The Abaco Islands of the Bahamas are an unspoiled, sun-kissed outpost free of mega-development and tourist throngs, and chock full of authentic experiences, engaging locals and maverick wanderers. However long you stay in the Abaco Islands, it won’t be long enough. Global Gallop can help you make the best of your time in this breezy, pristine getaway. Just take your cues from Global Gallop’s Abaco Islands Guide:
Short of a private villa rental and several high-end fishing lodges, the accommodation options in the Abaco Islands fall firmly in the three-star category. No Worries. With some of the planet’s best water and beaches at hand, if you are spending a lot of time indoors, you are doing something terribly wrong.
The Abaco Beach Resort, in Marsh Harbour, is an affordable choice that really punches above its weight. All of the spacious rooms have views to a pristine beach or the peaceful yacht marina. Amenities include tennis courts, two swimming pools, a fitness facility, and a lively bar and restaurant. But the real draw of the Abaco Beach Resort is the location: a mere ten minutes from the airport and a short walk to the watering holes, dining options, boat rentals and dive shops in nearby Marsh Harbour.
Take to the Water
The Abaco Islands are widely considered one of the top boating capitals on the planet, and there is no reason for you to be left high and dry. Rent a boat and spend your time day-tripping along the 120 mile-long string of beaches, bays, coves and cays of the Abaco Islands.
Beware of the lowest cost providers among the boat rental operations. You might end up with sub-par equipment that could leave you stranded. Blue Wave Boat Rentals will set you up with a quality vessel equipped with GPS, a depth sounder, VHF radio, safety equipment and the all-important cooler.
The Abaco Islands have some world-class fishing, so why not drag a line while scooting about in your boat? Just rent a rod and reel at Island Boy Tackle and Marine in Marsh Harbour. Too, be sure to stop at No Name Cay to visit Piggy Town. Indeed, there is a colony of castaway feral pigs in the Abaco Islands. Though not as adroit in the water as the swimming pigs of Exuma, the Abaco Islands pigs aren’t afraid to get their feet wet in the interest of a good meal.
Bar-Hop, Island Style
The Abaco Islands are a wonderland when it comes to classic beach bars, where the Kalik is cold and camaraderie is no sweat. Start your watery pub crawl with a stop at Nippers on Great Guana Cay. A winding dirt road leads to the dune-top perch of the colorful, sprawling Nippers complex. With a jaw dropping view to a spectacular beach and the sea, at Nippers, you can party down, drink up and chill out in the company of kindred spirits.
Next, tie up at Cracker P’s on Lubber’s Quarters Cay. Wash down the tasty smoked fish dip with a ‘Shotgun’, the house special rum punch, then embarrass yourself on the beach volleyball court.
Last up, is a stop at Pete’s Pub, in Little Harbor on Great Abaco Island, the quintessential sand-floor swill joint. Pete’s Pub serves up better-than-average grub and a deadly signature rum punch called the “Blaster”. Don’t be surprised to see a barracuda, sea turtle or ray do a swim-by in the shallow, translucent water fronting Pete’s Pub.
See What’s Under the Sea
The Abaco Islands are situated along the world’s third largest barrier reef, and the water teems with life. Captain Keith at Dive Abaco is a great choice for exploring the underwater world of the Abaco Islands. Dive Abaco even offers a Shark Observation Dive to get you up close and personal with Caribbean reef sharks.
Snorkeling is another excellent underwater option in the Abaco Islands. Don’t miss snorkeling the Mermaid Reef, which is approachable by boat or by shore from Marsh Harbour. At Mermaid Reef, you can hand-feed a huge assortment of colorful fish. Be forewarned, the resulting frenzy can be a little chaotic and your personal space (and perhaps your swim trunks) will be invaded.
Toast the Sunset
Watching the sun set over the serene Marsh Harbour marina with a rum-laced cocktail in hand is an Abaco Islands ritual. Snag a table at Curly Tails or Snappas, and raise a glass, or two, to toast the end of another great day in the Abaco Islands.