To protect residents and visitors, the Bahamian government has implemented a variety of protocols related to the Covid-19 pandemic. See Covid-19 to learn more.
If you visit the Bahamas and don’t get beyond Nassau, you’ve barely scratched the surface. For a truly authentic Bahamian experience, you really need to visit one of the country’s out islands, also known as the “Family Islands.”
Among the most popular family islands is a 120-mile-long island chain in the northwestern Bahamas, comprised of Abaco, Little Abaco and a scattering of smaller cays, and collectively referred to as “The Abacos.”
Here, there are no duty-free shops or noisy casinos, no high-rise hotels or smoke-belching Jitneys, no Bay Street peddlers hawking cheap t-shirts.
Instead, we have vast stretches of pristine beaches, spectacular clear, aquamarine waters, quaint fishing villages, welcoming locals, and a relaxed, family-friendly feel. Abaco is popular with boaters, fishermen and lovers of all water sports. It’s a favourite destination for spectacular weddings, memorable honeymoons and unforgettable family vacations.
Most international visitors to Abaco arrive via commercial airline into the Leonard Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour. (There’s another, smaller airport at Treasure Cay, but currently, the only flights landing there are Bahamasair from Nassau, charter airlines and private planes. There are also smaller airports at Moore’s Island, Sandy Point, Walker’s Cay and Spanish Cay.)
Though commercial international flights have been temporarily halted due to Covid-19, Abaco is normally served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines and Silver Airways, as well as several smaller, charter airlines. Depending on your departure city, the flight from Florida takes roughly an hour.
You can also fly to Abaco from the Bahamian capital of Nassau. The flight takes a little over 30 minutes.
BY PRIVATE VESSEL
Given that Abaco boasts some of the most spectacular boating waters on the planet, it’s not surprising that so many visitors arrive by sea. If you’re entering the Bahamas aboard a private vessel, you’ll need to clear customs and immigration.
To do this, you’ll need to go to one of the official ports of entry, and present the following:
- A completed Bahamas Customs Clearance Form
- One Bahamas Immigration Card per person on board
- Proof of Citizenship (i.e., passport) for each person aboard
If you’re arriving by sea or plan to rent a boat during your stay, Steve Dodge’s book, The Cruising Guide to Abaco is considered a vital resource by visitors who spend time on the local waters.
You can also travel to Abaco by passenger ferry from Nassau. For more information, visit Bahamas Ferries.
And if you’re not a fan of flying, you can actually get from Florida to Abaco by taking the Balearia Caribbean Fast Ferry from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama, the Bahamian island immediately west of Abaco, and then a short ferry ride to Crown Haven, at the north end of Little Abaco. Rental cars and/or taxis can be pre-arranged to meet you upon arrival in Crown Haven.
If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s also possible to travel from Nassau to Abaco via mailboat. The M/V Legacy sails weekly between Nassau, Marsh Harbour and several of the Abaco Cays. It’s a roughly 12-hour trip, with rudimentary accommodations, but it provides a glimpse into Abaco’s past. For many years, the mail boat was the only travel option available to most Abaconians. For more information, contact Dean’s Shipping at (242) 367-2653, (242) 394-0245 or email@example.com.
If you arrive at Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay on a regularly scheduled flight, there will most likely be taxis waiting. Still, it’s a good idea to pre-book your transportation.
If you’re travelling from Marsh Harbour to Treasure Cay or the Green Turtle Cay ferry dock, budget 30-45 minutes and $100 or so, one way. Most taxis are mini-van type vehicles that comfortably seat at least four adults plus luggage.
To get from the Abaco mainland to the cays, you’ll need to take a ferry. Here’s a list of the ferry services currently servicing Abaco.
If you’re staying on the Abaco mainland, or if you’re staying on one of the cays but want to explore the mainland for a day, there are cars available for rent in both Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour. Here’s a list of CAR RENTAL AGENCIES.
GOLF CART RENTALS
For visitors to the Abaco cays or to Treasure Cay (which, despite its name, is actually on the mainland), golf carts are the most common mode of transport. Here’s a list of GOLF CART RENTAL AGENCIES.
From cheap-and-cheerful efficiency apartments to beach-front villas and luxury resorts, Abaco offers accommodation options for every budget.
If I’ve overlooked your favourite place to stay, drop me a note!
If you’re staying aboard on a vessel, here’s a list of marinas and marine suppliers. You’ll also find lots of great info at the Association of Bahamas Marinas website and terrific anchorages in the Cruiser’s Guide to Abaco.
As with accommodations, Abaco offers a range of dining options from elegant, world-class dining to casual, homemade fare. Establishments – even bars – are kid-friendly, and while the resorts may be a bit more formal, dress codes are pretty casual. Here are some of the RESTAURANTS & TAKEAWAYS currently open in Abaco
Though many businesses were forced to close post-Dorian, many have begun to reopen, particularly in Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s commercial center. For details, see Grocery Stores, Liquor Stores, Artists and Artisans or Gifts and Souvenirs. Or see HERE for a comprehensive list of all Abaco businesses that have reopened.
Deep sea fishing with a local guide? Visiting the swimming pigs at No Name Cay? Picnicking on a deserted island? The waters around Abaco provide a myriad of opportunities for fun and relaxation. For more information, see Boat Rentals, MARINE SUPPLIES, Marinas, Fuel and Fishing Guides.
From windswept ocean beaches to shallow turquoise lagoons to mile-long sandbars perfect for walking, there’s an Abaco beach for every mood. Many fishing guides offer beach picnics, and snorkel gear, paddleboards and kayaks can often be rented from local dive shops.
For centuries, fishing has been a way of life for Abaconians. And whether your tastes run toward bonefishing or trolling for big game fish, you’ll find an experienced guide to help you hook your perfect catch. Prefer to fish on your own? There are plenty of flats perfect for bonefishing, spots where you an anchor and catch your dinner, and docks from which to cast in a line. Here’s a link to the Bahamian fishing regulations.
Abaco offers live music, cultural experiences, historic museums, nature tours, bird-watching. Here’s a list of TOURS, ATTRACTIONS & FISHING GUIDES.
HURRICANE DORIAN – On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian devastated many Abaco communities. And though Covid-19 has hindered their recovery, Abaconians are making progress and rebuilding their communities. While I do my best to keep the information on this site updated, please understand that details can be fluid, and it’s a good idea to confirm information directly with businesses. Abaco needs your support now more than ever – please help our recovery by planning an Abaco vacation sometime soon.