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Abaco Island in the Bahamas

Map of Abaco, Bahamas
The Abacos is an Out Island of the Bahamas with the main village of Marsh Harbor. The chain of islands includes also many well-known cays like Elbow Cay with Hopetown, Green Turtle Cay with New Plymouth, Great Guana Cay and Man-O-War Cay, all of which offer full services for boaters and just the right sprinkling of small resorts and villas as well as enchanting settlements.

The Abaco's calm, beautiful and naturally protected waters have helped the area to become the Bahamas' sailing and boating capital. Man-O-War Cay remains Bahamas' boatbuilding center; its residents turn out traditionally crafted wood dinghies as well as high-tech fiberglass craft.

In the Abaco's you can feel content in an uncrowded environment, yet still have access to whatever levels of accommodation and services you desire.

Indulge in the complete package: Immaculate deserted beaches, deluxe full-service marinas, Out Island tranquility combined with easy travel plus world-class golf courses, bonefishing in the Marls, playing tennis or go diving or snorkeling.

Explore on this website the many different islands and cays of the Abacos and discover the endless possibilities of boating, fishing, diving and snorkeling.

If you are looking for hotels on Grand Bahama, than visit the Abacos Hotel website for more information. You can also directly book your hotel stay.

Great Abaco Island

Geographical and Historical Facts

The Abacos, 200 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, consists of more than 100 islands.

Little Abaco Island, Great Abaco island, and many smaller offshore cays comprise the mini-archipelago, which stretches in a languid crescent for more than 120 miles from Walker's Cay in the north to Hole-in-the-Wall in the south.

The Abaco islands have a population of more than 17'000 with the main settlement of Marsh Harbor with 6'000 inhabitants.

Larger populated cays include Green Turtle, Great Guana, Man-O-War and Elbow but the majority of the other cays are uninhabited.

The 10 or so inhabited cays of the Abacos were first settled more than 200 years ago by New England Loyalist, who were fleeing after the United States were founded. They were joined by planation owners and their slaves. They were farmers, fishermen, boat builder and ship wrecker.

Today the legacy of the British settlers remains intact. Many of the Abaco's residents have accents reminiscent of their ancestors.

Most visitors to the Abacos make their first stop on Great Abaco Island's east coast at Marsh Harbor, the Bahamas' third-largest city and the commercial center.

On Great Abaco are the two airports, the main one at Marsh Harbor in the middle of the islands and one at Treasure Cay in the northern part of Great Abaco.

Marsh Harbor offers several full service marinas for your boat and you can stock up on groceries and supplies here.

Driving south from Marsh Harbor you will reach the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a glamorous golf and sporting club set on a stunning oceanfront property. This is a private club but nonmembers can stay in the hotel-style cabanas and use all facilities one time while evaluating the membership and real estate options.

Abaco Treasure Cay

On the same peninsula is the small, eclectic artist colony of Little Harbor which was settled by the Johnston family more than 50 years ago. You can visit the Pete Johnston's bronze foundry, the gallery with fine bronzes, unique gold jewelry and other original art for sale. There is also a nice outdoor restaurant with excellent seafood and you can stick the feet in the sand and enjoy the harbor view.

Further south are the small fishing villages of Cherokee Sound and Sandy Point. The area offers breathtaking deserted Atlantic beaches and serene salt marshes. There are some fishing lodges and many local Bahamians offer offshore fishing and bonefishing expeditions.

Bahamas Treasure Cay Beach
North of Marsh Harbor the highway leads through large pine forests with wild horses and boars to Treasure Cay, which is a large peninsula connected to Great Abaco by a narrow spit of land.

Treasure Cay is a small community where expatriate residents share the laid-back, sun-and-sea atmosphere with longtime locals. The community offers hotels, a marina, restaurants, shops, a golf course and a spectacular 3.5 miles long beach, one of the best in the Bahamas.

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Elbow Cay with Hope Town

Abaco Hopetown
Elbow Cay with the charming village of Hope Town with about 300 residents lies southeast of Marsh Harbor on the main island. Scheduled ferry service is available several times a day.

Upon arrival you will first see a much-photographed Bahamas landmark, a 120-foot tall, peppermint-striped lighthouse built in 1838. There is no proper road between the town and the lighthouse. You can take either your own boat or the ferry.

Most of the village is closed to cars, so you can easily take a bike or walk along the narrow lanes that circle the village and harbor. The saltbox cottages - painted in brilliant blues, purples, pinks and yellows - with their white picket fences, flowering gardens, and porches and sills decorated with conch shells, will remind you of a New England seaside community with a Bahamian flair.

Abaco Elbow Cay
Your walk will take you past Hope Town School, the original 110 year old one-room schoolhouse, painted in red and white. A visit of the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum at main street is recommended. The museum shows the history of the town and exhibits memorabilia and photographs.

Several inns provide rooms for visitors and there are also several fine restaurants which serves native Bahamian dishes in the little village. Along with the attractive town, the main attractions are the long, ivory beaches, some backed by dunes.

