Senior associate editor Rebecca Tobin visited the Abaco Islands
in the Bahamas. Her report follows:
am a city gal by nature, so my
heart gave a little leap when I stepped off Albury's Ferry onto
Green Turtle Cay to the lapping of the waters of the Sea of
The Bahamas' Abaco Islands, of which Green Turtle Cay is one,
are a very good sell for clients who want to stay close to home but
still want the experience of an exotic destination.
The Abacos are an hour's flight from Florida, and the islands
accept U.S. currency, but the big draws here are snorkeling and
fishing for marlin and bonefish.
For rest and relaxation, there's karaoke and Kalik (a Bahamian
beer; pronounce it "click" and you'll do just fine) in the
Once on Green Turtle Cay, my first order of business was to
secure a golf cart, the main mode of transportation. For about $40
for the day, a visitor can absorb all there is to see on this tiny
slip of land.
For those who want the exercise, bicycle rentals also are
Great Abaco Island is surrounded by little cays such as Green
Turtle, which is 15 minutes by ferry from the Great Abaco dock.
It's a half hour across the water from the hotels in Marsh
Harbour, the Abacos' main city, making it an interesting day trip
for guests there.
I puttered around New Plymouth, the only town, where pastel-colored
houses look as though they were transported from New England or Key
The green turtles that gave the island its name are not easy to
spot, I was told, and I didn't see any. (The cay was once a
breeding ground for the now-protected species.)
The history of Green Turtle Cay dates to the end of the American
Revolution, when pro-British loyalists landed in the Abacos and
made their way to New Plymouth in 1783.
Snippets of Bahamian lore are found in the Memorial Sculpture
Garden, one of the few attractions on the cay.
Down the street from the sculpture garden, visitors will find a
cemetery dotted with headstones that bear dates from as early as
Across from the cemetery is Ye Olde Jail, where 19th century
Abaconians locked up their criminals.
Around the corner from the ferry dock is Vert's Model Ship
Shoppe, where Vertram Lowe has built intricate model boats for the
past 16 years.
Lowe learned the trade from his father, Albert, whose bronze
bust occupies a prominent position in the Sculpture Garden.
The nearby Albert Lowe Museum contains historical photos,
artifacts and more model boats.
New Plymouth has a few restaurants. The Captain's Table
restaurant in the New Plymouth Club and Inn was recommended by our
hosts. The hotel and restaurant close for September. Call (242)
365-4161 for information.
It was worth a jolting half-hour drive in the golf cart to eat
at the restaurant in the Green Turtle Club and Marina, which boasts
what it calls the "best rum punch in the Caribbean." It was, as far
as I was concerned. It also was very strong, so visitors should
taste-test at their own risk.
Rates for a two-night plan at the resort, valid through Feb. 28,
start at $179 per person, double.
To book, call (242) 365-4271 or visit www.greenturtleclub.com.
Across the harbor and a few more miles down another bumpy road
is the Bluff House, which has a restaurant and guest rooms.
The last ferry back to Great Abaco Island leaves at 5 p.m. It
runs hourly every day from 8 a.m., and the fare is $12 roundtrip.
Passengers can pay on the boat. Call (242) 367-3147 for additional
On Great Abaco, renting a car is cheaper than hiring a taxi. The
price for a midsize car from Rental Wheels in Marsh Harbour starts
at $75 per day. For details, call (242) 367-4643.
Golfers can drive to Treasure Cay Golf Club, the only course in
Rates are $60 for 18 holes, $40 for nine. For details, call
(800) 327-1584 or visit the Web at www.golfbahamas.com.