The islands of the Bahamas have lured and captivated seafarers for centuries, enchanting both settlers and traders alike. Explorer Christopher Columbus landed on San Salvador in 1492 and declared it to be a ‘baja mar’ or ‘shallow sea’ – and hence The Bahamas gained its name. The Abacos is a 120-mile boomerang-shaped chain of islands and cays in the northern Bahamas, each as stunning as the next. Boasting endless beaches and coves, lush forests, authentic culture and stunning coral reefs, the Abacos are an often overlooked jewel of the Bahamas. Once famous for their shipbuilding heritage, the islands still welcome large numbers of visiting yachts keen to explore the stunning cruising grounds. The main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco form “the mainland,” with plenty to see and do both onshore and on the water. With sheltered waters and schools of tropical fish dancing beneath the surface, a cruise to the Abacos is a paradise for divers and snorkellers.
Departing from Marsh Harbour, your Abacos adventure starts on the Southern Sea of Abaco; anchor up in Little Harbour Bay or the Bight of Old Robinson Bay. A sheltered paradise, the Bay is home to the Abaco Yacht Club. Come ashore and view the bronze sculptures by artist Randolph Johnson who originally settled the island in 1951. Experience the laid back Pete’s Pub for delicious and creative cocktails or some fresh seafood. Take in the sunset with a paddle behind Channel Cay.
SOUTHERN SEA OF ABACO
Visit Robinson’s Creek in the morning, exploring the mangroves and blue holes, in the company of stingrays, mangroves and tropical fish. Snorkel in O’Neil creek and swim with three different varieties of endangered sea turtles – a truly special experience. Continue your adventures in the water on Lynyard Cay and Goole Cay, diving for conches, or simply relax on one of the many stunning beaches.
ELBOW CAY / LIGHTHOUSE
Once home to British loyalists in the 18th century, the Cay’s main village, Hopetown, boasts a sheltered harbour and is overlooked by a striking red and white striped lighthouse. Spend the morning wandering around Hopetown, a characterful town full of charm, before enjoying lunch on a nearby sandbank with the ocean lapping at your feet.
Man O’ War Cay is home to just 200 residents, with a long boatbuilding heritage – visit the island’s tiny museum dedicated to this history. Enjoy a swim in the vibrant blue waters before taking the tender to Fowl Cays National Park and its protected reef that is rich with life. This is the perfect spot to enjoy some snorkelling or some beach time on nearby Scotland Cay.
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Take a picnic ashore on the north side of Guana Cay, the largest cay in the Abacos. This welcoming island is best navigated by golf cart – take your time to explore. Known for its spectacular beaches, the Cay also boasts several snorkelling sites. Visit Nippers, one of the most popular beach bars in the Bahamas, for a sundowner while you take in one of the vibrant sunsets the Cay is known for.
GREEN TURTLE CAY
Enroute to Green Turtle Cay stop and enjoy the unique experience of swimming with pigs at No Name Cay – a must-do photo opportunity. Anchor off Green Turtle Cay and take a tender to Lincoln Park to feed the sharks and stingrays. Cruise to North Plymouth, a quaint village on Green Turtle Cay, where you can wander the streets and soak in the charm and atmosphere. New Plymouth is still home to many of the descendants of the original loyalists who settled on the Cay in the 1700s. Make sure you sample a Goombay Sash, the national drink.
The famed Treasure Cay is home to a 3.5 mile stretching beach of squeaky white sand. Hailed as one of the best beaches in the region, the breath-taking scenes are an immediate explanation as to why. Enjoy a swim and relax in the sunshine, with a drink from one of the beachside bars.
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