The Bahamas has over 700 islands, each offering something unique and it’s very own luxurious tropical Paradise. However, the Bahamas can be very expensive and for many people its just out of their budget!
At Town & Tourist we believe you shouldn't miss out on this wonderful paradise! So here we have compiled together 15 essential tips to help you travel the Bahamas on a Budget! It's possible and hell it's even more of an adventure!
Florida & Bahamas Vacation. Source: Pinterest
15 Bahamas on a Budget Tips:
These 15 tips will save you mega bucks on your next trip to Bahamas while still having a memorable vacation.
1. Book the Lowest cost Transport:
For on land travel, you most affordable option is the minibus which is ideal if your staying in Nassau or Freeport. A Minibus trip can cost you as little as 1.25BSD or $1.25 USD.
However, they do stop running at 6pm.
Water Taxis run every hour for 6 BSD ($6USD) from Nassau to Paradise island. This is a fun and affordable way to get around, locally.
Mail Boats - Inter-island Travel:
Mail boats are a unique & budget way of traveling around the Bahamas Islands. As they are typically used for carrying freight such as mail, they are not the fastest or the most comfortable, but they are definitely affordable & an interesting adventure.
How to Book a place on a Mail Boat?
To book your tickets, check availability & schedules at the, Dock Masters Office:
Dock Master’s Office
Nassau, New Providence
Tel. (242) 393-1064
Fax. (242) 394-1240
(Read our 6 Day Itinerary further down the article for more on Mailboat food, lodging etc)
Inter Island Flights:
If you would like something faster, then it's best to explore the option of Inter island flights, using local carriers such as Bahamas Air. If booked advance, the price can be reasonable.
Taxis in the Bahamas have government regulated fairs (Supposedly). But to help you out we have listed the average cost of taxis in a table with difference points in Nassau.
Cost of Taxis in Nassau:
Here are a couple of Reliable Taxi Contacts:
- Meter Cabs (Davis Street, Nassau): (242) 323-5111
- Bahamas Taxi Cab Union (Nassau Street): (242) 323-4555
Do they have Uber in the Bahamas?
Uber is not common in the bahamas, although a small number do operate near to Palm Beach & Broward. Uber, the taxi alternative, is available in Broward and Palm Beach in the Bahamas.
2. Don't Tip Extra in Restaurants:
In most restaurants in the Bahamas, they include a 15% service charge on your bill. So you don't need to pay any extra. You can even ask to have this removed if you were unhappy with the service.
Cook your own meals:
If your purchased a self catering accommodation, then why not save even more money by buying food from the supermarket & cooking it at home. Groceries will cost approximately 60 BSD per week which include pasta, vegetables, chicken etc.
Related Read: 15 BEST Caribbean Islands For Families
3. Book your flights in advance during low season:
The Bahamas has gorgeous, warm temperatures all year around (over 60's 'F) . The high season is between December-April and is peak time to visit when the weather is at it's best and many tourists are escaping their harsh winters.
However, in terms of affordability the lowest cost time to travel to the Bahamas is between June-November, this is the low season with less tourists and warm weather. However, this is also the time in which hurricanes are more likely so get travel insurance before and get weather reports leading up to your trip.
These airlines fly direct to the Bahamas:
- Silver Airways.
- Southwest Airlines.
4. Traveling in Low Season also has other perks!
Traveling in low season between June-November also has other perks such as lower accommodation & tour costs.
5. Drink rum not Beer...
If you like a drink then you should definitely opt for drinking the local Caribbean delicacy of rum. Most of the other liquor in the Bahamas is imported so expect prices to be higher.
Related Read: Best Time to Visit the Caribbean
6. Camp on the Beach!
If you really wish to save on costs & experience the great outdoors you should definitely consider camping in Bahamas! Apart from the star gazing it also has other perks such as very low prices compared to a hotel. However, camping seems to be NOT ALLOWED on public lands for the most part! However, you can camp on private grounds. For example:
Sivandah Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island let guests who are part of there yoga program camp on their private beach land. They also have their own lodging.
