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First trip into Bahamas - Hidden Gems ?

Looking for recommendations for those “secret spots” to fly into within the Bahamas. Ive been to the popular commercial islands but since I have the liberty to island hop, looking for some real hidden gems.

Ive done quite a bit of research and have all of the required items such as customs decal, FCC licensing, C7, health visa, eAPIS, knowing which airports have fuel, cost, DVFR / IFR filing requirements, etc…

I’m thinking of KFXE to MYAM Leonard Thompson in Abaco to clear customs initially.
MYAM to MYEH North Eleuthera for cheap fuel ($6.65)
MYEH to MYSM (San Salvador) and staying at Bohemian Place
MYSM to ? ? ?

Appreciate any inputs or tips

Model: Bonanza A36
Aircraft Serial Number: A-2325
Posted 10/16/2021 - 1 month ago
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unfortunately i wish i had tips for you, but i would be very interested in your trip in making to Bahamas :)

Posted 10/16/2021 - 1 month ago
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I plan to leave from NJ on 10/28. First stop is either Charlotte, NC or Charleston, SC. Next will be St Augustine then Ft Lauderdale. Hope to make our first leg to Bahamas on Oct 31st. And spend about 4 days before returning back to Florida to clear customs.

I’ll be sure to post a summary of events and what I can share with others when I return.

Posted 10/17/2021 - 1 month ago
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have a safe trip and would love to hear your feedback and experience :)

Posted 10/18/2021 - 1 month ago
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I was at MYAM last week and the Customs personal and the people at Cherokee FBO are great to work with. The island is still seeing the effects of the hurricane a two years ago. No leaves on the trees, hurricane stripped them. Enjoy your trip.

Posted 10/18/2021 - 1 month ago
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I try to stop by Staniel Cay (MYES) when I am in the area. It has been a couple of years, but the Yacht Club is a good place to stay.

Posted 10/18/2021 - 1 month ago
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Staniel Cay has swimming pigs, Iguanas and grottos to swim/jump in.

Long Island has the Deans Blue Hole.

Inagua and Mayaguana are extremely remote. You might find a beach to yourself and feral donkeys.. and flamingoes.

Cat Island is slightly less remote. But still remote.

Around Christmas you can into the Junkanoo festival on Nassau which is a big deal. If you like scuba diving, the Blackbeard Cruises starts there. Nassau is either rich people or crappy hotels otherwise.

Isn't KXFE closer to Nassau or Freeport? I've always loved clearing at Freeport with my limited experience.

Bimini is.. Florida.

Posted 10/19/2021 - 1 month ago
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I would be interested to see how this turns out. Im in SC and my wife and I are interested in going to the Bahamas. I look forward to your posts!

Posted 11/9/2021 - 3 weeks ago
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Just returned from a trip that included a few islands in the Bahamas. Here is a summary of what I experienced.

Documents / Forms needed -

1) Bahamas Health Visa - easy, just a little time consuming. Go to https://travel.gov.bs/ and create a profile for EACH traveler. Be prepared to upload images of your passport and vaccine card if you have one. You can also pre pay $25/pp for the COVID return trip test in the Bahamas. There is a link that I will post that has the islands and locations that participate. The fee for each person is $59. You have to know your dates of travel and have your results of a RAPID test (tested within 5 days prior to travel) if you are vaccinated. Found one for free with a little research. KFXE airport has contacts that will arrive at the airport and test you for $200/pp. Next, you must plan a trip. This is also within the website. Be prepared to upload your proof of negative test. Once submitted, you must wait until your trip is approved. They say up to 48hr but got approval on a Sunday night within 3 hours. This is your approval to enter the county so print this for each person.

2) EAPHIS - Difficult to navigate the first few times but gets easier. You must file a departure and arrival trip. Two separate entries on EAPHIS. You must know and indicate the airport that you are departing from and arriving into on the manifest. The island flying into must be an AOE (Airport of Entry). If you have ForeFlight, under the name of a participating airport in the Bahamas it will indicate the letters, AOE. You also have to file a return trip back into the US, know what date it is and the time of crossing the ADIZ and landing. NOTE - you must land south of Naples unless you have an overfly permit. You must also land at an airport that has US Customs onsite. I recommend PBI Palm Beach as it was very quick and easy. These forms were printed out but discovered that no one ever asked to see them. Not even customs on the return entry. If you change your dates / timers of travel back to the US, you can refile on EAPHIS and resubmit.

