Bahamas Drinking Age: What You Need to Know When Drinking in The Bahamas (2023)

Wondering what The Bahamas’ drinking age is?

The Bahamas is a beautiful island nation located in the Atlantic Ocean, known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant nightlife.  

However, before you indulge in any alcoholic beverages during your visit, it is important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding the consumption of alcohol.

In this post, I will delve into the drinking age in The Bahamas and everything you need to know and follow to ensure a safe and responsible experience.

The legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18 years old, making it one of the lower drinking ages in the world.

There are also regulations in place to ensure responsible consumption of alcohol. 

For example, it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone who’s underage and there are strict laws against drunk driving.

Additionally, some establishments may have their own age restrictions and may require ID to be shown at the door.

It is also important to note that the police here take underage drinking very seriously and enforce the laws strictly.

That’s why, as a tourist, it is crucial to be aware of these laws and regulations and to follow them closely to avoid any legal trouble. 

In the next sections, I will go into more detail on the drinking age in the Bahamas and what you need to keep in mind to have a fun and safe experience.

Table of Contents

Bahamas Drinking Age: Drinking Law in The Bahamas

📜 What is the legal drinking age in The Bahamas?

The legal drinking age in The Bahamas is 18 years old.

The legal drinking age is the same on every island in The Bahamas, whether you’re in Nassau, Bimini, or Atlantis, the minimum legal age is 18.

This means that only individuals who are 18 or older are legally allowed to purchase, possess, and consume alcoholic beverages.

However, some bars, nightclubs, and restaurants may have their own age restrictions, which can be stricter than the legal drinking age.

For example, some establishments may only admit patrons who are 21 years or older, regardless of the legal drinking age.

It’s always a good idea to carry a form of identification with you, especially if you plan on consuming alcohol, to avoid any trouble with the authorities.

Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
The paradise island of Nassau

🔞 Why was the legal drinking age established?

There were two main reasons for establishing a legal drinking age in The Bahamas.

It was first established as a means of promoting responsible alcohol consumption and reducing the negative consequences associated with excessive drinking.

By setting the minimum age at which individuals can legally purchase and consume alcohol, the government of The Bahamas hopes to limit the amount of alcohol that is consumed by individuals who are still developing both physically and emotionally.

Lastly, the legal drinking age serves as a way to reduce alcohol-related accidents, such as drunk driving, and to reduce the instances of alcohol-related crime, such as disorderly conduct and vandalism. 

By setting a minimum age for drinking, the government is trying to reduce the harm that alcohol can cause to both individuals and society as a whole.

🚫 Are there any exceptions to this law in The Bahamas?

There are limited exceptions to this law in The Bahamas.

In some circumstances, minors may be allowed to consume alcohol under adult supervision, such as during religious ceremonies or in the context of cultural traditions.

However, these exceptions are rare and generally only apply in specific circumstances that tourists almost never find themselves in.

Beautiful aerial view of Bahamas Islands
Aerial view of the Bahamas

🏙️ Is the legal drinking age in The Bahamas the same in all cities?

Yes, the legal drinking age is the same throughout all cities and islands in The Bahamas.

  • The drinking age in Nassau Bahamas is 18 years old.
  • The drinking age in CocoCay is 18 years old.
  • The drinking age at Atlantis Bahamas is also 18 years old.

Whether you are visiting Nassau, enjoying a day at CocoCay, or experiencing the attractions at Atlantis, you can expect the legal drinking age to be 18 years old.

🤔 Why should you follow the legal drinking age?

There are several important reasons why individuals should follow the legal drinking age, not just in The Bahamas but everywhere.

Firstly, following the legal drinking age is the law and failure to do so can result in legal consequences, such as fines or imprisonment.

This is particularly true for the sale of alcohol to minors, which is strictly prohibited and can result in severe penalties. The last thing you want when visiting a country is legal troubles.

Secondly, following the legal drinking age promotes responsible alcohol consumption.

By setting a minimum legal age for drinking, governments across the world are trying to reduce the amount of alcohol that is consumed by individuals who are still developing both neurologically and physically. 

Thirdly, following the legal drinking age helps to maintain public safety. Out of all the controlled substances, alcohol by far causes the most incidents in the world.

In fact, deaths from alcohol every year outnumber deaths from all the other drugs combined.

