Vacationing can be a chore in planning and your time off of work can much less than expected. Everyone has a diverse set of criteria that defines the ideal vacation. It would seem that the two most important desires of a vacation are fun and relaxation or a combination of both. Many vacation resorts or cruise ships seem to be so commercialized that it seems as if we are being hustled and bustled. You wait in long lines eat at crowded restaurants and sleep in beds that not even your dog would be comfortable in. There are so many places to vacation to but they are not promoted. Those are the vacations you want to find. That is, you want to find a vacation, not let a vacation or a resort find you.
Think a little while about your past vacations and tell yourself how much fun or how much rest you found. Not all of our past vacations were bad but many of them could have been better. The Bahmas is a good example. The islands are so commercialized and you get bombarded with merchants trying to sell you everything from hats all the way down to sandals. So, a few years before 911, I started a travel planning business, which ended a few months after 911 but I want to share with you some of the spots we found.. We were in the business of not just booking a vacation but planning a vacation. Our line was “We find vacations to places you never heard of or never thought of going to”. I believe many vacationers or tourist believes like I do, and that is, you come back from a vacation tired instead of rested.
If there is a place on Earth where dreams stem from then the Abaco Islands could be just that place. The underlining title of this article is; “The Romantic Vacation of a Life Time”. It is one of those unknown places that we all try to find; a vacation spot where peace, beauty and solitude exists. Planning a vacation takes into account many aspects of your own life including monetary. Although many vacationers do budget for a premium vacation and for those who are willing to spend the money then the Abaco Islands may be a good choice. If the type of vacation you are seeking for includes diversity with no tourist traps which guarantees the quiet island life then the Abaco Islands may be just what you are looking for. Do not believe that the only agenda on the island is to romance or to lay in the sun for there is much more to the Abaco Islands.
One of the sources I found in writing this article is http://oii.net/ and I quote their home page heading; “We have: The most Beautiful Water on Earth, Beaches, Islands, Sailing, Diving, Boating, Fishing, Nature Preserves on the Land and in the Sea, Fine hotels, Intimate Clubs, Guest houses, Fishing Lodges, Bed and Breakfast, Restaurants, Shopping, Marinas, Rental Homes and Condos, Investment Properties and Homes for Sale. There are activities for the entire family and Quiet Get-Aways for Couples.” The sports enthusiast can enjoy golf, tennis, Snorkeling and Scuba, Day Sails and Water Skiing. Quiet Spots for reading or just to sit and listen to the waves are plenty. These islands take away the generic tourist trap image the Bahamas are known for.
You may be wondering where the Abaco Islands are, for they are the sister islands to the Bahamas. They are smaller in size compared to the Bahamas and the ports are too small for the cruise ships to doc at so you must fly in or travel there by small craft. Just a 60 minute flight from South Florida the islands are just north of Nassau and east of Grand Bahama where you will find the popular destination of Freeport. The Abaco Islands are the second largest set of Islands in the Bahamas. The 650 square mile Islands with 13,000 residences are secluded from the cruise ship tourists. The airports are not quite large enough for the large airlines thus making it difficult to fly into during stormy seasons. April through July is the key months to catch a flight into the Abaco Islands but the islands are beautiful all year round.
Boating and sailing, being these are islands, is obviously a prime choice on this romantic vacation. Whether it is a moon light stroll along a cove or sailing the blue waters under a clear blue sky, being on the water is beautiful, peaceful, romantic, and often with seclusion. You will find many uninhabited cays covering a 120 miles of island coast line. Time should be set aside to village hop where you will find slumber-struck 18th century villages and historic museums that recall how life was 200 years ago. Although this is an island paradise there is a variety of choices to enjoy your vacation.
The Abaco Islands can be found on the map by first spotting the Bahamas and then look north east. The major Islands of the Abaco’s are the Great Abaco and the Little Abaco Islands. You will find the popular spots and hotels in the well known cays; Elbow Cay, Man-O-War Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Guana Cay, Stranger’s Cay, Umbrella Cay and Walker’s Cay. A hot spot for U.S. tourist for years, the islands have provided a long history of refuge from hectic life in the States. The Abaco Islands was first settled by 600 British loyalists who fled the country after the U.S. declared its independence. The first settlement was at Carleton Point. Grand Cay was once a favorite retreat of former US president Richard Nixon. These are the islands you will see on the map for they are the largest in the Abaco group.
