The Bahamas archipelago is comprised of around 700 islands, sprinkled over 100,000 square miles of ocean – beginning just 50 miles from the coast of Florida. This area is an ecological oasis, featuring 2,000 breathtaking islands and cays, and boasting the clearest water on the planet – with visibility of over 200 feet. This is a true sailors’ paradise, steeped in both history and colourful folklore. Our Bahamian embarkation point is located on Great Abaco Island at Marsh Harbor, and serves as our gateway to the amazing sailing grounds these islands offer. The Abacos chain lies roughly 175 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, and 106 miles north of Nassau, capital of the Bahamas. The outer cays and islands create naturally protected waters commonly referred to as the Sea of Abaco. The Abacos are considered one of the most perfect sailing areas in the world. Stepping off a short one-hour flight, you’ll find powdery white-sand beaches, and snug anchorages on uninhabited cays – all waiting just for you, and the hustle-bustle congestion of Miami will instantly fade from mind.

 

GETTING THERE

 

Abacos have two airports: please ensure that you book to fly to Marsh Harbor International Airport (MHH) (242-367-3039) Marsh Harbor, Abacos, and not to the other airport, which is located 25 miles north of Marsh Harbor. A taxi from that airport (at Treasure Cay) to Marsh Harbor will cost upwards of US$60, so make sure that you pick the correct airport when making your reservations.

 

The following airlines fly into Marsh Harbor:

American Airlines (800-433-7300)

www.aa.com Miami

Bahamas Air (242-367-2095 or 800-222-4262)

www.bahamasair.com West Palm Beach, Nassau.

Continental Connection/Gulfstream International (242-367-3415 or 800-231-0856)

www.continental.com/www.gulfstreamair.com Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach.

Twin Air (242-367-0140 or 954-359-8266)

www.flytwinair.com Fort Lauderdale.

Vintage Props and Jets (242-367-4852, 800-852-0275)

www.vpj.com Daytona, Fort Lauderdale .

Yellow Air Taxi (242-367-0033 or 888-935-5694)

www.flyyellowairtaxi.com Fort Lauderdale. Charters also available.

Also, please note that international flights from New York, London, Paris etc with all the major airlines fly into Nassau (NAS) and then onward to Marsh Harbor, Abaco with Bahamas Air.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

Passports and Visa

All visitors must carry a valid passport and a return or onward ticket as well as sufficient funds to support their stay.

Citizens of the United States, Canada and most western European countries do not require a Visa to enter the Bahamas. Please see the link below for the list of visa requirements.

http://www.un.int/bahamas/Visa_Requirements_List.htm

Check for updates before you leave, and if you are in any doubt at all about whether or not you will need a Visa then please check with your local embassy or consulate.

 

Weather

The Bahamas stretch across an area roughly the size of California, so you will understand that the weather varies somewhat from island to island.

Some islands are slightly dryer while others get a little more rain. It's always good to be prepared for rain or shine, whether you're staying in one place or island-hopping. Whatever your plans, comfortable clothing is essential. From May to November the Bahamas enjoy daytime temperatures of around 80ºF (26ºC) and in winter (December to April) daytime temperatures average 70ºF (21ºC). Generally speaking, the islands are balmy all year long, with cooling, near-constant trade winds blowing from the east. Rainy season extends from late May to November, and humidity in the northern islands is relatively high all year-round.

 

Clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens are advisable for day wear, while light woolens are suggested for evenings. Try to avoid synthetic fabrics, which may not be as breathable as natural fibres. Additionally, light rainwear is a good precaution all year long. Rain showers in the Bahamas usually come up suddenly, come down hard, and end fairly quickly, so it's good to be prepared with a waterproof jacket or umbrella. Opt for something easy to carry, something that you can quickly slip on and then put away again when the sun reappears. The Bahamas has been known as a vacation destination for longer than most of the Caribbean, and with 2201 miles of coastline on more than 700 islands and 2,500 cays, beachwear is a necessity. Therefore, unlike some of the other islands in the Caribbean, it is not considered inappropriate to leave the beach wearing beachwear. The Bahamas is a bit more laid back than some of the islands, that retain more staunch cultural standards from their days as British colonies. However, you should still use common sense and not show up, even to a casual restaurant, in shorts and a bikini top.

 

Currency and Banks

The Bahamian dollar (BS$) is linked one-to-one with the US dollar, so you can use US currency everywhere. The major commercial banks maintain branches throughout the islands, and there are ATMs in the leading tourist centres. (Please note that most machines dispense local currency). Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the islands and most ATMs accept Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

Commercial banks are open Monday - Thursday 9:30am until 3pm, and on Friday from 9.30am until 5pm. They are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Banking is available through ATMs 24 hours a day at numerous branches.

 

Tipping and Service Charges

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 the gratuity in their bills.

 

Travel insurance

We strongly advise that all guests cruising with us have fully comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all eventualities such as hotel accommodation, lost baggage, changes to flights etc.

 

Electricity

Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. US appliances are fully compatible. Guests from other countries will need to bring the appropriate adaptors/converters.

 

Hotel accommodation

The Islands of The Bahamas have a diverse range of islands to explore, and also a huge variety of accommodation to suit any occasion. From chic island resorts to international-brand hotels, right through to smaller and more intimate value-for-money guest houses, and, with over 250 places to stay, The Bahamas has the right accommodation for you. Some guests may choose to spend time in the capital, Nassau, on New Providence Island, and they will be totally "spoiled for choice"! The Abacos too, have a wide and varied choice of lodgings, and you can see them all at http://www.bahamas.com or of course at Tripadvisor or other travel sites. At the present time we have no discounted arrangements with any resorts in place, but, if and when we have, we will update all Members.

 

Diving

The temperature of the crystal-blue water averages an amazing 80°F year-round, which means that it’s perfect for diving and other water adventures, such as snorkeling. Some of the most spectacular dive sites in the Bahamas are around the Abacos. Because of direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean, the reefs here are fairly shallow, mostly 60 feet or less, which means that the incredible elkhorn and star coral formations are easily accessible to both scuba divers and snorkelers alike. Combine these amazing corals with a superabundance of marine life - ranging all the way from the tiniest of reef fishes to turtles, dolphins, eagle rays and sharks (and some of the clearest water in the world) and you have the experience of a lifetime. For those divers who wish to come to Abaco prior to your TradeWinds cruise, and either do some recreational diving or perhaps want or need a refresher course, there are many dive operators here to choose from. Here are just a few:

Dive Abaco in Marsh Harbor http://www.diveabaco.com/

Abaco Dive Adventures in Marsh Harbor http://www.go-abacos.com/ada/

Froggies in Hope Town http://www.froggiesabaco.com/

Brendal's Dive Center in Green Turtle Cay http://www.brendal.com/

Please note: Lycra skin and/or 3-5 millimeter wet suits are recommended. However, your thermal protection should be based on your individual sensitivity and comfort.

 

Useful links

The official tourism association site for the Bahamas is http://www.bahamas.com

 

Sample Itinerary

Please click here to read more about a sample itinerary for a crewed sailing charter in the Bahamas.

Sailing the Bahamas Islands