Our annual Bahamas family vacation started with 13 members, however at the last minute three opted out due to the 10 day rainy forecast. As of day five, Abaco has lived up to the rainy forecast every darn day!
We are split up staying on Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, and Green Turtle Cay. Since we're down to only 10 travelers, the extra bedrooms in the rental houses have actually been a blessing, as we have been switching locations at will with our "revised" rental agreement.
Everyone gets to experience a different island and cay during the vacation. Getting around is easy as we rented two powerboats, and if both are in use, there's always the ferry if you really need to move to another location before one returns.
If you're not familiar with "The Abacos" here's a very basic map which does not include ALL the Cays
The Abacos are a group of islands and cays stretching over 650 square miles
Sea of Abaco
All Photo Credits - Travel 2 the Caribbean
The mainland islands are Great Abaco Island and Little Abaco. Other island and cays are tucked into protected harbors from the Atlantic by the calm, shallow Sea of Abaco.
Actually Abaco offers 100 or so isles and cays including Treasure Cay, Elbow Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, Man-O-War Cay, and Lubbers Quarters Cay. Other smaller cays are Wood Cay, Castaway Cay, Stranger's Cay, Umbrella Cay, Walker's Cay, Little Grand Cay, and Moore's Island.
Traveling from cay, to cove or bay, most of the beaches are deserted, and you will often have a little piece of paradise all to yourself until another boat comes along. And to top it off there are a few lovely sand bars shaped like ribbons, and protected in the middle of the Sea of Abaco.
The Abaco Islands are known as one of the world’s top boating and sailing destinations, and offers a complete vacation destination.
Aside from full service marinas, the Abacos offer a wide variety of accommodations, and a wonderful selection of unique restaurants and bars. Add to that excellent snorkeling, diving, fishing, beautiful colonial styled towns and interesting historical sites all make this a complete vacation destination.
Marsh Harbour would be considered the "big hub" of the Abacos, and its located on Great Abaco Island.
Most travelers to the island fly in, or arrive by boat from South Florida, and other destinations.
If you are not staying on Marsh Harbour, this is the point to sail, boat or ferry out across the Sea of Abaco to any number of islands, cays and bays. It's an island hopping adventure, and each sandy spot is worthy of a stop.
Marsh Harbour has an excellent full-service marinas where you can dock your own boat or find a rental – both live aboard sailboats and powerboats are available. Albury's Ferry offers reliable service to Marsh Harbour, Man-O-War Cay, Hope Town, Great Guana Cay, and Scotland Cay.
Treasure Cay is just North of Marsh Harbour, and has the second airport in the Abacos'.
Aside from a full service marina, this cay has the absolute best beach - in fact National Geographic named it one of the best beaches in the world. The water is so clear you can see the reflection of the clouds - just awesome!
There's lots of real estate development, along with fine hotels, golf and a protected bay called Little Harbour lies to the south. Pete's Pub is a favorite spot to hang out on Little Harbour.
GREEN TURTLE CAY
Coco Bay Beach, Green Turtle Cay - Had the beach all to myself :)
Also North of Marsh Harbour is Green Turtle Cay, and it's easily reached by ferry or boat from Treasure Cay.
The cay is named for the hundreds of sea turtles which once inhabited the island's shallow waters.
The town of New Plymouth reminds you of a New England fishing village with its beautifully preserved colonial architecture painted in both pastel and bright Bahamian colors. There are so many little hidden anchorages, and plenty of beautiful Bahama sand beaches and clear waters.
When the American Revolution ended in 1783, many loyalists from the former British colony located to Green Turtle Cay. In the town of New Plymouth you will find many electric shops, restaurants, hotels and historic sites.
Heading North you run into the "dry" island of Man-O-War Cay.
This is the boat building center of the Abacos', and last I heard no liquor is sold on the island, however you are free to bring your own.
Very conservative settlement. We have made a few stops during our annual vacations, but never stay too long.
I have come to the conclusion I do not like the vibe of this particular cay.
GREAT GUANA CAY
Heading from Man-O-War, Great Guana Cay is the next stop.
It boasts a magnificent seven mile beach, and is home to Nippers Bar, which sits on top of a sand dune, and you can't miss the turquoise, hot pink, orange, and blue colors. They serve great food, drinks, along with entertainment, and are best known for Sunday barbecues. You can head down to the beach for a long walk or swim, or take a dip in the bars two-level pool. Great location for catching the sunset. Stays open until the last man or woman leaves!
Elbow Cay offers a variety of quality restaurants, and unique little hideaway accommodations.
There are only two forms of transportation - a golf cart or bike. While bikes are allowed everywhere, golf carts are not allowed in Hope Town past the Post Office. The alternative is to park, and then walk into town. Both cars and bikes are available for rent at reasonable prices.
You need to check the tides before going as the beach is underwater during high tide - yes the water is that shallow!
At low tide, you can sit on the sand bar and enjoy the swirling pools of water surround you - or place a folding chair in the water - and of course this is a fantastic snorkel spot.
If you are staying on the island, hop on a golf cart and head out, or if boating in be careful not to come in too close in the shallows. It's simply the best experience watching starfish up close, and if you are a shell collector, you will be in heaven.
These are the islands and cays we have been staying on, and visiting during our trip. We never adhere to a schedule, and like to "go with the flow" each day. On this particular vacation, the flow has been dealing with the consistent rain, wind and changing sea currents.
Aside from the Sunday Pig Roast at Nippers, when the weather clears we are heading out to another favorite sandbar - Tilloo Bank. It's a mile long, and about 10 feet deep. Another target before we leave next week is a snorkeling trip at Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park.
Will post more later