When we visited the Bahamas, we flew in & out of the Nassau Airport. This airport was not only a great start to our vacation, it was even better when we departed! In my review of the Nassau Bahamas airport, I’ll share our experience and give you some tips on what to expect.
Nassau Airport Review tl;dr
If you visit Nassau, Bahamas, the main airport is Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). Located on the Northwestern part of New Providence Island, Nassau Airport is fairly small. But it’s modern and clean with a decent range of facilities and services that often exceeded our expectations.
As you fly into NAS, I hope you have a window seat because the views of the water and islands are incredible.
NAS Arrivals tl;dr
Once we landed, we found Nassau Airport to be similar but a little nicer than other Caribbean airports.
Although we had a 30 minute wait for our checked bag, there was almost no line to get our passport stamped and no inspection after we got our bag. There is a Fast Track service but it would have made zero difference for us.
After customs, there’s a small area with restrooms and lounges for Atlantis, Baha Bay, Sandals & Lifestyle Luxury Vacation Club. There’s also a couple places to buy food and even a small liquor store on arrival.
Outside of arrivals, you’ll find taxis, private cars for hire and a small car rental building for Avis, Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty.
Read our full trip report: Nassau on a Budget!
NAS Departures tl;dr
After 4 nights at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar (our $1100/night suite was free), we flew back home on a Tuesday at 1p. There is a dedicated US departures terminal at LPIA that was practically empty. No lines at check-in or at security.
And it got better from there…
Even though it’s a foreign country, there’s a full US Customs operation in this terminal. Just like in the US, there are lines for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and MPC. But even the normal customs line was pretty empty when we were there. You should probably budget 30-45 minutes to get thru in case you’re not as lucky with the crowds.
Past security & customs, there’s a food court (which closes around 6pm), a full service restaurant with bar, several shops and a small Priority Pass Lounge hidden inside the Graycliff boutique.
To reach our gate at the far end of the terminal, we only had a 5 minute walk.
Overall, my Nassau Airport review is almost 100% positive. If you want more details, read my comprehensive review of the airport below.
Use the Table of Contents to jump to the section that you want:
Landing & Arrivals
Landing in the Bahamas is breathtaking. With many shades of blue water, the white sand and green trees are a sign that you can relax: Welcome to Paradise!
After a very short taxi, our United Airlines jet pulled up to a gate at the dedicated US terminal at NAS Airport.
Similar to when we’ve taken free trips to other foreign airports (like Montego Bay in Jamaica, Cancun, and St Martin), we wound our way though a bright yellow maze towards Immigration & Passport control. This is where we got our first real taste of the Bahamian vibe.
Quite unexpectedly, we crossed paths with a Pirate of the Caribbean on the escalator up to immigrations!
Decked out as a pirate who’d look right at home with Captain Jack Sparrow, our pirate was harassing all the tourists invading his island. When he noticed me filming him, he drew his flintlock pistol on us!
He threatened that his old-school firearm was a much better shot than the camera I was using to shoot him!
I’ll hand it to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, this was a nice touch that got our vacation off to a great start!
After the Nassau pirate, we had a very short line at Bahamas Immigration.
Since we had been given a paper Bahamas Immigration Form on the flight, we went straight to the very short immigration line.
Pro Tip: Anytime you fly to a foreign country, carry a pen with you on the plane so it’s easy to fill out paper immigration forms.
While the room could fill up with a few hundred people, our wait was super short… only 10 people in front of us.
In less than 5 minutes, our passports were stamped and we headed down an escalator to the small Baggage Claim area.
Since we arrived ahead of other flights, baggage claim was relatively empty. It’s pretty small with only 3 luggage carousels.
Baggage Claim did start to fill up while waiting a half-hour for our luggage to arrive. There were plenty of porters available to help if you have too many bags to carry by yourself.
Pro Tip: Our luggage came out on a different carousel than the signs indicated. This apparently is common at this airport.
With our bag claimed, we stepped over to the customs area. To our surprise, we were waved thru the inspection stations with none of the usual questions and bag checks.
