What are the reasons that so many tourists I spoke to in the Bahamas did not catch the real caribbean experience? More and more travel agents criticise the marketing practices of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism which are incompatible with an honest information policy. It is irresponsible to deceive potential tourists or investors with false claims about the Bahamas. Official surveys revealed that many travelers return home very disappointed and the would not recommend the Bahamas to their family members or friends.
I claim that cruise passengers were greeted by a band playing homemade instruments which was really cool but he bad part is that the band was pulling people in to get their pictures taken then insisting that the tourist pay the band for posing. They were also greeted by taxi and horse/buggy drivers, scooter lenders, hair braiders, and merchants who were all extremely aggressive. Not just aggressive in their sales tactics but actually grabbing people and trying to intimidate tourists into buying. Taxi drivers have to have meters in the cabs by law and should be forced to use them.
Many tourists I spoke to claim the strange contrast between rich and poor neighborhoods in Nassau. One even do not have to pass the location of the 5 star Gray Cliff Hotel at Blue Hill Road or the Police Headquarters at East Street you find already wide spread slums close to the port. Anyhow the growing number of derelict buildings along the eastern end of Bay Street are contributing to a drop in business in the area, where nearly a third of the shop spaces are vacant. Ants are the winner in Nassau´s downtown area. One can easily imagine that you will find termites and ants among others not only in a few houses, shopping arcades, restaurants, hotels and kitchens.
Travelers should not at all surprised when Bahamians might show a friendly attitude towards foreigners. But they do it mostly only as long as they can expect any advantage from them. Even worse: A trip to the Bahamas is always expensive and tourists claim you won´t get the right value for your money. Alleged advantages due to special discounts on cruise ships, cheap prices at the straw market for items produced in China or any savings on rum offers are used up very quick. Bay Street, Straw Market and Potter´s Cay are unsanitary. Complaints touched on everything concerning the straw market from excessive heat, poor lighting and flooding, to unsanitary and claustrophobic conditions. There is only one bathroom for about 3000 people a day.
After 7 pm Nassau is nothing else but death because cruise ship passengers mostly return on board where they have more fun, better food and better entertainment at reasonable prices. I even say that the Dollar has in the Bahamas a value of 50 cents only. Dinner for two is about 100$, even the local beer, Kalik, is $34 a case in a shop...more on the outer Cays. Bud is about the same....maybe a little more. I used to think the price of beer is high because of shipping and import duties but Kalik has no duties and a little shipping so what gives? Also, you can buy Kalik much cheaper in the States than it is home country.....hmmm. I would say they charge $34 simply because they can.
I guess a cruise out into the ocean is not bad, but after getting into the water and above the reef it is really not very good at all. The coral appeared to be dead and fish were nonexistent. Very disapointing for me and the other people who payed 40 dollars a head. After getting back you might visit Paradise Island where the big attraction is the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. It is nice to look at and quite impressive but if you are not staying there it cannot be too much fun. The highlight of a Bahamas trip was looking a high priced hotel?
I got the information that you will find an interesting nightlife the Bahamas. They tell you that they have ongoing events at Arawak Cay in Nassau or at the Lucayan Market place on Grand Bahama but if you ask to published a real timetable for the following week than they won´t tell you because nothing will happen for days. Ask the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism which events are realy going on. Or do you want to stay in the casinos only?
OK, where many people are living there is crime, stealing and killing too but from my point of view the Bahamas is a small country with about 300 000 inhabitants. This means to me that the crime, stealing and killing rate should absolutely not so high like in New York or Moscow. The former U.S. Ambassador in the Bahamas, J. Richard Blankenship, said that “the more violent crime creeps up, the less secure they will feel, hence, the less the economy will prosper." He also claimed that a drug vessel was confiscated and brought to Prince George Dock in Nassau but some of the drugs on the way to the Coral Harbour Base disappeared. The Bahamas government was forced by the United States to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the confiscated drugs at least after 12 years.
I personally agree also that the US embassy even published not only once a travel warning at least for spring breakers. A American family lived the most terrifying moments of their lives: "When leaving the hotel room two gunmen with a local accent forced us to return to our room. We were thrown on the floor, they tied our hands and feet, covered our mouths, kicked our bodies and threatened us with their guns demanding "where is the money". After taking our personal property and inflicting on my daughter and my wife the most inhuman and cruel acts, these men left our room and entered the room across ours, where they perpetrated another attack to an American family of two adults and a small child from New York. About 15 minutes later a lady from the Island of Trinidad was also attacked by the same ruthless criminals.
The Bahamas Government should not invest so much money for false advertisements. Less tourists would return disappointed. I am also wondering that Condé Nast Traveler published recently an island report written by Adam Sachs with the headline “Bahamas rising”. In my opinion our judgement will be wrong if we look only at Atlantis Resort and Casino on (little) Paradise Island or at the (small) Four Season Resort on Great Exuma, which is a gated hotel, away from the real life in the Bahamas. In fact he Bahamas are quite different. If you want to read more about wide spread criminality, corrupt officials, injustice, a legal profession with anti-foreign attitudes, racism, drug trafficking as well as bad service with high prices write us a email. Do you want to check our Nassau pictures?
