The Abacos has been called the sailing capital of the world and it is surely the sailing capital of the Bahamas. The islands off the mainland are called cays (pronounced Keys). Travel is most easily accomplished among the cays by boat, although there is a ferry that can take you to a couple of the larger cays. This diverse third largest Bahamian Island has something for everyone:
The main settlement that serves as the transportation hub is Marsh Harbour (MHH) and all major US carriers have daily service from Florida. Marsh Harbor is full of restaurants serving local fair and in the hub on the nightlife on Abacos. If you are interested in sailing through and around Abacos you can charter a sailboat through the Moorings which is based out of Marsh Harbor.
A short ferry ride directly east will take you to to the island of Elbow Cay will give you the most unforgettable visit: Hope Town. With it’s candy striped lighthouse and Martha’s vinyard loyalist cottages this settlement is the must see destination of the Abacos. Rent a golf cart and make your way south to White Sound which has great waves for surfing and a great beach to go sea glass hunting. Elow Cay has all amenities you would want in The Bahamas, scuba and snorkeling trips, boat rental, vacation home rental… dive boat charters etc.
Head South to Little Harbor and make a stop at Sandy Cay National Preserve. It is a reef full of abundant sea life which you can see clearly with a mask and snorkel. Make sure only to anchor at the approved moorings as on stray anchor can cause thousands of years of damage on the reefs. Little Harbor is home to Pete’s Pub and a copper cast museum. Call ahead on the VHF to let him know you are coming.
Heading back up north stop at Tilloo Cay which is home to a sand dollar and sea urchin park. Please don’t take live sea urchins or sea biscuits, they will die a long slow (stinky) death. Pull up to the beach to find plenty of empty shells you can take home as a souvenir. North of Elbow cay is Great Guana Cay offers a magnificent white powdered sand beach and a famous restaurant/bar serving a Sunday Native Pork Roast.
Upscale Treasure Cay (on the mainland w/add’l airport (TCB)) has a full resort with golf course. It also has one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world according to Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine, where white powder meets the turquoise swells. The Marina at Treasure Cay is one of the largest and busiest in Abacos. Unlike its name suggests Treasure Cay is again on the mainland and can be reached by approx 40 min car ride from Marsh Harbor Airport.
Green Turtle Cay is the sister settlement to Florida’s Key West. Although Florida experienced much more of a growth boom, this sleepy fishing village has a historical museum and Art Gallery.
Man of War Cay was a bustling boat building capital. It now is home to a quaint village full of architectural detail and sail bag gifts.
Yes, because of the proximity the the US coast – you can arrive Abaco within a hours’ flight… Disney Cruise Lines even has a private Abaco island on its itinerary!
The islands of the Bahamas… it just keeps getting better!