What to Wear in the Bahamas

Island life is the very definition of the Bahamas. The people are friendly, the weather is perfect, and you can pretty much find a party most days of the week. Which is why it was so hard to leave the beautiful, glassy waters of this Caribbean utopia just a short 30-minute flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

What to Wear

Whether you are a tourist or a local, attire reflects the casual but beachy vibe of this nation of 700-plus islands. Color is as important as style. Make it bright and make it light is the major rule! Especially if you are not used to the heat (being from Houston, it was actually a welcome change!), wearing as little as possible without being disrespectful will help you stay cool and be comfortable. There is no shortage of activities to help your vacation or stay be probably some of the most fun you will have had in a while. Packing is easy as you can wear your cover-up straight from the beach to the marketplace – just be sure to wear a light top or even a vest over your swim top (unless it’s a swim tank which can act as a top).

The “fish fry” is a popular local celebration that happens once a week in various areas of any given island. May sound innocuous, but these community celebrations are actually big happy hour parties held at local bars or outdoor patio venues. Just ask your hotel or cab driver for days and locations of that week’s fish fries. Attire is party casual, so if you have the urge to “dress up”, slip on some fancier flat sandals (they are usually by the beach), a light and airy off-the-shoulder top, and a mini skirt. A fabulous maxi will also work well, although, if you sweat a lot, you may want to opt for something shorter to combat the sticky heat.

More tips:

  • Maxi dresses can translate easily from day to night – just change your shoes and add some more bling to make it comfortable.
  • Can’t stress this enough – flat sandals, casual tennis shoes, flats or even platform wedges are your best bets for a comfortable walk around the island.
  • Some areas may require your walking across wooden planks for a bit to get to the beach. To make the trip easier, go for sandals that wrap around your ankle or even waterproof flats.
  • Color, color, color! Corals, yellows, and bright blues look great against the rainbow of hues around the island, the sun, the sand, and the sea. Neutrals are a great way to look chic, too, with just a few bright accessories (such as a brightly colored or metallic cross-body bag).
  • Accessorize. Hats are huge here, not only to protect you from the sun but also to add some flair to your ensemble. Straw fedoras are the island favorite amongst locals and tourists.
  • Use your bathing suit top as an underlayer. You never know when an impromptu beach excursion may happen, plus it’s a great way to wick away sweat without sacrificing clean undies and bras that don’t dry as well.

Shopping and Designers

  • Port Lucaya Marketplace (Freeport) – A great place to shop and eat. After you scarf down some conch (pronounced “conk”) fritters, the island favorite, take a stroll through both the mid-scale shops and local stands where vendors selling souvenirs, cute dresses and some of the most abundant collections of straw items in the Caribbean, greet and chat with you happily. A great place to stay as well and right on a marina.
  • International Bazaar (Freeport) – Vendors selling wares from more than 25 countries in this downtown marketplace are interspersed amongst cafes to rest your weary touring bones. (Open 7 days/week, 9 am – 6 pm)
  • Bay Street (Nassau) – All your favorite designers (think Gucci and Fendi) – and some that you may not have heard of.
  • Straw Market (Nassau) – Near Bay Street, this is THE largest straw product market in the Bahamas and one of the largest in the world. Hats, bags, baskets…bring home some of the island life! (Open 7 days/week, 7 am – 8 pm)
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