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I agree that the crime rate is high... and i agree with you about the prices issue... but one thing i don't like is how you stereotype bahamians as golddiggers who just like the tourist for their money... That honestly burns me up inside... because I am a bahamian 17 years of age,and I love tourist, not only because they keep our economy stable, but because I consider them friends... You try to make it seem like we are nothing but greedy unconcerned citizens who just look out for our welfare and not others... i resent those statements. Sure we do have a high crime rate for such a small nation, and I'm not proud of that, but you shouldn't judge a nation from what few have done.Everwhere you go you find ppl being killed places being robbed etc.So I don't get what your trying to prove. Go to jamaica , much worse, go basically any other caribbean city and its much worse. you have a much much much higher chance of gettin mugged raped or killed in the US or Mexico or any Latin country or Caribbean country than here. No where is perfect. I must admit... you aren't the only one to think that the government is corrupt . I think so too, that's why I plan to do something about it. I wish I was older so i could come into power now, but that is years down th road.What I don't get is how you say all these things like it only happens here... It happens everywhere its very rare that a tourist would be killed here,and when it does happen I am ashamed of my country, and nothing but hate burns in my heart for the actions of the criminals. You know the way you introduce the average bahamian is soo not right, you make it seem like every step you take you're gonna be robbed or assulted by a local. and that is so not true.. I've been living her my whole life (born and raised) and i've yet to be robbed or attacked. the average murder count per year in the whole country is about 60 murders a year or so. and about 90% of those happen because of disagreements and conflicts involving alchol. and if a tourist happens so be a victom, that case would be an isolated one. meaning that its a rare 1/1,000 chance of that happening.As far as the corruptness goes... NAME ONE COUNTRY...... JUST ONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANY RECORD OF CORRUPTION... I'm nottrying to make excuses for the current administration or previous or which ever one is accused of being corrupt, but im just saying. and wait a minute.... SOME OF YOUR CLAIMS OF corruption are very very absurd.. just ridiculous.
Point is I love my country, and I hate hearing people talk disrespectfully about it ... especially when it's false evidence or grossly exaggerated lies bases on factual information. I know my country is the best little country in the world, although its plagued with alot of social issues... (name one country that doesn't).We do have THE best beaches in the world...the best ones are the ones that are empty ang have little human presence, and as far as the garbage on the beach... the are some ppl who are just careless and dont care about their environment.. its not just some of the locals, but also some of the tourist... I watched as a little girl dropped a pastic bag on the floor. ran to pick it back up and her mom told here to leave it there it's not her problem... But I appreciate the criticism because it's only strengthening my aspirationa to do aomethinf about it...
Yours truely: Alex (The Nationalist)
Pretty common for small islands that make much of their living on tourism. There are only 2 ways into an island, plane or boat, and of course the band and the merchants are going to be agressive. Go next time as an independent traveller, flying in and avoid being part of a large tourist group..this is done in many other countries, not just the Bahamas, at most any major travel destination you'll be badgered by merchants and vendors to buy souvenirs.
Point of concern, this is a small nation with a big heart.
I agree our country has a high rate of crime, a corrupt and lawless government, a social structure that is busrting at it seems from over crowding, and a limited social service ability and budget, in particular do to illegal immigrants. This country suffers from the fact that it has been successful and I fear in that we have taken it for granted.
Bay st is a mess, as a retailer on Bay st, it is diplorable and unhealthy, the Straw Market "aka" Flea Market is a disgrace, the judicial system is corrupt and over priced on all consumers , the housing market and prices are a nightmare, and in all we "the people" stil hold are heads high and do our best to serve you , the tourist. I agree our dollar is not on par just equivalent to a US dollar, the true rate if you consider the actual cost of living here is around 4 to 1. That 4 $B dollars for one US dollar. What ever it cost in the states , expect to pay 3-4 times here for the same thing , thus our dollar is NOT on par , parity means the same there is here, that is far from our present situation. Most Bahamians are wonderfull and honest, hard working, diligent and courteous, I mean where in most other countries strangers still say Hello, Hi, goodmorning, good afternoon etc,, when you pass them. Where do strangers still give you a sense of selfworth everyday just doing the most mundane things, buying something to eat, going to the bank, putting gas in your car, etc...we still have an incredible human touch here, but I agree the idea of this being our lively hood (tourism) and not much activities, or entertainment at night is both a tourist and local disapointment.
I applaud the young writer "Nationalist" and hope that one day we all are able to change our society to a trully progressive society for US ALL. In the end "we love you all and in my own personal way , i thank you for visiting the Bahamas , we aint perfect but we sure trying to get their.
Thanks for your posting on Bahamas. No country nor place nor nationality nor any any person is "perfect", we can only strive to do our best and be honest with one another.
