We are not resort people. Maybe if we had the financial means to stay at a resort when our kids were little, we would have a different opinion, but overall, it's not our thing. Then, we stayed at Chez Pierre...this is not your typical resort. There are no dance lessons, kids playing in a pool, or buffets. This is a quiet place to relax, connect with the sea, and enjoy amazing food prepared by a French Canadian chef with a flair for combining Caribbean and classic European flavors. For this, we are resort people.
We've travelled a lot and stayed in some amazing places, but this is, by far, my favorite.
1. The most wonderful open air bedrooms.
These remind me of the coveted shelters available to back packers on Isle Royale, except each has a bed, and a simple bathroom. The front, screened-in porch becomes the main living space, simple Bahama shuttered screen windows provide cross ventilation for the sleeping area, and the bathroom has a warm water shower, as well as shelves/pegs for clothing storage. While the shower is salt water, we felt clean and sand free during our 5 night stay.
When Pierre shows you to your bungalow, he will instruct on sand management - washing your feet before entering. He recommends walking barefoot down the beach to each breakfast and dinner. Of course, we followed his suggestions and it was marvellous.
2. Start and end your day with beautiful food prepared by a chef.
Walk from your bungalow, along the water's edge to Pierre's airy restaurant with a large, screened porch and a simple, Bohemian vibe. For the made to order breakfast, you have a choice of a fresh omelette, French toast, eggs with meat and toast, or yogurt with fruit. During breakfast, Pierre will ask what you prefer for dinner, with a choice between a seafood or non-seafood option daily. During our stay, we enjoyed mahi, grouper, wahoo, scallops, lobster, all accompanied by the most delicious fresh salad, sometimes pasta, and occasionally some of the best pizza we've ever eaten.
Hands down, the best food we've eaten on our MANY trips to the Bahamas Out Islands was everything made by Pierre.
3. A beautiful crescent shaped, soft sand beach.
Gin clear water and soft sand make for some wonderful swimming and floating. I found the sweetest little sea star on my very first dive within minutes of arriving. It's also a great beach for shelling with bleached coral pieces and shells of all kinds. We walked two beaches over in the northern direction and paddled several beaches southward. Snorkelling in the immediate beach area will not have a lot of fish, but others staying the same week as us had the thrill of seeing a nurse shark up close. We did enjoy snorkelling some nicely fishy areas surrounding the tiny cays on the south end of the beach.
Chez Pierre has a few kayaks available for use, complete with life vests and great paddles. Even on windy days, the beach is in a protected cove, allowing for paddling fun. Near the end of our stay, we lucked out with a windless day, leaving the sea flat and crystal clear. We were able to paddle far enough south to see Salt Pond.
4. Great location
For those new to the Out Islands, it might seem that a mile long stretch on a rough, unpaved road is insurmountable. However, those of us lucky to have discovered the rewards at the end of these drives know that it is worth the time to slow down, and enjoy the journey. Chez Pierre is centrally located enough on Long Island to enjoy day trips to both the extreme north end (Cape Santa Maria Beach, Columbus Point, and Stella Maris) and the south end (Gordon's Beach, Dean's Blue Hole, Galloway Beach, etc.). Salt Pond, including Hillside Market, the liquor store, gas station, and farmer's market are 15-20 minutes away. There are many, many more beaches to discover at every point between, including due east of Chez Pierre.
We were looking forward to a return to Cat Island for spring break after another Michigan winter. As happens sometimes, our plans started getting a little complicated. Once those complications reached a certain point, I knew that it was meant to be - a return to Long Island with a longer stay at Chez Pierre. Within a few hours of cancelling our Cat Island plans, I had everything set for our return to this wonderful resort. We can't wait!
For more information, please check out this link: Chez Pierre
For stays of 5 or more days, rates are $155 per cottage, double occupancy, which includes breakfast and dinner daily. Stays fewer than 5 days are $175 per day, double occupancy.
I've been procrastinating writing this trip report for months. I suppose I want to keep this magical place a secret, hoping to preserve the qualities that make it so special. On the other hand, the local economy is so dependent on tourism and I promised a few people I met that I'd share my experience because they are hoping others will visit, too. Always true to my word, here it goes...
