Moving to Nassau, Bahamas
Last updated on Feb 01, 2023
Summary: Nassau, Bahamas is a popular destination for expats due to its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and year-round warm climate. The city is also known for its low cost of living, making it an attractive option for those looking to stretch their budget. Additionally, the city is home to a diverse population, with a variety of cultures and languages represented. Before moving to Nassau, it is important to be aware of the cost of living, which is higher than many other Caribbean islands. Additionally, the city is prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters, so it is important to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. It is also important to research the local laws and regulations, as well as the job market, to ensure a smooth transition. Finally, it is important to be aware of the local customs and culture, as well as the language, to ensure a successful integration into the community.
What do I need to know before moving to Nassau?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Nassau, they said:
"Before moving to Nassau, it is important to be aware that it is a very popular tourist destination with a unique blend of culture, history and vibrant nightlife. It is a great place to live or visit as it is a tropical paradise with an abundance of natural beauty. You will need to be aware of the country's climate, which is hot and humid, with the cooler season occurring between December and February. The cost of living in Nassau is relatively high due to it's popularity with tourists, so it is important to research the cost of rent and utilities before moving. Additionally, you will need to familiarise yourself with local laws and regulations as many of them differ from other countries. There is also a high prevalence of crime in Nassau, therefore safety should be taken into consideration, particularly when travelling at night," replied a member in Nassau.
"Work with a good realtor. Talk to people and look at websites. Look for "security" first and foremost. Gated community feels safest if you are alone," commented one expat who made the move to Nassau.
How do I find a place to live in Nassau?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"Nassau has plenty of housing options for its residents. You can start your search for a place to live by looking for rental listings online or in local newspapers. You can also contact local real estate agents and property management companies to see what rental options are currently available. Additionally, consider reaching out to friends, family, and other members of the community for referrals and advice," added another expat who made the move to Nassau.
"Saw a variety of places in the West on a prior visit and gave realtor an idea of what I liked. Recommendation from local contacts was to look out West as traffic from East into town was terrible and job was in town," explained one expat living in Nassau, Bahamas.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Nassau?
"Expat homes and apartments in Nassau tend to be luxurious and high-end. Most expat rentals are located in neighborhoods that are close to the marinas, beaches, restaurants and shops, providing convenient access to everyday amenities. Apartments and houses often feature modern, high-end finishes with all the comforts of modern living. Common amenities include air-conditioning, ceiling fans, marble and tile floors, stainless steel appliances, a washer and dryer and private outdoor space, such as a terrace or patio," said another expat in Nassau.
"I live in a gated community with a pool. It's a townhouse style condo and the complex of 20 units is made up almost entirely of expats," added another expat who made the move to Nassau.
What is the average cost of housing in Nassau?
If you are thinking about moving to Nassau, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The average cost of housing in Nassau varies depending on the area and type of housing. On average, the cost of a one-bedroom apartment can range from approximately $1,100 to $1,900 per month, while the cost of a three-bedroom house can range from approximately $2,000 to $3,400 per month," remarked another expat in Nassau, Bahamas.
"About the same in terms of rent. Of course, in Bahamas everything comes furnished. You won't find that in Connecticut. ELECTRICITY here is ridiculously expensive," said another expat in Nassau.
Should I buy or rent a home in Nassau?
If you have not spent a lot of time in Nassau, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:
"Buying a home in Nassau may be a smart financial decision depending on your individual situation. While renting in Nassau may offer more flexibility, it may be more expensive over the long-term since you would not be building equity in your property. Before making a decision, you should consider your budget, how long you will stay in the area, and whether you need to stay mobile in the future. Additionally, the local real estate market should be taken into account when making this decision, as the cost of rent or purchase may vary depending on the market conditions," commented one expat who made the move to Nassau.
"We rented at first to make sure we were happy here. We later bought a home and both options work well. For the residency documents you can use either a rental lease or a property deed but the minimum value has changed over the years," remarked another expat in Coral Harbour, Bahamas.
What should I pack when moving to Nassau?
We asked people living in Nassau to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:
"-Clothes suitable for hot weather -Good quality sunscreen and insect repellent -An umbrella or raincoat - Basic toiletries and first aid kit -A cell phone with an international calling plan -Any necessary medications -Copies of important documents such as birth certificate and passport -Banking and credit cards -Cash -An adapter and appropriate power outlets -One or two suitcases -Lightweight day pack -A guidebook of Nassau and the surrounding islands," explained one expat living in Nassau, Bahamas.
"Brought with me: Good towels, linens, kitchen items. Left at home: Furniture, home décor, electronics," said another expat in Nassau.
What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Nassau?
We asked people in Nassau if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:
"When visiting Nassau, it is important to respect local customs and to be mindful of cultural differences between yourself and the locals. To avoid any potential cultural faux pas, it is advisable to remove your footwear before entering any private residences, churches or temples. Additionally, it is considered rude to take photographs or videos without permission from those who may be in the frame, particularly of religious or sacred sites. As such, it is recommended to ask for permission prior to taking photographs of any such locations. Additionally, it is also important to be aware of any customs regarding dress, as some locals may take offence to clothing that is deemed inappropriate," remarked another expat in Nassau, Bahamas.
"I had to ask people to repeat themselves numerous times because I didn't understand what they were telling me with the local dialect. Sometimes I realized after it should have been obvious but I just was not getting it at the time," said another expat in Nassau.
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
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