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Bahamas - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas due to high rates of crime, especially in Nassau and Freeport.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Crime, including violent crime, occurs mainly on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama. There has been an increase in muggings, armed robberies, home invasions and sexual assault targeting tourists in the cities of Nassau and Freeport. Incidents of robbery take place in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours. If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and do not resist. Avoid non-tourist neighbourhoods in downtown Nassau, especially at night, where the crime accounts for much of Bahamas’ high murder rate.
Sexual assault occurs frequently, particularly near hotels, in hotel rooms, in casinos, on cruise ships and on the beach. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, do not consume any drugs and don't accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers. Due to incidents of sexual assault, it is recommended to be wary when embarking on jet-ski rides with licensed or unlicensed operators.
Opportunistic crime, including petty theft and purse snatching, occurs frequently in tourist areas. Do not carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewellery. Secure your valuables, passports and travel documents in your hotel room safe. Keep a photocopy of your passport with you at all times. Never leave your personal belongings unattended in restaurants or bars, or at the beach.
Withdraw or exchange money at automated banking machines or exchange bureaus during daylight hours only, or inside reputable financial institutions, hotels and plazas. Do not exchange money on the street. Be particularly aware of your surroundings when making withdrawals. Check your credit card statements regularly for potential fraud or unauthorized charges.
When driving, keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up. Never get out of your car to remove items blocking the road; this could be a ploy by armed assailants to rob you. Keep valuables out of sight in your parked vehicle.
Stay alert to your surroundings, even in areas normally considered safe. Avoid deserted beaches and do not walk alone, particularly after dark. Crime increases during the holidays.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault or robbery.
Sexual assaults are on the rise in Nassau, including on Paradise Island. In some incidents, the victim was drugged. Consult our publication, Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-travel Guide, for travel safety information for Canadian women.
Excursions and water activities
Only undertake excursions with a well-established and reputable company. Ensure that the recreational activities you choose are covered by your travel insurance.
Be cautious and mindful of the risks to your personal safety when partaking in recreational water activities. Ensure that beach and aquatic equipment is safe and in good condition, and that helmets and life jackets are available. Tourists have been seriously injured using jet skis and other watercraft due to the poorly regulated water sports rental industry in The Bahamas. Rent water sports equipment only from reputable, locally registered operators, and insist on proper training before using the equipment.
Several ports in The Bahamas are cruise-ship stops. See Advice for Cruise Travellers for tips to ensure your well-being during a cruise.
Personal water craft
Persons operating personal water craft and boats alone should be alert to the possibility of encountering similar craft operated by illegal drug traders.
Use caution when driving in The Bahamas. Roads are generally adequate in major cities, but in poor condition in rural areas. Bicycles, mopeds and pedestrians can be hazards, particularly on the busy streets of Nassau and Freeport. Road construction is not always well marked. Drunk driving is common. Traffic accidents frequently result in injuries and death.
Taxis do not use meters; therefore, it is best to negotiate the price before you get in. Only use licensed taxis and take particular care late at night.
After dusk, avoid travelling on local buses on routes outside of the main tourist areas.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Bahamian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from The Bahamas.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required (up to eight months)
Business visa: Not required
Student permit: Required
Other entry requirements
You must be in possession of a valid return or onward ticket.
If travelling by private vessel, certain documentation is required for entry to The Bahamas. Contact the Department of Immigration for more information.
You must complete and sign an immigration card upon entry to The Bahamas. This card will be stamped by officials at the point of entry and you are required to keep the card until your departure.
There is a mandatory departure tax of $15 (US or Bahamian), which may be included in the price of the plane ticket.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean - October 3, 2017
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is good in Nassau and Freeport, but limited elsewhere. Medical expenses can be very high. It is normal for clinics to require patients to sign an undertaking-to-pay agreement and to take a credit card impression as guarantee of payment prior to providing medical care. Serious cases are transferred to Nassau, Freeport or Miami by air ambulance. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and medical evacuation, if necessary. Report any serious sickness or injury requiring hospitalization to the Consulate of Canada in Nassau. Consult Well on Your Way—A Canadian’s Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad for more information.
If you take prescription medication, bring along an adequate supply and a copy of the doctor’s prescription. Medications should be kept in the original container and packed in carry-on luggage.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry anything through customs for anyone else.
Long-line fishing is illegal in Bahamian waters. All long-line fishing gear must be stowed below deck while transiting Bahamian waters. Stiff penalties are imposed for catching crawfish (lobster) or other marine life in protected areas or out of season.
If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in The Bahamas, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and The Bahamas before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.
Traffic drives on the left.
A valid Canadian driver’s licence is sufficient for driving in The Bahamas for up to three months.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in The Bahamas.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of The Bahamas, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
The currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD). U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Credit and debit cards are accepted. Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks. U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended. Automated banking machines are located on the larger islands, in airport terminals, banks, casinos and some hotels.
It is illegal to depart the country with more than B$200 in your possession.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept parts of the Bahamas as major hurricanes on September 9 and 22, 2017 respectively. Transportation routes, power distribution and telecommunication systems could be affected in some areas. Other services that may be affected in these areas include emergency and medical care, as well as water and food supplies. Check with your travel agent or tour operator to confirm hotel conditions before travelling. Confirm the status of your flight with your airline as there may be delays or last-minute cancellations.
Dial 911 / 919 for emergency assistance.
Nassau - Consulate of Canada
Kingston - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate of Canada in Nassau or the High Commission of Canada in Kingston, Jamaica and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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