Things to See:
1) Rare fresh water turtles
Take care of these gentle creatures. Rare for this part of the world, these fresh water turtles, are found on the ponds on Dickie Road. Just standing on the water's edge, turtles will come swimming from every direction, hoping score a treat.
2) The Hermitage
This may be one of the most photographed spots on Cat Island. Built by an British architect, turned missionary, Father Jerome created a beautiful stone hermitage on the highest spot in the Bahamas for his retirement. He passed in 1956, but left a legacy of simple but beautiful churches, including two in Clarence Town, Long Island.
Locals are immensely proud of this historical site and will hope that you stop for a visit. I'm not Catholic, but was lucky to visit with someone who grew up in the church, which really added to my appreciation for this very special place. I was struck that during my two week stay on Cat Island, the stories told by two different ex-pats who felt an intense connection to this spot,
The Hermitage is easy to find. In The Bight, look for a sign for Mt. Alvernia, follow the road up the hill, noticing farm plots on the way up. The spot to park is obvious and the walk up the path from there can be tricky. If mobility issues prevent you from walking up the Stations of The Cross path, you can instead continue walking on the two track, which will circle around to the back side of the Hermitage.
3) Beaches, Of Course:
The beach scene is much different on Cat Island. Because the island is so much less developed, searching on Google Maps for ideas before you arrive is smart. We always make sure to have Google Maps open and fully downloaded on a phone for the island before our arrival, so that it will keep track of our progress, even without WiFi.
There are not a lot of guide books, trip reports, etc. to guide visitors to beaches, so you must be willing to be adventurous and try unmarked roads and enjoy the journey. Sometimes, you find a gem, other times, it's a fun, rental car scratching adventure.
Not sure of official beach names. With a few exceptions, it didn't seem like beaches had names that could be found easily.
A local guy told us about this one, as it's one of his favorites. This Atlantic side beach is long, curving and has white sand. A long, peninsula type cay lies about 400 meters off shore, providing protection from big waves. This is a beautiful beach for swimming and walking. The local guy who told us about it has seen dolphins and turtles there and described it as magical. Directions: Immediately south of Yardie's, take the road up the hill and into the dump. Drive carefully though this area as it's an active dump. At each fork, take the left. Go approximately 3 miles.
North of Arthur's Town, head east, travelling around the south end of the closed air field. The road turns east, and keep going about 2 miles. The road is rough, but not terrible, with evidence of sub divided plots, so the road was made with plans for development and for the time being are good(ish). As you get closer to the beach, you will see an engineered channel. This beach was good for combing, and decent for snorkeling.
Check out the beautiful Caribbean side beach behind the police station. Follow the same road southward and you'll eventually find Da Smoke Pot. I loved this beach, with gorgeous turquoise water and soft, white sand with the backdrop of the picturesque and sleepy settlement of Arthur's Town.
This is an incredibly beautiful beach with gin-clear water near the shore that blends into cyan blue hues in the distance. A beautiful curved beach, edged with white sand, and almost entirely empty makes this a quintessential destination. We loved the beach side snorkeling and were thrilled to find some very fishy coral heads at the south end. When your beach time is done, head up the hill to Shanna's Cove Resort for a Kalik, and pizza.
There is a great spot, right along the roadside to stop and take a dip in these crystal clear waters any time you want. I loved stopping on my way through the settlement, too tempted by the inviting cool water to pass up. The sand is soft, but wear sandals (or keep an eye open) due to glass. (This is not uncommon near settlements, and there are often sharp rocks, so I usually swim in sandals). During low tide, it's fun to swim over to the sand bar. For smaller people and not so strong swimmers be aware of the current. Read more about the settlement of Orange Creek and see a video of the grocery store HERE.
West End of Dickie Road
I absolutely love this spot. Low tide exposes interesting tide pools with bits of sea glass treasures. High tide gives an opportunity to take the edge off a hot day with a quick plunge and float. The seas were rough during our visit, but we did a bit of snorkeling here and were delighted with super fishy coral heads close to the iron shore. You will notice a notch cut out of the iron shore, which was once used as a public toilet.
East End of Dickie Road
The beach here was rough and not at all suited for getting in the water the two times I visited. However, when a moody ocean side walk is needed, this is the perfect spot. We enjoyed poking around tide pools and watching waves crash over the iron shore beach.
Located on the southeastern tip of Cat Island, this is a gorgeous Atlantic side beach with incredible coral heads within a very short swim from the soft sand shore.
