Long Island in the Bahamas
Long Island in the Bahamas truly lives up to its name. Long Island is never more than 4 miles wide but close to 80 miles long.
The main tourist centers of Long Island, Bahamas, are in the northern part of the island with Cape Santa Maria and Stella Maris. The main resorts on the island have the same names.
The island has blossomed into an Out Island jewel. Resort, diving, and snorkeling services have been enhanced in recent years, and vast, unexplored bonefish flats are drawing anglers who enjoy remote fishing.
Sailing enthusiasts will find Joe's Sound - between Cape Santa Maria beach and Glenton Sound - to be a protected heaven which is one of the nicest sailing place in the Bahamas. A sheltered deep-water marina service in Clarence Town has created a more convenient boating access to the southern part of the island.
The mailboat makes two weekly trips from Nassau to Long Island. On Tuesdays it goes to Clarence Town in the south and another boat stops in Salt Pond, Deadman's Cay and Seymour's. The trip takes approx. 12-15 hours.
On the island you can rent a car or ride with a taxi. Taxis are available at the airports and the main resorts.
If you plan a vacation on Long Island, look on the Long Island Hotels website for further information and booking possibilities.
Long Island in the Bahamas has about some 35 settlements and about 4000 residents. The island is known for its astonishing contrasts in geography, with white limestone cliffs, forested hillsides, mangrove swamps, and stark flatlands where salt is produced.
Exposed to the open Atlantic, the east coast consists of black reefs, protected coves, long strands of shelling beaches, and craggy bluffs that drop into the deep blue sea.
The tranquil west coast has powdery-white beaches, wide-open sandy flats and calm turquoise bays.
Long island has also an interesting history. The island was one of Columbus's stopping places in the Bahamas. In 1790 American Loyalists from the Carolinas in the USA brought their slaves to the island, where they built cotton plantations.
The rich soil in Long Island is better than in most island of the Bahamas, but after the abolition of slavery the plantations fail.
Agriculture, however, remains a major part of the local economy. Corn, peas, squash, pineapples, bananas and other fruits are the major farming products from the island.
Interesting Sights on Long Island, Bahamas
Most visitors to Long Island arrive in the northern part of the island at Stella Maris Airport. The major attraction is Cape Santa Maria at the northern tip of the island. Columbus originally named this part in honor of one of his ships.
Cape Santa Maria is known for its irresistibly dazzling beaches, which are considered among the best beaches in the Bahamas.
You can take a side trip on an unpaved road out to Columbus Cove which is 1.5 miles north of the Cape Santa Maria resort. The monument and plaque that commemorate Columbus's landing can be found at this place. You have also a tremendous view of the protected natural harbor he sailed into.
Divers can explore the wreck of a ship, which was sunk to create an artificial reef. Anglers can fish or bonefish and the beach is perfect for a picnic or swim.
Stella Maris, meaning Star of the Sea, lies about 12 miles south of Cape Santa Maria. It's home of the Stella Maris Resort Club. In a world of its own, the resort has an airport, a full-service marina, a couple of restaurants, a simple shopping complex with a bank, a post office, a general store and the island's only fly-fishing store.
Just north of Stella Maris, are the ruins of the 19th century Adderley's Plantation. You can still see parts of the planation's three buildings up to roof level.
Going further south from Stella Maris along the Queen's Highway you will pass Simms, one of the oldest settlements on Long Island with little pastel-color houses.
The annual Long Island Regatta featuring Bahamian-made boats, is held in Salt Pond every June. The settlement is 10 miles further south. The regatta is the island's main event with three days of partying, pig roasts and music by lively local bands.
The town of Deadman's Cay is the island's largest settlement with an airport, a few shops, churches and schools.
Between Deadman's Cay and Clarence Town, just past the settlement of Petty's is the turn off for Dean's Blue Hole, one of the world's deepest blue holes. It's surrounded by a powder-beach cove. Curious divers should contact the Stella Maris Dive shop.
Clarence Town has Long Island's most celebrated landmarks, St. Paul's Church and St. Peter's Church. They were both built by Father Jerome. The architecture of the two churches is similar to that of missions established by the Spaniards in California in the late 18th century.
The village itself is fringed by white-sand beaches, and fronted by a stunning oval-shaped bay of clear aqua-blue water, dotted with coral heads, sand bars and small green cays.
Clarence Town feels like it is the end of the earth but there are more villages beyond. The Public and Chancery Ponds obtain old salt pans where Long Islanders have evaporated sea water to obtain salt since the early 18th century.
The best dive spots on Long Island are the Conception Island Wall, Dean's Blue Hole and Shark Reef. For more information about diving on Long Island visit the Bahamas Diving and Snorkeling Site.
If you plan a vacation on Long Island you can find some accommodation option on the Long Island Hotels website.
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