By regulating access to alcohol, authorities are trying to reduce the incidents of drunk driving and other alcohol-related incidents, which can put the lives of others at risk.

👮🏽‍♂️ Is The Bahamas strict on the drinking age?

Yes, the Bahamian government is quite strict about the drinking age.

Businesses that serve or sell alcohol to minors can face significant penalties.

These may include fines, suspension or revocation of their liquor license, and even imprisonment in severe cases.

Additionally, the authorities conduct random checks to ensure that establishments are complying, and individuals who are caught violating it may face criminal charges.

Therefore, it is important for both establishments and individuals to take this law seriously and abide by it to avoid facing severe consequences.

Abaco island Bahamas
Abaco island in the Bahamas

🚔 What are the penalties if you get caught underage drinking in The Bahamas?

If you are underage and are found in possession or consumption of alcohol in The Bahamas, you can face fines and even imprisonment.

The penalties for breaking this law include a fine of up to $500 and up to two years in prison.

These penalties may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the offense and the discretion of the court. And yes, these laws are very strictly enforced in the island nation.

🚢 What is the legal drinking age on a Bahamas Cruise?

The legal drinking age on a Bahamas cruise typically follows the laws of the country where the ship is registered, which may or may not be The Bahamas.

However, most major cruise lines that operate in The Bahamas, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line, have a minimum drinking age of 21 years old for alcohol consumption on their ships, regardless of the port of call or country where the ship is registered.

Some cruise lines may allow passengers who are 18 to 20 years old to consume alcohol if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, but this varies depending on the cruise line’s policies.

It is essential to check with your cruise line before boarding to understand their policies regarding alcohol consumption and the legal drinking age.

💳 What ID do I need to drink in the Bahamas?

Acceptable forms of identification in The Bahamas include your passport, driver’s license, or government-issued ID card.

These forms of identification should include your name, date of birth, and a photograph to verify your identity.

It is important to note that some bars, nightclubs, and restaurants may have their own specific requirements for identification, so it is a good idea to carry your passport or other government-issued ID with you whenever you are drinking in The Bahamas.

beach, and hotel front
The Ocean Club a Four Season

Minimum Age Requirements for Other Substances in The Bahamas

The minimum age requirements for various substances in The Bahamas vary, and it is important to be aware of the current laws and regulations.

Here are the minimum age requirements for some commonly used substances:

  • Tobacco products: The minimum age for the purchase and use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, is 18 years old.
  • Alcohol: The minimum age for the purchase, possession, and consumption of any and all alcoholic beverages is also 18 years old.
  • Medicinal drugs: Medicinal drugs can only be purchased with a prescription from a licensed physician and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.
  • Illicit drugs: The use and sale of illicit drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, is strictly prohibited in The Bahamas and can result in severe legal consequences, including imprisonment.
  • Prescription drugs: The use of prescription drugs is generally only permitted with a prescription from a licensed physician and under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

It is important to note that these minimum age requirements are subject to change, and individuals should always be aware of the current laws and regulations related to substance use in The Bahamas.

Minimum Age Requirements for Other Activities in The Bahamas

🚗 Driving

The minimum age requirement for driving in The Bahamas is 18 years old. However, one can get a learner’s permit at 17.

Individuals who are 18 years or older and have a valid driver’s license from their home country may drive in The Bahamas for up to three months.

After that, they are required to obtain a Bahamian driver’s license.

To obtain a Bahamian driver’s license, individuals must pass a written test, a road test, and a vision test.

The written test covers the local traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving practices, while the road test assesses the individual’s driving skills and abilities.

It is important to note that traffic laws and regulations in The Bahamas are similar to those in the USA and the UK, with a few exceptions, such as driving on the left side of the road.

🚙 Renting a car

The minimum age for renting a car in The Bahamas is 18. However, most car rental companies set their minimum age requirement at 21 years old. 

Regardless of the minimum age, car rental companies will charge a young driver surcharge for renters under 25 years of age. 

In order to rent a car, you must present a valid driver’s license and a major credit card for a security deposit.

It is important to check with the specific car rental company for their age requirements and any additional restrictions or fees that may apply. 

Different car rental companies may have varying age restrictions, so it’s essential to confirm the specific requirements with the company before making a reservation. 