Places We Ate:
Because Cat Island is smaller and less developed, places to eat out take a little more work and planning. Don't let that prevent you from experiencing Out Island culture through local food, all while supporting small businesses. Understand that dining will truly be a farm/sea to table experience and options will be limited to what is available and calling ahead is always a good idea.
Technically, we didn't eat here. However, this fantastic little bar was within a 5 minute walk of our rental and at 3 for $10, happened to be the best deal on Cat Island for a cold beer. On top of that, it was an important gathering spot for residents of Orange Creek. Click HERE for my blog post on this wonderful northern Cat Island spot.
Yardies (Benett's Harbour)
Ice cold soda from the freezer, flour cakes with exactly the right amount of nutmeg, delicious jerk chicken, and fresh conch salad. All that and you can fill up your car's gas tank. I love jerk chicken and Odette serves it up all wonderfully spicy, with great sides, and so much food you'll get at least a second meal out of it.
Da Smoke Pot (Arthur's Town)
We were passing through and decided to stop for a cold Kalik. The setting is lovely and the conversation even better. Hopefully, we'll be able to stop for a meal on our next visit.
Flora's (Arthur's Town)
I met Flora when she was working at the nearby elementary school, getting the building ready for the school year to start. I was there to take advantage of the WiFi so I could check in with my family. She and I chatted a few days until she asked me to try her food sometime. One thing lead to another and we had Flora make us some roasted chicken with slaw and corn. It was delicious and a treat to have a meal out. Flora's food stand is on the western edge of the basket ball court in Arthur's Town.
Mary's Crab Shack (Port Howe)
I saw a video showcasing Mary's local baked crab and it did not disappoint. We were so lucky to drive by and find her place open. She had many tasty treats for sale, but we only tried the baked crab. The meat is taken out of the shell, mixed with spices, pork and breadcrumbs, then packed back in the shell and baked. The heat was a perfect level and I loved the bits of rosemary.
Da Pink Chicken (south end)
This is a wonderful place to stop for a drink, eat delicious and very fresh food made by Patty, shoot the breeze with everyone else who shows up, take a dip in the creek, and well, just relax. Even if you're a little hungry, I highly recommend anything Patty makes. I still dream about the grilled red snapper. What I left on the plate when I finished eating looked like a cartoon of fish bones.
We have been fortunate to enjoy many visits to The Out Islands, including Eleuthera and Long Island. Out of all our trips, the two weeks spent on Cat Island gave us the best exposure to Bahamian culture. Every trip to the Out Islands has been absolutely beautiful, and Cat Island is no different. However, the beauty of this island has a different quality, more mystical. I've had the privilege to travel all over the world and never felt as welcomed by locals as we were by the residents of Cat Island. We are already planning our return trip this spring.
Located on the northern tip of Cat Island, about 300 miles southeast of Miami, is the beautiful and very quiet settlement of Orange Creek. It's close to being one of those described as "if you blink, you'll miss it." However, this beautiful little settlement has a lot to offer.
Framed by lush green hills, this creek side settlement is nestled next to a gorgeous cyan-blue tidal creek. Steps from the road take you beach side for a quick swim. Check ahead of time for fishing and boating opportunities.
The Orange Creek grocery is one of the best on Cat Island. You can find nearly anything you need here, including 5 gallon jugs of fresh water, and refills for l.p. gas tanks. Make note, the market is closed on Saturdays.
I've been curious about Cat Island for a couple of years. For our first visit to an island, I try to find a budget friendly place to stay and it took me a while to find one on Cat Island. With some perseverance, I found Sarah's Cottage on Trip Advisor, where even with a two week minimum stay, at $50 a night, it was still in my budget.
Since my husband, Dan, could only join for the last week, I invited my Aunt Becky and her friend, Virginia for the first week. Like nearly all of my extended family, Becky had grown up in a very rural, close-knit, quiet spot in Southern Indiana and I had a feeling she would love the slow, homespun feel of Cat Island. She's also an artist and my gut feeling was that Cat Island possesses the kind of beauty that gives those with an artistic eye inspiration. I think I was right on both counts.
We loved staying at Sarah's Cottage. The house sits atop a steep iron shore, so it is not possible to get into the water. However, we loved hearing waves, views of water out of the back of the house, and watching two sea turtles make a daily visit while we watched from the picnic table.