7. Use a Bicycle for day trips
The freedom, the wind in your hair! There is no better way to explore an area then via a bicycle. With well maintained roads and low traffic this is a great option. You can bring your own bike, purchase one on the island or simply rent. Zoom Bicycle rentals are a popular provider.
Bahamas Bicycle Rental
Zoom Bicycle Rentals:
- Located at: Woode's Rogers Wharf P.O. Box N1590 Nassau N.P, Bahamas
- Opening Hours: 8:30AM-5pm
- Tel: +1 242-808-1139
8. Get Nightlife discount vouchers from Hostels.
Many hostels offer special low cost nightlife packages & deals. So be sure to stay in one a few nights just to take advantage of these.
9. Mingle with the Locals (People to People Scheme)
You don't have to splash out on an expensive tour guide to experience local culture & gain that local knowledge.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has created whats called the People-to-People scheme. From the Bahamas website, you can fill in the form & be matched with a knowledgeable local to help guide you around the Bahamas. This is a fantastic scheme!
10. Visit a FREE Museum
The majority of museums in the Bahamas are either free or have a very low cost! For example, the Buena Vista Plantation and John Watling's Distillery is FREE.
Low cost Museums:
- Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation - Admission is $2.50 for adults & $1 for kids.
- Wyannie Malone Historical Museum - Admission is $4 for adults, and $1.60 for kids.
- National Art Gallery of The Bahamas - Admission is $4 for adults and kids under 12 go free.
11. Visit an Historic Bahamas Fort
Fort Charlotte, was built in 1788 by Lord Dunmore, a colonial governor in the American colonies and The Bahamas. Guided tours are offered on Monday & Wednesday which showcase the Bahamas Defence force performing military drills such as firing cannons!
Admission to Fort Charlotte cost just $4.50 for adults or $2.20 for children.
Fort Fincastle is a limestone fortress constructed in 1793, to protect Nassau and it's harbor. Daily tours are FREE! (Donations are helpful)
12. FREE Tea Party??
If you time your trip well you may be able to enjoy tea with the wife of the Governor General of the Bahamas! On the last Friday of every month , the Governors wife hosts tea parties at the governors home. (Apart from the months December and June to September).
The event is FREE, you can book the event through your hotel or the local tourist board and a shuttle even picks you up from your hotel. There is also tasty local foods and live entertainment!
13. Explore the Garden of the Groves:
Located in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, is 12 acres of natural paradise which is home to a spectrum of vibrant wildlife such as tropical birds and alligators. There is also cascading waterfalls, lakes and over 11,000 different plant varieties.
Admission is 16.50 BSD and includes a guided tour. The park is open between (9am-4pm)
14. Head to Lucayan National Park
Lucayan National Park is located in Grand Bahama, and consists of 40acres of lush wilderness with the world largest underwater cave system! These limestone caves offer over 6miles of chartered tunnels, however only experienced divers can explore them.
For the rest of use, we can enjoy the fantastic hiking trails through the lush pine forests which lead to Gold rock beach.
Lucayan National Park Bahamas 1
Admission costs just 3BSD (not alot for all that epic scenery!) The park is open between 8:30AM-4:30pm each day.
Kayaking is an amazing experience at Lucayan National Park.
15. Book your Accommodation in Advance
One of the best ways to save money on a trip to the Bahamas is to Book your trip well in advance. For more info check out our special search for the Bahamas accommodation
Bahamas 6 Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Nassau Attractions & Culture
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. Its crystal waters & coral reefs make it a fantastic hub for diving & snorkeling. We ticked off all the sights first & relaxed on the beaches during our last day.
Head downtown to explore Nassaus history, vibrant culture and jaw dropping architecture. I highly recommend a food tour, for a tongue tantalising experience. Other great attractions & activities include:
- Pirates of Nassau Museum.
- National Art Gallery
- John Watling’s Rum Distillery.
- Straw Market.
- Parliament Square.
One of my favourites has to be the Pirates of Nassau Museum, this is great fun for people of all ages.
Day 2: Nassau Aquaventure
If you wish to dive right into some excitement, I would definitely recommended heading to Aquaventure. A 141-acre aquatic center featuring high-speed waterslides, a lazy river & swimming pools. This place is great for families, but also includes highlights for everyone!
