Bahamas Expat Forum

Moving to the Bahamas - need to make a decision!

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Emily202
7/21/2017 04:43 EST

Hi there,

My husband and I are currently trying to make the decision as to whether to move to the Bahamas (Nassau) from the UK, with our two daughters - 8 & 4.

It would be a two yr minimum transfer with his work, and they need a decision super quickly, as we would need to be over there by October at the latest.

It's all a bit overwhelming at the moment. I'm between feeling so excited by such an amazing opportunity and the potential for the girls to experience a new culture, to feeling crazy for thinking about making such a big move.

I've done lots of research on areas to live and schools - I guess I'm wondering from a personal point of view how easy it'll be to meet other Mum's/friends. We'd be looking to live in the Cable beach area.

Although I know everyone's experiences are going to be different, I'd love to hear from any others (especially with young children), who have made such a big move - how it went and how you're finding living in the Bahamas now you're there?

Thanks in advance :)

Emily

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pcollura
7/21/2017 13:16 EST

Emily ! We are in the same boat! My husband left this morning from Vegas for his 3rd interview I am feeling the same way. I read so much on the internet and get such conflicting messages. We have a 9 year old and are concerned for his schooling and meeting friends. We are looking at Sandyport, Cable Beach and actually living on Paradise Island. We should meet if we both take the plunge. I would appreciate insight from everyone!!!!

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bergie
7/21/2017 15:10 EST

Hi Ladies! My husband and I moved to Nassau from Vegas in Feb 2015 for the BahaMar opening, which never happened so we left October 2015. Somethings to consider- rent is very high- over $3k (min) with utilities being expensive as well. We lived in Balmoral and loved it.

Groceries are VERY expensive as well so we ended up going to the local fish markets and grilling out a lot! Which, how can you beat fresh lobster! Organic chicken was $27/lb! So crazy, so instead we got fresh lobster for the same price.

We didn't have kids at the time but I know private schools can be pretty costly, my friend works at Lyford and has two kids there and absolutely loves their curriculum. If you can negotiate tuition in your relocation, I definitely would.

The beaches are amazing, you can swim right to corals and see so many great sea life just from the shore.

It's very laid back and slower than the states, so you have to be okay with taking a step back and patiently waiting. Sometimes I enjoyed that, other times I did not.

i always felt safe, but I never drove around at night in the downtown area.

There are women groups that are very welcoming, I joined the American Women's group as well as I went to the Canadian women's group (even though I am not Canadian) and all the ladies were very welcoming.

We didn't bring our furniture, we brought 6 suitcases and rented furnished. Our furniture is still stored in Las Vegas. Getting around is easy, we bought a car within the first week.

Overall, I am thankful we moved there but it is a big decision to uproot your family. The island, is very westernized so you do feel at home. Just be prepared for paying about 3x what you are use to for the Vegas lady, (maybe not the England person).

If your husband's work around BahaMar, I wouldn't suggest Paradise Island because the traffic isn't great in the downtown area so it takes a while to get to and from work.

Nirvana beach was our favorite beach, we had a lot of friends that rented in those condos right on the water. Anything along the Cable beach area is very nice.

Good luck, there is a lot to weigh when deciding. Let me know if you have anymore specific questions.

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breija
7/21/2017 15:14 EST

Greeting to both of you and welcome to Expat Exchange.

Not everyone has the opportunity to live and work internationally. Unless you have strong reasons not to give it a try, it really is a great opportunity to live in a different way.

Yes, there are lots of things to be concerned about, but as with anywhere, it is just different. Crime can be high, but there are precautions you can take to minimize your risks. We have been here 11 years and had absolutely no issues.

Cable, and more specifically, Sandyport, are very family and Expat friendly. There are a lot of expat families in Sandyport and some of the gated communities within about 5 -
10 minutes' drive. It is easy to connect with other moms and kids.

Please feel free to PM with any questions or if you have specific concerns you want to address.

Cheers!

There are a lot of amenities within 5 to 15 minutes' drive, including a number of international schools following the IB programs (International Baccalaureate) so that it is easier to integrate back to programs in other countries. All expats send their children to private schools, as do many locals. There are different levels of private schools.

Here in Nassau, the schools that most expats send their kids to are:
Tambearly School - www.tambearly.com/

Meridian School - www.unicorn-village.com/

Windsor Academy - windsorprep.com/

St. Andrews - www.standrewsbahamas.com/ - This school is way out east

Lyford Cay School - https://www.lcis.bs/

These are pretty much in order of price

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breija
7/21/2017 15:14 EST

Greeting to both of you and welcome to Expat Exchange.

