Lay Of The Land
Situated two hundred miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, the Abacos are the most northerly group of Bahamian Islands, exposing the 10,000 residents to cold fronts from November to March. Boasting the third highest population of the Bahamian Islands, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
The island of Abaco is 130 miles long stretching from Crown Haven in the north to Sandy Point in the south. The “mainland” is Great Abaco with a curve of cays a few miles offshore creating the protected Sea of Abaco. Though the majority of these tiny islands are uninhabited, the larger cays including Green Turtle, Great Guana, Man-O-War and Elbow are worth a visit using the regular scheduled ferry service.
In the north are the small settlements of Crown Haven (catch the ferry to Grand Bahama from here) and Fox Town. South of the Little Abaco causeway is Coopers Town, originally settled in the 1870’s by the Coopers from Grand Bahama, with the 900 residents working primarily in the fishing industry. South of Coopers Town on the S.C. Bootle Highway is the Treasure Cay Airport, the Green Turtle Cay Ferry and the resort area of Treasure Cay. Named for the fleet of more than 15 Spanish treasure galleons that sank off its shores in the late 1500’s, Treasure Cay is Abaco’s second largest settlement. With a large marina, an 18-hole golf course and some of the best beaches in the Bahamas, Treasure Cay is an ideal vacation spot for just about any traveler.
Thirty-five minutes south of Treasure Cay is the commercial center of Abaco, Marsh Harbour. Home to the islands only stop light, Marsh Harbour is the Bahamas third largest settlement with about 6,000 residents. Marsh Harbour offers a wide selection of comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation, the largest airport on the island, shopping, dining, banking, medical clinic and supplies for just about anything you might need, including an Internet café!
As you head south from Marsh Harbour, the population thins and settlements become smaller. Little Harbour, quiet even by Abaco standards is worth the forty-five minute drive south from Marsh Harbour. This picturesque settlement is known as the home of the acclaimed bronze and wood sculptor Randolf Johnston and Pete’s Pub. Just a few miles from Little Harbour lies the charming settlement of Cherokee Sound, well known for its extensive bonefishing flats. At the southernmost tip of Abaco is Sandy Point, a quiet commercial fishing village that has fuel and a grocery store.
Where to Stay
There is so much to choose from on Abaco your best bet is to first determine the type of holiday you are looking for and then which part of Abaco is going to offer the activities and amenities you want.
To narrow the search, determine if you want to be on one of the outlying cays where you get around by golf cart, a smaller settlement in southern Abaco or be a little closer to the action in Treasure Cay or Marsh Harbour.
Green Turtle Cay is a beautiful destination with the ferry leaving regularly just north of Treasure Cay. There is a wide range of accommodation offered but no matter where you are bonefishing is just a golf cart ride away.
Treasure Cay offers a true tropical vacation experience with a world famous beach, restuarants, stores, golf and tennis as you buzz around in your golf cart. There are a variety of homes, townhouses and condos to choose from. If you want to fish the northern end of Abaco, Treasure Cay is an ideal location.
Leisure Lee is another nice location, locted just south of Treasure harbour with some beautifuyl homes for rent. Bonefishing is literally minutes from your doorstep.
The largest town on Abaco, Marsh Harbour, serves as the hub for the island with all the services and amenities you would expect. There are a wide variety of rentals available from economy bungalows to the grandest of water front homes. We stayed at the Wheelhouse on Eastern Shores, which is perfect for two couples.
Twenty miles south of Marsh Harbour are the settlements of Little Harbour and Cherokee Sound. Small and remote, both places offer a few homes and cottages to rent.
Marsh Harbour is the heart of activity n Great Abaco with a number of resorts, homes and condos to select from. If renting on the Eastern Shore you are walking distance from the ferries to the quaint cays of Man O War and Elbow and only another ten minute walk to downtown Marsh Harbour.
Little Harbour is a beautiful portectd bay with a number of homes to rent and quality fishing
South of Cherokee Sound is the tiny enclave of Casuarina Point where you will find a cluster of charming homes to rent in the midst of seaside tranquility.
Sandy Point on the southern end has a few places to rent and is in the heart of bonefish country.
If Treasure Cay or Marsh Harbour will be home, arranging for groceries and meals will not be problem. Little Harbour, Cherokee Sound and Casuarina Point will require more of a plan! Before heading south, do your shopping at the major grocery stores in Marsh Harbour.
Where To Fish
The airports at Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour are a little more than an hour’s flight from South Florida and are serviced by several commercial airlines.
Subject to the carrier, flights can be found most days of the week between Ft. Lauderdale (United, Sky Bahamas) Miami (American Eagle) West Palm Beach (Bahamasair) Orlando (American, United, US Airways, Bahamasair) and Nassau (Bahamasair, Sky Bahamas).
Bahamas Fast Ferry will get you from Nassau to Sandy Point in about 3 ½ hours.
- Phone: 242-323-2166
- Website: www.bahamasferries.com
Route and schedule information for the ferries from Abaco to the cays: www.go-abacos.com/travel
There are a number of car rental agencies to choose from and I can recommend Sea Star rentals, which has an office at the Marsh Harbour airport.
In the larger settlements like Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour, bike and scooter rentals are also available.