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The Bahamas in May: The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide

Visiting The Bahamas in May and need some help? We’ve got you covered!

The short answer is that May in the Bahamas is a less crowded month with warm weather and moderate humidity. The increasingly hot weather drives most tourists away, making the shoulder season and ideal time to plan a trip on a budget. May is a great month to take advantage of the lower rates while still avoiding hurricane season which comes later in the Summer. There will be fewer tourists to compete with, so booking transportation, accommodations, and excursions will be much easier in May.

If May sounds like the perfect month for your trip to the Bahamas but you’re not sure how to plan it, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a big list of things to consider from transportation and weather to events and activities. Happy planning!

Bahamas Weather in May

Bimini Bahamas
Bimini / EDV Edwards / Shutterstock

May weather in the Bahamas is warm and breezy. The high temperatures often top out around 85°F this month and the lows are usually around 72°F. May is a great month for accomplishing just about any activities on your bucket list in the Bahamas since the warm sunshine often prevails each day. Water temperatures are also really nice in May, hovering around 79°F.

Rain showers, however, do become more common throughout May as the Summer is quickly approaching. You have about a 20% chance of rain each day of your vacation this month, as opposed to the less than 10% chance seen in earlier months. More prevalent rain means that humidity levels increase this month and will be noticeably heavier.

May is also sea lice season, so be sure to pay attention to beach signs and weather updates. Sea lice is the term for jellyfish larvae which are prevalent in the months of April through July. They come in waves and can become trapped in swimwear, giving you a rash or a possible allergic reaction. This isn’t a worry for most visitors, but it pays to be wary.

Bahamas May Weather Cheat Sheet

Average Low Temperature72°F (22°C)
Average High Temperature84°F (29°C)
Average Sea Water Temperature79°F (26°C)
Average Rainfall3.2 inches (81.3 mm)
Average Days with Rain8 days
UV Index11 (Extreme)
Day Length~13 hours 15 minutes
Sea ConditionsGenerally calm to slightly choppy
VisibilityTypically good, 8-10 miles
Dew Point~70°F (21°C)
Air Quality IndexGood
Likelihood of HurricanesLow

Bahamas Affordability & Crowds in May

Half Moon Cay May Bahamas
Half Moon Cay / Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

May is the beginning of shoulder season in the Bahamas. You’ll notice fewer people than you’d see in the busy Winter and Spring months since the weather becomes muggier and warmer. Schools are starting to release students for the Summer, so there may be more families in the islands in May as opposed to the Spring Break and snow bird crowd of earlier months.

As crowds begin to decrease throughout the month, it’s possible that some of the local businesses and restaurants will be less available, taking a break after the busy season. However, if you don’t mind a bit of rain and pretty warm weather, May is a great month for saving a little money on your Bahamas getaway.

It’s possible that flights, hotels and cruises will be cheaper in May than earlier in the year. Most of the tours, transportation and restaurants will not become any less expensive, but flights and accommodations will be a great place to save on a budget trip. Overall, May will be less crowded and slightly less expensive, though a tad rainy and humid.

Traveling to the Bahamas in May

Ferryboat to Bahamas, Atlantis Paradise Island
Ferryboat / just dance / Shutterstock

Cruising to the Bahamas is one of the optimal ways to travel in the month of May. Cruises often do specials starting with shoulder season in May since travel to the Bahamas begins to slow down. You could score a great deal on a cruise from Florida or along the Atlantic Coast in May, plus enjoy the ease and entertainment of travel aboard.

You can typically choose between a range of 2 to 7 day long trips when booking a cruise. Travelers will end up spending most of their time at sea, but you won’t have to worry about the agenda since most cruise lines have designated island activities on the itinerary.

Ferryboats are another fun way to travel to the Bahamas this month, especially if you live in Florida. The crowds will be a bit subdued this month, but rain and chop on the water could vary from day to day. Ferrboats set sail from Miami or Fort Lauderdale for a 2.5 to 4 hour trip to your choice of Nassau, Freeport or Bimini. The ride can be scenic and breezy, but not involved and inclusive like a cruise.

