the road here.
In order to drive in the Bahamas, a valid US passport is required, but if your stay is longer than three months, an international driver's license is needed. Major rental-car companies, such as Hertz, Alamo, National, Avis, Budget, Dollar and Thrifty, have offices on most islands.
Taxis are another car option for getting around, and there's no shortage of licensed drivers. Most taxis have a fixed rate, although some are metered, so double-check before hopping in one.
Golf carts are an easy and affordable mode of transportation on the Out Islands, like the Biminis, Harbour Island and the Abacos. You can book one easily through a hotel or local shop.
Visit the islands by boat
Boats, ferries and water taxis are all fun ways to adventure around the Bahamas. Some of the islands, such as Harbor Island, are only accessible by boat. Boats and ferries have scheduled rides throughout the day.
Bahamas Ferries is best for traveling to the Out Islands and back. To reach Harbor Island, you can either take a boat from Nassau or Eleuthera, depending on the arrival airport. From Nassau, ferries leave daily in the morning to Harbor Island and return in the evening. The port is about 40 minutes from the Lynden Pindling International Airport, and a taxi service will have to be arranged.
Bahamas Ferries starts at roughly $92.95 for a one-way ferry ride to destinations such as Grand Bahama Island, the Abacos and Andros. From Eleuthera, a much cheaper option is a water taxi to Harbor Island, which you can take for only $5 and pay upon arrival. The water-taxi port is a short drive from the North Eleuthera airport, and they leave every five minutes.
Note there are “no sailings” days, so it’s best to book a ticket in advance and review the schedule to avoid any last-minute complications. There are multiple time slots are available from morning to evening hours, with the last ferry departing around 7pm on sailing days.
Other water services, mainly through Bahamas Ferries, offer a wide variety of inter-island services from Grand Bahama Island, the Abacos, Andros, the Exumas and Long Island.
Take the bus when you have time to spare
An affordable and widely used option for getting around the Bahamas is taking the Jitney Bus. The Jitney Bus costs anywhere between $1.25 and $3.50 for a one-way ticket and will take travelers from one side of the island to the other. The buses don't run in the Out Islands, and it's best to use exact change.
If you're on a tight schedule, this might not be a great option – the buses don't run on a strict schedule. They operate from roughly 6am to 7pm, so plan to use another mode of transportation, such as a taxi, to get around in the evening. There are designated bus stops, but you can also flag one down. Simply yell "stop" when you're ready to hop off.
Accessible transportation in the Bahamas
Most of the primary and popular resorts in the Bahamas are wheelchair accessible and have shuttle-bus options for transportation. However, poor sidewalk conditions in Nassau may be an issue for travelers who use walkers or canes. Main cruise ports have accessible options as well.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide.