Bahamas - Islands of Beauty and Fun
Reasons to Visit the Bahamas
The Bahamas are a wonderful group of islands to visit and Bahamas vacation packages are all inclusive and reasonably priced.
The beaches are gorgeous and there is every type of water sport imaginable. They also have great golfing, horseback riding, plus many open air markets where you can find many items at great prices. There is an international bazaar and straw market located in Freeport. There is also Parrot Jungle’s Garden of the Groves and nature tours. Wonderful coral reefs surround several of the islands. The foliage and birds are pleasant features.
Postcard Aerial View of Freeport
Typical House in Nice Area
Bahamas Economy & Housing
While the Bahamas once relied on agriculture and fishing for their support, they diversified their economy into tourism, financial services and international shipping. There are several Bahama hotels and Bahamas vacation packages are very popular. There is a big gap between the urbane middle class and the poor farmers, although their per capita income is among the top 30 in the world. The other problem is their vulnerability to hurricanes. Their monetary unit is the Bahamian dollar.
While I was recently on a tour of Nassau, the tour guide gave us a lot of general information. The Bahamas are an expensive place to live. What I would consider a moderate home of maybe $150,000, costs $500,000 in the Bahamas. If you are very close to the ocean the price skyrockets to $1,500,000. You can purchase a condo for $250,000. All new construction for the past several years has been built to hurricane standards. Most homes can with stand hurricanes in the 3-5 category range. The tour guide told us they sink poles 5’ down in the ground and that when the hurricanes come they have very little damage.
Beautiful Yachts Line the Shoreline
Protecting Your Home
Another interesting aspect concerning home ownership is you really want a fence around your complete yard. The fence may be a standard size, or only a foot tall. If you have no fence, someone can come on your property and you can’t make them leave. If you have a fence and someone comes on your property and won’t leave, you may use a weapon to solve the problem. They call the police Popo.
Ocean View from Nassau
Taxes, Health care and Food Costs
They pay no income tax, no sales tax, and only the rich pay property taxes, but according to the guide he pays $89 annually for a moderate home. There is no social security or welfare. They do have socialized medicine and it cost $10.00 when you see a doctor or check into the hospital, for any type of medical problem. I asked him about retirement since they don’t have any type of social security. He stated most work two jobs, and you are expected to save enough for your retirement. The minimum wage is $25,000 but with the cost of living so high, most need to work a second job anyway.
The price of food is also high as most things must be imported from the mainland. A gallon of milk costs $8.20 and a bottle of water is $3.00. Products they grown on the islands are pineapple, sugar cane, grapefruits, limes, okra, papaya and avocados. They do raise livestock, chickens which produce plenty of eggs and dairy cows. Since almost everything else has to be shipped in, costs are always going to be higher for products made outside of the Bahamas
Bahamas School System
They have public and private schools are not free for students but college scholarships are available for those with grade point averages of 3.5-4.0. Parents have to pay for schooling to the government in the form of duties (compulsory taxation), whether they have children or not. You can also get special training in tourism and make a good living. According to the Bahamas government 24% of their National budget is spent on education.
Paradise Island Atlantis Hotel
Stingray at Atlantis Aquarium
Paradise Island Atlantis Hotel
One of the beautiful places we toured was Atlantis Hotel Paradise Island. The Atlantis Hotel Bahamas is a gorgeous hotel. They have a beautiful aquarium filled with beautiful fish. The hotel is huge with many yachts docked close by and there is a lovely private lake. Everything about the Atlantis is gorgeous from the decorating to the landscape. They have a huge casino, not unlike one you would find in Las Vegas.
The hotel rooms start at $1000 per night and you can rent the Michael Jackson suite for $24,000 per night. I can’t even imagine what you could put into a suite even with a beautiful view that could add up to that amount. Michael Jackson actually only stayed there once according to our guide. They have numerous water adventures and activities, plus several areas for dining. We walked through many of the areas and everything was beautifully decorated.
There are other very nice hotels on various islands, along with miles of sandy beaches.
Atlantis Bahamas Resort Vacation Paradise Island
Some Family Time For a Few of Us
Brother & Sister Enjoying Food
More Family Discussions
Relatives from Ohio
Atlantis Big Throne
Summary of the Bahamas
I included some family pictures as the together time was so important. The family members that came on the cruise don't all live in the same state, so we don't see each other as often as we would like.
In conclusion, the Bahamas have a fascinating history with their long struggle to democracy. The people were very friendly and cheerful everywhere we visited. Our guide couldn’t have been any more knowledgeable or accommodating.
As for the Bahamas, I noticed the colorful clothing, along with many gorgeous trees and flowers. The Atlantis Hotel is certainly a spectacular place to stay. The Bahamas are a great place to visit. There are a lot of Bahamas packages for affordable travel and a Bahamas honeymoon would be lovely.
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby
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