From stepping off our plane to getting thru customs, it was about 40 minutes until we were outside the airport.
Nassau Airport Fast Track
Starting at $200 per passenger, you can use the Fast Track service at Nassau Airport for Arrival and or Departure.
Arrival Fast Track provides a staff person as you exit your plane, a VIP Lounge to enjoy while they retrieve your bags and then you’re escorted through Bahamas Customs.
Departure Fast Track is $300 per person and also has a staff greet you to shepherd you through check-in, security and customs.
You can purchase both Arrival & Departure Fast Track at NAS for $450 per person.
On our trip, there would have been no real time savings to using Fast Track because there were no lines. While it would have been nice to have a drink in the Fast Track Lounge instead of waiting for our bag, it certainly wouldn’t be worth $400… or $900 for Arrival and Departure Fast Track!
Especially since our entire trip, including flights, suite, a day trip into Nassau, and food and drink was less than $1000!
On the other hand, if you arrive & depart when there’s a long line in Customs & Immigrations, or you just prefer a premium experience, you may want to splurge on Fast Track.
Arrival Shops & Lounges
Once we exited customs, we found ourselves in a small but functional Arrivals area. It featured a Dunkin’ Donuts, a small convenience store, and lounges dedicated to major Nassau resorts.
There were arrival lounges for Atlantis, Baha Bay, Sandals & Lifestyle Luxury Vacation Club.
We didn’t stop but the Baha Mar lounge was the largest of these arrival lounges for the major resorts in Nassau.
Liquor Store on Arrival
For those interested, there is a liquor store within the arrivals area: 700 Wines & Spirits.
Beer & liquor prices are pretty high compared to in the US but still lower than what you’ll get on most resorts.
For example, a 6 pack of Coors Light was $15 vs $9 at home. The local beer Kalik was $13.25 for a 6 pack.
Since beer, wine & liquor are quite a bit more expensive at resorts, you might consider stocking up before you leave the airport if you’re trying to keep your budget low.
Transportation from Nassau airport to our resort was an experience in itself. Once outside NAS, there were 4 main options for airport transportation.
- Car Rental
- Town Cars aka Private Cars for Hire
The other main transportation option in Nassau would be the local Jitney Mini Bus. While we rode several Jitneys during our Nassau vacation, there is no Jitney service at the Nassau Airport.
If you want to explore the island, renting a car at the Nassau Airport is probably your best option. The car rental building is just past the taxi & shuttle lines. Inside the building are desks for 4 rental car companies:
- Dollar & Thrifty
Shuttle to Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island
If you’re going to Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, there are shuttles that you can prearrange for one way or round trip transportation.
There is not a free shuttle from the airport to Atlantis, Paradise Island. However, shuttle prices are less than $20 per person each way.
Taxis at Nassau Airport
Since there’s no Uber or Lyft in Nassau, taxis are plentiful at the airport and across the island. But there were 2 confusing things about getting a taxi at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
First, Taxi rates are displayed on a sign outside the airport, but the sign is WRONG!
When I tried to get a confirmed cost for our taxi ride, every driver told me the sign was wrong. That just seems a little crazy, but ok.
On top of that problem, there was no sign telling tourists where to line up. There was no one in an official looking uniform, just alot of people around the line of taxis.
Eventually, I realized that there was an official person responsible for matching tourists with taxis. This lady didn’t have on a uniform or hat or anything that made her stand out.
The only way I could tell she was official? She was yelling the loudest, lol.
While it’s nothing compared to the utter mayhem of the Cancun Airport, a couple of big (correct) signs would have made getting a taxi at NAS airport easier.
Condition of Bahamas Taxi Cabs
As opposed to taxis in the states, the taxis in Nassau vary widely in size, shape & condition. In the airport taxi line, we saw taxis that would struggle to seat 2 people and we saw large SUV’s and mini vans. While a few looked brand new, some looked beat up and filthy.
For example, here’s inside our taxi from the resort to the airport. It was not the worst taxi that we saw. It was fine, just a little old and worn out. But we did have a handy ashtray!