Flights are the other option for traveling to the Bahamas this month. You can get discounts on flights to the Bahamas during shoulder season, especially when flying into the busier airports on New Providence or Grand Bahama. You might even get discounts on short flights between islands this month since crowds are beginning to dwindle.

Best Bahamas Islands in May

Andros Island is an ideal place to visit in May for it’s impeccable fishing, diving and outdoor activities. However, any of the islands in the Bahamas are open and available to anyone who wants to visit this month, so don’t hesitate to look at other destinations when planning a trip to the archipelago in May.

Andros Island Bahamas
Andros Island / Erin McGrady / Shutterstock

Andros Island

Andros Island is widely known for it’s natural landscape and excellent bonefishing spots, making this an outdoor enthusiasts dream. It’s easy to get to via Andros Town International Airport if you plan to take a small plane from Nassau. Otherwise, there are many boat tours and fishing charters that lead to Andros for a daily excursion or you can dock your private boat at the marina.

Andros is 2,300-square-miles large, making it the largest island in the Bahamas. Despite it’s size, it’s got one of the smallest populations in the islands and has the most protected land in the archipelago. Andros is actually three separate islands (Mangrove Cay, North Andros and South Andros) that have hundreds of inlets and mangroves, giving this special destination the perfect nickname: “Bonefishing Capital of the World”.

The flats here are numerous perfect for finding bonefish, but there are also many great diving locations, too. Blue Holes National Park, long and large coral reefs, underwater caves, and the world’s third largest barrier reef in Andros Barrier Reef. It’s also home to the world’s second oldest dive shop and was even a popular choice for historic divers like Jacques Cousteau.

On land, Central Andros National Park is a haven for hikers and kayakers, filled with mangrove flats, lush forests and 200 species of birds unique to Andros Island. Andros Lighthouse, Henry Morgan’s Cave, Mariners Well and the Native Colony Ruins are also top sites you should add to your itinerary when visiting Andros.

While the Andros Islands are beautifully lush and teeming with life, there aren’t too many options for accommodations and restaurants. So come prepared to rough it just a little if you plan to stay for multiple days. If you choose to book a room though, look no further than Bair’s Lodge right on the beach.

Best Things to Do in the Bahamas in May

There are endless activities in the Bahamas no matter what time of year you plan to visit, but some of them are far more worth it in the month of May than others. The weather may be a bit warmer, but this is the perfect time to schedule water adventures like snorkeling, dolphin encounters and offshore fishing before the weather gets dicey in the Summertime.

Tour the Islands

Queen's Staircase Nassau Bahamas
Queen’s Staircase / Nenad Basic / Shutterstock

When you’re visiting a place like the Bahamas, it can be really difficult to choose just want great adventure. Thankfully there are a handful that will be well worth your time in the month of May. One of the best excursions you can do is a catamaran tour, which is fairly inexpensive when it comes to boat tours that go island hopping around the Bahamas.

The catamaran tours offer lots of different options that can get you up close and personal with the famous Exuma Swimming Pigs, or even with the sea turtles. Other outings include snorkeling through local reefs or adventuring through beaches and shorelines.

The beach buggy tours in Nassau are probably one of the most fun things you can do as a group. The buggies seat 4 to 6 people and you can choose the length of time to rent each vehicle. These rentals allow you to explore the island on your own time or you can opt to follow a guide on a tour of different sites like the Queen’s Staircase, Fort Fincastle and other unique attractions.

Lastly, if you want to take a slower paced day, try the Nassau Food Tours. There are several different tours available that let you get a literal taste of the islands. These food tours can be combined with walking historical tours, wine or rum tasting or a visit to the chocolatiers. This is a really great option if you need a break from more physical activities.

