When my parents announced they would be taking their sailboat to the Bahamas in early 2017, I thought it would be a pretty solid trip: I’d get to see my parents, explore some beautiful (and lesser-visited) parts of the Bahamas, and probably not have to pay for much because, well, parents. (And it would be extra good because I swore I wouldn’t stay on their sailboat but would book accommodation on land, instead – 3 adults and a cat on one 35-foot sailboat is just too much for me).
In the leadup to my trip, I got almost daily emails from my mom telling me about itineraries they were putting together, new places they had explored that we should go, and plans for my arrival. I was pretty pumped to have someone else do all the planning for me, since that’s normally a role I reluctantly/not so reluctantly take on as the most Type A person I know.
The weekend had its ups and downs, but throughout it all I couldn’t deny that visiting the Bahamas makes for a beautiful long weekend.
And now, a not-at-all comprehensive list of things to do there!
Learn Whether It’s “Abaco” or “The Abacos”
Because I have no idea and cavalierly use the two interchangeably.
The best way to travel between the different cays, in my opinion, must be sailboat. Taxis are expensive and things are far apart. If you have to take a while to get there, might as well do it from the water!
Now, I have absolutely no advice on how to rent a boat or what tour companies to use, since I was able to take advantage of the sailboat taxi from the airport to my hotel gratis. All I can tell you is prepare to get slightly quesy if you aren’t used to being on the water for long periods of time. Also prepare for the captain and first mate to continually stress out about tides and having to leave at precise times.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of life above the water, time to jump down and see what’s below. Our original plan to snorkel at Great Guana (featuring apparently amazing sealife and a beautiful reef) was scuttled due to intense waves. So, we went to plan B and snorkeled Mermaid Reef close to Marsh Habour. Definitely a fun way to see some very colorful fish and a couple of rays!
And, I got to try a full-face snorkel mask, which is 10000% better than the snorkel in your mouth, once you remember to breath like normal and not like you are being chased into a dark basement.
Treasure Cay Beach
My absolutely favorite part of the weekend – relaxing on Treasure Cay Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. When I arrived to the Bahamas, my parents suggested we alter our original plans and cancel going to this beach and I threw a very big fit about it – and I’m so glad I did. Once we arrived (because I won the fight), I had first been planning to spend the morning on the beach, then the afternoon doing something active like going for a bike ride. Alas, the day was so beautiful that I spent the entire day down there. I cannot stress how blue the water is and how sugar-powdery the sand is. Just writing about it makes me want to go back. Truly, it made the other challenging aspects of the weekend all worth it.
Things to know about the Bahamas: A bunch of U.S. airlines fly into the Bahamas and specifically to Marsh Harbour, but I flew JetBlue direct to Nassau and onwards on Bahamasair. I had read horror stories about Bahamasair, and did get delayed about 2 hours on one flight due to mechnical errors – but I concede mechanical errors happen, and they did a good job at keeping us informed. I would definitely recommend taking a morning flight since I could see later flights on that airline just get more and more delayed.
No need for a visa for a short-stay U.S. citizen, and USD is happily accepted (although you may receive Bahamian money as change). I went through U.S. customs in Nassau heading back to the U.S., which ruled since I didn’t have to do it after landing.
The Abacos are very sleepy and rural, so don’t expect a Sandals-type resort. But if you want the most beautiful beach you’ve ever seen, head here.
And I still don’t know if it’s Abacos or Abaco.