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Grand Bahama Island/Freeport, Bahamas City Info
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Caribbean > Bahamas
Grand Bahama Island/Freeport Nassau




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Population:  46,954

Time Zone:  Eastern Standard Time.  Daylight saving time is observed from October to April.  When it is 12:00 noon on Grand Bahama Island, it is 12:00 noon in New York City and 9:00 AM in Los Angeles. 

 

Average Temperatures:

 

 Month  

Average

January  

   71F  

February

   71F

March  

   73F  

April  

   75F

May  

   78F

June  

   81F

July  

   82F

August  

   83F  

September  

   82F

October  

   79F

November  

   76F

December  

   73F

 

 

Local Seasons:  Grand Bahama Island lies below the Tropic of Cancer and enjoys a mild climate throughout the year.  The main season runs from mid-December through mid-April.  The rainy and hurricane season occurs from June through November.  During that time period there are many days and weeks of cloudless, sunny weather with intermittent showers.  Hurricanes are rare, but do occur in some years. 

 

 

National Holidays:  

 

New Year's Day Jan. 1

Good Friday  (Dates vary)

Easter Monday (Dates vary)

Whit Monday last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 10

Emancipation Day  August 2

Labour Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Discovery Day October 12

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Day Dec. 25

Boxing Day   December 26

New Year's Eve Dec. 31

 

Area Code:  The area code for the Bahamas is 242.

 

Before You Go: 

 

Entry Requirements And Customs:
Valid photo I.D. (driver's license is fine) AND a government-issued birth certificate (not hospital-issued) with a raised seal, or a valid Passport. Passports are not required for entry by US or Canadian citizens, but It is a good idea to bring one.

 

Non-US citizens, please contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country to which you are traveling to determine your entry/visa requirements.

 

Upon arrival in The Bahamas, you will be given an Immigration Card to complete and sign. The Bahamian customs official will stamp the card and return it to you. Be sure to keep the card in a safe place, because you will need to turn it in upon departure from The Bahamas.

 

Visitors leaving The Bahamas for US destinations clear US Customs and Immigration before departure. US citizens are allowed to bring back $600 worth of merchandise duty-free. Above that, you will be charged a flat rate of 10% duty on the next $1000 worth of purchases. Be sure to save all of your merchandise receipts.  

 

Departure tax, which is not included in this package, is $15 in US or Bahamian dollars, payable at the airport when leaving The Bahamas.

Language:
Bahamians speak English with an accent influenced by their Scottish, Irish and/or African ancestry.

 

Currency:
Currency is the Bahamian Dollar (B$1), which is on par with the US Dollar (B$1=US$1). Both types of currency are accepted everywhere in The Bahamas.

 

24hour ATMs are widely available in The Bahamas and major international credit cards are accepted in most places.

 

Traveler's Checks are accepted at most large hotels and stores, but you may have trouble cashing them at local boutiques and restaurants.

 

Tipping for service is usually 15%, although some hotels and restaurants automatically add a gratuity to the bill.

Local Transportation:
It is not necessary to rent a car in The Bahamas, but car rental counters are located outside baggage claim at Nassau and Freeport Airports. National chains and local companies are available, but It is best to stick with the recognizable companies. Rentals may be reserved in advance by calling Avis or other company, and may also be booked through many hotels on the island.

 

Be sure to closely examine your rental car before exiting the airport, because you may be charged for any damages, even if they were present at the time of rental.
Bahamians drive on the LEFT! This can be a bit confusing because most cars are American, with the steering wheel on the left (see your local mail carrier for advice!).

 

Taxis are widely available at airports, hotels and business areas.

Cabs can also be hired by the hour.  Be sure to agree on a fare before you get in.
Buses are called Jitneys in Nassau and Freeport, and they provide an inexpensive way to get around. Buses stop near most hotels and exact change of 75 cents or $1 is required.

 

Electricity:
120 volts/60 cycles.  This is compatible with the US.

Health & Safety:
Just as you would when traveling to an unfamiliar area, consult any major guidebook or check with your hotel about any areas to avoid or precautions to take, and use common sense.

 

Most hotels offer a safe for your valuables, but the safest option is always to leave any treasured valuables like expensive jewelry at home.

 

The Caribbean sunshine is very strong, so bring plenty of sun block and enjoy!
 

Getting There

 

By Private Boat:  Grand Bahama Island is located 50 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. The Island is 96 miles long and 17 miles across at its widest point. Port Lucaya Marina is just a short half-day trip from South Florida for most motor-cruisers.

 

Let your GPS's navigation help you to find your way to this yachting paradise.

Lucayan Marina Village – 150 slips, Port Lucaya Marina – 80 slips

Xanadu Marina: 72 slips

Ocean Reef Yacht Club: 55 slips, are available to pleasure boaters.

 

By Cruise Ship: 

Over 20 cruise lines have regularly scheduled excursions to Freeport. 

 

By Air:  Flight is the primary mode of travel for the majority of visitors to the islands. Don't miss the spectacular views during your approach and departure to and from The Bahamas.

The Grand Bahama International Airport is open from 6:00 AM- 10:00 PM daily.