Swim with the Pigs

Exuma Swimming Pigs Bahamas
Exuma / NoodleMaps / Shutterstock

When visiting the Bahamas, everyone wants to see the swimming pigs of Exuma – and May is actually a good time to see these guys without the usual large crowds. But there are actually lots of different speed boat tours, catamaran tours and swimming excursions to choose from that get you in the water with more than just pigs.

We highly recommend swimming with the stingrays in May since the waters are warmer and more welcoming to these gentle creatures. Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands or the coast of Bimini are the best places to wade in 3-4ft deep water with dozens of Southern stingrays. Guides will give you quick tips on how to stay safe while wading with these wild creatures, but they are mostly docile when not provoked.

The Atlantis Stingray Experience is another excellent option. Atlantis is extremely unique because their experience includes a school of cownose rays instead of the usual stingrays. Cownose rays are cuter in appearance, known for their rounded nose and pointy wings. Be advised that swimming with rays outside of a tour is not recommended.

You can also go swimming with the Dolphins while in the Bahamas. This incredible experience is offered at several different venues including Dolphin Encounter, Blue Lagoon, Dolphin Cay and Balmoral Islands. Some of the experiences will even include trick shows from the dolphins and trainers or will allow guests to feed the dolphins fishy treats.

Another fun way to experience the Bahamas’ natural wildlife in April is to find the iguanas. Allen Cay, otherwise known as Iguana Island, is one of the preferred places to spot these large reptiles. You’ll need to book a tour or have your own private boat to visit this island on the Northern end of the Exumas, but it’s well worth it for a trip in April when fewer people will be visiting the cay.

Shop the Markets

Nassau Bahamas
Nassau / byvalet / Shutterstock

If you’re in the mood for a rest day or simply want to find some local goods to bring back home, the Bahamas has many different places for you to go. Most people will be looking for some authentic souvenirs to remember the islands and Nassau Straw Market is a great place to start. It’s been open since the 1940’s and sells lots of locally carved and woven goods.

Nassau is where you’ll find most of the historical shopping locations, so in addition to the Straw Market, be sure to swing by the Bay Street vendors as well as Festival Place on New Providence Island. You can find everything from local artisanal creations to edible treats or small keepsakes.

The open air shopping markets are also fun to explore, so take a look at the Port Lucaya Marketplace while in Freeport on Grand Bahama. This giant marketplace offers lots of different souvenirs both handmade and mass produced and also features many different eateries and bars. If you’re staying at Atlantis, Marina Village is a similar alternative with more luxury shops and restaurants.

Dive Reefs and Wrecks

Reef Diving Bahamas
Sven Hansche / Shutterstock

The warmer waters make May a great first month for diving sans wetsuit. This is also one of the last months to do some really great shark diving before Summer rolls in, so take full advantage of fewer tourists and book an excursion with the pros.

They’ll take you to find the usual Reef, Lemon and Nurse sharks, along with Oceanic White Tips, primarily near Bimini and Grand Bahama. The sharks will circulate through the many different ship wrecks around the islands, as well as the coral reef formations just off the coasts. Some of the best diving sites include Sugar Wreck known for bustling sea life, Steel Forest with three wrecks, and the Exuma Land and Sea Park.

In May, there are still several options available for amateur to professional divers led by local dive operators or liveaboard boat tours. Liveaboard excursions are several days to a week long and will take you to many different sites, so this option is often best for those who are strictly looking to dive in the Bahamas.

Fish Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin Tuna Bahamas
MR.Surat Matcha / Shutterstock

Bonefishing is the top sport in the Bahamas since these fish are so prevalent in the islands. If you enjoy fly fishing or inshore fishing, this is something you’ll want to add to your itinerary. Anyone can fish the flats or mangroves on their own, but booking a captain will guarantee a successful fishing trip for the elusive bone fish.