🚬 Smoking

The Bahamian government has established laws to regulate the sale and use of all tobacco products, and individuals must be at least 18 years old to purchase and use these products legally. 

🤿 Scuba diving

The minimum age requirement for scuba diving certification in The Bahamas is 10 years old.

This means that individuals who are 10 years old or older can complete the coursework at home and then participate in the Open Water Dive training in The Bahamas.

For children who are 8 or 9 years old, there is the Scuba Ranger program, which allows them to learn to dive in confined water only.

This program is designed specifically for younger children and provides an introduction to the world of scuba diving under the direct supervision of a dive instructor.

🏊 Other water sports

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set minimum age requirement for all water sports activities in the country.

The minimum age requirement can vary depending on the specific activity, the operator providing the service, and local regulations.

As a general guideline, some popular water sports activities have the following age requirements:

  • Snorkeling: Most operators for snorkeling in the Bahamas require participants to be at least 10 years old.
  • Kayaking: Most operators require participants to be at least 10 years old. Some operators will let children between 6-10 go kayaking if they’re accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Windsurfing: There’s no legal age requirement for windsurfing, but most operators have their own age requirements which vary quite a bit.
  • Jet Skiing: Legally you have to be 17 years old to operate a jet ski alone.

Please keep in mind that these age requirements can vary between operators.

It is important to check with the specific operator for their age requirements and any additional restrictions or fees that may apply.

Additionally, individuals should be comfortable with the activity and have the necessary physical and mental abilities to participate.

A couple snorkeling in the Bahamas

12 Must-Try Alcoholic Drinks in The Bahamas

#1 Painkiller

The Painkiller is a well-known tropical cocktail that was first created at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands in the 1970s.

The drink is a twist on the Piña Colada and is made with a mixture of dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream. 

Pusser’s Rum is the preferred rum for this cocktail, as it is a recreation of the British Royal Navy rum that was once issued to sailors.

The Painkiller is a staple on menus at bars and restaurants throughout The Bahamas, and is especially popular among tourists visiting the islands for a tropical getaway.

The drink can be enjoyed on its own, or as a base for other cocktails, making it a versatile drink that is well-loved by many. 

#2 Goombay Smash

The Goombay Smash is a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail that has become a staple for summertime sipping.

The drink offers the right balance of tartness and sweetness with the tropical flavors of coconut, making it a hit at summer gatherings.

Each island in the Bahamas has its version of the drink, but the original was created by Emily Cooper, also known as “Miss Emily,” at the Blue Bee Bar in New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay. 

Although Miss Emily passed away in 1977, her daughter Violet Smith now runs the famous bar and serves the infamous Goombay Smash to visitors from all over the world.

If you visit the Green Turtle Cay, make sure to visit her Blue Beer Bar to try out the original!

#3 Rum Punch

Bahamian rum punch is a delicious, tropical cocktail that is a favorite in the Bahamas and beyond.

The punch is made with rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice, and grenadine, and is typically served over ice with a garnish of fruit.

This refreshing drink is perfect for sipping on a hot day.

While there are many variations of the rum punch in The Bahamas, there are a few key ingredients that are typically included. 

The rum is the star of the show (duh), and is usually a dark or golden rum that has a rich, complex flavor.

The fruit juices add sweetness and tang, and the grenadine provides a beautiful pink color and a hint of sweetness. 

Some recipes may also include other ingredients like coconut water, nutmeg, or bitters, which add depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

Whatever the recipe, rum punch is a delicious and refreshing cocktail that is sure to be a hit with anyone who tries it.

bahamas drinking age
Rum punch, a delicious tropical drink

#4 Bahama Mama

The Bahama Mama is a popular tropical cocktail that is well-known for its fruity and sweet taste.

This colorful cocktail is typically made with rum, coconut rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and a splash of grenadine.

It is often garnished with a pineapple slice, cherry, and orange wedge, giving it quite a colorful appearance to go with the great taste.

The drink is believed to have been created in the Caribbean, possibly in the Bahamas, where it has become a staple drink.

It is said that the cocktail was created to embody the spirit of the islands, with its bright colors and tropical flavors.

Its sweet and fruity taste makes it a popular choice for vacationers and those who want to experience the Caribbean vibe at home.

#5 Daiquiri

The Daiquiri is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century.

