The Wanderer: Abaco – One in 700

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One of the 700 islands stretching 750 miles off the east coast, almost reaching Haiti, Abaco is part of the Bahamas. A delightful island of 15,000 residents, all of whom speak English! Airline flights to Marsh Harbour originate from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau. Passports are required.

Frequently, when one hears of the Bahamas, Nassau and Freeport come to mind. TV advertising by the mega resort Atlantis leads one to believe that is all there is to the Bahamas. Not so! The smaller islands are collectively referred to as the “Out Islands” or the “Friendly Islands.” Only 30 are inhabited, with varying degrees of accommodations. Abaco is the third largest. Renting an automobile is the best bet for getting around as Abaco is 129 miles long.

The best bet for accommodations is to rent a condo. All-inclusive resorts like Sandal’s can run $495/day, a bit steep for the Wanderer. Rents also carry a 7.5 percent VAT. The island supports two large supermarkets with the same selection of foods you would expect to find in the States.

So, what does one do on Abaco? We look forward to some of the best fishing in the world or maybe just a quiet beach to soak up the rays. The island is laid back, no casinos nor much nightlife! There are a few nice restaurants, but like everything else, relatively expensive.

Ferry boats leave frequently to take passengers to nearby islands. The ferries are usually less than 30 minutes and make a nice day trip. Scuba and snorkeling are also popular. There are golf courses for those who don’t feel a vacation is complete unless they break 100 for 18 holes.

A drive down the coast highway reveals a number of beaches and the ever-present pubs that serve lunch and the libation of choice. The Wanderer found Pete’s Pub and Art Gallery to be one of the most popular.

Devoid of most animals, the Little Bahama Curly-Tail lizard proliferates throughout the island chain. They vary in size from 3” to 7” and are quite harmless.

The residents of Abaco feel that it is paradise. One can buy a bit of paradise at a small shop on the main drag. (See photo!)

A short ferry ride will take you to Hope Town, Abaco. Its lightstation was built in 1836 to keep ships from grounding on the treacherous shoals. It remains the only kerosene-fueled light house in the world. Hope Town is also where you will find world-renown key lime pie. Not to be missed!

A final thought! If you get a $3 bill on Abaco, it’s real. The bills are part of the Bahamian currency system. U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere, as are credit cards.

Editor’s note: Malcolm McKnight writes on places of travel interest from his home in Cambridge.

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