We probably get one or two phone calls or emails a day from clients looking to get from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to “The Bahamas”. OK, let’s just forget for a minute that there are over 700 islands in the Bahamas and that yachts are the most expensive way to travel ANYWHERE.
But clients who call in can generally be grouped into two categories: they have already booked a vacation in a hotel, resort or timeshare somewhere in the Bahamas and hate flying. OR they are looking to vacation on a yacht in the Bahamas which we can certainly help you with very nicely, thank you. So I decided to put this in whole thing in perspective to serve as a reference for future inquiries.
1. The Bahamas group of Islands are some of the most beautiful in the world. Some of our favorites are the Exumas, the Abacos, the Out-Islands, Nassau (if you’re into cities, shopping and casinos), Freeport (if you’re into cities, shopping and casinos), Bimini, if you’re into sports-fishing, The Berry Islands if you’re in Miami and want total isolation to unwind for a few days, they are about 100 miles from Miami.
For in-depth information on the various islands please check our Bahamas section.
2. There is no ferry service from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas at all. There is a small catamaran ferry service that is called Balearia Express Ferries that leaves from Fort Lauderdale and goes to Freeport and back.
3. There are inter-island ferries and mail-boat services available once you get to the Bahamas, both private and government operated. They run on regular schedules but these schedules are approximate and they don’t run every day. You can go here for valuable information regarding ferries in the Bahamas.
4. Day trips to Bimini. This is a popular trip and the only possible one from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and is best done in the summertime when the seas are relatively calm.
Remember that although Bimini is only 40 miles from the mainland you have to cross the Gulf Stream which is notoriously treacherous when there is any kind of brisk wind. Bimini is a sports fishing center and there’s not much else to do except fishing.
A day trip to Bimini on a small or medium sized motor yacht can cost between $2k and $5K depending on the number of guests and the size of the boat. There is a 12 passenger maximum for most charter yachts. You can also fly to Bimini by air taxi.
6. When planning a sailing or yachting vacation in the Bahamas, it’s always better to fly into the island or group of islands you’d like to explore. For example, if you’d like to explore the Exumas, fly into Nassau or Staniel Cay and have the yacht pick you up there. If you’d like to explore the out islands fly into Georgetown. For the Abacos, fly into Marsh harbour.
DON’T use a charter yacht for transportation, private yachts are great for vacations but make lousy and expensive ferries. DO use a yacht for a vacation experience, the beaches are marvelous and the diving superb. Have a GREAT vacation.