Island hopping in the Bahamas: 5 hidden gems you don’t want to miss
The Abacos are a chain of islands in the Bahamas surrounded by calm seas, and reign as one of the top sailing and boating destinations in the world. From championship golf courses and miles of picturesque beaches, to historic English loyalist settlements ideal for history buffs, The Abacos are truly a unique Out Island experience.
5. Marsh Harbour
The quaint colonial capital city of Marsh Harbour is home to a wide selection of hotels and resorts, exceptional restaurants and a spirited nightlife. After flying into Marsh Harbour International Airport, make the city your home base. The family-friendly Abaco Beach Resort is just ten minutes from the airport and an even shorter drive to the ferry service for island hopping. Catering to families and groups, the resort spans 40 acres of beachfront property with access to a variety of land- and water-based activities.
4. Elbow Cay
From Marsh Harbour’s Albury’s Ferry Dock, catch the 20-25 minute ferry ride to Elbow Cay. Right by the dock are golf cart rentals for easy exploration around the island. Climb to the top of Hope Town Lighthouse (one of the last manual lighthouses in the world) for stunning views of the island and surrounding cays. Don’t miss Tahiti Beach, located on the southern tip of Elbow Cay. This picturesque beach with soft white sand is lined with coconut trees and arcs out into calm clear water. It is secluded, accessible only on foot, bike or by boat and you’re guaranteed to find a stretch of beach to call your own. This is a perfect spot to swim or collect shells, starfish and sand dollars, especially during low tide when there is an endless sand bar. For a memorable meal accompanied by an even better view, stop at Firefly Bar & Grill at Firefly Sunset Resort.
3. Man-O-War Cay
Man-O-War Cay is a historical boat-building epicenter, and only 20-25 minutes via ferry from The Crossing Marsh Harbour Dock (use the ferry or G & L Chartered Boat). Albury’s Sail Shop is a family-owned business that has been operating for three generations on Man-O-War Cay. The sail shop is well-known for its colourful fashionable items that are all made from a sturdy canvas fabric, traditionally used for sails. All of their designs have the tropical surroundings in mind and some of their more popular items include bags and hats of varied sizes. Stop by Albury Brothers boat workshop to see boat-building in action. Grab an ice cream or treat from Hibiscus Cafe and then finish with a tour at the Man-O-War Heritage Museum to get a better sense of the history of the island and the families that have inhabited it for generations.
2. Great Guana Cay
Hop over to Great Guana Cay with a 30-minute ferry ride from Man-O-War Cay or a 40-minute ride from Marsh Harbour. Great Guana Cay is known for its Loyalist history, beautiful beaches, aquamarine water and friendly locals. Dine at one of the most popular places in The Abacos, Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill. After a fresh seafood lunch, enjoy Caribbean tunes while cooling off in one of Nipper’s pools or relax in the Bahamian breeze on the stunning white sand beach. Kids will love the crystal clear water and kayaks are available for guests, free of charge. Nearby on Great Guana Cay are Gone Conchin’ Boutique, Grabber’s Bed Bar & Grill, Blue Coral Landing, and Kidd’s Cove Seafood Bar & Grill.
1. Green Turtle Cay
From Marsh Harbour, drive 30 minutes to Green Turtle Cay Ferry Dock to catch a boat ride to Green Turtle Cay. Book a family adventure day with Brendal’s Dive Center, based on Green Turtle Cay, for a day out on the water. There’s no better way to experience the waters of The Abacos than with Brendal as your guide. An adventure tour includes snorkeling on the coral reef, hand-feeding stingrays, turtles and nurse sharks and a fresh grilled seafood picnic of lobster tail, grilled grouper, conch salad and homemade coconut bread on a private beach.
By Bridgette Langdon