The Abaco Islands in the Bahamas are a chain of islands are located in the northern region of the Bahamas near the Grand Bahama Island. The main islands are Great Abaco and Little Abaco. Along the eastern coast of these two islands are several smaller islands that make up the chain of the Abaco Islands. The Abaco Island chain stretches for over 120 miles with protected coves and protected coral reefs. Some of the other island included in the Abaco Islands are Elbow Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, Treasure Cay, and Tilloo Cay. There are also several protected underwater areas such as Fowl Cay National Reserve and Pelican Cays National Park that make the Abacos Bahamas an ideal snorkeling and diving destination. The protected bay areas surrounding the islands have made the Abacos a popular sailing area. Abaco is considered one of the Bahamas Out Islands which means that you will not find cruise ships nor any big resorts.

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CRYSTAL WATERS & VILLAS
Villa Sleeps 8
Rates 300 - 570 USD
Brigantine Bay Villas
Resort Sleeps 4
Rates 200 - 235 USD

Abaco Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in Bahamas

Geography

The Abacos Islands are a group of islands in the Bahamas. The main islands are Great Abaco and Little Abaco but the groups also consist of 100s of smaller islands called cays. The Abaco Islands are not like the barrier islands found along the eastern coastal area of the US, but instead, the islands consist of limestone rather than sand. These Bahamas out islands are protected by one of the largest living reefs in the world, the Abacos Barrier Reef. The Reef has a natural elevation has created amazing bays that rise into the sky for a stunning view. For the most part, the cays are green with mangroves, and the white sand beaches stretch as far as the eye can see. With 776 square miles of island, the Abacos Islands are at your service. The lush Abaco National Park with it’s pine forest, the mangrove trees that line the coastal area and amazing fishing have long been a draw for people to the Abaco Islands.

History

The original inhabitants of the Abacos Islands were the Lucayans an indigenous branch of the Tainos. And there were the first people that Christopher Columbus encountered upon his arrival in the Caribbean. However, after the first contact with the Spanish, the Lucayans were captured and sold into slavery by the Spanish to man the various silver and gold mines in South America. By 1520, the entire population had been removed from the Abacos Islands, and there were no permanent settlements on the island for well over 130 years.

During those years, the Spanish, Italians and French all used and chartered the island for reference, and many noted the island was unprofitable and treacherous to navigate. Great Britain and Spain continued to pass the island back and forth for over a century until in 1783 the Abaco Islands Bahamas was given by the Spanish to the British in exchange for East Florida. The Bahamas would continue under English rule until independence in the 1970’s.

The first permanent settlement by Europeans happened in the summer of 1783 when 1500 Empire loyalists left New York to seek a new colony in the Abaco Bahamas. They planned and built the town of Carleton, which is now most certainly the present day town of Hope Town. However, due to a number of issues between the townspeople and governing officials, some settlers founded their own town at Marsh Harbour. As crops increased, and the island became more profitable, settlements started to pop up across Abaco. These included Green Turtle Cay, Man-o-War Cay and Sandy Point. Finally, another group of settlers arrived from Florida and founded the isolated settlement Cherokee Sound. These settlements slowly grow into the island we know today.

British governance of the area continued, and by the 1970’s the Bahamas asked the Crown to be a self-governing dominion. Finally, in 1973, the islands of the Bahamas became their own independent country which of course included Abaco.

Culture

No matter if you are staying in a vacation rental in Abaco for a few days, or a couple of weeks, you will quickly be swept up in the amazing culture that you can experience in Abaco Bahamas. It starts with the food. With a strong connection to the sea and local vegetables, the food in the Bahamas is truly amazing. Even though the island has a strong connection to the British Empire, its mix of African, Spanish and French culture has allowed the cuisine to flourish in this island paradise.

Abaco Bahamas is a natural paradise, and no matter where you look you will find yourself seeing why so many people come here for eco-tourism. It is truly beautiful, and the flora, fauna and beaches have attracted people here for decades. Experience a true wilderness adventure under the sun in Abaco.

Finally, the culture of the Bahamas would be nothing without the colourful and rhythmic party that is Junkanooer. This is a traditional festival of the Bahamas that occurs several times during the year and is a celebratory affair that involves costumes, parades and dancing. It is a must-see event if you are an island veteran, and no matter how many times you have seen it, you will come back time and again. You will quickly find out why the music, the dancing and the costumes are what makes the Bahamas truly special.

Must see, and must do things on the island

Abaco vacations are also known as the boating capital of the world, and for good reason. This is an island hoppers paradise, and no matter if you are looking to sail, power yacht or kayak the islands, the water is truly amazing. If you are a sailor, the only place you need to go is to Abaco!

Elbow Cay Lighthouse
The Elbow Cay Lighthouse is the island’s most famous site, and one of the true gems in the Bahamas. The lighthouse was built in 1862 and stands 89 feet tall. As one of the oldest landmarks in Hope Town, the lighthouse is only one of a few lighthouses in the world that are still operated manually. Take a walk around the grounds, and if you are lucky you will be able to head to the top to see the sites, and how to operate a lighthouse from before the turn of the century.

Colonial Villages
As the British were the first settlers in the community, there are many amazingly preserved settlements for you to take in a little history. There are a number of homestead properties that you can tour, and the influence of the American Revolution is evident You can still see the colonial influence in the styles of homes in Hope Town and New Plymouth.

Boat Building
Why bring your boat down, when you can build your own! The tradition of building boats by hand is alive and well in Abaco. Head on down to Man-o-War Cay where boat building is not only part of the community, it is the centre of the economy. The boats crafted in this cay are not only amazing, but they are world renowned for their durability in tough seas.