Bimini, the most westerly island in the Bahamas, is a 45-minute flight from either Miami or Nassau. It has become recognised in recent years for its world-class diving and snorkelling. The crystal-clear waters are home to wild dolphins, an abundance of fish, wrecks and sharks, including the great hammerhead.
The island offers a diverse range of dive sites, suitable for all levels of experience. Bimini's coral reefs are vibrant and teeming with life. Keep an eye out for colourful fish, turtles, rays and more. In addition to coral reefs sheer walls drop into the deep blue, where you can see pelagic fish such as sharks, tuna and barracuda. Bimini is also home to several shipwrecks, including the SS Sapona, one of the highlights of the area, along with a number of fascinating blue holes and caverns. Other highlights include the Continental Shelf drift dive (suitable for experienced divers only), Rainbow Reef, Tuna Alley and the Nodules.
GREAT HAMMERHEAD SAFARIS
Bimini is one of the best places in the world to dive with great hammerhead sharks. These majestic creatures congregate in the shallow waters off South Bimini from November through to April each year, with daily excursions offered in these months.
After anchoring at Hammer Headquarters, divers will begin setting up for the dive (set up includes baiting the water). Once the setup is complete, it is time to start looking for sharks. This process can take anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours. Once a great hammerhead is attracted and is comfortable, divers will be invited to enter the water. The dive is in approximately 6 metres of water, so tanks will last a long time.
Once divers are out of air and because the bottom time is so long, it is suggested to go up, get some food and rest before going down again. However, divers are always welcome to dive, dive, dive! Keep in mind that the average water temperature during hammerhead season is around 21°C, so it is always recommended to wear a full 5mm wetsuit, hood and gloves. Excursions are limited to just 14 divers and booking well in advance is recommended.
Nestled within the marina, Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Centre is a PADI-affiliated dive facility that offers a comprehensive range of services and facilities. Dive enthusiasts will find a variety of offerings, including courses, daily boat diving, snorkelling excursions, and thrilling night dives. The centre also hosts memorable dolphin excursions for snorkellers and exciting great hammerhead shark encounters during the season.
For your diving convenience, the centre provides a fleet of vessels. Among them is Bimini Blue, a fully equipped 30-metre glass-bottomed boat capable of accommodating up to 30 divers. Additionally, Tranquillity, a smaller vessel designed for up to four divers, is available (please note, there are no restroom facilities on board).
Divers frequent Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Centre for its diverse diving options. Explore the intriguing Sapona Wreck, which is equally suitable for divers and snorkellers due to its shallow depth. Discover the upright Bimini Barge resting in 30 metres of water near the continental shelf's edge, adorned with vibrant coral and sponge growth.
The wall diving sites, including Victory Reef, The Nodules, and Tuna Alley, offer captivating underwater landscapes with caverns, overhangs, and swim-throughs. Dive into The Strip, a classic Bimini site—a long, slender reef surrounded by vast sandy expanses rich with marine life. Witness an array of colourful fish, octopuses, lobsters, moray eels, snapper, grouper, and trumpet fish. Keep a watchful eye out for larger pelagic species and sharks that frequent the waters around Bimini.
A highlight of the experience is the opportunity to encounter great hammerhead sharks during their season, which runs from December to March. Due to their popularity, it's advisable to book these safaris well in advance to secure your spot for this unforgettable adventure.
Prices listed below are an indication only, and subject to change.
- Great hammerhead safari from £320
- Wild dolphin snorkelling safari from £130
- Full equipment rental from £37 for two tank dive excursion
- Nitrox from £10 per fill
With great all year round diving conditions, the Bahamas is ideal for those looking for diverse diving and especially shark dives. Combine excellent diving and snorkelling with relaxing on beautiful beaches and a variety of tourist and historical attractions topside.
The main islands of the Bahamas are well-established as tourist destinations. Taxis are readily available and you can phone a taxi, flag one down on the street or stroll along to the taxi stands conveniently located at most large hotels and at airports throughout the islands.
Most Regaldive guests will not need to hire a car but if required, British rules apply. Driving in the Bahamas is just like driving at home, but with less traffic! Visitors may use their UK licences for up to three months and may also apply for an international driving licence. The minimum age for driving a hire car in the Bahamas is 25. Note: driving is on the left but most cars are left-hand drive!
The main islands are connected by inter-island air services and Bahamas Fast Ferries provides high-speed transportation from Nassau to Harbour Island and Eleuthera. There are many well-established tour agents that can arrange excursions to the island’s wealth of cultural attractions.
The trade winds that blow almost continually throughout the Bahamas give the islands a warm, agreeable climate which hardly varies all year round. The most refreshing time to explore is between September and May, when the temperature averages 21-24°C. The rest of the year is a bit warmer, with higher humidity and rain in the summer months and temperatures between 27 and 29°C.
Peak season is from mid-December through to mid-April, when the days are mild and dry. Hurricanes have been known to occur during the year from June to November.
WATER TEMPERATURE & UNDERWATER VISIBILITY
Water temperature tends to mirror air temperature, ranging from 22- 28°C. Visibility is generally excellent all year round and in excess of 20-30m is the norm. Even in the rainy season the water is generally clear as there is virtually no runoff from the land. A 3-5mm wetsuit is generally advised.
The Bahamas is 5 hours behind GMT.
The legal tender throughout the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar (B$), which is on par with the US dollar. Though The Bahamas mints and circulates its own legal tender, both US and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands. ATMs are available throughout the islands, and Credit Cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
English is the official language of the Bahamas and most locals speak Bahamian English, the islands' dialect.
TELEPHONE AND INTERNET
4G is available throughout the islands, and many hotels and resorts provide Wi-Fi for guests.
Over the centuries, each new population that has settled in the Bahamas, with their different backgrounds, traditions and beliefs, has shaped Bahamian culture into the unique, colourful patchwork of life and lifestyles that it is today.
The islands of the Bahamas gained independence from Great Britain on 10 July 1973, which is celebrated as Bahamian Independence Day. As a member of the British Commonwealth, the Bahamas has a symbolic link to Great Britain and there's even a Changing of the Guards ceremony which takes place at Government House in Nassau every two weeks. Other events include the world-famous Junkanoo carnivals.
British Airways flies from London to Nassau airport (Sir Lynden Pindling International - NAS) five times a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The direct flight takes nine hours. After an overnight stay, daily flights are offered from Nassau to Bimini, approximately 45 minutes in duration.
Bimini can also be reached via cities in the USA, such as Miami, Florida.
Departure tax: $15 throughout the Bahamas.
Transfers: By local land and water taxi, paid locally.
Twin centre: The Bahamas makes an ideal twin centre destination, and you can combine a land-based holiday with a liveaboard for the ultimate dive holiday. Please ask one of our sales executives for more information.
PASSPORTS & VISAS
Passengers travelling to the Bahamas must have six months valid on their passport from the date of entry into the Bahamas. British passport holders visiting the Bahamas as a tourist do not need a visa, but you do need to complete an immigration card on arrival.
Note: If you are travelling to the Bahamas via the US, even if you are only transiting, you must check the US entry requirements. If you do not have the correct authorisation, you will not be allowed to travel to or transit through the US.
Guests should note that you may well be asked for proof of an exit or onward ticket and of sufficient funds to finance your stay ($200 / day) upon arrival in the country.
There are no compulsory vaccinations, but we recommend protection against tetanus and hepatitis A. Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up-to-date advice, please consult your travel clinic. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.
Guests should note that proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are travelling from an infected area.