You MUST< MUST<MUST call US Customs at the airport you are landing in the US to let them know your time of arrival. This must be done AT LEAST 1 hour before you depart. DO NOT FORGET.

3) Form C7A. https://www.aopa.org/-/media/files/aopa/home/go-flying/bahamas-and-caribbean-download-forms/cruising-permit-c7a.pdf
This is your cruise permit. Simple to fill out. When you arrive into the AOE in the Bahamas they will stamp you in. Entry fee is $50 for the aircraft. You do not pay at any other airport because you have your C7A. Anytime you leave to island hop, you must be stamped out when you depart, stamped in when you land and stamped back out when you leave. DO NOT loose this form.

4) Form C7 - Bahamas Customs Form. http://www.whitecrownaviation.net/forms/Bahamas%20Customs%20C7%20Form.pdf
This is completed when you leave the Bahamas and you must give them your C7A form. Simple to fill out. Cost to exit is $29/pp. it must be cash. I can stress this enough, IT MUST BE CASH or they will not let you leave. In the Bahamas they do not like to take credit cards as each time we offered to pay with a card they said “the internet is down and we can not accept the card”

Now….. about the islands. EVERYONE is super friendly. Taxis are expensive. It was $20 cash for a 5 min ride. If you don’t rent a car this will add up fast. Renting a car can be done easily at any airport and is about $80/day. If you island hop you can rent a car for about $60 for 5 hours.

Make sure you know what islands have fuel and call to make sure ! There are 3 airports on Eleuthera and only 2 have fuel. North Eleuthera and Governors Harbor. Governor’s Harbor was out of fuel and didn’t expect a shipment for another week. Some people elect to take fuel in 5gal jugs with them on the trip just incase.

Here are some locations and points of interest.

Spanish Wells-
At the north end of Eleuthera, get a water taxi from Genes bay $5pp each way
Golf cart rental $10 an hour right when you get off. Highly suggest this.
Local supermarket, grab lunch and eat on a swing in the beach on the North side. About 5 min cart ride Sandy flat beaches on north end. Very safe, very friendly. You can cruise the entire island in about 40min. You can rent a boat that will take you to Snorkel / feed turtles for $700/4 hrs

Cat island -
New Bight airport AOE. Rents car $60 for 5 hrs LOTS of pot holes, poor maintained roads , very rural No longer can get to blue hole from the road. Como hill is cool and is the highest elevation on any island at 210’ Rollez resort - nice beach, no one around and very relaxing. Hawks cay marina. Far drive but when in season you can see sharks in canal when the boats feed them after they return. Not much to see on the drive. Gas is expensive at $8/gal

Eleuthera -
Governors harbor is the mid point of the island. On the north end you have Sapphire hole, Preachers cave, Glass bridge, Blow hole. All easy to find and easy to get to.
Eat at Delish Lifestyles in James Cistern. Right on beach, awesome hospitality and the freshest most delish food ! About 15min north of gov harbor airport on the Eleuthera bay side (left if going north) Again, Super friendly, every day is a new menu all fresh, conch fritters and salad. Liquor store down the road.

When landing at island airports, there is no weather reporting and very hard to see the wind sock. Know the winds either when taking off or listing to other traffic landing. Most runways are W/E and you may tell by the direction of the ripples in the ocean. Runways are all very long and most are fair conditions at best.

Another suggestion is to bring whatever food / water you can before arriving to island. Everything is super expensive.

Stayed on Eleuthera at Mikas Resort. https://www.mikasresort.com/ If you can, this is a dream. Only about $200/night. They are SUPER friendly, the place is immaculate and has a kitchen.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help if you wanted to arrange a phone call.

John
N771HE

Posted 11/10/2021 - 3 weeks ago
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Sounds like you had a fun trip:) I am planning to trip to Bahamas next year in April and your writeup has been a great help. Just FYI no trip is complete without pictures :)

Posted 11/10/2021 - 3 weeks ago
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I should also mention that after landing at PBI and going to customs, they asked what if anything that we purchased and to bring our luggage from the plane inside. Might be helpful if this was done all at once when first walking in. They asked to see my passport and nothing else. No documents or covid test results …. One could say that it would be a waste to pay Bahamas government the $25 for the test to re enter when no one is asking for it.

First trip into Bahamas - Hidden Gems ?