Not everyone has the opportunity to live and work internationally. Unless you have strong reasons not to give it a try, it really is a great opportunity to live in a different way.

Yes, there are lots of things to be concerned about, but as with anywhere, it is just different. Crime can be high, but there are precautions you can take to minimize your risks. We have been here 11 years and had absolutely no issues.

Cable, and more specifically, Sandyport, are very family and Expat friendly. There are a lot of expat families in Sandyport and some of the gated communities within about 5 -
10 minutes' drive. It is easy to connect with other moms and kids.

Please feel free to PM with any questions or if you have specific concerns you want to address.

Cheers!

There are a lot of amenities within 5 to 15 minutes' drive, including a number of international schools following the IB programs (International Baccalaureate) so that it is easier to integrate back to programs in other countries. All expats send their children to private schools, as do many locals. There are different levels of private schools.

Here in Nassau, the schools that most expats send their kids to are:
Tambearly School - www.tambearly.com/

Meridian School - www.unicorn-village.com/

Windsor Academy - windsorprep.com/

St. Andrews - www.standrewsbahamas.com/ - This school is way out east

Lyford Cay School - https://www.lcis.bs/

These are pretty much in order of price

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breija
7/21/2017 15:21 EST

Hm - I got cut off.

Groceries are much more expensive here, but there is no income tax. You will have to determine the exact tax implications for UK, but US citizens are exempt for the first $90,000. I believe.

Cost of living is high here, but as I said, it is always good to have the opportunity to live differently.

We are close to Miami here, so a lot of people will pop over periodically to get things they cannot get here.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or any other specific concerns.

Cheers!

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pcollura
7/21/2017 22:00 EST

thanks so much for your information! Ba Baha Mar is up and running now. Did your husband find something else?We know a few people who work there too which we plan to contact if we move. I'll reach out if we decide to go for more advice I'm sure. Thanks again!!

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pcollura
7/21/2017 22:04 EST

thanks so much for all your information! I've been looking at the schools too! I am a substitute teacher and realtor! Won't be able to work if I go down there. That's what is possible employer told us. I keep hearing electricity is expensive. We live in a 3300 sft. house in Vegas and our electric is around $400-$500 in the summers, but if we get a much smaller house should I expect $500-$1000? What about trash? Cable?

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Emily202
7/22/2017 06:18 EST

Thank you so much for the replies and all the info - it's really helpful.

Pcollura - yes we should definitely meet if we both decide to move! I hope your husband's interview goes well! I know how you feel, I am really concerned about my eldest daughter in particular and whether she will settle ok etc.

Great to hear your experiences Bergie and Breija, and your insight on living in Nassau - really helpful. The Women's groups sound great and thanks for the advice on schools. I think we would be looking at sending them to Tambearly.

Thanks for the advice on costs of living too. The UK is pretty expensive, although things do seem to be slightly more pricey in the Bahamas.

One thing I have been wondering - my eldest daughter is coeliac (gluten free) - it's probably a silly question, but do you know if supermarkets sell GF products? The UK have only really started getting better at selling GF things in the past few years, there used to be hardly anything we could buy for her, so I know some places are better than others. Not a massive issue, just something I was wondering.

All the lovely fresh foods (fish and lobster) will be great for her. Just thinking about little treats like cake and biscuits :)

Thanks in advance. I'm sure I will think of more questions!!

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bergie
7/22/2017 11:58 EST

Solomon's was my favorite grocery store, it is out east and its very nice. I loved their sandwich counter, we would stop before heading to the beach. If any store will have gluten free items they will. Its a very nice grocery store, take a look.

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bergie
7/22/2017 12:03 EST

Hi! We lived in Balmoral and had about 1400 square feet and paid around $350, If I remember correctly. Cable wasn't expensive, I think around $100, Netflix is an option as well.

One thing I just remembered, is that there were a lot of times that the power goes out. Living in Balmoral, it only went out about once a month, where my friends all lived in the condos by Nirvana beach and their power went out several times a week. So don't store a lot of groceries in your fridge, or they just go bad. Also, I heard, that because we lived close to the home of the American ambassador that is why our power didn't go out as often (not sure if that is true or not).

