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From 1 November 2021, a £5 charge will apply for vehicles dropping off passengers at the designated drop-off zones, located directly outside the terminals. Discounts and exemptions will apply. Free drop-off will be available at the Long Stay car parks.

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Changes to entering the UK using EU ID cards

From 1 October 2021, most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need to use a valid passport to travel to the UK. ID cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document to enter the UK, though some exemptions will apply. 

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  • Overview

    With a subtropical climate, pristine beaches, and top-class tourism infrastructure, it's no surprise that the islands and cays of the Bahamas archipelago are some of the world's top tourist destinations. The Bahamas is comprised of an astonishing amount of islands of varying sizes and each one is sure to enthral travellers.

    Andros Island is the largest of the Bahamian islands, and sits next to the third biggest barrier reef in the world, making it a haven for snorkelling and scuba diving. New Providence offers energy and culture in the form of the capital city, Nassau, and provides easy ferry and car access to the expanse of upscale resorts at neighbouring Paradise Island.

    The northernmost islands of Bimini are the closest to the US, and their wealth of marine life draws serious fishermen after the catch of a lifetime. Eleuthera Island is named after the Greek word for freedom by English pilgrims seeking religious autonomy, and is largely considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, filled with lush vegetation and pink sand beaches.

    Bimini Islands

    The Bimini group of islands in the Bahamas is 50 miles (80km) east of Miami and spans an area no larger than 10 square miles (26 sq km). The main island, North Bimini, is barely seven miles long (11km) and no more than 1,200ft (366m) across at its widest point. The islands are best known for the excellent fishing opportunities, with visitors from around the world coming here to test their skills in the hunt for tuna, sailfish, mako shark, barracuda, and, above all, blue marlin. Almost all the action on the Bimini Islands happens in Alice Town, a laidback town on the main island of North Bimini where fishermen gather to swap stories.

    Bimini Islands, Bahamas Bimini Islands, Bahamas Matt Kieffer
    Berry Islands

    The Berry Islands are among the least busy in the Bahamas, and the perfect destination for those looking for the ultimate escape. In part because of the difficulty involved in getting to the islands and their lack of infrastructure, the resorts in this archipelago are extremely exclusive, catering mostly to wealthy travellers, big game fishermen, and yachters. The largest island is the Great Harbour Cay, home to a multimillion-dollar resort that once hosted the likes of Cary Grant and Brigitte Bardot. The beaches in the Berry Islands are known as the best shell-collecting spots in the Bahamas, while the game fishing is some of the best in the world.

    Great Harbour Cay, the Berry Islands Great Harbour Cay, the Berry Islands Patrickneil
    Paradise Island

    Connected to New Providence Island by a bridge, Paradise Island, formerly known as Hog Island, is one of the most popular destinations in the Bahamas. The island used to be privately owned until it was bought by developers in 1959 and turned into a resort haven. Since then, Paradise Island's owners have changed several times, including a stint of ownership by Donald Trump. It offers a variety of beaches to suit almost any taste, while most of the island's hotels and resorts can be found along Cable Beach, Paradise Beach, or Cabbage Beach. The miles of white sand host outstanding watersport facilities, including swimming, snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, sailing, and more.

    Paradise Island Bridge, Bahamas Paradise Island Bridge, Bahamas Peter Lucas
    Grand Bahama Island

    Approximately fifty miles (80km) from Miami, Grand Bahama is an idyllic island of white beaches and aquamarine seas beneath which vivid coral reefs teem with life. Most visitors to Grand Bahama stay in Freeport, a few miles inland, or at the seaside suburb of Lucaya on the south coast of the island. Here travellers can sail, play golf or simply relax by the pool at one of the many all-inclusive resorts. In Freeport there are plenty of boutiques and bazaars to tempt shoppers, and evenings can be spent at one of the many restaurants. Following on from this, travellers with cash left in their wallets can head to one of the island's casinos.

    Grand Bahama Island Grand Bahama Island Averette
    Andros Island

    Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas and is a favourite for scuba divers and fishermen. The island is largely undeveloped, so the atmosphere is very casual and hotels tend to be small and unpretentious. Much of the island is covered with palm savannahs, primeval forest, and huge mangrove wetlands, which make it a wildlife fanatic's paradise. However, it is the underwater life that really makes Andros unique: it has the world's third largest barrier reef running along its east coast for 167 miles (269km). Andros' most famous attractions are the Blue Holes, a network of water-filled caves, both inland and in the ocean, that draw scuba divers from all over the world.

    Andros Island Andros Island Rs3
    Exumas Islands

    The Exumas Islands include a myriad of islands and cays that stretch for hundreds of miles. Although historically the home of the Lucayan people, who were captured and sold into slavery in the 16th century, the islands were uninhabited for roughly a century until the arrival of British loyalists from America in the late 1700s. Owing to the islands' long stint free from human habitation, they were often used as hideaways by pirates. The largest islands, Great Exuma and Little Exuma, are now home to a small community of several hundred island inhabitants, who farm the land and welcome tourists.