A bit further down the road is the best little bar on Cat Island, called North End Liquor Store, where Kaliks are 3 for $10. It's a tiny little bar and the perfect place to meet locals.
Walk another little bit and you come into Orange Creek, with a beautiful sandy spot for swimming and the best grocery store on Cat Island. While walking is great, I do suggest renting a car to explore more of Cat Island for part of your stay and Nick, your host, will help you set that up.
Orange Creek has a nice little beach.
The house is located in a very small patch of homes south of Orange Creek, giving visitors a true taste of life in The Bahamas Out Islands. Days spent at home are perfect for reading, doing art, or just sitting on the front porch and watching birds, neighborhood dogs, lizards, and neighbors who visit to check on each other.
This is not a vacation home suited for everyone as you will turn on your gas for cooking from the outside, you will need to turn on the water heater if you want hot water, and potable water must be obtained from the market. You will pay additionally for your electrical use during your stay. Without air conditioner use, it will easily be under $5 a day. While it is a bit more rustic than a typical vacation rental, this has everything you need for a simple, quiet and relaxing stay.
Nick and Manette are wonderful hosts. Nick will pick you up at the airport, making stops for provisions and providing an excellent introduction to Cat Island on the drive to Sarah's Cottage. One member of our group spoke about being fearful of snorkeling and Nick showed up to provide a lesson for her. Both Nick and Manette are quick to answer questions and respond quickly to anything that pops up.
Note: Price quoted in video is $75 a night, but should have been $50 a night.
Thanks to Becky, we had a lot of fun making prints and creating memory books during our week together.
If you've visited many warm island locations, you may have noticed a cultural acceptance of stray dogs. Sometimes, those dogs belong to a family, sometimes they belong to a neighborhood, and sometimes they are straight up strays. A lot of the time, a handful of dogs hang out together in their own neighborhood "pack" and are a mix of all designations. Collectively, they are called "potcakes" because sometimes people will feed them "cakes" made from leftovers.
We've enjoyed potcakes on nearly all of our Out Island trips. Sometimes, a potcake will appear out of nowhere and spend the day at a beach with us. Once, we stayed in Tarpum Bay and watched the daily parade of a young boy riding up and down the street on his bike, with a big brown potcake trailing behind.
For my two week stay on Cat Island, I was prepared to be grumpy towards the neighborhood potcakes. When our host gave us a tour of the house where we stayed, he explained that a previous guest had allowed the dogs in the house and that we'd have to be very firm. Truth is, it only took a few days to establish with our neighborhood pups that we were in charge and they were not a pest at all.
They're dogs. Just like kids, it's not that they didn't TRY to come into the house, hang out on the porch, or wait just outside our back door. However, they were quick to learn that they were fine to sleep under our back yard sea grapes, enjoy the shade under our Jeep, or walk with us down the road.
Truth is, I loved having them around. Of course, I named them and spoke to each - especially the couple of days I stayed at the house alone. They are definitely not living a cushy, indulgent life, but in a lot of ways, it's a perfect combination of freedom and friends that most dogs don't get.
I'm not about to kick the smallest runt of the potcake posse off the porch when it's raining.
I've had a fascination with the Bahamas from an early age. Raised on a farm in rural Michigan, I didn't get out much. We didn't know people who went on vacation, and travel time was always by car to visit relatives. When I was about 8, my parents had an opportunity to travel to the Bahamas for a week. I'm not sure what that trip was about, except that my parents returned with the most spectacular shells and a couple of photos of the most beautiful water I had ever seen.
Years later, in the mid 1980s, while studying at Michigan State University, I joined the Adventure Club with the sole motive of going on their $350 week-long sail from Miami to the Bahamas. Everything about that week was pure magic. Well, everything except for the sea leg sickness for the week after I returned. That was a pure, living hell. Even so, spending the return week with the walls spinning was a small price to pay for a week in paradise.
The captain we hired for the sailing trip kept us in completely remote locations, landing us in anchorages where we were not only the only boat, but usually the only people within sight. The one exception was an anchorage outside a tiny settlement somewhere in the northern Bahamas. There were a couple of houses and a tiny bar on the beach. The bar was probably 700 square feet, had a sand floor and a simple wooden bar the length of one end.
