How to Stay Cool in the Caribbean Heat
The Bahamas are a beautiful and popular Caribbean destination. But many visitors underestimate just how intense the heat and humidity are. During my trip to Paradise Island in June, I realized there were some things that would have made my stay far more comfortable. Now I know better!
Keep scrolling to find the absolute, bare-bones essentials for a trip to the Bahamas. Plus my clothing and gadget recommendations for how to stay cool in the intense island heat.
The Absolute, Bare-Bones Essentials for the Bahamas:
Here’s what you should pack and have ready for your trip. Let’s break it down by non-clothing items and clothing items:
1. Passport. Make sure it’s valid for the next 12 months. Many airlines and countries won’t let you enter if you passport is close to expiring.
2. Physical plane tickets. This will most likely not be an issue on your way in. But the airline I flew with from the Bahamas only accepted paper tickets, not the ones on my phone. You can always have these printed at the airport if you forget.
3. Hotel or rental address and contact information. Once in the Bahamas, customs will ask for the full address for your vacation accommodations. (If using AirBnB or VRBO, you’ll need the name and phone number of the owner of the rental.)
4. Health card and travel insurance. Bring your driver’s license if you plant to rent a car.
5. American currency. The Bahamas has their own currency but equally uses US money. So there’s no need to convert to Bahamian dollars unless you really want to.
6. Reef safe SPF for face and body. Don’t for a second fool yourself that you don’t need sun protection. You can easily ruin your entire vacation by getting horrifically burned within just a few short hours. The Bahamas is very sunny but also have a high UV index. Don’t underestimate it. Go for 100% mineral, reef save formulas if you plan to do any swimming.
7. A mini hand-held fan or cooling towels. You can get these on Amazon for a decent price and they will make a world of difference in your comfort level if you find yourself suffering on a non-breezy day.
8. A reusable water bottle. Preferably an insulated one that can hold ice cubes.
1. Swimsuit(s). Don’t discount your swimwear as an alternative clothing option.
2. A sun hat. The wider the brim, the better.
3. UV protection sunglasses. Are you noticing a trend here?
4. Bike shorts or anti-chafe shorts. The heat and unrelenting humidity can make even the fittest of thighs bumpy and rashy.
5. A breezy dress, skirt or trousers. You’re going to want a thin cotton or linen material for ultimate comfort.
6. Walking sandals. Opt for footwear that is comfortable enough for lots of walking and won’t slip off easily. You can always take them off when you get to the beach.
7. A thin cotton or linen top. This can be used a regular shirt or a cover up over your swimsuit. It will also provide additional sun protection to your shoulders and back—though don’t skip the sunscreen underneath as the sun’s ray can penetrate thinner fabrics.
My full Bahamas packing list is below—which includes what I plan to bring next time.
The Minimalist Packing List for the Bahamas:
Here’s my exact packing list plus the items that I wish I had brought:
- All the items in the “Bare-bones Non-Clothing Essentials” list above.
- 2 – 3 swimsuits
- 1 sarong or beach coverup
- 1 light weight cotton or linen top
- 1 pair cotton or linen shorts
- 1 cropped t-shirt
- 1 pair airy trousers or a skirt
- 1 – 2 pairs cotton bike shorts (or anti-chafe shorts for under skirts)
- 1 breezy dress
- 1 pair of comfortable walking sandals (or sneakers)
- 1 pair of flip flops or slide sandals
- 1 wide brimmed sunhat
- 1 – 2 pairs of sunglasses
- Reef-safe SPF for face
- Reef-safe SPF for body
Additional Things to Keep Cool:
- A mini handheld or flexible fan (I use one with flexible arms on my daughter’s stroller, though there are even slimmer portable fans on Amazon.)
- Cooling towels (like a microfibre towel but it magically gets cool when wet)
- Insulated water bottle (add ice cubes to keep your water extra cold)
Shop my ethical fashion and gadget recommendations for a hot-weather vacation below.