WHERE IS ABACO?
This is an interactive map. If you want, you can view Abaco in a larger map
Abaco is a group of islands and cays located in the northern part of The Bahamas, some 180 miles east of West Palm Beach in Florida.
The Bahamas has over 700 islands, and you’ll find 100 of them in Abaco. Not all the islands are populated, but the largest ones are. All populated islands outside of New Providence where the capitol Nassau is located, are called Family islands or Out Islands. Abaco is home to about 16,000 people plus second homeowners and expatriates. Tourism gives income to 50% of the people in Abaco. Marsh Harbour, the largest town in the area, (and the third largest in The Bahamas) has a registered population of 6,000. The main airport, Marsh Harbour Airport (MHH) is only 8 minutes by car from Marsh Harbour. Treasure Cay Airport (TCB) is located a 45 minutes drive north of Marsh Harbour.
Way of life in Abaco
Abaconians are known for their relaxed way of life. You will not find nightclubs, casinos or noisy jet skis on the beach here. You would want to come here if you are looking for a slower pace, pristine beaches and friendly people who don’t have the word “stress” in their vocabulary.
Abaco is the place for quiet vacations, boating, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing. Fishing tournaments and regattas are held here every year.
The islands and cays in Abaco
The main island is Great Abaco, which is the second largest island in the Bahamas. Great Abaco is more than 90 miles long and 4 miles wide on average. On the Atlantic side of Great Abaco there is a chain of small islands, or cays (pronounced like “key”), and on the outside of them is a barrier reef. This is the third largest barrier reef in the world. People refer to Great Abaco and all the cays as The Abacos.
Crystal clear waters in Abaco
All the islands in the Abacos are more or less flat. This is why the water is so amazingly crystal clear. No rivers bring soil into the ocean.
The beaches are miles and miles long, with white, fine sand. But not so fine that it blows up in your face when there’s a little wind. On some of the cays you will have the beach to yourself.
Temperatures in Abaco
The temperature in Abaco is pleasant all year long. The temperatures average 65 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer.
Elbow Cay and Hope Town in Abaco
One of the largest cays is Elbow Cay, with Hope Town, the second largest “town”, or settlement in Abaco. Hope Town is very charming and quaint, and well worth a visit, no matter which island or cay you are staying on. The candy-striped lighthouse is a landmark. People on the smaller cays refer to Hope Town as “Hollywood”, because so much is going on in Hope Town compared to the quieter cays. To give you an impression of how large Hope Town is, take a look at the opening hours of the only bank, which is half a day once a week. There are no ATM’s on any of the cays. This should give you an impression of the activity level and how busy this area is.
Green Turtle Cay in Abaco
In the opposite end of the chain of cays you will find Green Turtle Cay, with its old and established settlement.
Great Guana Cay in Abaco
Great Guana Cay is known for its long, beautiful beaches with several beach bars.
The most famous is Nipper’s on the ocean side, which offers pig roast and party each Sunday of the year. Nipper's has two swimming pools as well. It is open every day of the week, but especially on Sundays do people from all over the Abaco come and join the party and taste the feared and famous frozen "Nipper Juice".
Grabber's Resort at Sunset Beach is facing the Sea of Abaco with a beach perfect for small kids. Grabber's offers lounge chairs on the beach, and has a swimming pool. Grabber's is a fun place on Sundays as well, often with live music.
Man-O-War Cay in Abaco
Another cay is Man-O-War Cay. The locals seem more industrious on this island. Maybe because there are no bars and no alcohol being served publicly. Instead the island has a great reputation for boat building and sail making. The Sail Shop offers a huge variety of bags made locally. From small ditty bags to larger travel bags.
Lubbers Quarters and Tilloo Cay in Abaco
Closer to Hope Town is Lubbers Quarters, with Cracker P’s restaurant, which hosts a full moon party once a month. Then there is Tilloo Cay with only homes and vacation homes and no bars and restaurants.
Treasure Cay on Great Abaco
On Great Abaco, about 45 min. drive north of Marsh Harbour, you’All come to Treasure Cay, with beautiful beaches, restaurants and a golf course.
History of Abaco
Abaco was settled late in the 17th century by loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. Marsh Harbour was the first permanent settlement in Abaco. Later some went to Hope Town and others went to Green Turtle Cay. The new settlers found it hard to make a living on the meager soil on the islands, and of the 2,000 who arrived in the 1780’s, only 400 were left ten years later. Of them where half the population white and half black.
Since the soil yielded so little income, wrecking turned out to be more profitable for many of the new Abaconians. Many ships sailed past by the islands, and before the lighthouses were built, the reefs and sand banks put an end to many of the ships' voyages.
Other people tried their luck in gathering and preparing sponge (a nasty smelling task), growing pineapple, producing sisal, growing sugar and cutting lumber. None of these enterprises represented big business.
Hope Town was the largest town in Abaco in 1900, with a population of 1,200. People worked in fishing, sponging, shipping and boat building. The boats built in Abaco were famous for their design and the builders became famous for their construction skills. Boats made of fiberglass are still made on Man-O-War Cay today.
On this website you'll find a lot about Guana Cay - Why?
The creator of this website - Unni Roberts - invites you to visit Great Guana Cay, one of the most beautiful and pristine islands in Abaco. In the following I will try to show you why I think you should consider Guana Cay for your next vacation, and what kind of vacation you can expect if you choose Great Guana Cay. Maybe you will fall in love with the island like many others before you. I did! If you do, you can either rent a home for a few weeks a year, or buy a second home that you can rent when you're away. You'll probably be surprised as to how many friends you have once you own a home in the Bahamas... Drop us a line if you have any questions whatsoever about Great Guana Cay and Abaco.
We love Great Guana Cay
Click on each picture to see why, and what YOU can do in Guana Cay.