Area: 5380 sq miles (13,940 sq km), 700 islands and 2500 cays
Capital city: Nassau (pop 190,000)
People: African descent (85%), European descent (15%)
Religion: Baptist (32%), Anglican (20%), Roman Catholic (19%)
Government: Independent state within the British Commonwealth
Prime Minister: Hubert Alexander Ingraham
Currency: 1 Bahamian dollar = 100 cents, American dollars
Major industries: Tourism, finance
Major trading partners: USA, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan
Visas: US citizens do not need a passport or visa for stays of less than eight months but must show proof of citizenship. Visas and passports are not required of citizens of Canada or the UK and Commonwealth who stay three weeks or less. Visitors from most other European countries need passports but not visas for stays up to three months. Air passengers must have a return or ongoing airline ticket.
Health risks: Sunburn, prickly heat, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, fungal infection, diarrhea, giardiasis, tetanus, jellyfish Time:
Time Zone: GMT/UTC minus five hours
Electricity: 110V, 60Hz
Weights & measures: Imperial
Telephoning: From North America, dial 1 + 242 + the seven-digit local number. From elsewhere, dial your country’s international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 242 + the seven-digit local number.
When to Go: The Bahamas are a year-round destination. Incessant trade breezes ensure pleasant temperatures, so unless you’re visiting the southern isles, which get infernally hot in summer (June to August), weather isn’t a major factor in determining when to go. The best time to come is the warm, breezy summer, when the water is so warm you can linger in it for hours. Mid-winter temperatures in the northerly and westerly isles can be surprisingly cold. In summer, the rainy season extends from May to November, when hurricanes are a slim possibility. The so-called ‘peak season’ runs from mid-December to mid-April, when hotel prices are highest.
1 January – New Year’s Day
Easter Holidays – Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Monday
Second Monday in April – Queen’s Birthday
18 May – Discovery Day
6 July – Constitution Day
9 November – Remembrance Day
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day