If you’ve ever wondered what a vacation in paradise would feel like, perhaps it’s time to find out! Often thought of as a playground for the rich and famous, the Bahamas has plenty to offer travelers on a budget. The key is to know where to look. Whether you’re planning on heading here for a few weeks, or you’re stopping over while on a cruise, there is plenty to see and do here without breaking the bank.
We all know of excellent ways of keeping the costs down and having days out on the cheap at home, but in a different country, it can be a different matter altogether! But if you spend some time doing your homework before you go, finding fun things to do without spending lots of money can be easier than you think.
For a taste of paradise, spend a day soaking up the sun and frolicking in the azure waters at Junkanoo Beach on Nassau, there are even clean restrooms and free Wi-Fi facilities here. Bring your snorkeling gear to experience the incredible world beneath the waves, without the hefty price tag that comes with scuba diving. It’s also worth visiting the Queen’s Staircase, a shaded area created for the Queen in 1793, which is ideal for exploring during those hot Bahamian afternoons. The entry is free but be careful of people pretending to be tour guides and charging fees.
If you’re planning on staying on the islands, an excellent way to save money on accommodation costs is to shop around for the best deals before you go. Hostels and budget hotels are relatively hard to come by but not impossible. Costs are usually around $95 BSD a night for a room in a budget hotel, but you may also find a bargain or two on Airbnb, which is ideal for renting entire apartments so that you can do your meal preparation. If you want to stay in the larger hotels, however, look for ones partnered with local attractions, such as water parks and cinemas. That means you’ll get discounted tickets on entry to the attractions, so you’ll save plenty of money on entertainment!
As mentioned before, one way of keeping costs down is to buy and cook your food. While it might not feel as glamorous as heading out every night, grocery shopping costs around $60 BSD a week, whereas eating out every night will cost upwards of $200 BSD a week. The figures speak for themselves! It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every now and then, though, especially as some of the best Bahamian food comes from relatively inexpensive street vendors and food trucks located near the beaches on weekdays. Grab some Bahamian mac and cheese or rice and peas on the beach for around $6 BSD or head to Potter’s Cay in Nassau where traditional conch salads and local beers will set you back around $12 BSD. Eating like a local never tasted so good!
The fastest way to keep your costs down is to forget about taxis and take the bus. The local buses, known as jitneys, can take you all over the islands, meaning you get to take the scenic route. Get to know the bus timetable for where you’re staying and look for places nearby that are within walking distance — this will save you even more money! For those times when you want to hop over to another island, instead of booking an expensive flight, take the ferries and water taxi options instead. Of course, there are always deals to be had if you book in advance, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on flights before you go, but traveling by boat can be a much cheaper option if you’ve left it too late to grab a bargain on flights.
So, perhaps that idyllic vacation in paradise isn’t a pipe dream after all!