Once you identify the “official” taxi person, tell them if you have special needs like a taxi with a baby car seat, extra space for a large group, or if you need to pay for a taxi with a credit card. In our case, I asked about a grocery store stop.
She paired us with a taxi & I asked the driver about stopping at a grocery store on the way to the resort. We wanted to load up with with snacks & drinks to save money at the Baha Mar resort. On top of the standard $30 taxi fare, I was quoted $1.25-1.50 per minute to wait!
Since I didn’t know how long would it take me to shop, I found that a private car for hire was a better option.
Most taxis in the Bahamas are cash only. If you’re departing the Nassau Airport, you can specify that you need a taxi with a credit card reader. If you’re catching a cab from a resort, the hotel staff can help get a taxi that accepts credit cards.
No, rideshare apps like Uber & Lyft are not available in Nassau or anywhere in the Bahamas.
Limo & Black Car for Hire
Right next to the taxi line, there are limousines and black cars that you can hire to take you anywhere on the island.
Why take a limo or a black car from the Nassau airport?
- Larger group or lots of luggage
- Prefer to ride in luxury
- Don’t want to ride in a dirty, worn out, or beat up taxi
Expect to pay double or triple for a town car vs a taxi if it’s just 2 or 3 of you. If there are 4 or more in your party, it might be about the same cost per person. And, as we later learned, you might be able to negotiate a even better deal in a limo!
While I was asking a taxi driver about a grocery store stop, a driver of a black town car approached & told me he could help get us to our resort.
Transportation to Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Theodore quoted us $50 for transportation from the airport to Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, including a stop for groceries. While his Lincoln MKT Town Car wasn’t new (2010 model), it was clean, roomy and we certainly felt like we were riding in luxury.
After he helped us get our bags in the back, I asked about the official Cab Fare sign.
He said yes, the sign was old and wrong. Apparently, there are several competing authorities who claim jurisdiction over airport transportation and that leads to confusion.
He also told us that taxi drivers cannot deviate from the legal fares. However, private black car drivers like him could negotiate and charge whatever they want.
His typical price for airport transportation to Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is $90 but he gave us a big discount. He charged us $50 and I gave him a $20 tip for being so helpful and friendly.
Nassau Airport Transportation Recommendations
Of these 4 options, what’s the best way to get from the Nassau airport to your resort? All 4 transportation methods have their own pros & cons.
Car rental: Definitely rent a car if you want the most flexibility to explore New Providence Island. Driving in the Bahamas is not too different than driving in the USA but you drive on the left side of the road.
Airport Shuttle: If you prearrange a shuttle, this can be a convenient way to get to your resort.
Taxi: A taxi cab is probably the cheapest option for getting from the Nassau Airport to Atlantis Paradise Island, Baha Mar and other major resorts. Be aware that the condition of taxi cabs in Nassau vary so your taxi from the airport might be more worn out than you expect.
Limos & Town Cars: If you want a nicer experience or have a larger group, getting a black car service at NAS is probably your best option.
We took a private car from the airport to our hotel for $50. At the end of our vacation, we took a taxi from Grand Hyatt Baha Mar to the Nassau Airport for $30. In hindsight, I think those were the best choices for us.
Departures via US Terminal
After our resort stay, our return flight departed from Nassau Airport on a Tuesday afternoon.
Even though we knew there was both a main terminal and a terminal dedicated to US flights, we were still surprised at how helpful the US Terminal was for us. Departure was quicker, better, and easier then we could have hoped for it to be.
No, NAS Arrivals stays open until the last plane arrives but NAS Departures closes at 6pm. Delayed flights will leave but Customs, shops and food court all close at 6pm.
Yes. For departures, customs and all shops and food closes at 6pm each day.
In the US Terminal, there were ticket counters for United, Southwest, American, JetBlue and a few others.
They were all empty.
Like, there were maybe 10 travelers in a terminal built for 500 when we arrived.
With no line, we walked right up to the United ticket counter. Within 3-4 minutes, the agent had reviewed our documents and checked our 1 luggage bag. We were issued our boarding passes and turned left towards the security check area.