The origins of this drink can be traced back to Cuba in the late 1800s, where it was first created as a simple mix of rum, lime juice, and sugar. 

Over time, it has evolved into a more complex and versatile drink, with variations that incorporate everything from fresh fruit to herbs and spices.

Despite its humble beginnings, the drink has become a staple in cocktail culture and can be found on menus around the world.

The classic recipe calls for white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, which are shaken with ice and strained into a chilled glass.

The result is a smooth and tangy drink that is sure to please any palate.

#6 Piña Colada

“If you like piña colada, and getting caught in the rain…” is the iconic opening to the song by Rupert Holmes, but it’s also a perfect description of the ideal time to enjoy the famous tropical drink.

A delicious blend of rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream, the piña colada is a quintessential Caribbean cocktail that evokes images of white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and crystal-clear waters.

The combination of sweet pineapple juice and rich coconut cream or coconut milk is balanced by the rum, creating a smooth and tropical taste that is hard to resist.

The drink is typically served in a tall glass with ice, and garnished with a wedge of fresh pineapple and a cherry.

#7 Rebellious Fish

If you’re looking for a refreshing and fruity drink to enjoy on your next tropical vacation, the Rebellious Fish should definitely be on your list. 

This signature drink of Norwegian Cruise Line is a colorful concoction that’s sure to catch your eye, and it’s just as tasty as it is visually appealing. 

To make this drink, bartenders mix passion fruit liqueur, vodka, and orange liqueur, then top it off with sparkling wine and fresh berries.

The resulting blend is served in a souvenir fishbowl glass, making it a fun and unique way to enjoy a tropical beverage.

#8 Sky Juice

Sky Juice, also known as Gully Wash, is a classic Bahamian cocktail that is made with coconut water, condensed milk, and gin or rum.

In the Bahamas, it is a popular drink that’s often sold by street vendors and at beach bars. Sky juice is typically served in a plastic cup or bottle and garnished with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. 

The combination of sweet, creamy condensed milk and the refreshing, slightly nutty flavor of coconut water is a perfect match, while the addition of rum or gin gives it a bit of a kick.

It’s a drink that’s loved by locals and visitors alike.

#9 The Yellow Bird

The Yellow Bird is a tropical cocktail that’s both sweet and tart, with a kick of rum to boot.

It’s a popular drink in the Bahamas and can often be found throughout the islands. The recipe typically includes rum, triple sec, lime juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice.

This combination gives the yellow bird its signature bright yellow color and fruity flavor.

One of the best things about this drink is how easy it is to make and how easy it is to add one’s own twist to the recipe.

Some bartenders like to add a splash of grenadine for a touch of sweetness, while others may add a dash of bitters for a more complex flavor profile.

That means if you try the yellow bird at five different bars, you’re very likely to get five different, yet very enjoyable, experiences.

#10 Pirate Republic Beer

Pirate Republic Brewing Company is a well-known brewery in The Bahamas that produces a variety of delicious craft beers.

They also offer a variety of other beers including IPAs, stouts, and pilsners, all of which are made with the highest quality ingredients to ensure a superior taste.

One of Pirate Republic Brewing Company’s most popular beers is the “Gold & Haze of Piracy,” an unfiltered wheat beer that’s light and refreshing with a fruity aroma and a slightly tart finish. 

Another popular one is the “Black Beer’d Stout,” a dark and complex beer with notes of dark chocolate and coffee.

The brewery also offers a variety of seasonal beers throughout the year, so there’s always something new and exciting to try.

#11 Kalik Beer

Kalik (pronounced klick) is a beer that is synonymous with The Bahamas.

Established in 1988 by the Commonwealth Brewery, Kalik is the “official beer of The Bahamas” and is known for its refreshing taste, smooth finish, and iconic blue can.

It is a light-bodied, easy-drinking beer that is perfect for the tropical climate of The Bahamas.

Kalik has become a favorite of locals and tourists alike and is the go-to beer for many when relaxing on the beach or enjoying the nightlife of Nassau.

The beer is available in several varieties, including Kalik Gold, Kalik Light, Kalik Radler, and Kalik Lime, all of which offer a unique and delicious drinking experience.

The Kalik brand is also heavily involved in promoting Bahamian culture and is a proud sponsor of many local events and festivals.

