Anytime you move somewhere, you can do all the research in the world, but you won’t really know what it will be like until you get there.
Before I moved to the Bahamas, I didn’t personally know anybody who lived there or anyone else that had moved there. I couldn’t find much information prior to moving to the Bahamas, except that getting employment would be difficult.
But of course I thought how hard could it be? I hoped that it would’ve changed by the time I got there… but it didn’t. More about that here.
Related: Tips for Moving Abroad with Your Significant Other
Here Are 31 Things to Expect When Moving to the Bahamas:
Landlords do Whatever They Want
The Bahamas is a landlord friendly country, so if you’ve lived somewhere that tenants have loads of rights, you are in for a change. There’s nowhere to report a bad landlord here, and many landlords can get away with neglecting your apartment. Like making sure your AC works, and have a working oven. We’ve known landlords that refuse to give security deposits back, fix basic appliances, neglect their property or don’t make sure things are up to code. Beware of shady landlords and maybe try and rent through a realty company instead.
But if there is a significant amount of them it could signify an underlying issue, like a leaky faucet etc. Tips are to keep your drains shut, sweep the floor whenever you cook and keep plumbing up to date.
It’s hard to find a Nicely Furnished Apartment
It costs a lot of money to bring furniture to the island. As a result, a lot of places that we viewed seemed really thrown together and had mixed tasteless furniture.
You will Need a Real Estate Agent to Find a Place
This is probably your best and easiest bet since they will know more about properties and have insider information on rentals.
Sometimes There Are Robberies
Keep your doors locked especially your patio doors, even if you are on a floor that is higher up. (There was an infamous burglar known as Spider-Man in Sandyport)
While we lived there in October 2016 the island was hit by a Hurricane. We didn’t really know what to do but had lots of guidance from our friends and landlords in regards to preparations.
It’s Expensive to Furnish an Apartment
Due to the duties and importing, but can be done if you do some hunting.
You Need a Work Visa to get Employment
Often employers will not interview without one. But guess what? You need an employment offer letter to even apply to get a work visa… Vicious circle!
Related: An Expat Guide to Working in the UK
The Work Visa Can be Expensive
To work in the fitness industry my visa was going to cost $8.5k
Employment Priority is Given to Locals
Which makes sense because there are a lot of employable Bahamians and it is an island nation that is trying to grow. Nonetheless, it is frustrating.
You may want to get a job you can work for Remotely
As I wouldn’t rely on getting a job in the Bahamas whatsoever.
Seeing a Doctor can Be Expensive
This depends on what insurance you have. But I went to the walk-in clinic and it cost me nearly three hundred dollars to be seen, some IV and some stomach medication.
Stock up on Your Prescriptions Prior to Leaving
It will be hard to get them there, cost more, or you won’t be able to get them shipped from home either.
Research on International Healthcare Options
I never opted into this since I wasn’t there long enough, but the options looked reasonable and viable for longer term stays.
You Will Most Likely Have to Pay Upfront for a Vehicle
Leasing a car will be next to impossible. So be prepared to have 5-10k in cash for a car. Or be prepared to spend upwards of $60 a day to rent a really crappy car.
When You Sign up for Insurance it won’t be Online
You will physically have to go into an office to sign up for car insurance.
Getting your Car Repaired will Be Expensive
more duties and imports. Also don’t expect it to be done right the first time.
The Roads in the Bahamas Will Tear Up Your Car
which is why a lot of people opt for Jeeps or SUV’s.
Don’t Expect Much Public Transportation
except the jitney (at least on Nassau) which I only recommend taking to Downtown Nassau, if at all.
Stock up on Clothes Before You Leave!
Whatever you do, do not expect to go shopping once you are on the island. There is next to no shopping on Nassau unless you want to pay extortionate prices. However, there are some lovely Bahamian vendors you can support (more info here)
Shipping Clothes or Anything into the Island will Be Expensive
We ordered one Asos package because Sonny really needed a work suit and we never did it again because with the import and fees it was nearly the same price as the local clothes stores themselves.But if you really need to I would use Xpress It Inc.
Basic Things will be Double the Price
So if you can stock up on toothpaste and cosmetics before, I would do that as well.
Don’t Expect your typical Grocery Shopping experience
Sonny and I have unfortunately consumed loads of expired foods due to the lack of management and care of items in the grocery store. Buyer beware and check your expiration dates prior to purchase!
There’s one main Grocery Market
Super Value is the main grocery vendor on the island, however of course there are other chains on the island you can frequent.
Shopping Prices vary on area of the Island
We found that the more inland you shopped the less expensive things tended to be
I never risked getting my hair done out there because I didn’ t want to pay overpriced prices for a fluff haircut. Sonny got a few botched haircuts whilst he was out there. We both still have nightmares about it. If you want good deals on nail and hair I suggest traveling to the East side of the island. Everything in the Cable Beach area is way too overpriced. 90? for a mani and pedi? No thanks
- Nightlife in Nassau is pretty non-existent (Check out this article for some suggestions)
- You Will Probably go to a lot of the same Places to Eat
- A lot of Places barely have Websites Up
- It’s Expensive to Eat Out
- There’s no Yelp
For More Advice on Living Abroad:
23 Things Every American Should Know About Moving to the UK
13 Helpful Tips for Moving Abroad
Ten Tips for Moving Abroad with Your Significant Other