For some people their first trip to the Bahamas is on a Cruise Line…Destination Nassau.  Although some enjoy it, Nassau was not what some envisioned when they thought of the Bahamas: white sand beaches, azure skies and turquois water.  If it’s relaxation, natural beauty and authentic Bahamian culture you’re looking for, then the Abaco Islands are for you.

Crystal-clear water, one of the top-ten beaches in the world and excellent fishing are just a few reasons that everyone should see this northern most area of the Bahamas, nothing beats the Abacos. Only 65 miles from the US at the closest point, these islands offer a wide variety of fun places and serene beauty rarely seen so close to the U.S.

How to Get There

The Abacos are made up of the two main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, and several smaller islands with names like Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana, Man-o-War, Elbow Cay, Lubbers Quarters and more. There are a number of ways to travel to there, including by boat, but for this article, we’ll take to the skies. and talk about Marsh Harbor and Elbow Cay…

Most people traveling to the Abacos fly into Marsh Harbour International Airport and there are several options to get you there. If you are looking to save time and enjoy the experience, private air charter operators at Orlando executive airport utilize a number of different planes that can seat up to 9 passengers, climb to 28,000 feet and cruise at 300 MPH while providing personalized service. This means that Marsh Harbour is less than 90 minutes away.

Marsh Harbour

Marsh Harbour, located on Great Abaco Island, is the largest settlement in the islands, with a population of just over 5,000. It’s a short distance from the airport which makes it an excellent base of vacation operations as many of the other islands are easily accessible by catching a ferry or renting a boat for a little island hopping.

Elbow Cay

Take the boat or ferry ride to Elbow Cay. The 120-foot red and white striped Hope Town Lighthouse (circa 1863), and harbor are right off a post card, and the adjoining village is uncrowded and charming.

One of the best ways to see the island is to rent a golf cart or bicycle, which is the main mode of transportation on Elbow Cay. Locals and visitors alike will be seen cruising island style from one end of Elbow Cay to the other.

Once you’ve settled in, load up the golf cart or boat and head west to Tahiti Beach. Accessible only on foot, by bike or boat, this gem of secluded white sand arcs out into calm clear water and is ideal for swimming, walking or just exploring (ignore the “Private” signs you will pass, as the road to Tahiti Beach is public). Boaters can pull right up to a few feet off the sand.

The Abacos are the “real” Bahamas-. The experience will have you coming back again and again and the memories will last a lifetime.