Getting Around Bahamas
The best way to get around the Bahamas is by jitneys (or public buses). They are the most common form of transport from the country's many airports – Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) and Freeport's Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO). However, jitneys are not available on other islands (including New Providence Island's adjacent Paradise Island), so to get around elsewhere, you'll need to hail a taxi or rent a car. Traveling between Bahamian islands, meanwhile, requires flying from Nassau's airport using the inter-island air service, Bahamasair, or hailing pricey water taxis. Some cruises and boat tours also make stops at multiple islands.
Bahamasair flies from Nassau to about two dozen airports in the Bahamas and surrounding areas, including Florida destinations like Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. The airline has an excellent safety reputation, but delays are common and rates are high.
Renting a car can be helpful if you're going to explore the areas beyond your resort (just don't forget to drive on the left side of the road). But car hires and gas are notoriously expensive, not to mention the fact that the island's older and less-traveled roads are usually in poor condition. Should you decide to rent your own set of wheels, you'll find vehicles available at all major Bahamian airports, including Lynden Pindling International, Grand Bahama International and Exuma International (GGT). U.S. driver's licenses are valid for up to three months of driving in the Bahamas.
Easily flagged down on all of the islands, taxis are quicker and easier than driving on your own and are one of the best ways to get around when jitneys aren't available. But some cabs are in rough condition, and combined with some of the less traveled roads, you could be in for a bumpy ride. Rates vary by island, but all are fixed by the government and are calculated by zone. Most companies offer flat rates, but metered rates can be provided upon request.
Fees for taxi services on New Providence Island start at $3 for the first 1/4 mile, and an extra 40 cents is charged for every additional 1/4 mile traveled. Rides originating and ending in downtown Nassau cost $6 for up to two people; taking a cab to the city center from the airport (or vice-versa) typically costs a flat fee of $22 for two riders. All groups with three or more people will be charged an additional $3 per person.
The most popular form of transportation on New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island is the jitney, especially if you're moving around central Nassau. These public buses can hold up to 32 people and operate every day from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., with reduced hours on Sundays. Your hotel receptionist can provide you with more information about available bus routes.
One of Nassau's most popular routes is the No. 10 jitney, which travels between the city center and Cable Beach. The No. 10 bus also stops near many resorts along Bay Street. The "10" designation is marked on the outside of the bus, and you can wave it down anywhere along the route. To get off any jitney, just say "stop" and the driver will pull over to let you off. Each ride costs $1.25 to $3.50 per person on New Providence Island and $1 to $8 per person on Grand Bahama Island, depending on the distance traveled. Fares are paid on board; only exact change is accepted.
Despite the ferry and water taxi routes, island hopping in the Bahamas can be very difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Water taxis provide short service between Nassau and Paradise Island and are common throughout The Out Islands. The most popular inter-island ferry service is Bahamas Ferries, which offers service from Nassau to Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, The Abacos, Long Island, Andros and The Exumas. One-way fees for adults range from $29 to $81, while rides for children ages 11 and younger cost $16 to $57. Round-trip fares are also available. Tickets can be purchased in advance on Bahamas Ferries' Book Now page.
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