The ladies will want to shop so Man-O-War Cay would be an ideal stop. It is the capital of the Bahamas’ boat-building industry for the past 200 years and is the most water-oriented Cay in the Abacos. Some boats are hand crafted and you can view the craftsman build these beautiful boats. Be prepared to walk a lot or you can grab a golf cart but for there are no motorized vehicles allowed as is in the other Abaco areas. There are many beautifully kept homes as well as many nautically-oriented shops and stores along the waterfront. You will not find a finer place to buy canvas products and this Cay will keep you occupied for a whole afternoon. An Island off the coast of the Abacos is Great Guana Cay. Guana Cay lies between Green Turtle and Man-O-War Cays with the electric blue Atlantic Ocean to the east and the resplendent turquoise waters of the Sea of Abaco to the west.
The island is about seven miles in length with a beautiful beach on the ocean side that offers great swimming, snorkeling or just a stroll on the beach. The other side of the island you will find bonefish in the shallow bays of the cay. Great fishing along the reefs as well as offshore on the ocean side is an abundant choice for recreation. There is a small settlement on the island where you will find some stores and restaurants. A full-service dive shop offers 1/2 day and full day snorkeling and dive excursions. So, everyone can enjoy this vacation paradise including the ladies who are offered a wonderful arena of shops to visit.
The vacation itineraries can be created with much diversity so the chance of becoming bored is slim to sun. Try to include some time to visit the island’s landmarks. The Abaco Islands is a place for site seeing as they offer sites such as the Pelican Cay National Park, an underwater preserve; or, the Abaco National Park, a 20,000 acre site in southern Abaco encompassing the nesting area and habitat of the Abaco Parrot. Those who enjoy museums can spend a quiet afternoon at the Albert Lowe Museum, a restored 150-year-old mansion that now houses exhibits on local history. There is also the Memorial Sculpture Gardens, consisting of some 30 Bahamians, representing different Bahamian islands, where you can stand in an elegant, tranquil garden setting. So, from the pre-mentioned agenda choices there are a very diverse itinerary that can be drafted.
The commercial hub of the islands and third largest town in The Bahamas is Marsh Harbor, on Great Abaco, which has a plethora of well-stocked stores and marinas that provide services to fulfill the boater’s every need. There are relatively few green turtles remaining on Green Turtle Cay, but they are bred here on farms and considered food. On occasion, you will find boiled turtle or turtle stew, will appear on restaurant menus. Be aware when purchasing items made from turtle shell that they may have to be left behind, as it is illegal to import these products into many countries. There are plenty of souvenirs that can be brought back but make sure to check the import/ export laws so not to get surprised by a healthy tax.
There are several Cays to choose from when planning your accommodations. Walker’s Cay is the northernmost island in The Bahamas. Its waters are overrun with game fish like tuna, dolphin, blue marlin, billfish, and kingfish among others. Walker’s Cay Undersea Adventures offers bone fishing, deep sea fishing, secluded island picnics, tours of the tropical fish hatchery, and cookouts for dive groups. We believe that a great vacation offers more than just relaxation, romance or seclusion. The ladies may like to shop but many men like to golf and fish. Treasure Cay is my suggested area to anchor at for the Abaco Islands’ vacation. There is plenty for both the men and the ladies. Treasure Cay has an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, a marina, and facilities for fishing, boating and scuba diving. There are two hotels on this island to choose from. First are Treasure Cay Hotel Resort and the other, Banyan Beach Club, requiring a stay of more than 3-days (with kitchenette) and are reasonably priced. Whether the island’s visitors are honeymooners or romanticist, sport enthusiasts or site seekers, or just looking a peaceful quiet place to rest, they all go home with a smile.
Good research is essential in planning a vacation is quite critical and source of the information is just a critical. So, the conclusion is, a good vacation is one where there is diversity; fun, relaxation and something for everyone to enjoy. The Internet is a good source for information but sales brochures can easily paint any type of picture in a customers mind. For those of us that have taken a cruise we all know the good points and the bad points. I hope the information in this article will motivate you to explore more about the Abaco Islands. I wish everyone to have a happy, smiley and safe vacation.