Agree with dblooms last post. There are always bad apples between the shiny and healthy ones. That counts for countries as well as people.
Unfortunately, some cultural influences, political or economic influences or whatever reason, means that some countries are worse than others. Sometimes for no obvious reason strangly enough.
It's a shame that some people think this is true for the Bahamas. I haven't been there myself, but actually I've met people who have and they were positive about the place. It all depends on your way of travelling and of course some regular precautions where safety might be a problem. For example (related to another country), a friend of mine went to Jamaica for 6 weeks, the backpacking way. He stayed in a town where on a regular basis, some cruiseships arrived and stayed for half a day. prices skyrocketed immediately. he wanted to buy something as well, and he knew prices in the country. he was asked much much more. But he said: I've stayed here for days now and this is not a normal price. And then he could pay the normal price of course. It's to say that tourists spoil certain countries and places themselves, so judging about a country and/or it's people without taking into mind the tourists themselves, is pretty stupid actually.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 27, 2007, at 7:47 AM by Utrecht ]
It is not "tourists" themselves that "spoil" certain countries, regions or popular destinations, it is how Tourism, which is a necessary and 'smokeless' INDUSTRY (It is a Business, like it or not) supporting many locals in many areas, is managed in relation to the enviroment, local economy, rules, regulations and modes of transport for vistors, as well as level of services provided besides lodgings such as honest and qualified guides and tour operators, especially for cultural, ethno and eco excursions. In Central America where I reside, many of these concerns are unregulated and often avoid paying local taxes, pay their employees, such as office help, drivers and guides, below the minimum wage and no National Social Security benefits for them and their families, the worst offenders are some travel providers in Guatemala and Nicaragua at present. Often guides and drivers rely on commisions for bringing the tourists to the moderate-high priced lodging places and restaurants/shops in order to survive. I practically grew up here, I know. As well I grew up in a US "tourist town" and we knew every trick in the book by the time we were teenagers. Refer to the prior posting of the person who stayed in Jamaica on this thread. it is the locals who raide prices temporarily when the Tour Ships come to dock, not the "tourist", in fact the majority of persons who travel abroad yearly from developed to developing countries are "tourists" and often book through travel agencies and booking engines, with a limited time to see a lot of olaces. No economy based on the travel industry could or would be able to survive on what a handful of low budget travelers would spend even in 6 or 8 weeks, in some popular destinations many low budget travellers arrive year around with the hotels, hostels, tour operators and guides that cater to them, as well, nearby there are often all inclusive resorts or 3-5 Star hotels that cater to the more upscale visitor. These "tourists" often spend a lot of money in a short time, tip well, eat well and then go home. To constantly play a 'blame game' is to me counter productive and negative, and two negatives do not make a positive, so I I challenge you and others to put your money and or your time and effort where your mouth is, get together and start a non profit organiztion or NGO in an area that relies on seasonal or year round tourism and assist locals to start their own ecologically sound, culturally aware small businesses, such as Arts and Crafts, Guide and Tour Specialists and Transportation Companies, that will pay fair wages and benefits to their native employees, CHARGE FAIR PRICES TO ALL VISTORS ALL THE TIME (except with warnings, high seasons like Semana Santa, Easter Holy Week and Christmas Time, etc. when reservations and services may be stretched in some places) and as well, educate tourists, travellers and all visitors about the local culture, customs and enviroment and assist in any way you are able in educating their children. There is still no 'level playing field' here in the developing world, and won't be for a long time to come. And don't 'blame' me OR others resident abroad either, I don't like the present situation either. As the sign says in almost every Central American ex pat Bar you'll visit: NO WHINING!
I've never visited the Bahamas, but I've travelled extensively in Africa .... and most of the negative criticisms you level against the Bahamas can be found in Africa as well. Believe me I've found myself in "sticky" situations more than once. But when I travel to these countries, I expect to be surprised, shocked, scared sometimes ... but this is all part of experiencing different cultures; I don't expect everything to be like "home". Everywhere I've been I've had a thousand times more happy experiences than bad ones. I forget the bad moments, and just remember people's kindness and the wonderful welcomes I've had from people in the poorest places on earth. Great lessons in humility ....
I am from the southern United States and I have been to the Bahamas many many times over the past 20 years. My family and I are going again in about two weeks. I have never had anything but incredibly wonderful experiences in the Bahamas and I highly recommend it to all my friends. The people there are wonderful and friendly and treat you like royalty. I always stay at Atlantis, but I love to shop and travel around Nassau and socialize with the local Bahamian people. Of course I use common sense and watch out for my own safety, just like I would at home. I don't travel around Nassau at night, except to specific destinations, using licensed taxis, etc. But I LOVE THE BAHAMAS and will continue to go there as my most favorite vacation destination. I don't do cruise ships. I just fly to Nassau and spend all my time on the island with the Bahamian people, and I love it!
With all the controversy swirling and the fact I have experience some of the negatives travelling The Bahamas.....
...than The Bahamas
And now the 2016 Olympics
~american in brasil