If you’re a pilot with a hankering for a peaceful, beautiful vacation, consider broadening your horizons and navigating The Islands Of The Bahamas. Conditions are always near perfect, and the islands’ 20 different airports allow you to explore beautiful and exotic places. There are even occasional contests, like the Private Pilot Challenge, in which participants who visit at least 12 of the airports can win prizes such as free accommodation on one of the islands. Additionally, during the first weekend of every month, The Bahamas Fly-In program allows pilots to island hop and tour places such as the Pelican Bay Resort on Grand Bahama Island and the Comfort Suites Resort in Nassau. You can even take advantage of great pilot packages, full of on-Island activities and discounts. Ready to pack your bags? Here’s everything you need to know when planning a private flight trip to The Bahamas.
The official web site of The Islands Of The Bahamas has checklists and detailed information on the specific requirements for both flying in to your vacation and flying out. It is important to note that you must land at one of the airports with a customs office during your first entry into the country, and of course, you must have a valid passport to enter The Bahamas and to re-enter the United States. Most pilots will want to take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and fly during the day, but if you prefer to arrive after sunset, there are two airports currently open for evening flights. Naturally, fuel is available at all airports, and you are never more than a 20-minute flight away from more fuel while you’re in the Bahamas.
Filing flight plans is not required for your hops between the islands, but you will need to show a Cruising Permit at the islands with customs offices. When returning to the U.S., you are required to notify the proper authorities within one hour of your arrival by phone. For all the information you will need to plan your trip, check out The Bahamas and Caribbean Pilots Guide, available directly from Pilot Publishing or at most Florida FBOs.
Bahamas Flying Ambassadors
If you’d like to get advice from seasoned pilots with a long history of experience flying into and out of The Bahamas, you may contact one of the designated Bahamas Flying Ambassadors. The ambassador program was started by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism to help with the demand for information on the popular fly-in program. For a list of the current ambassadors, check out their website. There are even pilots who specialize in different types of aircraft available to give pointers and to alleviate whatever concerns you may have about making your first flight in to the Islands.
Plan Your Trip Now!
If you’ve never flown over water before, or this will be your first international trip, you may be anxious about taking on the challenge, but arriving on a cloudless day over turquoise waters will be all the reward you could wish for. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is also quite active in promoting flying to the islands, as it is nearly as popular as all of the water-based activities, and the office will be happy to connect you with someone who can guide you to a peaceful, tranquil journey. With Bimini in particular no more than 50 miles off the coast of Miami, the islands make an easy transition for pilots looking to get some international flight experience under their belts. With the right amount of careful pre-planning, your flight day can be a transcendent, beautiful experience for everyone involved. Your biggest problem may be making yourself turn the plane around when it is time to go home!
For more information on available travel packages, activities and accommodations, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. You can also look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
This is a "sponsored post," meaning the company who sponsored the article compensated me for writing the article. The opinions I have expressed, however, are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."