Island Hopping in The Abacos: Boating, Beaches and BBQ

Spell-binding white sand, clearer-than-clear turquoise water and lots of sunny, small islands and cays, The Abacos are where you can escape from the cold, cruel world and hop around from island to island until the sea cows come home. Even better, they’re mostly uncrowded. This means you’ll have your own Private Idaho, a veritable Beach Eden.

(Bahama Beach Club, Treasure Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

The two main islands in this slice of paradise are Great Abaco, which is 90 plus miles long, but not more than four miles wide. Then there is Little Abaco. Both of these sunny isles are accompanied by a long chain of even smaller islands. The whole shebang, some 100 plus Cays and islands, is a 120-mile-long chain of islands that stretches over 650 square miles, which is sometimes referred to as “Bahamas Out Islands” or the “Family Islands.”

(Marina, Treasure Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

A History of Boating

The Abacos are known as the boating capital of the world, but it’s no surprise. Back in the day (like way, way back), The Abaconians were ship builders and farmers who worked the land and also, lived off the ocean. When you’re here, the big water sports are fishing (of course), sailing and diving, scuba and snorkeling.

But more about the fishing. You can go for bonefish in the shallower waters or try to wrangle a massive Blue Marlin out at sea. Make sure you fill up on carbs (for energy) and get a good night’s sleep before you set your sights on these babies because they can put up a fight. Other fish you can try for (and we’re pulling for you) include sailfish, wahoo, kingfish and tuna.

Breath-Stealing Beaches

Though the sand is snow white, the main thing that will blow your beach hair back the moment you arrive in The Abacos is the clear, glass-like sheen of the turquoise water.  But, you can’t have a beach without sand. Case in point, there are so many gorgeous stretches of the pearly white stuff we love that it’s a bit hard to know where to start.

(Treasure Cay Beach, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

However, the first one that might be beyond compare is Treasure Cay, which was voted one of the top 10 in the region in a reader poll by Caribbean Travel & Life. This 3.5-mile stretch of pure white bliss kissed by the hypnotizing blue will grab your heart and never let go.

Treasure Cay was voted one of the top 10 in the region in a reader poll by Caribbean Travel & Life.

A super place to stay in this blessed area is Bahama Beach Club. You can rent boats there and sail away to nearby islands and cays. Another one is Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina, which has been known as the “Hub of the Abacos” since 1955.

(Treasure Cay sunset, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

Another one in The Abacos to visit with luscious, sugary sand is Ocean Beach. Next up is Tahiti Beach, which is dotted with coconut trees and boasts toe-loving white sand. Note: you can only get to Tahiti Beach by foot, bike or boat. This makes it great for beach-combing for shells, starfish and sand dollars, along with just general strolling/chilling.

Guana Cay is seven miles long and has a tall dune. If you want to tear yourself away from the beach (we know that will be hard), you can head into the town of Guana Cay and grab pics of (and in front of) gorgeous colonial architecture.

“If your looking for something a little more laid back, Grabbers is nearby and has hammocks to sip your Goombay Smash in.”

One of our True Beach Lovers has been to The Abacos and said, “If your looking for something a little more laid back, Grabbers is nearby and has hammocks to sip your Goombay Smash in.”  If you’re looking for a more adventurous vibe, head over to Munjack Cay and hang with the stingrays for a day. The main thing to know about the beaches in The Abacos is that they are all blindlingly white and sparsely inhabited.

Take the Ferry. Hop Around.

This is too fun: there are ferries that make scheduled runs between Great Abaco and all the outer islands across the Sea of Abaco. You can take a day trip to Guana Cay or Elbow Cay, soak in some history at Hope Town or Man-O-War, or on Sunday, cruise on over to the pig roast at Nipper’s on Great Guana. Albury’s Ferry Service operates out of Marsh Harbour and Green Turtle Ferry runs out of Treasure Cay airport to Green Turtle Cay several times a day. So climb aboard and start hopping.

(Hope Town Lighthouse, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

Famous Candy Cane Lighthouse

This iconic Hope Town Lighthouse, built in 1863, was constructed to steer ships clear of the extensive Elbow Reef.

(Hope Town Lighthouse View, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

The light can be seen 17 miles away and it’s still manually operated. The view from the top is stunning and when you stand in front of it the stripes make a great background for a photo.

(Firefly Bar & Grill, Hope Town, Elbow Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

After you’re finished with Selfies and such, head to the Firefly Bar & Grill, named for Firefly Vodka. It’s probably the nicest restaurant on the island. When you arrive, they offer you a refreshing cool towel. The Fried Pickles, Bacon Wrapped Lobster and the Lobster Quesadillas appetizers are to die for. Conch and any of the fresh fish are good bets along with their outstanding cocktails. For dessert, you must try their Apple Pie Moonshine. Beach appetit.

(French Toast, Coco Beach Bar, Treasure Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas, photo by: instagram.com/babygot_snacks.)

Another amazing place to chow down is the Coco Beach Bar. It’s known for its Bahamian drink specialties and local grilled favs.

(Coco Beach Bar, Treasure Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas, photo by: instagram.com/wlittle123.)

You can kick back and enjoy the eats and/or get active, as they have a water sports cabana for Hobie cat, kayak and banana boat rentals.

(Pigs on the beach, The Abacos, Bahamas.)

What’s Up with Those Adorable Bahamian Piggies?

These precious, wiggly babies live in Piggyville aka No Name Cay. You can also see them on Big Major Cay. But how in the heck do they swim? Legend has it that they were left by a group of sailors who left and were going to come back to cook them. Another story claims that they were on a board a ship that wrecked and they swam on over. No matter how or why they arrived, they’re a part of the landscape in The Abacos.

No Casinos, Strip Malls or Amusement Parks

Simply put, The Abacos are a beach oasis, a place where natural beauty takes precedence over the noise of commerce and the throngs of humans that come with it. Yes, there are places to eat and drink, but the main focus of this sunny spot is communing with the ocean, the sand, the water-letting yourself relax, casting aside about your worries and escaping reality as you know it.

(Nipper’s Great Guana Cay, The Abacos, Bahamas, photo by: instagram.com/dawnvita.)

Sunday Night BBQ at Guana Cay

Guana Cay is famous for Sunday BBQs at Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill atop the island’s tall sand dune, which overlooks a magnificent seven-mile-long beach. This rockin’ spot draws a big, fun crowd and also, famous feline fixture, Eddie the Cat. So if you want, you can get enjoy some delicious BBQ, along with a side of cuddling.

(Eddie the Cat, Nipper’s Great Guana Cay, photo by: instagram.com/neauxlachic.)

How to Get to The Abacos 

There are two airports you can fly into to get to The Abacos: Marsh Harbour International Airport (MHH) and Treasure Cay International Airport (TCB). Plus, there are airstrips at Moore’s Island, Sandy Point, Scotland’s Cay and Spanish Cay. If you want to go by sea, you can take Pinder’s Ferry from Grand Bahama Island that leaves twice a day from McLean’s Town in the east-it’s $50 each way.

If getting away from the bulk of concrete and traffic is what you want, then you’ll want to make a beach-line to The Abacos. It’s nothing less than Beach Utopia.

 

Lisa Mitchell

I am a blogger for CheapCaribbean.com who is a travel junkie and addicted to the beach.

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