May also happens to be the perfect month for fishing Bluefin Tuna and White Marlin, which requires an offshore fishing charter. Both of these hearty fish are very strong and difficult to catch. They require lots of heavy gear and a steady hand. Marlin in particular are known for jumping and diving. Despite the imposing danger of the bills on these fish, they are really fun to hunt for and catch.

If you prefer to stay inshore but want a fun fishing charter adventure, go tarpon fishing. Tarpon also begin to make an appearance in May and tend to swim in the coastal currents. These fish are massive, so it’s fun for a large group of fishermen.

You can also catch other species in season this month including Amberjack, Barracuda, Dorado, Grouper, Permit, Shark, and Snapper. Many of these will be available inshore, so you can easily take your own boat out or hire a charter for several hours.

Parasail Over the Islands

Parasailing Cruise Bahamas
FLX2 / Shutterstock

While in the Bahamas you have to go parasailing, especially in the idyllic Springtime. Parasailing is an experience like no other where guests can soar to heights of up to 500 feet above water. Parasailing tours set sail from Nassau, Cabbage Beach, Freeport and a few other smaller islands in the area. On the journey, you’ll head out to deeper water right off the coast and strap into the parasail.

After liftoff, you’ll get breathtaking views of the islands and see deep into the clear blue waters. We’ve spotted lots of creatures from the sky, including rays to sharks. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the guides will reel the balloon back into the boat and sometimes dip your toes in the water on the way back in. Overall, it’s a very adventurous way to see the coastline.

You can get an undersea adventure by renting the Personal Underwater Subs for in Nassau. These unique single-person submarines take you on a short dive to the local reefs where you can find fish, coral and other creatures. Renters don’t need any previous diving experience to operate these underwater vehicles, so anyone can do it.

Other rentals are available from local island shops or at your resort. You’ll find anything from snorkel gear, jet skis, banana boats and glass bottom boats for rent on the beach. Any one of these rentals can enhance any beach day, especially if you want to spend less on an excursion and go at your own pace.

May Events in the Bahamas

Carnival celebration Bahamas
Trae Rollins / Shutterstock


Carnival is a big festival celebrated in many countries through Central and South America, as well as through the Gulf and the Caribbean islands. In the Bahamas, Carnival is celebrated in May on several of the islands, but primarily in Nassau and Arawak Cay. The road parade, the bands and the food are all great reasons to come for this colorful four day festival.

Long Island Regatta

This fun family-friendly sailing event takes place over Memorial Day weekend at the end of each May. It’s held at Long Island marina and has several different races of varying lengths. Other activities like local band performances, kids play areas, food and drink tents surround the event, plus most of the profit made from the event goes to charity.


May in the Bahamas is a little hotter, a little cheaper and a little less busy than the high season part of the year. This shoulder season makes it ideal for visitors who want to plan a cruise or flight to the Bahamas on a lower budget without sacrificing too much in the way of weather. Since the rain, humidity and full heat haven’t quite gotten to their highest point, May is still a great time to plan a quick trip to the islands.

If you want the ultimate outdoor enthusiast getaway to the Bahamas, look no further than Andros Island. This series of three main islands is chock full of national parks, protected wetlands and superb diving and fishing grounds for the ultimate outdoorsmen. It offers one of the most secluded getaways in the archipelago, but if you’d prefer a little livelier atmosphere, consider making New Providence Island or Grand Bahama your jumping off point.

In conclusion, if a less expensive vacation before hurricane season sounds like a great time, May is an excellent month for planning a trip to the Bahamas. It may be a little hotter and more humid, but the crowds are lower and the rates are more favorable. Plus, the sportfishing and scuba diving is world-class.

This article is part of Roundtript’s series of expert Bahamas travel guides for every month of the year.

Spring in The Bahamas

Summer in The Bahamas

Fall in The Bahamas

Winter in The Bahamas

For a summary of each Switzerland month & season all in one place, check out our big guide to the Best Times of the Year to Visit The Bahamas.

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