There is no shortage of towering golf resorts on the islands that make up the Bahamas, including a few that feature two championship courses, an added bonus for the stay and play enthusiasts. Dick Wilson and Jo Lee account for many of the world class designs, which are an excellent blend of beauty and brawn. Key features include water dominated holes and a multitude of challenging bunkers.
Golf Courses at a Glance
1. What and where is the Bahamas?
The Islands of the Bahamas is an independent country and a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, located over a stretch of 100,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, off the southeastern tip of Florida. In all, there are 700 islands in the Bahamas, 29 of which are inhabited. Nassau on the island of New Providence is the capital, and other popular islands include Andros, Abaco, Grand Bahama and Bimini, which is so close to Florida that the glow of the Miami night scene is often visible from its coast.
2. Do I need any special documents once I get there?
Citizens of the United States and Canada may gain entry into the Bahamas with proof of citizenship and two forms of identification, one of which must have a current photo.
3. Will I suffer from any jet lag?
Well, that depends on what part of the world you are traveling from, but the Bahamas is in the Eastern Standard time zone, and observes the Eastern Daylight Time from April to October.
4. What type of weather should I expect?
From September to May, the temperature in the islands varies between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer months are a bit warmer, with averages ranging 80 to 85 degrees. Rainfall on the whole is rather scarce, but the islands tend to receive the majority of their precipitation between May and October. June to November is the hurricane season.
5. What is the official language and currency?
The official language in the Bahamas is English, which draws more from the British than American. The official currency is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent in value to the U.S. dollar. Understandably, both the U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the country.
6. What kind of taxes should I expect during my stay?
Upon departing the Bahamas, everyone over the age of six is charged a departure tax. It is B$15 for all of the islands except for Freeport on Grand Bahama, which levies a B$18 tax.
7. Besides golf, what are some worthwhile activities?
The type of activities you engage in really depends on which island you plan on spending most of your time. For example, boating and sailing are immensely popular on the Abaco Islands, while the Andros Island – the largest of the bunch – is a great place to take in some snorkeling and scuba diving. Grand Bahama Island arguably offers the best beaches while Nassau is the cultural center of the country.
Given the popularity of all of the islands that make up the Bahamas, flights are available from all over the world, particularly throughout the United States. Popular carriers include Delta and U.S. Airways. Flights heading to Nassau originate from New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta. Direct service to Grand Bahama is limited, but connecting flights are plentiful. Most of the other major islands have airports, but getting there is more difficult and may include multiple stops, but is possible.
Nassau is a popular end destination for many Caribbean-based cruise lines. In fact, its main harbor can accommodate up to six full size cruise ships at one time, so this is always a way to get to the Bahamas, while discovering some of the other parts of the region first.
Once on the islands, public transportation is a valid means of transportation, but to see the fill breadth of the Bahamas, renting a car is the best option. Visitors planning on staying for less than three months can use their home driver's license, while those planning an extended stay must apply for an international's driver license. British rules apply, so remember to drive on the left.
Navigating between the many islands of the Bahamas is not a problem. There are many charter flights that leave daily, private pilots can be hired and cruise ships are also heading out to sea. And for those looking to do it on their own, there are several bridges that connect a few of the more frequented islands. The Paradise Island Bridge connects New Providence Island to Paradise Island, while another bridge connects New Providence to Crystal Cay, among many others.
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