For example, adrenaline junkies can take a thrilling waterslide which plunges through a shark tank! While others may chose to get up close and personal with the cute dolphins & sea lions.
Bahamas on a Budget Tip: How to go for FREE?
To enter the amazing Park for FREE, you will need to stay at the Atlantis Resort for at least two nights. Another option, is the Comfort Suites just next door. These both offer a FREE day pass for the park, complementary.
Afterwards dine at one of the 21 restaurants onsite, and then hit the dance floor in the evening at the Aura nightclub.
Atlantis Resort has limited number of day passes available for people which aren’t staying at the resort. So to be honest, it’s easier just to stay there! For Prices & Availability, check out our special deals search here
Day 3: Nassau to George Town, Exuma
Transport – Nassau to George Town, Exuma:
After exploring Nassau, head to the George Town, Exuma by ferry , flight or if your on a budget hop on board the mailboat!
Budget Mail Boat from Nassau to Exuma:
The Mail boat to Exuma, is a really fun but also budget way of traveling around Bahamas Islands. As they are typically used for carrying freight such as mail, they are not the fastest or the most comfortable but they are definitely affordable & an adventure.
To book your tickets, check availability & schedules at the Dock Master’s office on (242) 393-1064.
A popular one to George town leaves, from the east side Potters Cay Dock, 4 & 5:30 every Tuesday. This will act as your overnight accommodation (14 hour journey), and transport for $60 per person one way.
The sleeping quarters are basic bunks in air conditioned cabins. For dinner, you will get a meal the same as the crew on board! This is an adventurous unique experience, if nothing else.
While on board keep an eye out for the theatrical sunset & even a few dolphins jumping out of the crystal waters!
Day 4: George Town, Exuma:
Depending upon whether you take a flight from Nassau to George town, Cruise or Mail boat will determine how long you have here. Either way, I would recommended a Bahamian Breakfast at Make Club Peace and Plenty this is also a great place to stay.
George Town, Exuma is the perfect place to Spring Board yourself of onto various islands, day trips & excursions.
Regular water taxis run to Stocking Island, just off Georetown port. Here you can find scenic beaches, resorts and a hive of Snorkeling and diving. You can even swim with stingrays!
If your in George town on Friday, be sure to check out the popular “Fish Fry Friday” , events such as the Annual Cruising Regatta also are exciting events to attend.
Day 5: Visit the Swimming Pigs on Pig Island?
Thats right, real life piggies swimming in the Bahamas crystal waters! Sounds like the stuff of fairytales, but this is a real place!
Where did the Pigs come from?
There are a range of myths & legends explaining how to the swimming pigs arrived in the Bahamas. One is that a group of sailors, dropped them here but due to unforeseen circumstances didn’t return to cook & eat them.
Another legend, says that they are lone survivors of a shipwreck and they swam to shore. Who knows?? Either way they are a unique phenomenon.
Pig Island Bahamas - Exuma Big Major Cay. (Bahamas on a Budget)(6 Day Bahamas Itinerary)
Where is Pig Island?
Big Major Clay:
Pig Beach is located on a small uninhabited island called Big Major Clay in the Exuma region. Around 20 pigs live there, and bask in crystal waters of the island paradise. Big Major clay is actually very far out from the major tourist areas of the Bahamas. Around 50 miles from George town and over 80 miles from Nassau.
The Exuma is an area of the Bahamas with over 360 islands! It is world renowned as one of the most beautiful island chains in the entire Caribbean.
Some of the Islands in Exuma are privately owned by movies stars such as Johnny Depp and even the famous Magician David Copperfield! (Maybe he made the pigs appear…abracadabra, Oink Oink!)
Swimming Pigs at Pig Island Bahamas. (Bahamas on a Budget)(6 Day Bahamas Itinerary)
Compass Cay – Shark Island!
Compass Cay is another fantastic island in the Exuma district. Known for it’s protected harbor area which is famous for a large population of Friendly Sharks!
Swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay?
