GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
Location: Size: Population:
Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay on Great Abaco with others on neighboring cays: Green Turtle Cay, Elbow Cay, Guana Cay, Man-O-War Cay, White Sound
About 175 miles east of Palm Beach and 106 miles north of Nassau Area of 650 square miles
The Abacos remained largely unexplored until the late 18th century. The first known settlers on Abaco were British Loyalists who left the United States after the American Revolution. Six hundred of these refugees founded the first settlement, Carleton, on Great Abaco. For this reason, the Loyalist heritage of Abaco remains strong to this day, with some of its residents even having opposed Bahamian independence.
Marsh Harbour has a variety of stores for most every need, with many shops located along the waterfront on Bay Street. Additionally, the small village of Treasure Cay offers a quaint variety of shopping opportunities, including local crafts and jewelry.
The Abacos offer a number of beautiful beaches, suitable both for relaxing, as well as for water sports. Birding is a popular activity for vacationers to Abaco, which has been described as a “bird-watcher’s paradise.” Opportunities abound for golf, first-rate snorkeling, diving and other water sports. Abaco’s fishing is superb, especially in such places as Walker’s Cay, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay and Green Turtle Cay, where fishermen come to participate in summer tournaments. Deep-sea fishing is easily accessible just a short boat ride from the cays. Of particular interest is Abaco’s annual Boating Regatta in July and the Goombay Summer Festival, which features native music, food, dance and arts and crafts from June through August.
About 175 miles east of Palm Beach and 106 miles north of Nassau, Abaco can be reached by a number of airlines from South Florida:
American Eagle (800-433-7300), Bahamasair (800-222-4262), US Airways (800-428-4322) and Silver Airways (800-231-0856)
The following airlines serve Abaco from Nassau:
Bahamasair (800-222-4262), Cat Island Air (242-377-3318), Southern Air (242-377-2014)
A range of accommodation options in Abaco include: Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina (800-327- 1584), Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina (800-468-4799), Abaco Inn (800-468-8799), Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina (800-745-4911), Green Turtle Cay Club Resort and Marina (866-528-0539), Hope Town Harbour Lodge (305-407-1556), Bahama Beach Club Resort (800-284- 0382), Orchid Bay Yacht Club & Marina (242-365-5175) and The Abaco Club at Winding Bay (800- 845-5279)
Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden: This garden serves as a monumental tribute to those who played a significant role in the history of The Abacos — the Loyalists and their slaves, who made a new life for themselves in The Bahamas upon their arrival to Abaco. The garden contains 24 busts of prominent Bahamians (representing different Bahamian islands), surrounding the life-size bronze figures of two girls, one black and one white.
Hope Town Lighthouse: The British Imperial Lighthouse Service built this lighthouse to mark the Elbow Reef during the 1860s. Hope Towners at the time resented this and opposed the project, as they saw it as a threat to their wrecking trade. Despite this opposition, the candy-striped lighthouse at Hope Town went into operation in 1863. Today, it is one of only two remaining beacons saved from automation. Local residents go to great lengths to secure the parts for the kerosene-burning apparatus.
Pelican Cays Land & Sea Park: Located eight miles north of Cherokee Sound, Great Abaco, this 2,100 acre land and sea area contains beautiful undersea caves, extensive coral reefs and an array of terrestrial plants and animals. The park is accessible by boat only.
The Albert Lowe Museum: The Albert Lowe Museum was the brainchild of Bahamian artist Alton R. Lowe, a native of Green Turtle Cay, and was named in honor of his father, a well-known carver of ship models. The museum is located in a restored Victorian-era family home, which is over 100 years old. It was established to preserve the unique history and development of Abaco from the time of the Loyalists. Displays include model ships carved by Albert Lowe, various historical artifacts, photographs, paintings, writings and other exhibits.
Abaco National Park: The Abaco National Park comprises 20,500 acres in Southern Abaco, near the Hole In The Wall. This best known landmark at the southern end of Great Abaco Island is a natural limestone arch that juts out from a seaside cliff and plunges into the sea. Included in this area is 5,000 acres of forest – the nesting area and habitat of the Abaco Parrot.
Wild Barbary Horses of Abaco: The Bahamian government recently granted a more than 3,800 acre preserve and conservation area for the endangered Wild Barbary Horses of Abaco, or “Abaco Barbs.” These horses have a lineage that traces back to Spanish Colonial times, with their origins on the Barbary Coast of North Africa.
U.S. currency is accepted and is interchangeable with the Bahamian dollar. In September through May, the temperature on the Island averages 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; the rest of the year is warmer, with temperatures between 80 and 85 degrees. Nighttime temperatures are generally cooler by 5-7 degrees. All U.S. citizens and foreign nationals traveling to/from the United States to/from The Bahamas are required to present a valid passport, passport card or WHTI-compliant document to re-enter the United States. All Canadian citizens traveling to/from Canada to/from The Bahamas are required to present either a valid passport, an official birth certificate or an original naturalization/citizenship certificate. For more information please visit Bahamas.com.