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Bahamas

The turquoise waters that lap this land are as calm and warm as its people. Throughout the 700-plus islands that constitute The Bahamas, residents tend to abide by ’island time’, an affectionate term used to describe the Bahamians’ laid-back demeanour and their slow-moving way of life. It isn’t too hard to fall into this habit: many of islands are either uninhabited or sparsely populated, and from beaches strewn with beautiful seashells to homes painted in soft pastel shades, serenity is easy to find. Yet many forget that this mammoth archipelago is twice the size of Spain. For those who want a destination which offers something a bit more than just peaceful seclusion, they will find The Bahamas is large enough to accommodate everyone’s tastes.

Practical Information

Area: 13 939 km² (5 382 miles²)

Capital: Nassau. Population: 222 000

Population: 321,000

Currency: Bahamian Dollar (BSD symbol B$) = 100 cents

Government: Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence in 1973.

Tipping: 15% is usual for most services including taxis. Some hotels and restaurants, however, include service charge on the bill. Bellboys and porters usually receive B$1 per bag.

Legal drinking age: 18

Time zone: GMT - 5 (GMT - 4 from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October)

Languages: English

Additional descriptions

Bahamas: Social customs

The pace of life is generally leisurely. Informal wear is acceptable in the resorts with some degree of dressing up in the evenings, particularly for dining, dancing and casinos in Nassau or Freeport. Further from the main towns, dress is more casual, although there is still a tendency to dress up at night. Small outposts like Green Turtle Cay, for example, will not require more than a shirt and long trousers. It is not acceptable to wear beachwear in towns.Read more Further from the main towns, dress is more casual, although there is still a tendency to dress up at night. Small outposts like Green Turtle Cay, for example, will not require more than a shirt and long trousers. It is not acceptable to wear beachwear in towns.

Bahamas: Food and local specialties

There is a wide choice of restaurants and bars. Fresh fruit is available from the Out Islands, including sweet pineapple, mango, breadfruit and papaya. Local drinks are based on rum. Things to know: TableRead more service is usual in restaurants. The national specialties are: Conch is everywhere, and is popular in chowder, fritters, salad, scorched (raw and washed with seawater and lime juice, then rubbed with hot pepper, topped with fresh tomato and onion slices, served on a knife or skewer) and stew. Rock lobster. Peas are used a lot, in the token peas & rice, and also in pea soup. Souse (a soup consisting purely of onions, water, lime juice, celery, peppers and meat). Guava duff (a dessert made with sieved guava pulp and served with hard sauce a blend of butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and rum). The local liqueur is Nassau Royal, served alone or in coffee. A refreshing alcoholic drink is coconut water, sweet milk and gin. Kalik is the beer of The Bahamas. Rum punch.

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