#12 Sands Beer

Sands beer is another popular Bahamian brand that’s brewed by Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company.

The company was founded in 2008 and is based on the Grand Bahama Island.

Sands beer is made with the finest imported hops and barley, as well as locally-sourced water that is naturally filtered through the island’s limestone rock.

This unique blend of ingredients gives the beer a crisp and clean taste that is both satisfying and easy to drink.

The brand is well-known for its refreshing taste and is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.

FAQs about drinking in The Bahamas

🔞 Can you drink at 16 in The Bahamas?

No, the legal drinking age in The Bahamas is 18.

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase, consume, or possess alcoholic beverages in public places such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. 

There are also laws against supplying alcohol to minors. Enforcement of these laws is very strict, and those who break these laws can face fines and imprisonment. 

However, it’s worth noting that underage drinking does occur in some places, and parents or guardians can legally provide alcohol to their own children in private settings.

It’s always important to be responsible and follow the laws and guidelines in place.

🍹 Can an American drink in The Bahamas at 18?

Yes, the legal drinking age in The Bahamas is 18 years old.

So, an American of legal drinking age in their home state can also drink alcohol in The Bahamas at 18 years old. 

However, while The Bahamas may have a lower drinking age than some American states, it is still important to drink responsibly and in accordance with local laws and customs.

🏛️ How does the drinking age compare to the other countries of the world?

As a point of comparison, in the United States, the legal drinking age is 21 years old. In Canada, the legal drinking age is 18 or 19 years old depending on the province. 

In many European countries, the legal drinking age is 18 years old, although some countries, like Belgium and Germany, allow drinking beer and wine at 16 years old.

In some countries, there is no legal drinking age at all, although alcohol may only be consumed in certain settings or under certain circumstances.

Laws and cultural attitudes towards alcohol can vary widely around the world, and visitors to any country should be aware of local laws and customs regarding alcohol consumption.

🏝️ Can I drink on a Cruise Line Private Island in the Bahamas?

If the private island is owned by a Bahamian-based cruise line, then the minimum drinking age is likely to be 18 years old, as it is in The Bahamas. 

However, some cruise lines may have their own policies regarding drinking age on their private islands that differ from the local laws.

It is important to check with the specific cruise line for their policy on drinking age on their private islands.

📢 Can I drink in public in the Bahamas?

Yes, you can drink alcohol in public in The Bahamas. Although there are open container laws, they’re almost never enforced. 

Still, excessive public drinking can lead to arrest or fines, as public drunkenness is considered a public nuisance.

Overall, while drinking in public is legal in The Bahamas, it is important to do so responsibly and with consideration for others.

🌴 What is the CocoCay Bahamas drinking age?

The drinking age on the Royal Caribbean’s private island is 21 years old. 

❓ Do all countries have a minimum drinking age?

No. Currently, there are 7 countries in the world that have no minimum drinking age laws.

These countries are Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Togo, Vanuatu, and Western Sahara.

💧 Can you drink tap water in the Bahamas?

Yes, tap water in The Bahamas is generally considered safe to drink.

However, I recommended that you drink bottled or filtered water instead.

This is because tap water may contain higher/different levels of minerals and bacteria than what you are accustomed to in your home country.

The quality of the tap water may also vary between different islands and regions of the Bahamas, so it’s best to check with locals or travel guides to determine the safest options for drinking water. 

🌎 What country has the youngest drinking age?

At 15, Mali and the Central African Republic are tied for the youngest drinking age in the world.

Both countries allow the sale, purchase, and consumption of alcohol to individuals who are 15 and above.

Final Thoughts: Bahamas drinking age

So that’s the lowdown on the drinking age in The Bahamas!

To sum it up, you must be 18 years old to legally purchase and consume alcohol in The Bahamas.

However, cruise lines and private islands might have their own policies regarding the drinking age.

For example, a lot of cruise lines in The Bahamas only serve alcohol to individuals who are 21 and above.

In any case, you won’t find the drinking age to be below 18 anywhere in the island nation.

The most important thing is to drink responsibly and in moderation.

Be aware of your surroundings and who you are drinking with to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

With its vibrant culture and delicious cocktails, The Bahamas is a fantastic place to kick back and relax with a drink, as long as you do so responsibly.