Green Turtle Cay with New Plymouth

Abaco Green Turtle Cay
A 10-minute ferry ride from a Treasure Cay dock will take you to Green Turtle Cay. The tiny island is steeped in Loyalist history, some residents can track their heritage 200 years back to the US settlers.

The cay is surrounded by several deep bays, sounds, bonefish flats, and beautiful beaches.

New Plymouth, first settled in 1783, is Green Turtle's main community with about 550 residents. Narrow streets flanked by wild-growing flora wind between rows of New England style cottages with brightly coloured shutters.

New Plymouth's most frequently visited attraction is the Albert Lowe Museum on main street. The Bahamas' oldest historical museum exhibits local memorabilia and photographs which shows the islands history. The museum features also model ships and art from local artist Alton Lowe.

The past is present in the Memorial Sculpture Garden, across the street from the New Plymouth Inn. Immortalized in busts perched on pedestals are local residents who have made important contributions to the Bahamas.

Yachtsmen make Green Turtle Cay and its lively restaurants and bars a favorite stop. For land-based travellers there are several charming hotels.

Great Guana Cay

Great Guana Cay, just off Great Abaco, accessible by ferry from Marsh Harbor or by private boat, is the kind of place people think about when they dream off an exotic island, complete with beautiful, deserted beaches and grassy dunes.

Only about 100 full-time residents live on the 7 mile long islands in the tranquil village. Still, there are just enough luxuries here to make your stay comfortable, including a couple of small, laid-back resorts, and a restaurant-bar with one of the best party scenes in Abaco.

The island also offers easy access to bonefishing flats you can explore on your own.

Man-O-War Cay

Abaco Man-O-War Cay
Fewer than 300 people live on a small, 2,5 miles long Man-O-War Cay, many of them direct descendants of early loyalist settlers. The residents remain proud of their heritage to handcraft boats since two centuries and continue to build their famous fiberglass boats today.

The Cay are easy accessible by ferry boat or water taxi from Marsh Harbor. Man-O-War Cay also has a marina, three churches, a one-room schoolhouse, several shops, grocery stores and a restaurant that caters largely to visitors.

The cay is a marvelous place to walk or to take a rented golf cart for a spin - no cars are allowed on the island. The island offers also a small resort and has some small secluded beaches.

Diving and Snorkeling in the Abacos

Abaco has many excellent diving and snorkeling spots. Many sites are clustered around Marsh Harbor, including the reef behind Guana Cay which is filled with cave like catacombs and Fowl Cay National Reserve, which contains wide tunnels and a variety of fish.

Pelican Cay National Park is another popular dive and snorkel site south of Marsh Harbor. This shallow, 25-foot dive is filled with sea life like turtles, spotted eagle rays and tarpon are often sighted here.

Snorkelers will want to visit Mermaid Beach, just off Pelican Shores Road in Marsh harbor, where live reefs and green moray eels make for some of the Abacos' best snorkeling.

Visit the website for more information about the best Bahamas Dive and Snorkeling sites.

Tips for your boating experience in the Abacos

The Abacos is the perfect place for an extended boat cruise. You can rent a boat and explore the area by your own or you can hire a skipper which guides you through all the islands in the Abacos.

The section below provides you with a few tips what sites you can explore during your journey through the waters and islands of Abaco, where you can set anchorage, find a marina and much more.

In the northern portion of Abaco, Grand Cay is a laid-back settlement of about 200 people. Most yachters will find the anchorage off the community dock adequate, and the docks at Rosie's Place can take boats, too. Double anchors are advised to handle the harbor's tidal current.

Heading south from Grand Cay, you will pass several tiny cays such as Roder Rocks, Barracuda Rocks, Little Sale Cay or Great Sale Cay which provides excellent shelter to stay overnight.

Others are Guineaman Cay, Pensacola, Allen's Cays and the Hawksbill Cays. Fox Town on Little Abaco's western tip is the first refueling stop south of Hawksbill Cay.

A narrow causeway joins Little Abaco to Great Abaco, where the largest community at the north end is Coopers Town. You can stock up here on provisions.

Cruising south, you will pass Powell Cay, Nun Jack Cay and Crab Cay on the way to Green Turtle Cay, which has excellent yachting facilities at White Sound in the north and Black Sound in the south. The main village New Plymouth is also worth a visit.

South of Green Turtle Cay on Abacos main islands is Treasure Cay Resort and Marina, with one of the longest and finest beaches in the Abacos as well as complete facilities for boaters.

You can also play a round of golf here.

Straight back out in the Sea of Abaco is Great Guana Cay and Man-O-War Cay. Continuing south, the Bahamas' most photographed lighthouse sits atop Elbow Cay with Hopetown, a small resort community. More information's about the islands are in the sections above.

Back on Great Abaco, you will find Abacos' largest settlement Marsh Harbor, which has plenty of facilities for boaters. These include the modern 190-slip Boat Harbor Marina, a full service operations on the east side. The other side of town has additional marinas including the Conch Inn marina.

This concludes our tour through the most interesting part of the Abacos.

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