We moved to NYC, my husband was with SLS so they relocated us to a property up here.

Hope the info helps!

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breija
7/22/2017 15:09 EST

If you are a teacher, you could likely find a job. All the mentioned schools do hire a lot of expats. It might even be an idea to contact them in advance once you know when you will be arriving.

Electricity is expensive, but it is much less so than it used to be. If you are careful with your electricity, you can live in very comfortable temperatures while keeping the power bill lower. In the last couple years, the hottest months have still been under $400 for 2200 sq ft. In the cooler months it has been as low as $150 in the last year.

Trash depends on the community you live in. Trash is collected almost daily in Sandyport, and is included in the HOA fees.

Cable - check out Cablebahamas.com. For cell phones, check http://www.btcbahamas.com/ and aliv.com as well as Cablebahamas.

None of these services are completely reliable, but they are what we have!

As for living on PI, I suspect that you will find it far away, and with fewer amenities than on Cable Beach/Sandyport.

Feel free to PM with more questions if you like!

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breija
7/22/2017 15:20 EST

Hi Emily,

Solomon's Fresh Market out west of the Airport carries a lot of Gluten free products. There is a cost, but there is quite a good selection. http://www.solomonsfreshmarkets.com/

Fresh Market also carries quite a few British brands - perhaps even some of your favourites!

Fresh fish and lobster, though, are quite expensive. So, find someone who loves to fish and tag along, buy their wares, or hope they share! When certain seafoods are in season, though, you can sometimes get good deals.

Fresh Market is about 10 - 15 minutes drive from Sandyport.

Tambearly is a good school, and if you live in Sandyport, there is a gate to the school yard right from the main road (you can see it on Google Earth). Tuition is much more reasonable than Lyford Cay School!!

As for rentals - there are plenty of good rentals in Sandyport for $3000 and up. There are even a few condos that may be as low as $2500. Check out hgchristie.com and sirbahamas.com for available units for some ideas. You can search by community - ie Sandyport, Balmoral, Cable Beach, etc.

This is a great opportunity. Worst case scenario is that if you don't like it, it is only for 2 years to start. If you like it, then perhaps it becomes longer term.

Hope that helps.

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rahmank
8/10/2017 08:28 EST

Hi
Sorry a bit late in replying, was on holiday (or vacation as our cousins over the pond might say)

Not sure about parents etc, but I was in the same position 2 years ago. Have moved here, had to change eating habits, miss baked beans, but all in all dont regret,. Sandyport is a nice and safe area esp for children. Cable Beach is great too.
Making friends and meeting people is difficult but we are all in the same boat, so its a bit like freshers week at uni. Keep posting on this site and im sure youll pick up friends and people will be happy to help. My family has grown up but will help any way I can if you want. And there are others who will do the same.

Dont fear, you life will not be the same again but you will most likely not regret it.

Good luck

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cmanner
9/18/2017 18:31 EST

Most expats do not realize the cost of living in the bahamas. A family of 4 needs to budget $4 to $5 k for rent.
The bahamas are not a place to experiance a new culture, there is no culture there.
Great place for fishing, though, crappy place to raise a fam.

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breija
9/22/2017 19:52 EST

Let's try to be positive. There are many costs and benefits no matter where you live. Here in the Bahamas, the cost of living is high. However, a family of 4 can definitely find a place under $4k for rent - depending upon where and what.

Here in the Bahamas, there is definitely culture, although it may not be what you are hoping for or expecting. Where else do you walk into an office and have everyone hail you! There is a lot of culture, but you need to be open to it.

There are some wonderful factors re: raising a family. But, it all depends upon what you are looking for/expecting.

Of course, the out islands offer you more culture, but you are not likely to be willing to raise a family on the out islands.

Know what you want/expect/need, and then think about whether those wants/expectations/needs can be met. This can be a wonderful place to live and raise a family - to a certain point.

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cmanner
9/22/2017 21:42 EST

Out islands have more culture BUT you arenot likly to raise a family there? Do you hear yourself?

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rahmank
9/23/2017 07:39 EST

Out islands have very few facilities, some quite large islands have as few as 20 people. So schools are difficult to get to, even when there are, there will be one or two teachers teaching all subjects to all age groups, no shops, no food choices, everything very expensive .........
Not sure what this culture business is though

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breija
9/24/2017 11:36 EST

Thank you for that clarification rahmank. That is exactly what I was suggesting.

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