A number of airlines fly to Freeport's Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO; tel. 242/352-6020) from the continental United States. American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) and Bahamasair (tel. 800/222-4262 or 242/377-3218; www.bahamasair.com) both offer daily flights from Miami. Continental Connection (tel. 800/231-0856; www.continental.com) flies to Freeport from Miami and West Palm Beach once daily, and from Fort Lauderdale five times daily. Delta Connection (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com) has daily service from Atlanta. US Airways (tel. 800/428-4322; www.usairways.com) operates flights to Freeport from Charlotte, NC, and Philadelphia.
Many visitors arrive in Nassau and then hop on one of the five daily Bahamasair flights to Freeport. These 30-minute hops run $155 to $420 round-trip.
No buses run from the airport to the major hotel zones, but many hotels provide airport transfers, especially if you've bought a package deal. If yours does not, no problem; taxis meet arriving flights and can take you from the airport to hotels in Freeport or Lucaya for about $15 to $39. The ride shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes.
Discovery Cruise Line (tel. 800/259-1579 or 242/351-1339; www.discoverycruiseline.com) offers daily passage between Fort Lauderdale and Grand Bahama. Frankly, the vessels making this 89km (55-mile) jaunt aren't the newest or glitziest, but they fit the bill with the requisite pool deck and bar, along with a casino, show lounge, and dining facilities. The trip from Florida takes about 5 hours, and you'll disembark very well fed. Fares are $55 to $180 per person.
Information is available at the Grand Bahama Tourism Board, in the Fidelity Financial Centre, West Mall Drive at Poinciana Drive (tel. 242/350-8600; www.bahamas.com). It's open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. That organization maintains three smaller information booths, each open daily from 9am to 5pm. They're located at Grand Bahama International Airport (tel. 242/352-2052), at Port Lucaya Marketplace (tel. 242/373-8988), and at the cruise-ship docks adjacent to Lucayan Harbour (tel. 242/350-8600).
Other than the perhaps unexpected novelty of driving on the left, getting around Freeport/Lucaya is fairly easy due to the flat terrain. Although Freeport and Lucaya are frequently mentioned in the same breath, newcomers should note that Freeport is a landlocked collection of hotels and shops rising from the island's center, while the better-maintained and more appealing Lucaya, about 4km (2 1/2 miles) away, is a bustling waterfront section of hotels, shops, and restaurants clustered next to a saltwater pond on the island's southern shore.
Freeport lies midway between Grand Bahama's northern and southern shores. Bisected by some of the island's largest roads, it was originally conceived as the site of the biggest hotels. Until a few years ago, the International Bazaar here was one of the country's most visited. Now in a lackluster state of disrepair, it's merely a theme-oriented mall that has seen better days. Immediately adjacent is the local straw market, where you can buy inexpensive souvenirs and Bahamian handicrafts.
To reach Port Lucaya from Freeport, head east from the International Bazaar along East Sunrise Highway, and then turn south at the intersection with Seahorse Road. The intersection -- actually an oversize roundabout -- is marked with a prominent stone marker that says PORT LUCAYA. Less than a mile from that roundabout, you'll be in the heart of the Lucaya complex. Know in advance that the shops and restaurants on the marina side of Seahorse Road are identified as being within the "Port Lucaya" subdivision. Conversely, the Radisson hotels, their restaurants, and their shops, all of which are clustered on the landward side of Seahorse Road, are identified as "Our Lucaya."
Port Lucaya's architectural centerpiece is Count Basie Square, named for the great entertainer who used to have a home on the island. A short walk east or west of the square will take you to most of the hotels, rising above the narrow strip of sand that separates the sea from a saltwater pond.
Life on Grand Bahama Island doesn't get more glamorous after you leave the Lucaya area. To the west of Freeport and Lucaya, the West Sunrise Highway passes grim industrial complexes that include the Bahamas Oil Refining Company. Once you pass the built-up waterfront sprawl of Freeport's western end, you can take Queen's Highway northwest all the way to West End, some 45km (28 miles) from Freeport's center. Along the way you pass the not-very-picturesque wharves of Freeport Harbour, where cruise ships dock. Just to the east lies Hawksbill Creek, a nondescript village that's home to some of the local port workers.
Much less explored is Grand Bahama's isolated East End. Its most distant tip lies about 72km (45 miles) from the center of Freeport and is reached via the Grand Bahama Highway. Despite its name, the route is bumpy and potholed in places and, along extensive stretches of its central area, is either blocked by piles of sand, rock, and fallen trees or is under construction. For access to the East End's most distant reaches from Freeport or Lucaya, allow about 2 hours of driving time. You'll first pass the Rand Nature Centre, about 5km (3 miles) east of Freeport. About 11km (6 3/4 miles) on is Lucayan National Park, and 8km (5 miles) farther lies the hamlet of Free Town; east of that is High Rock, known for its Emmanuel Baptist Church. The road now becomes considerably rougher until it ends in McLean's Town, which celebrates Columbus Day with an annual conch-cracking contest. From here, you can take a water taxi across Runners Creek to the exclusive Deep Water Cay Club, which caters to serious anglers.
Note: In Freeport/Lucaya, but especially on the rest of Grand Bahama Island, you will almost never find a street number on a hotel or a store. Sometimes in the more remote places, including sparsely populated areas on Lucaya's outskirts, you won't even find street signs. In lieu of numbers, locate places by their relation to hotels, beaches, or landmarks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.