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June, July, and early August are the best months for sailing, boating, and swimming, precisely why the most popular regatta and fishing tournaments are held during this time. Afternoon thunderstorms are common but usually clear quickly. Temperatures often reach the 90s.
December through May is a pleasant time to visit, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, though sometimes dropping into the 50s at night when cold fronts blow through. Fishing, particularly deep-sea fishing, is good during this time of year.
In September and October, typically the peak of hurricane season, visitors drop to a trickle and many hotels and restaurants shut down for two weeks to two months. If you're willing to take a chance on getting hit by a storm, this can still be a great time to explore, with discounts of as much as 50% at the hotels that remain open.
Most flights land at the international airports in Marsh Harbour (MHH) or Treasure Cay (TCB). Taxis wait at the main airports, and the fare to most resorts is between $15 and $30 for the first two passengers and $3 for each additional person. Cab fare between Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay or the ferry dock is $85.
Marsh Harbour Airport (242/367–5500.)
Treasure Cay Airport (242/367–3067.)
The Legacy mail boat leaves Potter's Cay, Nassau on Tuesday for Marsh Harbour and Green Turtle Cay, returning to Nassau on Thursday. Each one-way journey takes about 10 hours and costs $60 per person. The Sealink leaves Nassau on Friday and Sunday mornings for Sandy Point, at the southern tip of Great Abaco, and returns to Nassau on Fridays and Sundays. For details, call the Dockmaster's Office.
A good system of public ferries allows you to reach even the most remote cays.
If you don't want to be bound by the somewhat limited ferry schedule, rent a small boat. The best selections are at Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Hope Town, and Green Turtle Cay.
Dockmaster's Office (242/393–1064.)
On Great Abaco, renting a car is the best option if you plan on exploring outside Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay. Rentals start at $70 a day, and gasoline costs about $6 per gallon. Cars are not necessary on most of the smaller cays in the Abacos; in fact, rental cars aren't even available in most locations.
A & P Rentals (Marsh Harbour. 242/367–2655.)
Police (911, 242/352–8280, or 242/373–4112. www.royalbahamaspolice.org.)
Bargain Car Rentals (Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island. 242/367–0500.)
Rental Wheels of Abaco (Marsh Harbour. 242/367–4643. www.rentalwheels.com.)
Golf carts are the vehicle of choice on the majority of the smaller cays, including Elbow Cay, Green Turtle Cay, Great Guana Cay, and Man-O-War Cay. Rates are $40 to $50 per day, or $245 per week. Reservations are essential from April to July.
Blue Marlin Rentals (Treasure Cay. 242/365–8687.)
D & P Rentals (Green Turtle Cay. 242/365–4655.)
Hope Town Cart Rentals (Hope Town, Elbow Cay. 242/366–0064. www.hopetowncartrentals.com.)
Island Cart Rentals (Hope Town, Elbow Cay. 242/366–0448. www.islandcartrentals.com.)
KoolKart Rentals (Green Turtle Cay, Great Abaco Island. 242/356–4176. www.koolkartrentals.com.)
Man-O-War Marina (Man-O-War Cay. 242/365–6008.)
T&N Cart Rentals (Hope Town, Elbow Cay. 242/366–0069.)
Island Roadrunner (Green Turtle Cay. 242/365–4160.)
Seaside Carts (Green Turtle Cay. 242/365–4147.)
Taxi service is available on Great Abaco in Marsh Harbour and Treasure Cay. Hotels will arrange for taxis to take you on short trips and to the airport. Fares are generally $1.50 per mile. A 15% tip is customary.
Banks are generally open Monday–Thursday 9:30–3 and Friday until 4:30. They are sometimes closed on Wednesday. ATMs are available in Marsh Harbour at all banks.
Green Turtle Cay Government Clinic (242/365–4028.)
Hope Town Government Clinic (242/366–0108.)
Marsh Harbour Government Clinic (242/367–2510.)
Police or Fire Emergencies (919.)
Intimate hotels, cottage-style resorts, and rental homes are the rule in the Abacos. There are a few full-scale resorts in Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Green Turtle Cay, and Hope Town—with multiple restaurants, bars, pools, and activities—but most accommodations are more homey. What you might give up in modern amenities you'll gain in privacy and beauty. Many hotels have water views, and with a cottage or private house you may even get your own stretch of beach. Air-conditioning is a standard feature, and more places are adding luxuries like satellite TV and wireless Internet. Small and remote doesn't equate with inexpensive, however; it's difficult to find lodging for less than $100 a night, and not uncommon to pay more than $300 a night for beachside accommodations with all the conveniences. Still, the Abacos remains affordable when compared to other islands.
Fish, conch, land crabs, and rock lobster—called crawfish by the locals—have long been the bedrock of local cuisine. Although a few menus, mostly in upscale resorts, feature dishes with international influences, most restaurants in the Abacos still serve simple Bahamian fare, with a few nods to American tastes. There are some fancier restaurants in Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, and Hope Town, but most restaurants are relaxed about attire and reasonably priced. Some offer live music, and shape the nightlife scene on weekends.
Restaurant prices are based on the median main course price at dinner, excluding gratuity, typically 15%, which is often automatically added to the bill. Hotel prices are for two people in a standard double room in high season, excluding service and 6%–12% tax.
GPS Bahamas. Renting a beach house for a week or longer? Maybe you can't take everything with you, but GPS Bahamas has air-freight service for everything from perishable foods to electronics and computers. It beats the mail boat. It also provides catalog shopping and delivery, so if you're tired of the CDs and DVDs you have, just order some new ones. 242/367–0400 or 954/689–6761. www.gpsbahamas.com.
Abaco Tourist Office & Information Center (Harbor Place Bldg., Queen Elizabeth Dr., Great Abaco Island. 242/367–3067. www.bahamas.com.)