Bahamas | Cayman Islands | Turks & Caicos
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Bahamas local time
Bahamas Travel Information
All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport in order to enter The Bahamas, as well as to enter or re-enter the United States when traveling by air. U.S. citizens do not need visas for short trips to The Bahamas for tourist/business purposes, however, Bahamian regulations require that air passengers entering for tourism have a round trip ticket. Travelers should be prepared to show return/onward travel arrangements to immigration authorities if requested. Passengers arriving with one way tickets could be denied entry. U.S. citizens traveling to The Bahamas by sea on private watercraft or most commercial vessels must have a valid passport.
Banking hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In Nassau/Paradise Island there are ATMs at both Paradise Island and Cable Beach casinos, and commercial banks. In Grand Bahama, they can be found at major banks, the casino and Port Lucaya and on The Out Islands, ATMs are at banks on all of the major islands. Most are equipped with +PLUS and Cirrus ATM systems.
The US and Canada are a direct-dial call away and most hotels provide direct-dialing service from your room or conference center.
Driving in the Bahamas:
British rules apply, so please drive on the left and be extra careful on roundabouts. Visitors may use their home licenses for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. Pedestrians should remember to look right before crossing streets. It is the law that all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts while riding in a vehicle in The Bahamas.
Electrical outlets in The Islands Of The Bahamas are 60 cycles/120 volts, which is compatible with all US appliances.
Health & Safety:
The local emergency numbers in the Bahamas are 919 or 911.
Inoculations are not required unless traveling to The Islands Of The Bahamas from an infected area. While in The Bahamas, you can have peace of mind knowing that there are facilities available to serve your health-related and pharmacy needs. The medical facilities on the islands, especially Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island, are staffed with North American and European-trained physicians.
Tipping in The Islands Of The Bahamas is just like where you’re from—tip according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag, while most other servers (waiters, taxis, etc.) receive 15%. Many establishments include gratuity in the total, so make sure you check your bill to see if it’s been added.
Ideal For: Couples, Families, Value
Just minutes from the U.S. coastline, 700 exotic islands dot some of the clearest waters in the world. The Bahamas is a vast paradise spread across the Atlantic, with mild year round temperatures and a wealth of activities. Nassau is know for it’s casinos, Junkanoo festival, duty-free shopping and exotic adventures. While the Exumas draw those seeking more outdoor pursuits such as boating, sport fishing and snorkeling. It’s easy to see why everyone says “It’s Better in the Bahamas.” Among some of the best resorts are found in the Bahamas which include Sandals Emerald Bay and Royal Bahamian along with the famous Atlantis Paradise Island. Whether you’re looking for an adults only or family friendly resort, or a small boutique hotel, the Bahamas has it all!
Arguably more picturesque is Harbour Island, or “Briland” as locals call it, a three-and-a-half-mile-long pink-sand cay just off Eleuthera. Briland may be small, but it has luxury havens like Pink Sands Resort, Coral Sands, the Dunmore, and the Ocean View Club, not to mention fantastic restaurants (the Landing, the Rock House) and stylish local boutiques (India Hicks, Shine, Blue Rooster).
Cayman Islands local time
Cayman Islands Travel Information
Passports are required for entry into the Cayman Islands and visas are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to the Cayman Islands for short-term visits.
Health and Safety:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in the Cayman Islands is “911”.
The Cayman Islands are a relatively safe place with little criminal activity affecting tourists. Robberies occasionally occur and we recommend you always keep your doors and windows locked. Tourists should continue to use the same precautions they use in their home country.
The quality of medical care in the Cayman Islands is generally comparable to that available in the United States; however, some procedures and cases requiring critical care may require medical evacuation to the United States. A hyperbaric chamber is available for treatment of decompression illness. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate payment for health services.
Driving in the Cayman Islands:
As in Great Britain and its other territories, vehicles in the Cayman Islands travel on the left-hand side of the road (the opposite side compared with driving in the United States). Due to their size, the Caymans have little highway infrastructure to maintain. Local driving standards, the risk of accidents, the availability of emergency roadside service, quality and frequency of signage, and enforcement of traffic laws, generally meet the standards of the United States. Visitors must obtain a temporary driver’s license, easily granted upon presentation of a valid state driver’s license and payment of a small fee, at a car rental agency or a police station. Seat belt laws are also enforced and require the driver and all passengers to wear seat belts while in motion.
Ideal For: Beach Bums, Divers, Families, Food Snobs, Golfers, Value
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos local time
Turks & Caicos Travel Information
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands as tourists for short periods; however, U.S. citizens must present a valid passport.
Note: U.S. Passport Cards cannot be used to travel by air or private vessel to TCIS. Recently, some U.S. travelers have mistakenly been allowed to enter the Turks and Caicos on expired U.S. passports and have experienced difficulty in returning to the United States. All travelers should check their passports to make sure they will be valid for the length of their trip before traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands. All U.S. citizens traveling by air outside the United States are required to present a valid U.S. passport to re-enter the United States.
Health and Safety:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Turks and Caicos is 999 or 911.
The overall crime rate in the Turks and Caicos Islands is relatively low and crimes typically involve opportunistic petty theft. Travelers should take sensible precautions against theft in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Exercise caution when walking after dark, even in Grace Bay, especially in isolated areas such as deserted beaches, and avoid placing yourself in vulnerable situations. Never leave valuables unattended, on beaches or otherwise.
Medical facilities in the Turks and Caicos Islands have improved with two new hospital facilities on Providenciales and Grand Turk managed by Inter Health Canada. Most extreme medical problems do require medical evacuation by air from the Turks and Caicos Islands to neighboring Caribbean countries if a suitable doctor, surgeon or specialist is not on island. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance before departing.
Driving in Turks and Caicos:
Driving in the Turks and Caicos Islands is on the left. Temporary visitors wishing to drive in the Turks and Caicos require a valid driver’s license from their country of residence or an International Driving License which is good for up to a month, after which a local license from the Department of Road Safety is required. You should observe the speed limits (20 mph in town and side roads, 40 mph on the highway).
Ideal For: Beach Bums, Couples, Families
Comprised of two island groups (the Turks, smaller; the Caicos, larger), located southeast of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos had virtually no tourism twenty years ago. Today, more than 200,000 travelers visit the archipelago every year—and the hotel landscape has grown in step. Eight islands and many small cays make up the Turks and Caicos Islands. Providenciales is the most developed and offers nature preserves, salt lakes and limestone cliffs.
The beaches of Turks and Caicos are world famous and have won several awards over the years for their beauty and majesty. With a booming tourism economy and jaw-dropping beaches this is one of the “must see” islands in the Caribbean.