local information & tips for visitors
Getting Around NassauTravel by car - Rental cars equipped for left-hand driving are available at the airport. Renting a car is a convenient way for you and a group of your friends or family to explore more of the island on your own time. Remember, British rules apply when you take to the road. Please keep to the left.
Travel by bus - "Jitney" service operates daily from early morning until about 7:00 p.m. Fares vary depending on the route and exact change is required. Fare from Westwind II to downtown Nassau is $1.25.
Take a taxi - Taxis run 24 hours a day. For service you may ask us to call one for you, or call directly at 323-5111 or 323-4555. There are always taxis at the Melia Nassau Beach lobby entrance as well. All taxi rates are officially published and there are no meters. Your driver has a list of all rates to all locations. It's best to establish the fare before you take the ride.
Money MattersThe currency is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), pegged to the U.S. dollar so that they're always equivalent. (In fact, U.S. dollars are accepted widely throughout The Bahamas.) There is no restriction on bringing foreign currency into The Bahamas. Most large hotels and stores accept traveler's checks, but you may have trouble using a personal check. It's a good idea to exchange enough money to cover airport incidentals and transportation to your hotel before you leave home.
You can change currencies at a local American Express (tel. 800/807-6233; www.americanexpress.com) or Thomas Cook (tel. 800/223-7373; www.thomascook.com) or at your bank.
Be sure to carry some small bills or loose change when traveling. Petty cash will come in handy for tipping and public transportation. Consider keeping the change separate from your larger bills, so that it's readily accessible and you'll be less of a target for theft.
The easiest way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine). The Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) networks span the globe; look at the back of your bank card to see which network you're on, then call or check online for ATM locations at your destination. Know your personal identification number (PIN) and your daily withdrawal limit. Ask your card carrier if your current PIN works in the Bahamas, particularly in the Out Islands. Every card is different, but some need a four-digit rather than a six-digit PIN to withdraw cash abroad.
With 24-hour ATMs now available throughout Nassau, traveler's checks are less necessary. However, keep in mind that you will likely be charged an ATM withdrawal fee if the bank is not your own, so if you're withdrawing money every day, you might be better off with traveler's checks -- provided that you don't mind showing identification every time you want to cash one. You can get traveler's checks at almost any bank.
As of January 1st 2015 a 7.5% Value Added Tax was introduced by the Government of The Bahamas. Value Added Tax (VAT), is an indirect tax which is considered broadly based consumption tax charged on the value added to goods and services. It applies to almost all goods and services that are imported, bought and sold for use or consumption. Conversely goods exported supplied to customers abroad are exempted or zero-rated.
ElectricityThe electrical current in The Bahamas is 120 volts, 60Hz. For European guests, we recommend bringing conversion adaptors. These adaptors will allow you to plug in your 220V appliances and can transfer the output to 220V, if there's no way to switch your appliance to use 120V.
Drinking WaterThe tap water is fine for drinking (however not recommended) but most folks prefer bottled water purely based on flavor. A variety of local and imported water is readily available for purchase at the resort and around the island.
SunbathingWe advise you to avoid sunbathing between 11 am and 1:30 pm. Please remember to slap the sunscreen on every hour or so; even if it happens to be slightly overcast. The refreshing wind may fool you into believing it's not so hot, but the sun is still very strong.
Topless sunbathing and swimming in public is not legal. However those who wish to do so will find that there are certain unfrequented beaches they may go to and privately sunbathe as they prefer.
Be Smart - Be SafeWhile the Bahamas has a relatively low crime rate, visitors should exercise caution and good judgment. Although most criminal incidents take place in a part of Nassau not usually frequented by tourists (the "over-the-hill" area south of downtown), the most common approach for criminals is to offer victims a ride, either as a "personal favor" or by claiming to be a taxi, and then robbing and/or assaulting the passenger once they are in the car. Visitors should take care to ride only in licensed taxis, identifiable by their yellow license plates. When you are away from Westwind II we recommend you to lock your villa, lock your car, etc. just to be on the safe side. We have a security guard on the property at all times.