Guide to the Bahamas

I stayed on PI for a few months, but only went to a couple of restaurants along the edge of Atlantis. I didn’t go into atlantis itself. Bahamas charges tourists about 50% more, and Atlantis charges another 100% on top of that. Try the Conch (fried, and as fritters/hushpuppies).

Visit some of the places on Bay street. There’s a pirate museum, and lots of restaurants (Skan’s is good, Hard Rock is lame). The shopping is mostly cheap stuff imported and remarked as local-made, but with the new flea market building, there should be some neat stuff.

Also, take a stack of 1s and 10s with you. Anything outside of Atlantis will be cash only or cash mostly. The PI bridge is $1 toll coming back, and your taxi driver with a wad of cash will magically never have a dollar. Taxi from PI to bay street, or vice versa is $10 plus $1 toll. Anything extra should be your choice if they’re particularly nice, or traffic is really bad.

Also, past 7pm, you will not find a taxi on bay street. Everything closes down. If the ships all sail out, then it closes down an hour or two after that, even if it’s 3pm. M-F there will always be taxis passing by Charlotte and Bay streets until at least 6pm because of some banks there. There’s also a taxi stand at the Hilton, about 1/4 mile west which is open all the time. Atlantis will too, but they won’t send a taxi out to get you. If you like your taxi driver, ask for a card or their number. If you tip well, they may offer you one. Often, they’ll come at weird hours on short notice.

Taxi cost from the airport to PI or Bay street is $35. If they’re nice and conversational, $40 and they’ll be really happy. Plus, it rounds easily.

Scotia Bank will give you US dollars or BS dollars, depending on which ATM you use. They all take US and BS dollars, and claim 1:1 conversion, but really, US dollars are worth about 30% more. There’s a Scotia Bank across the street from the food places on PI, and there’s one on Bay street, about 2 blocks east of the Charlotte.

Be prepared to walk in the street, and have to make your own way in traffic. Everyone drives slowly, and no one will run you over because tourists = money. But, if you don’t edge your way in, they won’t stop for you either.

The grocery store on PI is pretty lame. It’s like a 7-11 that has been abandoned for a while. There’s a `FoodStore` on Bay street, and a `City Market` out on East Bay. Both are good, but getting the groceries back is another taxi ride. Walking from West Bay is about 2 miles, and will be 80 degrees, 80% humidity. I recommend Cheri and her husband have a good operation there and will bring you groceries for about $15 delivery cost.

Most of the people there are really nice. Everyone likes food, and likes to make friends. Exceptions are rare, but every once in a while, a cabbie will be in a hurry and want to drop you off a block or two from where you’re going. Having a basic map printed can help for a short trip. Data service on your phone will be crappy and expensive.

If you’re going to be there for any length of time, and your phone is unlocked, then go to BTC near Elizabeth and Bay. You can get a local SIM for $15, and a $20 top-up card. Then, you can SMS `BB 7D` to the number 5000, and you’ll get unlimited data for 7 days for $13 off of the top-up card. If your phone needs an APN, then it’s `` with no login/password.

Oh, and the little islands, called Cays, are pronounced `Keys`.

This concludes the long discussion about visiting The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

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