Our captain told us we'd all be enjoying "Captain's Punch" that night and instructed us to buy what we wanted and pour it into a communal bowl. Before long, the bar was filled with locals, music started up, we were dancing, laughing and having a great time - a bunch of college kids from Michigan and a bunch of local kids from a little spot in the Bahamas. Somehow, we all successfully navigated the nighttime swim back to the boat and the tricky climb up the ladder to our beds.
It's all about the people you know and without our captain, we would never have hooked up with that amazing night in that tiny remote bar. Likewise, when we were picked up at the airport on Cat Island before stopping at the rental home, our host asked if we'd like to stop for a Kalik at a tiny bar just down the road.
Our host, Nick, introduced us to Clonious, the owner of a tiny little bar south of Orange Creek called North End Liquors and explained that this was the best deal on Cat Island with 3 beers for $10. Exhausted from a long day of travel, we each ordered our elixir, Clonious took the cap off each of our bottles, and we followed Nick to the water's edge behind the little wooden building so we could enjoy the sunset. It was marvelous.
Over the course of my two week stay, we walked down to Clonious' bar several times. We had the opportunity to chat with all kinds of area people, and to enjoy the pulse of life on Cat Island. Whenever we passed, walking or in the car, anyone hanging out on the front porch waved and hollered greetings. It was really nice to feel so welcomed when we were clearly outsiders. Nearly every visit, Clonious' parting words were "Come back again and bring all your friends!"
Our last night, I invited my husband to walk down for a some Kaliks. I asked Clonious if I could take a picture of him and explained that I might be posting it online. He responded with "Of course! Why did you wait so long?" He then asked if I would take photos of the front and post those, too. Of course, I promised I would.
On that last visit, Clonious' bar was uncharacteristically packed with Emancipation Day celebrators. The front porch was filled with guys enjoying a few drinks together and I didn't want to take a picture without their permission. I explained that Clonious wanted me to share a picture with my friends back home and did they mind being in it, they were not only happy to oblige, but pulled us into conversation about their beautiful island, their history and how we should return.
These guys were so ready to tell Dan and me all about Cat Island that we never even went around back to sit and watch the waves. Once again during my two week stay, I was struck at the deep seated pride residents hold for their home. It was also a lesson on visiting the local spots. Not only does the local economy get a boost, but the connections made with people can make memories that will last a lifetime.
Dan and the guy directly under the window started talking music, inspiring our new friend to launch into "Have you eve seen the rain?" just as a huge clap of thunder hit directly overhead, sending us all into peals of laughter. It was one of those magical human moments that makes for the best vacation souvenir.<
Sitting on the iron shore behind Northside Liquor, looking south.
Becky and Virginia's last night on Cat Island, behind Clonious' place, looking northwest.
During last year's Shark Week, I was fortunate to vacation a little north of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera. Coincidentally, the bay our rental house was on was a nursery for baby sharks, which we saw daily.
Yesterday was a lazy, hot, Sunday afternoon and I was missing my dad. In our big old green Chrysler, he taught me the value in a Sunday drive with windows rolled down, destination unknown (at least to me), and it felt great.
A Sunday drive can be had every day while on vacation and is one of my favorite things to do when we travel. I love the wind in my face and not knowing what lies ahead. Sometimes, it's an incredible beach, sometimes serendipitous ice cream at a roadside bar, sometimes it's just some good music and a zenful drive.
Getting there is half the fun, especially when I don't know where "there" is.
We love Eleuthera. Sadly, after FINALLY getting everyone we know to pronounce it correctly, we decided it was time to try another island. Our heart will always be there, for me that's especially true of Tarpum Bay. However, we witnessed in the few short years of our visits, careless attention to development taking a toll. Disney's purchase of the landmark Lighthouse Beach was the final straw.
Truth be told, it is good to try new things.
Long Island is a couple hundred miles south of Eleuthera, falling southeast of The Exumas, with the Tropic of Cancer cutting through the top third of the long, narrow island. It has the reputation as being the most beautiful of The Out Islands and is known for agricultural crops, including mutton farming (in this case goats, not sheep).