Besides the ticketing counters, there’s not much before security. There is a small gift shop where you can get souvenirs, drinks & snacks before security.
Although our tickets were tagged for TSA PreCheck, we didn’t expect what happened next.
NAS Airport Security & Customs
When we’ve been on free trips to foreign airports like Montego Bay & Cancun, we expect security to be different than back home at our Nashville airport. In the case of Nassau, airport security was smaller, quicker and better than BNA!
As we approached the security lines, we were surprised to see a dedicated line for TSA PreCheck passengers.
Yes, since 2022, passengers can breeze through TSA PreCheck lines in security at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau.
Yes, Lynden Pindling International Airport is the first airport outside of the US to offer TSA PreCheck. It works just like TSA PreCheck in domestic US airports.
Since this terminal is dedicated to US flights, it’s different than any other foreign airport.
Just like in a domestic airport, there was both a normal security line for passengers and a TSA PreCheck line. Even though there was no wait in either line, we still used our TSA PreCheck.
The baggage scanners are the new CT machines, similar to what our luggage goes through in the Nashville airport.
On most days, we’re told the security wait times are 30 minutes or less.
Verizon Cell Phone Signal at Nassau Airport
btw, my Verizon signal was very strong inside this area. If there was a wait, at least we would have had a good cell phone signal.
After security, we got another very pleasant surprise.
US Customs in Nassau
Not only does Nassau Airport have TSA Precheck, there’s a fully staffed US Customs & Border Patrol area!
At most other foreign airports, you go through that country’s immigration at departure and then go through US Customs after you arrive in the USA. Nassau’s dedicated US departure terminal is different.
You actually complete the US Customs process before you board your flight. When arriving in the US, you do not have to go through Customs!
In fact, Nassau airport has offered Preclearance since 1974 since 80% of travelers are from the US. NAS is one of 15 locations in six countries offering Preclearance, along with Aruba, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. The program enables CBP officers to perform the same immigration, customs, and agriculture clearances typically done upon arrival in the United States.
Inside the dedicated US Terminal in Nassau, there are 3 separate options for US Customs:
- Normal US Customs: can be a long wait at busy times
- Global Entry: expedited customs & always a short line
- Mobile Passport Control: free, expedited, always short lines
Normal US Customs Line
Just like at home, you wait your turn and then present your passport to a US Customs Agent. While there was almost no line when we arrived, you should expect 30-60 minutes to clear Customs in Nassau.
After maybe a 30 second wait in line, a very pleasant Customs agent called us to her position. She checked both our passports and we cleared customs in less than 2 minutes.
For most travelers, this is where you exit customs to the departure gates.
btw, no pictures in Customs but here’s a picture looking back outside the exit.
Unlike most travelers, we didn’t exit yet.
Last year, we signed up for Global Entry but hadn’t completed the final in-person interview so we opted to do that in Nassau!
For passengers who have Global Entry, you already know how convenient it is compared to the normal customs process. If you don’t have Global Entry, get it or get MPC!
At the Nassau Airport, there are 4 Global Entry kiosks where you can scan your passport and scan your fingerprints.
After you complete a customs declaration, the kiosk issues your transaction receipt and sends you on your way!
Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival in Nassau
What a surprise that we could complete the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival in the Bahamas!
After a short wait, Agent Boswell conducted our Enrollment interviews and we officially had Global Entry!
Including our 2 interviews (Zuzu went 1st), it only took 20 minutes to go from United’s check-in counter to our gate.
If we had used the normal lines, security and customs at the Nassau Airport would have been less than 5 minutes! Just keep in mind that we got lucky with an empty airport.
Mobile Passport Control
MPC may be the best kept secret of international travel! Unlike Global Entry, Mobile Passport Control is free!
Mobile Passport Control is an official US government app that essentially puts your customs declaration form into a mobile app on your phone. Just like the paper form, you can cover your whole family with it. For each person, you add a selfie to the MPC App.
