Going on vacation in the Bahamas? Are you willing to surf the Internet and lie down on the beach simultaneously? To get the most out of affordable calls and data, you need a local Bahamas SIM card for your phone so as to evade sky-high roaming charges from your home provider.

The following is a complete manual detailing everything you need to know about getting a SIM card for your phone.

bahamas sim card

I. Should I Buy a New SIM Card for My Bahamas Trip?

should i buy a new bahamas sim card

Purchasing a local Bahamas SIM is highly recommended to avoid costly roaming fees. Most home carriers charge exorbitant rates when using your phone abroad – $10 per MB of data or $2 per minute of talk time is common. A prepaid Bahamas SIM can reduce these costs by over 90% in most cases.

Benefits of a Bahamas SIM Card

  • Save money on calls, texts and mobile data
  • Local number allows for cheaper local rates
  • Avoid roaming charges from your home carrier
  • Prepaid flexibility, only pay for what you need
  • Strong coverage throughout the islands

For short trips under a week, you may be able to rely on wifi. But to properly stay connected, use maps or ride shares, and make reservations on the go, having an active SIM is essential.

How Much Could I Save?

To illustrate the significant savings:

  • 1 GB of roaming data from your home carrier could cost ~$100
  • With a local SIM you get 1 GB for under $10
  • Making a 10 minute call back home on roaming may cost $20
  • On a Bahamas network it would cost less than $1

Over the length of a trip, these savings add up substantially. A Bahamas SIM pays for itself very quickly, making it a wise investment to stay connected.

II. Bahamas SIM Card Types – Which One is the Best for Tourists?

When looking to purchase a SIM card in the Bahamas, you’ll generally come across two main types:

Prepaid SIM Cards

This is the most common choice for travelers visiting the Bahamas. Prepaid SIMs provide the flexibility to pay as you go – you can purchase data bundles, call packs and text bundles as needed without any long term commitments. Ideal for short vacations.

Contract SIM Cards

Contract based plans are also available but usually require proof of residency and a longer commitment. As a tourist, you likely don’t need a contractual plan. Prepaid options provide the best value and convenience.

Important SIM Card Considerations

When purchasing your Bahamas SIM, there are a few key considerations:

  • Size: SIMs come in different sizes. Common sizes are standard, micro and nano. Ensure it matches the size required by your device. Most phones today need a nano SIM.
  • Unlocking: Your device may need to be unlocked from your home network to use a foreign SIM. Contact your provider in advance to arrange an unlock.
  • Activation: Often the SIM card will need to be activated through the carrier before it can be used. Have the instructions handy.

As long as your device is unlocked and can fit the right sized SIM card, you should be ready to enjoy a fast and affordable connection abroad.

III. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Bahamas?

Data requirements can vary greatly depending on your intended usage. For light users relying predominantly on wifi in hotels and resorts, 1 to 2 GB may be adequate for an entire trip. Moderate users should opt for 3 to 5 GB for maps/navigation, some music streaming and social media usage. Heavier users could look at 8 to 10 GB and up if watching videos daily or using the SIM for work.

Also keep in mind that most Bahamas SIM card providers offer add-on data packages if you ever run low during your trip. Topping up your data is generally an easy process.

IV. How Much Does a Bahamas SIM Card Cost?

SIM Card Activation Costs:

  • BTC (Bahamas Telecommunications Company): $15 for a SIM card which can be purchased at their shops or other stores.
  • aliv (by NewCo): SIM cards can be purchased at their retail locations or authorized resellers for around $10-$15.

Prepaid Data Package Rates:

  • BTC: Packages start at 500MB for $2.99 (for 1 day) up to 15GB for $35 (30 days). Larger long-term packages offer better value, e.g. 2GB for $12.99 (30 days).
  • aliv: Packages range from 500MB for $5 (7 days) up to unlimited data for $30 or $140 (30 days) depending on allowance. A 12GB bundle is $60 for 30 days.

Talk/Text Rates:

  • On-net (within Bahamas) calls typically $0.05-$0.10 per minute. Off-net/international slightly higher at $0.25-$0.50 per minute.
  • Text messages $0.05-$0.10 each. Bundles offer better value, e.g. unlimited texts included.

SIM Card Expiration:

  • Prepaid SIMs typically expire within 30-90 days if credit expires and package is not renewed. Data-only extensions and renewals are easy to purchase.

Budget & Usage:

  • For moderate 2 week usage, expect to budget $50-75 for a SIM with 2-5GB data, some calls/texts.
  • Lighter usage may need as little as $30-50 while heavier usage plans $100+ are available.

Either way, costs remain very budget friendly in the Bahamas and deliver huge savings over roaming rates. Well worth the small upfront investment.

V. Bahamas eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards

In addition to traditional physical SIM cards, some providers in the Bahamas also offer eSIM options. An embedded SIM or eSIM is a software-based digital SIM profile rather than removable plastic card.

