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Social Life in the Bahamas

Behavior

The Bahamians are conservative in most aspects of their lives and this is best seen in their behaviors, dress, and dining etiquette. They tend to dress and act conservatively, much of which is based on their deeply rooted Christian faith. However, there is also great variety in the way the Bahamians behave as the country is quite diverse ethnically.

As a visitor to the Bahamas try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Bahamas Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The clothing in the Bahamas is generally light, loose-fitting, and brightly colored and this hasn't changed much over time. As an island chain that has a relatively short history, there is little in the way of traditional or historical clothing. What is seen today is similar to what has been worn for much of the past century or two. For women this generally means sun dresses made from lightweight materials and every bright color one can think of in multiple patterns and styles. For men simple loose-fitting shirts and pants or shorts are the norm, which can also be colorful, but tend to be toned down a bit from the clothing of the women.

As a visitor to the Bahamas there is little expectation that you dress up. Many visitors only go to the Bahamas for the country's many beaches and hot weather so dressing in little clothing is common. However, swimwear should remain on the beaches; even if you are just dining at a restaurant on the beach or shopping at stands within sight of the beach it is best to put on a shirt, shorts, and shoes. Of course in most places this is as formal as it gets, but in business settings and in churches long pants and shirts should be worn.

This page was last updated: December, 2013