    Great Exuma, Bahamas Great Exuma, Bahamas Barbara Guida
    Long Island

    Long Island, often said to be the most scenic of all the Bahamian islands, is 80 miles (129km) long and four miles (6km) across at its widest point. Like most Bahamian islands, Long Island provides opportunities for visitors to swim, sail, snorkel, scuba dive, free dive, and engage in any number of watersports activities or seaside relaxations. One of the main events on the Bahamas yachting calendar is the Long Island Regatta, which takes place in the town of Salt Pond each May, drawing visitors from all around the world to one of the most beautiful and unspoilt islands in the Bahamas.

    Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island Ton Engwirda
    Abaco Islands

    The tiny Abaco Islands cover 649 square miles (1,681 sq km) and form the most northerly part of the Bahamas. Located only 200 miles (322km) from Miami, they are a popular holiday destination, and therefore fairly well developed for tourism. The two main islands, Great Abaco and neighbouring Little Abaco, are separated from each other by a narrow strait. They are often tagged the 'Loyalist Isles' because of the English supporters who fled there to avoid persecution after the American Revolution. As for modern settlements, visitors will find themselves in quaint cottages by the sea or in beautiful guesthouses near the marinas, as opposed to the mega-resorts seen elsewhere in the Caribbean.

    The Hopetown Lighthouse The Hopetown Lighthouse Dmadeo
    Eleuthera Island

    Only 14 of Bahama's Out Islands are inhabited, leaving the rest largely free from resorts, cruise ships, and crowds. Eleuthera, which stretches for almost 100 miles (161km) but is at most two miles (3km) wide, is the most popular of the group. Eleuthera (and nearby Harbour Island, which is just a short water-taxi ride from the main island) has long been the holiday haunts of the fashionable set, sporting luxury hotels and fine restaurants that cater for trendy and wealthy visitors. Some of the more famous visitors in the past have included Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Robert de Niro, and the industrialists Arthur Vining Davis, Henry J. Kaiser, and Juan Trippe.

    Sunset on Eleuthera Sunset on Eleuthera Trish Hartmann
    Half Moon Cay

    This island is a private paradise reserved for passengers who are tendered ashore by cruise ships. Those who have paid for the pleasure will not be disappointed. Half Moon Cay (pronounced kee) is an island, about 100 miles (161km) south of Nassau, which has been sensitively developed to preserve its natural assets and ecosystem, while ensuring it provides a fantastic day ashore for cruise passengers. The main attraction is a surreal two-mile (3km) crescent of beach that gives the island its name. Visitors wanting to cure their 'sea legs' can take one of the peaceful walks along marked trails with descriptive signs pointing out the local vegetation, plants and birds.

    Half Moon Cay Half Moon Cay James Willamor
    Dolphin Encounters

    Dolphin Encounters affords visitors to Salt Cay a particularly special experience: a chance to swim with the local bottlenose dolphins, get a kiss, or just watch from the side. There are also opportunities to interact with sea lions, who were brought to the island from Louisiana after their previous home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dolphin Encounters is based on Blue Lagoon Island (Salt Cay), roughly three miles (4.8km) northeast of Paradise Island. To start off a visit to Dolphin Encounters, visitors are taken on a 20-minute ride on a catamaran from Paradise Island to Blue Lagoon Island, and while on the catamaran visitors are given the chance to see the dolphins' natural habitat.

    Bottlenose dolphin Bottlenose dolphin Mark Interrante
    Mayaguana Island

    As one of the most isolated islands in the Bahamas, Mayaguana is also among the least developed (relying on a weekly mail boat for outside communication) and least visited by tourists. With modern amenities few and far between, the island appeals to adventure travellers looking to experience the pristine wildlife of the area, including iguanas and bright pink flocks of flamingos. Scuba diving in Mayaguana is world-class, especially in Abraham's Bay, and bonefishing is another popular activity. Some go to Mayaguana for duck hunting season, while others may visit for the challenging mountain biking routes on Mayaguana.

    Mayaguana Island, Bahamas Mayaguana Island, Bahamas James St John

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation
    Grand Bahama International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated four miles (6.4km) outside Freeport on Grand Bahama Island.
    Time: GMT -5.
    Getting to the city: Taxis and airport shuttles are available, and many hotels offer courtesy buses.
    Car Rental: Most major car hire companies operate from the airport, including Avis, Hertz and Dollar.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include an outgoing duty-free shop, 24-hour ATM, post office, restaurants and bars.
    Parking Parking is available outside the terminals.

    The islands of the Bahamas are alive with marine life, culture, and beauty. The only difficult decision is which island visitors should choose! Apart from the tourist stalwarts mentioned below, the Bahamas boasts many other island gems.

    The Ragged Island chain is an enduring favourite with fishermen in search of prey such as barracuda, tuna, snapper and king fish, as well as travellers seeking unspoiled, empty coastlines. The little Rum Cay, in the south of the archipelago, offers pristine coral reefs, good surf and even some historical ruins.

    San Salvador is known for its Christopher Columbus memorials and shipwrecks, while Inagua is a flamingo hotspot home to more than 80,000 of the bright and beautiful birds. Cat Island remains a virtually untouched slice of Bahamian paradise.

    Many travellers choose to explore the islands by chartered boat or cruise ship. Others settle at a resort on one of the popular, more developed islands and take excursions to nearby cays from their home base. The resorts and cruise liners offer many excursions and activities to patrons as part of package deals, but it is easy to travel more independently and organise trips to various islands on a whim.


    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination