10 reasons to sail in the Abacos now
If you haven’t experienced the Abaco islands of the Bahamas since before Hurricane Dorian in 2019, or have never visited before, it’s time for another look. Friendly locals are eagerly welcoming back visitors for sailing in the Abacos and have rebuilt a great deal for such a short time. The places you know and love (or are ready to discover!) are back, and ready to do their part in the creation of your best vacation ever!
There are so many reasons to “just go” and experience these pristine out islands of the Bahamas. Perfectly sun-drenched days with cool ocean breezes. Long stretches of world-class white sand beaches. And some of us agree that the Bahamian conch fritters are reason enough for an extended Abacos charter. Read on to learn about a few more of our favorite reasons to sail in the Abacos now.
Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill
Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill on Great Guana Cay is open, and the Sunday parties have resumed. To get here, you can pick up a mooring ball in Settlement Harbour, or anchor at nearby Fisher’s Bay on the west side of the island. Then dinghy ashore and join in the weekly (short & scenic) parade of patrons walking to the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Come for the electric atmosphere and unmatched beachside location, and stay for the fresh conch fritters and “Nipper’s” frozen concoctions!
Swimming pigs on No Name Cay
“Piggyville” is a big attraction for charterers, and it makes a great day stop during your sailing vacation in the Abacos. Make a run for No Name Cay located just south of Green Turtle Cay to visit the island oinkers. Anchor out and swim in, or dinghy to shore for a visit. They’re normally quite eager for visitors, especially those bringing along leftover veggie snacks. Following the obligatory piggy selfie, head over to Big O’s, the new restaurant sharing the beach with the pigs and boasting a huge party deck, pool bar and gift shop.
The gorgeous “swimming pool blue” Sea of Abaco
The Sea of Abaco is relatively shallow with white sand bottom, making for water that is as clear as it is electric blue. Swimming, diving, snorkeling, and water sports don’t get any better than this. Anglers will be spoiled for choice with excellent flats fishing, deep-sea fishing, and reef fishing all within close proximity to each other. The snorkeling is wonderful at Mermaid reef, where you can spot sea turtles, eels and some of the most colorful sealife in the Bahamas.
Almost everywhere you sail in the Abacos, you’ll find restaurants serving up hot and fresh conch fritters. Bahamian conch fritters are small bites of local queen conch meat mixed with a savory batter and deep fried to a golden-brown perfection – a long tradition and must-try when in the Bahamas. Abaco Inn in Marsh Harbour, Cap’n Jack’s in Hope Town, Pineapple Bar & Grill on Green Turtle Cay, Grabber’s on Great Guana Cay – these are just a few of the many options to try. Make the rounds during your charter and weigh in on which are the best!
Hope Town is a true gem of the Abacos. Make the short sail to Elbow Cay and be welcomed by the recognizable candy cane-striped lighthouse across the harbor. Make no mistake, this is more than a day stop. There are no cars allowed in Hope Town, so take your time and stroll the cobblestone alleyways and shops, getting used to the slower pace. Rent a golf cart and explore the island’s beaches, shops, bars and restaurants. End the day with a sunset cocktail at FireFly restaurant with a magical atmosphere you won’t soon forget.
Sting rays on Manjack Cay
Sail over to Manjack Cay and drop anchor in the cove at the northern end of the island for a day stop. Swim or snorkel to shore and prepare yourself for some amazing marine life sightings – stingrays and sea turtles up-close and personal. It’s not recommended to feed or chase the marine life, but they are curious so it’s likely they will swim around you when snorkeling or wading out from the beach.
Pete’s Pub & Gallery, Little Harbour
Sometimes the best things in life require a bit more planning. We think Pete’s Pub and Gallery is one of those things. Navigate the narrow passage to Pete’s Pub only at high tide and grab one of the few moorings here for a special mix of views, gastro delights, culture and island history all in one place. Don’t miss the art gallery, and the private sand beach you’ll discover at the end of the boardwalk just over the bluff.
Golf Cart Adventures on Green Turtle Cay
Take a day or two to slow down and explore this magical island of friendly people, natural beauty and interesting Bahamian history. Reserve a golf cart in advance and roam the island’s scenic settlement village, quiet beaches and small elegant resorts. Stop at the whimsical little Pineapple Bar & Grill and enjoy their waterfront pool. And don’t miss Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar, the undisputed birthplace of the famed Bahamian Goombay Smash cocktail.
Close to home
This pristine paradise is closer to home for US travelers than you may have thought. A direct flight to the Abacos from Florida’s west coast takes just over an hour, with convenient connecting flights from many major US airports. There are two primary airports in the Abacos – Marsh Harbour International (MHH) the largest on Great Abaco Island, and Treasure Cay International (TCB). Most travelers from the U.S. fly into Marsh Harbour International, usually connecting through Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Our Dream Yacht Charter base is a 10-minute taxi ride from the Marsh Harbour airport.
Notable airlines that offer flights for sailing in the Abacos include American Airlines, Delta, Bahamas Air and Silver Airways. Private charter flights are also available through carriers such as Tropic Ocean Airways.
The Bahamas covid-19 entry protocol is comparatively easy for US travelers. Currently, vaccination is not required, and there are no quarantine mandates. Vaccinated travelers to the Bahamas from other countries simply need to obtain a negative Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR Test, taken within three days (72 hours) of the date of arrival to the Bahamas. Unvaccinated travelers, ages 12 and older, entering The Bahamas must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR Test. All travelers entering must apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa at travel.gov.bs.
Note: entry protocols are subject to change. Please visit: https://www.bahamas.com/travelupdates
For the latest suggestions for an itinerary, head to our Abaco destination page. The Sun Abaco is also a great source of Abaco contact information and links for resorts, marinas, shops and restaurants.
Start planning your Abacos sailing vacation today – you can charter a bareboat yacht, or relax and let a professional skipper do the sailing. If you have any questions or would like to book your Bahamian vacation, get in touch with us today. Alternatively, for more vacation inspiration, head on over to our blog.