These rules apply whether arriving by plane or boat.
Area: The Bahamas (see map)are located in the lower left-hand corner of the Atlantic Ocean. This 70,000-square-mile area includes more than 700 islands. They generally run in northwest-southeast array, along a 750-mile stretch from just off Florida, to just off Haiti.
Language: English, intertwined with a special Bahamian dialect.
People: Most live on New Providence Island, site of Nassau, the capital. Some families claim descent from early English colonists who fled during the American Revolution, and Southerners who arrived during and after the American Civil War.
Rainy Season: Most of the rain comes in brief summer showers. The surrounding sea normally ranges from the low 80's in the summer, to about 74 degrees (F) in midwinter. In winter, the islands are impacted by cold fronts from North America.
Currency: The Bahamian dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar, which is accepted everywhere.
Documents: U.S. citizens, British subjects from the UK and colonies and Canadian citizens may enter without passports or visas for stays up to 3 weeks. Passports are required for longer stays. U.S. citizens will require a passport for re-entry to the U.S. U.S. citizens on regularly scheduled airlines are pre-cleared through US Customs and Immigration at Nassau International Airport.
Taxes & Tipping: Departure tax is $15 payable at the airports. There is a Government tax of 4% and a Resort Levy of 4% along with a Maid Service Charge levied on all hotel rooms. The standard tip is 15%. Many resorts and hotels automatically add a service charge to cover gratuities.
Getting Around: Rental cars are readily available on the larger islands. Driving is on the left. Visitors use their home license for up to 3 months. Taxis in Nassau and Grand Bahama generally have posted fares
Customs Departure: The duty free allowance for U.S. residents, including minors, is up to $600 if out of the country more than 48 hours (and have not taken the exemption in 30 days). This includes up to one US quart (32 US oz.) of liquor per person over 21. A family living in the same house may pool exemptions.