Last updated: 6 Jan 2022

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 2022: 

Jan 1, 3, 10; Apr 15, 18; Jun 3, 6; Jul 10, 11; Aug 1; Oct 10; Dec 25-26

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

Last updated: 09/09/2021

The Bahamas is open for travel from all parts of the world. Passengers need to complete a daily online health questionnaire during their stay.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers travelling from or transiting through Haiti are not permitted to travel to the Bahamas.

Form requirements

  • Passengers aged 18 years and older must submit the Travel Health Visa form and opt into the Health Insurance coverage prior to arrival. Passengers aged 17 years and younger must add a profile within the account of their parent or guardian. Passengers must hold a printed copy on arrival. For fully vaccinated passengers, the Visa will be valid for 6 months from the date of their last dose of vaccine
    • This does not apply to crew of commercial airlines who will remain overnight in the Bahamas.
  • Passengers must complete an online Health Questionnaire on arrival and daily for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.
    • This does not apply to passengers holding proof that they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer or Janssen vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to travel.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged 11 years and older must hold a negative RT-PCR test obtained within 5 days prior to arrival. Passengers aged between 2 and 11 may hold either an RT-PCR test or a Rapid Antigen test. Nationals and residents of the Bahamas who have been out of the country for less than 5 days must hold a test obtained in their country of departure.
    • This does not apply to crew of commercial airlines who will remain overnight in the Bahamas.
  • Passengers staying longer than 4 nights and 5 days will be required to take a rapid antigen test on day 5. Passengers departing on or before 5 days will not be required to take this test.
    • This does not apply to passengers holding proof that they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer or Janssen vaccines or a combination of these vaccines at least 2 weeks prior to travel.

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