Abaco Stories and Tips

Where, What and When ...

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member

We spent 14 days at the Regatta in early November, however, conditions and activities may be different during the peak season which begins around Thanksgiving. Our weather was variable with many days of sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid-80’s. And even though some days were windy with some rain showers intermittently during the day or night, the weather didn’t hamper our plans or activities. While 14 days gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the island and cays, 7 days would make for a pretty tight schedule. Greater Abacos Island and the off-shore cays were a joy. If you are expecting great night life or a polished environment you have chosen the wrong location.

Greater Abacos is a little rugged and very laid back. You don’t need to exchange for Bahamian money as everyone accepts US currency at an even exchange rate. If you cash a Traveler’s Check at the bank, you will get Bahamian currency. The change you receive at a shop or restaurant can be a mix of US and Bahamian currency. Sunday is a very quiet day on the islands. Few businesses are open and those that are, such as the grocery stores on Greater Abacos close by 2 or 3pm On the Cays, even the grocery stores may be closed and sometimes only one restaurant is open on a particular Cay. Car rentals on Abacos are open until mid-day on Sunday, so you can rent a car and buy your groceries if you fly in on Saturday afternoon. Car rentals run from $300 per week and up. Ours was a Chevy Cavalier that ran quite well, while others we talked to had bad experiences with the cars they rented … loud and smelly. The food is great. You have to try the Conch Fritters and Cracked Conk. We enjoyed the food at Snappa’s, Sopadilly’s, Jamie’s Place, Mangoes, Wally’s and Mother Merles in Marsh Harbor. Anglers, right next door to Regatta has a wonderful Sunday Brunch. You need to eat at Pete’s in Little Harbor (very, very rustic), Coco Bar in Treasure Cay and the outdoor Bar and Grill at the Harbor Lodge in Hope Town (fantastic view). No one dresses up for dinner and the only rule is no swimwear.

Meals are expensive … lunch for two runs $30 or more with tip and dinner is around $70 for two with tip (dinner at Mother Merle’s ran only $35.00). If you are drinking beer or cocktails the price goes up. Don’t take a lot of "dress up" clothes either. You can wear slacks and a nice polo shirt or tropical shirt or just Levis or shorts and t-shirt. If you buy groceries I recommend the two major stores in Marsh Harbor; Solomon’s and Price Right. Each carries different brands and products. Everything is shipped in so it is expensive and the quality of produce may not be what you are used to at home. The "barge" from Nassau arrives on Tuesday so "fresh" foods hit the shelves on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. By Monday and Tuesday morning the remaining produce looks sick! The people are friendly and full of information and advice. On numerous occasions, while shopping we engaged in conversation with locals for extended periods. When visiting Treasure Cay, you have to stop at Abacos Ceramics and check out the locally made ceramics. Karen McIntosh (from Green Turtle Cay) does all of the painting and is a great source of local information. We found the youths and children in the Abacos to be extremely well behaved and respectful! Our only negative experience with anyone was found in the far north in the area of Cedar Harbour and Fox Town where we experienced minor disrespect from several young adults.

This is the world of beautiful water and beaches. It looks like someone gets up early every morning and "paints" the water beautiful colors … azure, aquamarine, turquoise, etc. The beaches are also wonderful. The sand in some places is so fine it resembles sugar or even white flour. We enjoyed collecting sea shells at Treasure Cay and Casuarina Point. The North end of the island is pretty destitute and I wouldn’t take that drive again. The island vegetation is not the tropical vegetation found in Hawaii and is pretty much the same everywhere, dominated by stunted pine mangroves and palmettos. We also drove south to Sandy Point, stopping at Little Harbor and Cherokee Landing on our way. The beach at Sandy Point is very nice, but the community has little to offer in the way of interest to a tourist. If you are interested in seeing how the locals live outside of Marsh Harbor, visit Little Harbor, Cherokee Landing and the Cays. The out-islands (cays) were wonderful day trips. We didn’t visit Great Guana Cay as the only attraction there is Nippers restaurant, though they do cook a whole pig on Sundays. Hope Town (Elbow Cay) is a beautiful community with a number of shops and a beautiful harbor. Green Turtle Cay also offers a number of stores and a wide selection of restaurants. Man-a-War Cay is a friendly community. You must stop at the Albury’s Sail Shop where we met "Mother" Albury. We had a wonderful time chatting with her and hearing about the island and it’s history.

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