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Country Reports

Bahamas Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The majority of trips to The Bahamas, an archipelago made up of 700 islands and 2400 islets (population 353,000), take place under excellent conditions.

CRIME

Crime rates are relatively high in The Bahamas, although victims tend to be local residents. Violent crime rates are particularly high on the islands of New Providence (e.g. city of Nassau) and Grand Bahama (e.g. city of Freeport). Basic precautions should be taken (avoid walking alone at night, conceal signs of wealth, park in well-lit areas at night, etc.). As criminals may be armed, never offer resistance in the event of a robbery. It is recommended to avoid the region called "Over the Hill" - located south of Shirley Street in central Nassau - especially at night.

There is a risk of credit and debit card fraud throughout the country, particularly in Nassau. Criminals obtain card information by installing card skimmers in ATMs (cash machines) as well as cameras to record PIN number entry. To minimize this risk, avoid using ATMs located on streets, opting instead for those located within banks.

NATURAL RISKS

The Bahamas is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes during the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Two of the most destructive storms to hit the archipelago in recent memory have been Hurricane Joaquin (October 2015) and Hurricane Matthew (October 2016), which together caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, though no deaths. The country's southern islands were also struck by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, causing significant damage in some places (e.g. Ragged Island and Acklins Island), though sparing the capital and the areas most popular with visitors. Information regarding current or forecast storms is available on the US National Hurricane Center's website

SOCIOPOLITICAL RISKS

Protests and strikes are relatively rare and tend to be non-violent. An increase in the frequency of demonstrations may be observed during electoral periods. The next national elections are currently set to be held by May 2022.

TRANSPORTATION

Traffic accidents are relatively common, in part due to reckless driving habits and a general non-enforcement of traffic laws, including blood-alcohol limits.

Flooding is relatively common and can render roads impassable.

Cars drive on the left side of the road in this British Commonwealth.

HEALTH

Health conditions are generally good in The Bahamas. Hospitals are well-equipped and offer a high level of care, but services can be expensive. All travelers to the country are advised to purchase comprehensive travel medical insurance prior to departure.

Tap water is safe to drink.

A few mosquito-borne diseases are present, including the Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya, although transmission rates tend to be relatively low.

There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in The Bahamas. However, travelers arriving from an at-risk country may be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry.

It should be noted that a relatively high percentage of the adult population is HIV positive (around 2.5 percent).

OTHER

Homosexual relations have only been officially legal since 1991 and homophobia is relatively widespread. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples could draw negative attention.

While the national currency is the Bahamian dollar, US dollars (as well as credit cards) are widely accepted.

Climate

The climate in the Bahamas is temperate throughout the year due to trade winds that blow across the archipelago all year long. Temperatures range from 32°C in the summer to 16°C in the winter. The country also enjoys 320 sunny days per year.

The rainy season lasts from May until November during which time brief rain showers generally occur at night.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 242 Police: 919 Fire Dept.: 919 Ambulance: 919

Electricity

Voltage: 120 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

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