First, the internet
in the Bahamas is not like in the US. It's much better than it used to be but approach it with reasonable expectations. You will have times with no service.
It is still extremely expensive to use Verizon for data in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is also NOT included in the new Verizon Travelpass program that let's you use your US data for $10/day overseas.
And as already mentioned - wifi
We have a spare Verizon Iphone 5s. If you don't have an old phone, these are very cheap
to buy on ebay. And all Verizon Iphones are unlocked. We want this as a spare if one of the other iphones has a problem or falls in the bottom of the dinghy
- just swap in the sim. There's no easy place in the Bahamas to get an Iphone fixed except maybe Nassau
When we clear customs
, we go to the local Batelco store and buy a prepaid Batelco Sim to put in the old 5s for about $10 (warning - most Batelco offices close for lunch). The nice people in the store always cut the sim and install it for me. I then put about $120 of "top up" on the phone. 5GB of data costs about $50 (plus a couple of dollars of tax). So this let's me refill with another 5GB when the first runs out. You do this by sending SMS messages from the phone. You also get a Bahamas phone number which is very handy getting return calls from marinas
, taxis and restaurants.
I then leave the old 5S plugged in on the chart table with hotspot turned on. Computers
, ipads, and phones all connect to the hotspot and work like home. Speed isn't as good as the states but not bad - I have streamed TV of Red Sox games.
Most islands have a Batelco tower right there so signal strength is good. If not near a tower, I put the 5s into a plastic bag and raise it 10ft up a flag halyard
. High enough for better reception
but not too high for the hotspot range. I bring it down at bedtime to recharge.
For really tough spots far from a tower, I have a Wilson 4G amplifier that supports four bands including 3G and LTE. It comes with a directional antenna
. I haven't bothered to permanently installed it since it's needed rarely. I just plug
it in, run the coax out a hatch
and hang the antenna
on a lifeline pointing towards the cell tower. Obviously this only works at anchor