The Abaco Islands consist of two main islands: Great Abaco and Little Abaco with the Great Abaco Island extending some 90 plus miles long, yet not more than four miles wide on average.
The Great and Little Abaco islands are accompanied by a long chain of smaller islands ringing the eastern side of Abaco Island. All of these islands together are many times referred to as “The Abacos.” All of these islands are a part of what is referred to as the “Bahamas Out Islands” or the “Family Islands.”
The Abacos are located just North of the Tropic Zone, in the general area of 26° North and 77° West. These islands are a combination of coral formations and relatively flat limestone. One of the more striking features of the Abacos is the clear glass appearance of the turquoise water accompanied by pure white powder sand beaches - mostly uncrowded too.
Some of the more notable Abaco islands are Elbow Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Man O War Cay, Great Guana Cay, Treasure Cay, Lubbers Quarters and Tilloo Cay - some 100 plus Cays and small islands in all! It's not too hard to find that perfect beach for a picnic lunch.
The largest town in the Abacos is Marsh Harbour, located south central on the eastern shore of Abaco Island. Marsh Harbour was settled in the late 1700s by the Loyalists escaping the American Revolution. This settlement was followed by Hope Town, located on Elbow Cay, and then Green Turtle Cay. Hope Town is well known for it oft photographed candy cane lighthouse.
Abaco weather is pleasant year round. The temperatures average mid 60s to upper 80s in the summer. Prime season starts around November and runs through April and into May. June and July are a good time of year to find discounts for a Bahamas vacation.
The Abaconians started out as ship builders and farmers living off of the sea. Tourism now accounts for a major part of their income. Some 40% of Bahamas GDP comes from tourism. Sailing, fishing and diving are among some of the more popular water sports in the Abaco Islands as it is in much of the Bahamas.
Abaco fishing ranges from stalking bonefish in shallow water and battling big blue Marlins offshore. Sailfish, wahoo, kingfish and tuna are popular. A number of Abaco fishing tournaments are hosted every year at the various marinas such as Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour, Green Turtle Cay and Hope Town. Bahamas fishing permits are required and there are limits.
There are no casinos, shopping malls or amusement parks in the Abacos, but there are good places to eat and plenty of friendly people who are generally laid back and happy. The architecture in the “towns” are typically quaint, colorful and colonial. The smaller towns are built more for pedestrians and golf carts then they are for automobiles making you feel as if civilization is far away -- yet it's only a one hour flight from Fort Lauderdale.
The two primary airports serving Abaco Bahamas are Treasure Cay Airport (TCB) and Marsh Harbour Airport (MHH). Connections to these airports from the United States are typically made through Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Nassau is another popular international connection.
Whether you choose to stay at one of the smaller boutique hotels or the vacation rentals and villas the Abacos has to offer, you will find most all of them have a laid back and comfortable Caribbean island feel to them. This is the kind of place you don't have to make plans for -- here you can really relax and escape the real world.
Abaco Islands -- a “beach bum's heaven.”