Bummer, but I could not get inbound flights to Nassau match outbound flights to Long Island, so we had to stay a night in Nassau. We tried BahaSea Backpackers and shared an ocean side king room with our daughter, who had a twin bed. They also have shared rooms in the form of a hostel on the premises, which we wanted our young adult daughter to see. The property is beautiful and nearby restaurants. However, the hotel is separated from businesses by an incredibly busy four-lane street and overall, way too hectic for us. Next time, we'll go back to our standby, Orange Hill.
Where We Stayed: Sun Living Apartment above Under the Sun
Luckily, it only took a few miles after we turned the wrong way on the Queen's Highway for me to realize the problem. Hahaha! One main road and I still messed it up. It didn't take long for us to find our apartment for the week, above It's Under the Sun Department Store in Mangrove Bush. Initially, I picked this for the incredibly affordable rate, and the flexibility in how many people can sleep there.
We're already booked for another stay this Christmas because it was all that, but also homey and incredibly convenient to both ends of the island. Here's a link to their rental website. Under the Sun serves up some delicious food, too. Here is a link to a blogger's review.
We enjoyed our stay so much that I made a video tour of the apartment:
We stock up on basics when we first arrive with things like eggs, bread, sliced ham, cheese, soda, cookies, peppers, tomatoes and onions. Typically, I'll make a breakfast with eggs and we'll eat one other meal at the rental, usually sandwiches. This helps with the finances, and still keeps kitchen work to a minimum. We like to eat out one time a day, usually a late lunch.
Tiny's Hurricane Hole: Great expat party vibe that includes delicious food and thoughtfully crafted cocktails.
Max's Conch Bar: Perfect island scene with a great menu. The mosquitos were bad during our visit, but nothing a quick spray of Off couldn't handle. I'm sad we were too full for dessert.
LLoyd's: Good if you need to catch a game but average food and grumpy service.
Erica's Bakery: This place in Clarence Town should not be missed. Go early in your trip so you can stock up and I promise you'll want to return before the end of your trip. Everything about this bakery is on point. It seems to be a favorite spot for Sunday afternoon sweets.
Rowdy Boys: In a lifetime of eating out, the young man that waited on us was one of the kindest and most thoughtful service professionals I've ever experienced. Food was good.
Chez Pierre: Hands down, by any standards this is excellent and beautiful food. Add to that, the thoughtful menu, an absolutely beautiful location and this is a place not to be missed. Chez Pierre also has small, rustic cabins with meals included in the price. We're already planning five nights here on our next trip.
Pit Bull's First and Last Drop: After spending a few hours at Gordon's Beach (which BTW is so beautiful, I was left speechless), stop here for a cold Kalik and great stories from Pit Bull. His conch salad has an usual ingredient that makes it especially delicious. Enjoying this little bit of paradise that Ernest created is exactly the kind of day that makes us love The Out Islands.
Note about bringing your own food:
If you read Bahamas travel forums, you will notice many threads about people packing coolers of food to bring on their Bahamas vacation. It's true, food is expensive on an island. It's also true that you may not find everything you are used to buying in the states. Unless you have some extreme dietary restrictions, I promise you will find everything you need. Those giant chest freezers in each market are filled with meat, pizzas, seafood, and countless other treats. Take a peek inside and see what you find. I also promise you will not save enough money to make much of a difference in your travel budget. Save yourself the hassle of lugging frozen food and buy locally.
No matter what island you visit, the local economy benefits from your dollars. Trust me, the local residents need your business. Don't complain about Disney and other foreign investors ruining the charm of your favorite islands if you are not willing to support them yourself. Buy groceries locally, stop in at restaurants - even if just for a Kalik and a snack. It's a win-win-win. You support local people in a destination you love, you buy a bit of convenience when you are on vacation, and you have the opportunity to meet some incredibly wonderful people.
End of rant.
We love beautiful beaches, but are not so much hang out all day at the beach types. We like to swim, snorkel, walk, look for shells, eat a snack and then repeat the cycle. These were some of our favorites:
Columbus Point: I'm not sure if this is a beach, a creek, a little bay... whatever, it was beautiful and we loved the snorkeling. The sand is powdery and white and the water gin-clear. Amazing.
Guana Cay: The beach itself was a bit more coarse sand (clearly a sign of being spoiled), but we had fun snorkeling here. We did make it out to the cay, but didn't have the best shoes for navigating the sharp coral rocks.
