If you are planning a trip to the Bahamas then you will need to take some provisions with you. I have been researching information about provisioning in the Bahamas and have discovered that most items you will need are available to purchase.
Many items carry a much higher price tag than they do outside of the Bahamas though. So, I wouldn’t panic if you forget something, you will likely be able to get that item on arrival or have it delivered shortly after.
However, if you are looking to keep costs down then there are some essential items you should stock up on before you leave for the Bahamas.
Read on for more detailed information and my top tips for planning a visit by yacht to the Bahamas.
What to Stock up On
Paper products such as toilet rolls, paper kitchen towel, and tissues are expensive so I suggest you stock up before you head for the Bahamas and take enough to last you for the length of your stay.
If you are a beer drinker, I advise you to take it with you as crates of beer are expensive. Rum, on the other hand, is not expensive!
Many cruisers take plenty of wine with them, bottles can be packed carefully or bagged wine brands removed from their boxes and stored in plastic containers are a good option.
Stock up on dried goods, canned goods, cereal and powdered milk, dried fruit, condiments and sauces, vinegar and oils.
Remember most condiments such as mayonnaise only need to be refrigerated once opened. Rather than stocking up on bulky soft drinks (cans or bottles) and mixers consider investing in a Soda-Club or Sodastream to make drinks up from concentrate and water.
What Not to Buy in the Bahamas
The locals may even be willing to trade beer for freshly caught lobster and conch! Paper products are expensive, avoid running out of paper towels, toilet paper and tissues if you can by bringing a plentiful supply with you.
Check all items you purchase for use by dates as sometimes items available for purchase in the Bahamas have actually expired and are passed their official dates or very close to expiring and, therefore, won’t last long.
Milk, although available is unlikely to be fresh and is expensive. Stock up on dried or heat treated alternatives (UHT) instead
Recommended Items to Buy in the Bahamas
Rum is plentiful in the Bahamas and relatively inexpensive. Other spirits and liquor are also available and cheaper than in the States.
Fresh produce is available to buy in the Bahamas. Local fresh fruit and vegetables will be cheaper to buy than anything imported and doesn’t store for long periods of time on yachts anyway.
Sawyers Jams (pineapple and pineapple coconut) are good to buy in the Bahamas. Other items to look out for are Jerk Seasoning and Pigeon Peas in Coconut milk – delicious served over Jasmine rice!
Fresh local fish is inexpensive – free if you fish for it yourself! Homemade Bahamian sweet breads such as banana bread and coconut bread, although expensive are a local speciality and worth the occasional treat.
Best Places to Buy
Fish can be bought from local suppliers on the islands. Most of the main islands in the Bahamas have grocery stores for supplies and they are often close to the marinas too.
When buying bulk items in the USA before leaving for the Bahamas look at bulk wholesale suppliers like Costco for many of your provisions.
Consider Staples for bulk toilet roll purchases as you can get the individually wrapped rolls in bulk – great for keeping them dry!
There are local markets in the Bahamas for purchasing local fruit and vegetables, buying direct from the grower is usually a cheaper option than a grocery store.
What to Bring for Extended Trip
Dried goods survive well for extended trips and can be supplemented with local, fresh ingredients.
Keeping a supply of condiments and sauces can add variety and flavor to otherwise repetitive meal choices.
Tinned and dehydrated vegetables can supplement a shortage of fresh vegetables and otherwise keep your costs down.
Consider tinned tomatoes in all their variations: diced, puree and whole for example along with mushrooms, stir-fry vegetables (water chestnuts, corn, bamboo shoots etc).
This applies to fruit too with dried and tinned fruit being cheap to bring with you to supplement fresh varieties available.
Plan to take dairy products with you such as sour cream, cheese, goats cheese and cream cheese.
They will keep well in the bottom of the fridge unopened. Dairy products can be expensive in the Bahamas although butter appears to have been subsidized.
Eating out is an option but not always an inexpensive one. You can buy groceries in the Bahamas as the locals have to eat too and the hotels and restaurants get their supplies from somewhere.
FoodStore2Go is a local grocery delivery service where you can order online, choose your delivery day and time and have provisions delivered directly to your yacht or hotel.
You will pay for convenience, but it could well be worth the hassle-free start to your yacht vacation or to stock up for your arrival. Minimum order values and a delivery fee apply.
Top Tip: Bring toilet paper and beer with you, but be sure to buy the local rum!
In my opinion, taking all or most of your provisions with you is a sensible way to be self-sufficient and ensure you are comfortable if there should be delays to your trip or unexpected shortages at your destination or along the way.
Remember that the Bahamas does experience hurricanes and should your trip coincide with a period post-hurricane you may find that most supplies are unavailable, in short supply or even more expensive than normal.
My advice is to have a stash of non-perishable items to ensure you are self-sufficient and may only need to supplement with cheap, fresh, local supplies when available.
If you are planning to sail the more remote areas then extensive provisioning would be sensible as many items could well be unavailable or super expensive if they are.
Want More Places to Provision?
Sign up to Cruising Sea newsletter to receive every two weeks the latest post straight to your inbox!
Where do you provision your boat in the Bahamas? Please, feel free to share your experiences in the comment below.