Driving in Nassau

Driving in Nassau – Ultimate Guide

Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. It’s a wonderful location as it lies on its own island. If you are looking to rent a car for your Bahamas vacation let’s see what driving in Nassau and the surrounding area is like.

Driving in Nassau is hectic and frustrating at times. It gets more and more relaxing as you get away from big hubs and you will even be able to enjoy the scenery. It’s pretty hard and we only recommend it if you have proper driving experience.

Do you need to rent a car in Nassau?

As always we’ll cover the biggest question in regards to driving. Do you actually need a car? When it comes to Nassau the answer is usually no. We know it’s not that surprising. When you look at the map you can see Nassau lies on a small island.

This means you can rely on public transport and taxis very easily. Whenever you visit the Bahamas you’ll also be spending most of your time on the beach soaking in the sun and enjoying the ocean. In all honesty, you won’t miss out on much if you skip renting a car.

Of course, renting a car will always give you the best flexibility and the ability to go wherever you want and stop wherever you want. We think the best way for driving in Nassau is to dedicate 1-2 days to sightseeing while having the rest of the days as beach days.

That way you can rent for a small period, save money, and check out everything you need to check out in Nassau and on the island. Of course, this is strictly for Nassau. If you are visiting the big island then you will be better off renting a car.

Driving in Nassau

Driving in Nassau – Guide

Now we’ve covered the basic question of renting a car let’s get into driving in Nassau. After you’ve booked an insanely cheap flight and arrive at the airport the first thing you notice is that people drive on the left in the Bahamas.

If you are not accustomed to driving on the left then you will need to give your brain some time to accommodate. Pay extra attention in the first hour or so after you’ve got your rental.

Roads in Nassau

Roads in Nassau are in pretty good condition. There are some bigger roads and even some multi-lane roads but usually, it’s just two lanes or even fewer. The big roads in the city are fine as they have to handle a reasonable amount of traffic but the smaller roads between buildings can be as narrow as 1.5 cars narrow.

Even if you get out of Nassau the road quality stays okay. There is asphalt everywhere and there is a road that goes on the circumference of the island. This road is good quality and it’s the best for exploring all the places.

Traffic in Nassau

Traffic is most likely the worst part of driving in Nassau. Cruising around the island you will see the locals drive like madmen and overtake at every possibility. Even when there isn’t a possibility.

You need to take extra care when it comes to traffic in Nassau. Always be aware of what’s behind you, next to you, and in front of you. Some people will say it’s not that bad but we want to get you ready for the worst. It’s very hectic.

The only saving grace for traffic in Nassau is the fact that it’s on a small island. There are no high-speed sections. Everything happens much slower than what you are used to. This makes the experience less dangerous and less stressful overall.

Basic rules of driving in Nassau

Let’s take a look at all the basic rules that you need to know before you start driving in Nassau. This list is for you to decide what is the same and what is different compared to your own country.

  • Driving in Nassa is on the left-hand side
  • Seat belts are mandatory
  • A mobile phone in hand is not allowed
  • You must keep your license and rental docs with yourself
  • No toll roads
  • Your domestic driving license is valid for up to 3 months
    • If you plan to stay longer you’ll need to get an International Driving License
  • Speed limits usually go up to 45 mph only
    • In cities and on small roads it’s even lower

This is everything you need to know about driving in Nassau. It’s pretty hard and it’s hard due to traffic and other drivers. You must be aware of the surroundings at all times and practice defensive driving if you want to attempt driving over there.

Nassau Street

Tips for renting a car in Nassau

We can’t leave you without some nice tips about renting a car in Nassau. We’ll help you pick out the best one for you.

First, off the bat, we’d say that you should be looking at ‘big’ rental companies. Avis, Herz, etc. Brands that you know. This is because the local companies can get quite sketchy.

Renting in the Bahamas will be expensive and we think that almost any car class will suffice. If you feel safe in smaller cars then an Economy or Compact class car will get you around the island just fine.

If you don’t feel safe in such small cars then you can look at bigger sedans or SUVs. As the roads are bigger than your usual Greek island it’s not a problem to rent a bigger car here.

Scooter rentals

Now some people advocate for scooter rentals while you are in the Bahamas. While it might be better on the big island it’s not recommended in Nassau.

The traffic is just too crazy and the distances too small. You’ll only be putting yourself at risk of injury if you rent a scooter. Only attempt this if you have years upon years of scooter driving experience.

Driving in Nassau FAQ

Is it hard to drive in Nassau?

Yes, it’s difficult to drive in Nassau.

Are the roads good in Nassau?

Roads are of acceptable quality in Nassau and on the island.

Do I need an international driving license?

You can use your domestic license for up to 3 months.

Do I need to rent a car in Nassau?

Actually, no. It’s fine to get around the city and island without a car.

More in our 'Driving in...' Series:
Driving in Malta - Ultimate Guide
Driving in Mauritius - Everything you need to know
What to expect from driving in Corfu?
Driving in Kefalonia - Full Guide