Key advantages to eSIM technology include:

  • No need to physically switch SIM cards in your device
  • Ability to activate plans remotely
  • Support for dual SIM functionality
  • Digitally transferable SIM profiles

This makes an eSIM very convenient for short term travel. You can activate the wireless plan before departure and avoid visiting a store upon arrival to begin connectivity.

For travelers to the Bahamas looking for an eSIM, esimbahamas.com by GIGAGO offers prepaid data plans that deliver flexibility and convenience. Plans start at $29.70 for 1GB of high-speed data over 7 days, with options up to 3GB of data for 14 days. Coverage is provided by Bahamas’ largest network operator BTC. eSIM profiles are delivered digitally via email within 5 minutes of purchase.

For travelers with compatibility, an eSIM can be a great alternative to standard SIM cards – delivering flexibility plus optimizing convenience.

VI. Where to Buy a Bahamas SIM Card?

Bahamas SIM cards are available widely at dozens of locations across all the major islands. Here are some of the most popular options and recommendations:

Downtown Nassau & Major Resorts

  • Swing by provider retail stores in downtown and major shopping centres
  • Shops also located in Atlantic House, British Colonial Hilton, Atlantis etc.
  • Wide range of SIM package choice
  • Avoid airport markups

Grocery Stores & Gas Stations

  • Many local grocers sell SIMs from major providers
  • Look for ALIV, BTC SIMs
  • Limited packages but offer basic prepaid SIMs
  • Open long hours for easy convenience

Wherever you choose to buy, look for the major Bahamas network names like BTC or ALIV to ensure reliable service. Know the size you need for your device, have an unlock code ready if applicable and you’ll be all set for affordable calling and data during your tropical getaway.

VII. How to Use Bahamas SIM Cards

Activating and using your new Bahamas SIM card is a quick and simple process. Follow these key steps:

  1. Insert – Carefully insert the SIM card into your phone, replacing your usual SIM. Ensure the card orientation is correct and the size matches your device. Use the included adapter if provided for larger SIMs.
  2. Secure – Safely secure the SIM tray and switch your phone back on. Let the device automatically read the SIM card.
  3. Connect – Wait for the SIM to detect the local mobile network. The carrier name will be displayed. May require a phone restart.
  4. Register – For prepaid SIMs, you’ll next have to register the card. Dial *123# for Aliv or *100# for BTC and follow the registration steps.
  5. Activate – Lastly, purchase your prepaid plan by texting a combo code like:
    • 5GB Data – Text *111*250#
    • $10 Call Credit – Text *111*100#

Once the SIM is enabled on the network and your data/call plan is active, you’ll be ready to start enjoying your fast, affordable Bahamas mobile connectivity!

VIII. Best Mobile Operators for Bahamas SIM Cards

There are two main mobile networks in the Bahamas to choose from when selecting your prepaid tourist SIM card: BTC Bahamas and Aliv

Both carriers provide good prepaid SIM card options for visitor connectivity, but we recommend BTC Bahamas as the first choice where available due to their leading performance and coverage capabilities paired with excellent value rates.

IX. Tips for Saving Data for Bahamas SIM Card

To help conserve your prepaid data usage while traveling, follow these pro tips:

Leverage WiFi

  • Connect to hotel and cafe WiFi whenever available
  • Automated WiFi handoff saves mobile data
  • Download maps & music over WiFi before heading out

Optimize Your Settings

  • Disable background app refresh and auto-play video
  • Manage notifications and push messages
  • Turn on Airplane mode or low power mode when not in use

Limit Streaming

  • Streaming video & music consumes huge amounts of data
  • Download content when on hotel WiFi instead
  • Bring downloaded movies, playlists etc for offline play

Use Light Versions of Apps

  • Apps like Facebook & Google Maps offer “Lite” versions
  • All core functions with lower data imprint
  • Substitute bandwidth heavy apps when possible

Staying mindful of unnecessary data consumption from heavy videos, large file downloads and redundant connections keeps your prepaid SIM securely lasting the length of your trip.


Can I use my existing phone number on a Bahamas SIM card?

No, Bahamas SIMs provide a newly assigned local number. To maintain your existing number you would need to look into roaming packages from your regular provider.

How long does activation take after inserting my Bahamas SIM?

Activation is virtually instant after entering unlock codes and rebooting devices, in most cases under 3 minutes to fully initialize.

Can I use a Bahamas SIM across multiple devices?

You can use one SIM across multiple unlocked phones or tablets without issue. Just reinsert the card to swap devices as needed.

Are Bahamas prepaid SIM cards secure?

Yes, purchased SIMs do not present enhanced security risks if buying from reputable carriers. As always, take reasonable precautions around personal data.

XI. Final Words

A local Bahamas SIM card enables staying conveniently connected on-the-go while appreciating everything the islands have to offer. Avoiding expensive roaming fees, you can save substantially on calls, messaging and mobile data with a tourist prepaid SIM. Pick up your card upon arrival at the airport kiosks or catcher provider stores downtown to enjoy your trip without worrying about costly cell phone bills after returning home. Happy travels!