You read that correct “Friendly Sharks”, the sharks at Compass Cay are nurse sharks and are for the most part harmless to humans! Although, they can grow as large as 14ft and weigh between 200-330lbs so can still be intimidating for some!
compass Cay Bahamas Swimming with sharks. Source: Golden yacht charters. (Bahamas on a Budget)(6 Day Bahamas Itinerary)
Allens Cay – Iguanas:
While the Pigs cause many to flock to Big Major Cay, Allens Cay is a hub for a variety of Iguanas & other reptiles. The Iguanas here are the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana & are endangered & indigenous to these islands.
Feeding the Iguanas?
Popular tours offer the chance to feed the Iguanas, fruits or Vegetables. They love the beach so are easy to spot!
Fun Fact: The Iguanas here can live up to 40 years!
Iguana Island- Allens Cay. Source; Pinterest. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)
Iguana Island- Allens cay. Source; Pinterest. (Bahamas on a Budget)(6 Day Bahamas Itinerary)
Great Exuma Island:
Great Exuma Island, is a fantastic place to stay if you really want that authentic island paradise in addition to be close to the unique swimming pigs & the Cay Islands.
They have plenty of resorts, which offer unbelievable views such as Sandals Emerald Bay.
Day 6: Head Back to Nassau
If you have extra days definitely spend a few more in Great Exuma Island, before flying back from George town.
However, if you have just 7 days and plan on catching the budget mail boat back then now is a good time to set of back to Nassau. Be sure to check ferry times & book well in advance.
Day 7: Nassau Beaches
Of course the best things in Life are FREE, so why not explore the beaches in Nassau which are a paradise of golden sands, they offer a true heavenly experience:
- Cable Beach.
- Love Beach.
- Saunders Beach.
- Junkanoo Beach.
- Cave Beach.
- Jaws Beach and Clifton Heritage Park.
Cable Beach in Nassau is probably the most popular beach in Nassau. A popular hub of all inclusive beach resorts and with plenty of restaurants & shops nearby.
Love Beach is situated just 20 minutes from downtown Nassau and offers a completely different vibe compared to Nassau Beach. It’s prized gem is it’s 40 acres of coral which is great for snorkeling!
Bahamas on a Budget - Inside tip
Bring your own snorkeling gear and just dive right in! No need to pay expensive rental fees.
Where to Stay in Nassau?
All Inclusive - Sandals Resort Private Island:
Sandals Resort is where we stayed on our final night in the Bahamas, and believe me it offers an indulgent & heavenly experience. Although the complete opposite of a budget resort, we decided to treat ourselves after saving so much the first few days by riding mailboats & cooking our own food.
From the massages, to tasty cuisine, unlimited drinks and even three private beaches. For Prices & Availability, check out the following link HERE
Like most of the resorts recommend in this post, they do SELL OUT FAST, so book well in advance. If you don’t believe me check the dates for a last minute trip ;).
For a list other of great accommodation deals in Nassau check out this link HERE
Fancy Saving Real Money?
Just take a Day Trip to the Bahamas. Taking a day trip to the Bahamas is a low cost way to experience this wonderful place, without spending a whole week there. To find out more about some recommended day trips from the Bahamas check out this link HERE.
Rent a Yacht?
If you wish to rent a 3 to 8 Cabin Yacht to the Bahamas for as little as $50/night. Then check out the Great deals at: Hopayacht.com/Bahamas-Offers
Cruise to the Bahamas for $149??
One of Town & Tourists Caribbean partners is now offering cruises from as little as $149 per person for Town & Tourist readers!
You will set sail on a 1,680-guest Grand Classica, originally launched by Italian line Costa Cruises.
- Dining & Bars
- Spa, Salon, And Fitness
- Shopping Experience
- Kids Programs
- Leisure & Recreation
On Board the Grand Classica cruise for two fun packed days, is a real bucket list experience. With a host of excellent facilities, events, performances and delicious cuisine served daily you won't want to leave! Take part in the on deck gameshows & events or simply relax by the top deck pool, its completely up to you.
How to Book?
Prices start from just $149 per person, to find out more simply email: Mail(at)townandtourist.com , Include your preferred dates of travel & number of guests. Then one of our travel experts will get back to you with details within 24 hours.
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