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An Expat Talks about Living in New Providence, Bahamas

Jan 16, 2017


Nassau on New Providence, Bahamas

An expat on New Providence, an island that is home to the capital city of Nassau, offers advice on moving to the Bahamas and what it's like to live there. Finances, life as an expat, locals and more are covered in this report.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

New Providence

How long have you lived there?

9 years 6 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

There is a large expat community in New Providence so it is easy to find others with the same interests as you. We have met most of our friends through the school which our children attend but there are also women's clubs, a Foodie group, running clubs, rugby leagues, a ball hockey league, sailing groups a kiwi club, a humane society that you can volunteer at and all other kinds of clubs and organizations. In addition you can find groups on Facebook of people living here on the island. There are also club houses on the island that you can purchase memberships at and meet people through as well, these tend to be more expensive then the cost of a similar club in North America.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Again there is a large diversity on the island due to the high amount of expats from all around the world. Most of the locals are quite religious and attend church weekly. They are accepting of differences and I have not had any trouble with either locals or expats because of my different religious, racial or cultural views. It is of course important as with anywhere to respect their differences and not try to change them (we are the visitors after all). Financially the differences even among the locals ranges widely from extremely poor struggling to maintain a roof over their heads to ultra rich living in Mansions on the water. It is important to recognize these differences when living here.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Lack of employment is one of the biggest problems in the Bahamas. Most of the money invested here is in the tourism and banking industries and even that is struggling lately. It is VERY difficult to come here as a foreigner and work for a local company. Most expats either work for hotel chains, banks or come here working for themselves, working online or as investors and retirees .

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

It is a vast range of differences. The range is from very hardworking individuals that are employed by the banks, hotels etc which get very little time off to enjoy the island to the ultra rich with family money that spend most of their time living up the easy life and everything in between. We are considered a medium class family back home in Canada and so we are somewhere in the middle and spend most of our free time with our three children visiting and attending youth sports and clubs. Their is a vibrant night life scene but it can become fairly expensive quickly. The beach is a big draw in the warm months but locals do not swim in the winter months and so they are normally fairly empty at that time of the season.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Really take a close look at the cost of living before deciding. Everything is much more expensive here then it would be in most parts of the world. As an example a car here will cost about double the value in the USA. If you import it they add 75-80% duty on the value they determine (along with all the freight costs it quickly gets to 100% on top of the value) and if you purchase here the prices are already about double the price in the USA to begin with. Rent, Water and electricity are also very expensive here. This is not a location you would come to in order to lower your cost of living and "stretch" your salary but if you can afford the high cost of living the weather, beaches and people are quite inviting.

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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Bahamas from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
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