Preparing for your Trip
- What do I need to bring / pack when I visit Forfar?
Our packing list covers in detail what you will want to bring with you on your trip.
- What is the weather like in the Bahamas?
The weather in the Bahamas is typically very nice with temperatures varying between 66°F to 90°F.
Weather in Nassau (very similar to Andros)
- Will I need a passport to travel to the Bahamas or can I use another form of identification?
You must use a valid government issued passport book to enter the Bahamas. Birth certificates and other forms of identification will not be accepted. Passport cards only work for land and seaport entries, not for international flights. As a general rule, passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. Most countries will not permit a traveler to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.
Non-US citizens may need to acquire a visa to enter the Bahamas.
- Is medical insurance required?
Yes, we require that all participants have valid medical insurance. Please contact your provider to make sure your current plan provides international coverage and medical evacuation. If you don't have medical insurance, please visit our blog post for more information.
- Should I purchase travel insurance?
We strongly encourage that all participants purchase travel insurance before participating in any of our programs.
We suggest insurance that will cover natural disasters, flight delays, illness, and more. For more information about travel and medical insurance, please visit our blog post.
- Do I need to exchange US currency (USD) to Bahamian dollars (BSD)?
No, USD and BSD currency are freely interchangeable on the island. It is not necessary to change USD to BSD to visit the island. Please bring currency in smaller dominations ($50, $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills). Most airports will be able to exchange any Bahamian currency you may acquire while you are on the island.
Credit Cards and Checks are usually not accepted on Andros. Do not plan on using your credit card while on Andros except at Forfar Field Station. Stores are cash only.
There are limited ATMs on the island (currently only one). There is a charge to use them which is typically $3 to $5 for each withdrawal. Please be aware that it will be necessary for you to notify your bank that you will be in the Bahamas. There may be additional charges by your bank to use your credit cards abroad.
- How much money should I bring?
This will depend on what you anticipate spending money on during your trip and what your group leader recommends. We suggest a minimum of $20 per student to cover the cost of "Cooks Night Off" on Thursdays. Dinner out on Thursdays will cost $18 to $25 a person and you will have to provide your own food while travelling to and from Andros / Forfar.
We will visit various places during your stay, potential souvenirs and prices are: Androsia Batik factory $15-100, Hand-crafted baskets $10-30+, Woodcarvings $25-100+, Forfar Field Station shirts and rash guards $20-40, snacks/ ice creams from the local shops can be a $2-5, basket weaving class costs $10 a person.
When you purchase Forfar shirts and items while at the field station, all proceeds go to our local student college scholarship fund. Each year, we are able to donate $1,000-$2,000 to the local high schools to help recent graduates continue their education.
- Do I need to apply for a research permit?
If conducting research you likely need a permit. Please read our blog for more information. If you have additional questions you can call the office at (614) 268-9930.
- Can I Scuba Dive at Forfar?
Yes, Forfar operates a full PADI certified dive shop. Diving can be added to your normal programming at Forfar or we can tailor a trip to Forfar that has a dive focus. Please review our Diving Guide or contact the office for more details regarding diving during your trip.
- Can I bring a drone to Forfar?
Yes! Bringing a drone to the country requires an additional permit from the Bahamas Civil Aviation and that can be found on http://apps.bcaa.gov.bs/. You have to create an account, and register the drone, otherwise it may be held at customs during entrance into the country until you leave again. We encourage participants to share drone footage with IFS for promotional use if they want.
- What time do I need to arrive and depart from Nassau?
Your flight must arrive in Nassau no later than 1:00 PM (EST). Your flight should depart Nassau anytime after 12 PM (EST).
- Do you have recommendations for finding group flights to Nassau?
We've put together an article that explains the steps you should take when booking a group flight. If you have additional questions, please contact our office.
- Is there a weight limit on the commuter flight between Nassau and Andros?
The total weight of your checked baggage must weigh under 40 lbs. You are allowed one carry-on bag weighing 15 lbs or less, and it must abide by baggage size regulations, 12”H x 6”W x 14”L. Baggage that exceeds 40 lbs or a carry-on that exceeds 15 lbs will be subject to overweight charges of $1.80 per additional pound, and any excess /oversized/overweight bags will be sent on the next available flight.
Life at Forfar Station
- How will my money and passport be protected while staying at Forfar Field Station?
We have a safe on site that can be used to store those important items securely. Passports, money, cell phones and other important documents or valuables can be stored here upon arrival. This can be accessed as needed by your group.
- What type of housing do you provide?
Forfar Field Station provides rustic cabin-style lodging along the beach. The field station has a 56 bed capacity divided among 8 cabins. Cabins 1-4 are split by a wall and each side of the cabin have 2 sets of bunk beds. Cabins 5-8 have an open layout and each unit has 3 sets of bunk beds. All of our cabins have electricity, fans, mosquito bug nets, and a bathroom with (hot water) shower in each cabin/unit. All units are open air with no AC.
- Is there clean drinking water available?
Absolutely! Forfar is on Andros municipal supply. Andros has great water and use to sell the water to many other islands. We also filter the water again coming into the lodge area. We always carry plenty of water coolers on all trips so guests can fill water bottles. Staying hydrated is very important in our environment!
- What type of meals are served at Forfar? And can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
We serve a variety of different meals ranging from American to Bahamian cuisine and incorporate locally grown fruits and vegetables when available. If you would like to learn more about the meals served at Forfar, you can view our sample menu.
Yes, we are able to accommodate common dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and lactose intolerant diets. Please note that Forfar's access to food is limited since most of it is shipped in from the US and this may cause a lack of variety for certain diets. If you have specific questions, you can contact the IFS office before your trip.
- Are there biting insects at the field station?
Yes, there are mosquitos, sand flies (biting midges/no-see-ums), and seasonal horseflies. The mosquitos are most active after the sunsets and are generally not an issue during the day. Sand flies are present throughout the day but they are most active during periods of low wind. The seasonal horseflies (doctorflies) are most active during the summer months. We encourage you to bring insect repellent, clothes such as pants and socks, and remedies for bites such as antihistamine creams and oral medicine. Be prepared!
- Is there Wi‐Fi available at the station?
While we do have Wi-Fi at the station, it is very limited in use. We run our office on this limited connection; so it may be restricted to our guests when needed by the staff. We often have a very weak connection, especially during bad weather and the evenings. We allow access to the internet to Group Leaders and Chaperones for limited use. We do not give students access to the internet.
- Is there cell phone service on the island?
Yes, there is cell phone service. Using a cellphone in the Bahamas will incur international text/call fees, so you will want to make sure you check with your provider on plans or subsequent fees for international use.
- Is there a clinic or doctor on the island?
Yes, we have two clinics on the island each serviced by a doctor. We typically use either the clinics that are North (45 minutes travel time) and South (30 minutes travel time) from Forfar, when needed.
In any medical emergency, please alert a Forfar staff member. We will always have First‐Aid available both on the station and when out on trips.
- I loved Forfar! How can I go back?
We offer a 6-week Forfar Marine Science Program for post-high school, college-aged students offered in the fall and spring. Visit our Forfar Marine Science Program page to learn more.
Forfar also welcomes family or alumni groups of 8 or more people. Please contact our office if you would like to organize a trip.
- What type of employment opportunities are available at International Field Studies?
You can see current job openings on our employment page. We start hiring for our Educational Staff every year in March and accept applicants on a rolling basis.