Dean's Blue Hole: We were repeat visitors here. It's one of the rare places where you might see more than a few people. It's a thrill to snorkel over the blue hole, but south east of there, by the break is amazing snorkeling. There is always a cliff jump, or two, and this is a good walking beach. Being on the east side, there is plenty of washed up trash to collect, so bring some extra bags.
Lochabar Point Blue Hole: My husband swam with a fever of rays here. Enough said.
Galloway Beach: Beautiful white sand, great shell hunting, shady trees, calm swimmable water. Surprisingly, we didn't snorkel, so we'll have to save that for next time.
Santa Maria Beach: At this point in our trip, we weren't really paying attention to what beach we were on. We were shooting for Galliot, or Santa Maria and I have no idea if we were on either, or if we were even on a public beach. We drove north, behind Santa Maria Resort until the road ended and started snorkeling. We had a great time and found pin cushion stars, and a whole lot of big fish in the deep water near the entrance to the creek/bay (seen as the dark blue stripe below) . This location was incredibly beautiful.
Gordon's Beach: This is by far the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The blue color is extraordinary. The large crescent shaped white sand beach is idyllic. Coral heads not far from shore made this exceptional.
Beaches only accessible by boat: Luckily, we ended up on a half day tour with Francis Darville of Sun Boat Rentals and Tours. He shared stories of growing up on Long Island and vast knowledge of the area. We had some great snorkeling and spent time on some incredible sand bars. We had such a great day that I made this video to share it:
Our Week on Long Island
It's hard for me to sum up a week like we had in Long Island. Both internally and externally, the beauty of this island runs deep. Water is so blue that it reflects on the bottom of clouds. The variety of shades of blue and the intensity was nothing like we've seen before. Beaches included chunky sand with little cays offshore, white sand beaches with the clearest cyan water, blue holes right on the beach, all with some of the best off shore snorkeling we've encountered. We did lots and we did nothing. We met wonderful people, discovered amazing natural beauty, snorkeled all over the island, saw some interesting critters, and found ourselves relaxed and centered again.
We love a beautiful beach, and Long Island has them. We still have a lot of exploring to do, but from our first trip, I'd say Long Island has a greater variety of different beach types, and many more options for shore side snorkeling. Eleuthera has overall more wide, soft sandy beaches but fewer options for good snorkeling without hiring a boat.
Thank goodness I waited two months to write this report. With seven days on our visit, it would take a book to describe the details of all our fun. Every day was met with beautiful vistas, meeting genuinely kind people, easily accessible snorkeling, and a wonderful low key island vibe.
One such day included a leisurely drive down to Gordon's Beach on the very southern tip of Long Island. The water was such a pure, clean hue of cyan, framed by a beautiful powdery white sand that I was left gobsmacked. We enjoyed walking, napping and snorkeling a surprising good patch of coral heads not far from shore.
After a few hours, we decided to find a cold Kalik and stopped at Pit Bull's First and Last Drop. We had such a great visit, listening to Earnest's stories of growing up, finding adventure in Nassau, and then returning to Long Island. One top of that, he made us some of the very best conch salad we've ever had.
On our way northbound, we decided to get some pastry treats in Clarence Town, but stopped for a quick snorkel at the blue hole on the south end of Lochabar Beach first. My husband got in before me, just as a fever of rays passed by. Lucky him for perfect timing and an incredible experience. We didn't see a lot of fish, but we're a wee bit concerned about a barracuda that was a little more curious than we liked.
On our way back to the car, we stopped and chatted with two couples, each of the four carrying buckets and baskets. They were incredibly friendly and shared that were collecting grasses for weaving. Headed back to the Queen's Highway, a wild boar stepped out of the brush and stopped to take a look at us before crossing into the brush on the other side. A surprise ending to an absolutely perfect day!
By Keith Edkins at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4027491
What many of us love about the Out Islands is the slower pace, and the quiet, natural beauty. There are not a lot of people, and it does not feel touristy. Booking flights to the Out Islands explains part of the reason there are not a lot of tourists. It can take some work to get there, but trust me, the payoff is huge.
Tickets to Paradise
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Welcome to Paradise! Photo Credit: Dan Lynn
I'm a mom to two, wife to one, and a math teacher to many. We live on Michigan's West Coast, in the beautiful town of Holland. We love the people, natural beauty, and peaceful vibe of the Bahamas Out Islands.