Flights arrive daily from Nassau as well as South Florida, via Bahamasair, American Eagle, Gulf Stream/Continental Connection; AirTran Airways and Delta Connection daily from Atlanta; and Continental Express weekly from Newark, NJ. US Airways provides daily non-stop jet service from Charlotte, NC, and Saturday only non-stops from Philadelphia and LaGuardia.  AirTran has daily non-stop flights from Baltimore.

 

Grand Bahama Vacations:  Daily service from: Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Twice weekly flights from: Baltimore-Cincinnati-Cleveland-Hartford-Pittsburgh-Raleigh-Richmond.

 

Freeport Harbor

In addition to air service facilities, Freeport Harbor offers docking facilities for large ships. One of the deepest harbors in the region, it is undergoing a $10.9 million redevelopment program including new cruise passenger terminal facilities and a 25,000 sq. ft. landscaped retail village.

 

Exploring the many towns and villages of Grand Bahama Island

 

West End located on the western tip of the island, is the oldest city on Grand Bahama Island. This picturesque fishing village is probably best known for its history as a liquor smuggling town during the prohibition.
 
Deadman's Reef is the home of Paradise Cove, where one can swim out to some of the best snorkeling reefs.  A recent archaeological dig along the eroding beach front unearthed many artifacts belonging to the Lucayan Indians:  hearths, animal bones, pottery pieces, and shell beads.  One of the most important Lucayan archaeological sites discovered to date, it has been dated at around 1200-1300 AD.
 
Holmes Rock & Seagrape together form a little community known for a unique cave that sits behind a local night club.   It is over 200 yards in diameter and produces fresh water at low tide and salt water at high tide.

 

Eight Mile Rock is the largest settlement on Grand Bahama Island, outside of Freeport/Lucaya. The town is actually a string of settlements, joined together, and is named after the 8 miles of solid rock contained here. The towns, from the west, include:  Martin Hill, Jones Town, Rocky Shore, Martin Town, Pinedale, Hanna Hill, Bartlett Hill, Wildgoose, and Hepburn Town.

Hawksbill is a residential area, created mainly to house the workers employed in Freeport/ Lucaya. It is located on  Hawksbill Creek, the name of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement that paved the way for the creation of Freeport/ Lucaya. 

 

Pinder’s Point is four connected villages (Pinder's Point, Lewis Yard, Hunter's and Mack Town). Pinder's Point, the more developed of the group, can trace its roots back to a white settler and his slaves. The town has been slow to adopt the fast lane culture that came with the tourist trade, even though it lies just minutes outside of Freeport/ Lucaya. 

 

Freeport/Lucaya,  the capital of Grand Bahama, and the second largest city in the Islands of The Bahamas.   The city was built expressly for tropical fun.  It is the site of many of the tourist beaches and activities, as well as the International Bazaar and Marketplace.

 

Williams Town and Russell Town are two small villages south of Freeport, named for the families that still occupy them. Williams Town was founded by Joseph Williams, a freed slave, and some of his descendants still live there on what is called "generation land."

 

Smith's Point is named after the Scotsman, Michael Smith, who served in the early 1800s as Commissioner of the island. Instead of money, he was given 400 acres of land, part of which one of his sons sold to the Grand Bahama Development Company. 

 

Mather Town lies next to Smith's Point (see above), just across a small channel. The quaint houses in this tiny village provide a striking contrast to the modernity of those within which it is enveloped.

 

Freetown  received its name because it was the first place where slaves were freed in 1834.  Before the advent of roads, a foot path from Old Freetown in the East was the primary thoroughfare for traveling to the settlements in the West.  All that's left of the old village, is a cemetery and some rubble. A few miles away on the beach is the old hermitage  that is considered to be one of the oldest buildings on the island. Built in 1901, it was first a Baptist Church and later served as a hermitage for a Trappist monk.

 

High Rock gets its name from the 30-foot high rocky bluff between the coastal  road and the sea. The village is built of mostly wooden framed buildings. Some villagers fish for a living, others work in Freeport or at the nearby South Riding Point oil transshipment facility.

 

McLean’s Town is located on a cay, at the easternmost point reachable by road.  It consists of two roughly parallel roads. The villagers are good fishermen, and those with boats ferry people to the nearby cays. The town is most famous for its  Conch Cracking Contests held during the Heroes’ Day holiday in October.

 

Deep Water Cay offers the ultimate for bone fishing enthusiasts.  Located on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, it is accessible only by boat from McLean's Town.  The cay is surrounded by 250 square miles of shallow sand and mud flats, where the gray, ghostlike bone fish feed off shrimp, crustaceans, and insects.

 

Sweeting's Cay is a quaint fishing village, located 55 miles east of Freeport. It is only accessible by boat and has a population of 400 people, most of whom live by selling lobster and conch in Freeport. The village stretches about a mile, and electricity and roads were only recently installed.

 
Lightbourne Cay is an uninhabited cay located just east of Sweeting's Cay and is accessible only by boat.  It is ideal for picnics and snorkeling right off the beach.  At low tide, the shoreline becomes a spectacular sandy expanse, stretching for yards.
 
Water Cay is named for the abundant supply of fresh water to be found there. This small island lies in northern Grand Bahama, almost in the center of the island.

 

The Isle Of Capri Casino

at Our Lucaya has opened its 20,000 square foot facility directly across the street from the Port Lucaya Marina.


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