Last updated: 17 May 2021

Bahamas

About

The quiet caves, sheltered bays and crowd-free beaches of the Bahamas offer visitors the intimacy of a secluded retreat. The Bahamas is blessed with clear, turquoise waters that are home to ancient shipwrecks and a rainbow of coral reefs teeming with fish. Pastel-coloured seashells and clapboard houses painted in bubblegum hues sit amidst a tropical landscape dotted with vibrant blooms.

For a change of pace, head to one of the islands' bustling straw markets to haggle over spices, ceramics, handicrafts and local art. Enjoy diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and parasailing or take to the fairways of a world-class golf course for ocean-facing holes.

Dozens of colourful stalls at Nassau's bustling straw market produce a melee of crowds bartering over local goods. You can join them, or, for a sophisticated shop, splash some cash in the swish stores at Bay Street, a haven of designer brands.

Bahamas’ oldest golf course, at Cable Beach, has beautifully kept fairways, or there are five other world-class courses on Grand Bahama Island to choose from. Street processions and dance bands fill the streets, along with a lively party crowd, at the Bahamian Junkanoo festivities on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. At the Junkanoo Summer Festival in June and July island music rages for days on end.
Capital:  Nassau (NAS)
Currency:  Bahamian Dollar (BSD)
Language:  English
Dialling code from SA:  + 1 242
Time Zones: UTC / GMT -5 (7 hours behind South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: from second Sunday in March until first Sunday in November: UTC / GMT -4 (6 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2021: 

Jan 1, 10, 11; Apr 2, 5; May 24; Jun 4; Jul 10; Aug 2; Oct 11; Dec 25-27

Best Time to go: August - September
Best For: Island relaxation
Plugs: 120 volts AC, 60Hz. US-style plug sockets are standard.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, although bottled water is available. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services and usually in cash. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs:  Swim and beachwear should be reserved for the resorts. 
Travel Warnings / Tips: The watersports industry is poorly regulated, and travellers should only hire equipment from reputable operators and ensure that they receive proper training. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into the Bahamas by persons aged over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 454g of tobacco.
• 1L of spirits.
• Goods up to the value of B$100 (up to B$300 for residents). All beer imported into the country is subject to duty.
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited imports include indecent or obscene material, counterfeit currency and underwater guns.  Restricted imports include firearms, fireworks and firecrackers.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Open for international travel.

  • Effective May 1, 2021, visitors travelling to The Bahamas who are fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period will be exempted from COVID-19 testing requirements for entry and inter-island travel. Fully vaccinated travellers will be required to upload valid proof of vaccination (such as CDC or government issued vaccine record card) in lieu of PCR test requirement.

For more information on guidelines on travelling, please see: www.bahamas.com/travelupdates

  • Everyone travelling to The Bahamas must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test taken no more than 5 days prior to the date of arrival. 
  • Once in possession of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, travellers can apply for their required Bahamas Travel Health Visa at travel.gov.bs. (Click on International Tab)
  • As part of the Travel Health Visa application, travellers will be required to opt-in to COVID-19 health insurance that covers them for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas. The cost of insurance is included in the Travel Health Visa application fee.
  • Travel Health Visa applications take up to 48 hours to process and should be completed with adequate lead time.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Visa Requirements

Visas are not required by SA passport holders.

A multiple entry visa for the USA is compulsory if travelling to the Bahamas via the USA.
Ensure passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months from date of entry.

SA Representative

South African High Commission
15 Hillcrest Avenue, Kingston 6, Jamaica
Telephone : +1 876 620 4840 
Fax : + 876 978 0339
Emails: kingston.dha@dirco.gov.za

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio