Created in collaboration with Graham Real Estate
There are many good reasons why dogs go nuts for the beach – and some of the finest beaches in the world can be found in the Bahamas, an archipelago of more than 700 islands known for its year-round tropical weather, stunning turquoise water, and laid-back people.
The Bahamas has become far more pet-friendly in recent years, but the country wasn’t always so welcoming in the past. In fact, many real estate agents and landlords didn’t want to deal with pet owners. Some of the big hotels like Baha Mar charge their guests a fee for dogs to stay, but there were few options for people who wanted longer-term rentals with more space.
The lack of pet-friendly accommodations inspired Bahamian animal-lover Laura Kimble, who works as a managing director at Graham Real Estate, to set up her website Bahamas Pet Friendly in order to help match dog owners with welcoming and understanding landlords in Nassau, New Providence island – which welcomes millions of tourists every year.
Laura is very well-versed in all dog things as chairman of Baark! (Bahamas Alliance for Animal Rights and Kindness). “I am truly excited to focus on this niche market that I am so passionate about. I couldn’t imagine my home without my four-legged children and over the years I have seen the challenges people face when searching for rentals to accommodate their pets,” she says. “I help make sure that process is both smooth and fun!”
If you can’t imagine enjoying a beach holiday without your fluffy sidekick, then you’re not alone. So, what is the process for you to bring your dog to The Bahamas?
Entry Procedures for Dogs
The Bahamas does not quarantine dogs that arrive with the proper permit.
All dogs and cats entering the Bahamas need an import permit, which is issued by the government. This application is easy to fill out and asks for basic information such as your address, age, and breed.
Once you receive the permit it is good for one year. The Bahamas now also requires all imported dogs to be microchipped.
The next thing to consider is vaccines. All dogs need a rabies vaccination within the last 30 days. Then there is the DAPP/DHPP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) booster every three years.
In addition, if your dog has not been vaccinated for Leptospirosis before, then they will need a series of two shots 2-3 weeks apart.
Finally, you will need an international health certificate and a signed IMP1B form from a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, a few breeds are not allowed into the Bahamas. These include Pitbulls, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, American Bulldog, Staffordshire Terrier, and Dogo Argentino.
Top Pet-Friendly Communities
1. Palm Cay – With plenty of speed bumps to slow traffic, free poop bag dispensers, and a large private soft sand beach, the luxurious Palm Cay Club and Marina has become one of the most desirable locations for dog owners to stay in the Bahamas. They offer both short-term and long-term rentals.
“The delightful community environment, lengthy marina boardwalk, park, and green areas, along with beautiful landscaping and scenery lends itself perfectly for pets and their owners alike,” Jak Hannaby-Cummins, Managing Director of Palm Cay, says.
2. Port New Providence – Port New Providence has 5 km of roads and lots of green areas for dogs to enjoy. The low population density of Port New Providence makes dog walking a pleasure. Another bonus is that the properties are about a quarter of an acre each, giving your four-legged kids lots of space. Port New Providence is ideal for Boaters, so it’s also ideal for Boat dogs (or cats!)
3. Lyford Cay – It’s common to see man’s best friend riding golf carts in this very elegant and exclusive neighborhood. Lyford Cay has lots of quiet winding roads and well-manicured vegetation, so you and your dog will surely enjoy taking new walks in this pristine community every day.
4. Paradise Island – This small island just to the north of New Providence is wonderful for walking dogs. The island is very well-kept to keep it pretty for the millions of tourists who visit every year, which means that sidewalks and streets are clean and lined with beautiful flowers. It’s a paradise not only for the owners but for the dogs as well.
Plus, you have the beach! Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island is an ideal destination for dogs. It is rarely crowded, the water is gorgeous, and dogs can run and play and do what they do best.
A Note on “Potcakes”
Travelers to The Bahamas should be aware that there are many stray dogs – the locals refer to these mixed breeds affectionately as “potcake,” which is a Bahamian word for the crusty leftover food that remains at the bottom of a traditional pot of rice. Historically, the people fed their potcake to the stray dogs, which are typically harmless.
There are local animal welfare groups that work tirelessly to make the situation better. Baark! is constantly providing spay/neuter services to low-income pet owners and the next intensive spay and neuter campaign called Operation Potcake is in January 2024 in order to create a healthier environment and reduce disruption from free-roaming dogs.
Why Visit the Bahamas With Your Dog
At the end of the day, most travelers to the Bahamas agree that the time spent on organizing entry paperwork for their dog is well worth the effort.
The sight of your dog splashing in warm Caribbean water with a sand-kissed nose and giddy excitement is one of the most joyful memories you can make. It’s obvious that most dogs love the beach – perhaps even more than you do! So don’t leave him at home next time! Contact Laura Kimble at Graham Real Estate to book the perfect pet-friendly property in Nassau, Bahamas!