The biggest benefit of MPC is that there’s a dedicated MPC line at many airports. Since very few travelers use MPC, the lines are MUCH shorter than the normal customs line. That mean you’ll get through customs quicker!
Fun fact: the first time we used MPC, the MPC line was even shorter than the Global Entry line! We got through US Customs faster with the free MPC App vs the Global Entry travelers!
Bottom line on Security & Customs at NAS? Either get MPC or Global Entry to get through the Nassau Airport fast. Or you can try to get lucky like we did and the airport will be empty!
If you depart at the same time as lots of other flights, budget 30-60 minutes to clear security & US Customs.
Entering Nassau, customs usually takes less than 30 minutes. Departing Nassau, you should budget 30-60 minutes.
The official answer is 3 hours for flights from Nassau but you’re probably safe to arrive 2 hours early. For us, it was less than 30 minutes from exiting our taxi to when we arrived at our gate.
Food, Shops, & Lounge
After you exit US Customs, there are escalators going up to the food court and Duty Free Shops.
While there are only a handful of shops, we looked though Cays News and Gifts, Adorn Jewelry, & Pirana Joe. Zuzu wanted a few more gifts for friends so she checked out the ‘Made in Bahamas’ gift shop, where she bought some local souvenirs.
Just like in most airports, there was a Hudson store, offering a broad selection of books, snacks, and travel essentials.
In addition to Hudson and the standard airport stores, the shops with a Nassau theme include:
- Adorn: Jewelry, Kimonos, & Scarves
- My Ocean: Locally made soaps and candles
- Uniquely Bahamian: Locally made jewelry and art
Food Court, Restaurants & Bars
The food court had a mix of options from Starbucks to Wendy’s, Quiznos sandwiches, a sushi bar and even a pizza place.
One restaurant to note was Rhythm Cafe. If you have time before your flight, it’s the only place you can get a sit-down meal and it has a full bar.
There were a few other places to eat within the terminal, including Dunkin Donuts and a TCBY Yogurt stand.
Graycliff Priority Pass Lounge
Hidden inside the small Graycliff Boutique, we found the Priority Pass Lounge in the Nassau Airport.
In addition to the check-in desk in the shop, Graycliff Lounge is divided into three separate areas – the buffet area, a small indoor seating area, and an outdoor seating area, where people could smoke.
The small lounge’s small buffet offered an interesting collection including bagels, pasta, finger-sized sandwiches, fruits, raw vegetables, and even mashed potatoes and beets. Beverage options ranged from tea, coffee, lemonade, and water.
Did I mention it was small?
The Graycliff Lounge entry fee was $35 if you don’t have a Priority Pass. I don’t think it’s worth $35.
If we didn’t have a free Priority Pass membership through our credit cards, we would not have paid to get in this lounge.
Our Departure Gate
Like I said, the airport is pretty small so the walk to our gate didn’t take long, even though it was on the far end of the terminal.
At our gate, there was a small convenience store with some grab & go snacks in case you needed them for your flight. On the back side of the store, there was another full bar to enjoy your last drink in Nassau right next to your gate.
Yes, Graycliff Lounge is a Priority Pass Lounge inside Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. It’s a small lounge with limited amenities.
Yes, there’s a designated smoking area as part of the Graycliff Lounge. Entrance is $35 or free with Priority Pass membership.
NAS is the IATA code for Lynden Pindling International Airport, aka Nassau Airport.
MYNN is the ICAO airport code for Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas.
Nassau Airport: Our Final Thoughts
Other than the small, disappointing lounge, our Nassau Airport review grade would have been an A+. Whether you call it LPIA or NAS, the airport was a memorable start and end to our beautiful Bahamas trip to Nassau. The airport, with its modern facilities and friendly staff made our journey stress-free and enjoyable.
Read Our Adventures
Zuzu & I have traveled alot since 2021. Most of our trips have been free or very cheap since we discovered the 1 Hotel, 1 Airline, 1 Bank strategy for travel hacking. Here are a few of our adventures and how We Get to Travel for (almost) free: