abaco - lodging questions

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Apr 9th, 2008, 05:46 PM
  #1
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abaco - lodging questions

we are planning a last minute vacation for the first week of may and have a few questions. we are torn between staying on elbow cay and renting a golf cart and a boat for a few days each or another like tilloo and renting a boat to island hop for the whole week. the cottage on tilloo looks amazing and it seems easy enough to get around via whaler. any feedback? are most restaurants easy to reach by boat? can you dock and walk to hope town?
guana cay - good to visit but not to stay on?
thanks!
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Apr 9th, 2008, 07:20 PM
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If this is a first trip to the Abacos, I would strongly suggest you go to www.abacoindex.com for some of the best reviews and advice out there. At the bottom of the page is a place where you can write to Sandy Estabrook and he will answer you. The last time I was in the Abacos there wasn't much on Tilloo so I would vote for Elbow but he will know more updated info. You can island hop just fine from Tilloo. Also, there are nice houses on Guana and you would be happy there as well! Both Elbow and Guana would have restaurants you could reach in a golf cart (or by bicycle, on foot, or by boat, depending on where you stayed). I think it would depend on what rental homes or inns you can find with availability and whether or not you can find a last minute boat or cart. Things tend to book up in advance in the Abacos.
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Apr 9th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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OOPS- I didn't proofread- it should say "You can island hop just fine from ELBOW"- I have no idea about Tilloo- also, you said "whaler"- I would not rent anything any smaller than 18' and would try for 20' or larger with decent engines if you want to comfortably go to Guana, Man-O-War, Little Harbour or other places in the area. Sometimes things are flat and calm and sometimes there is wind and chop.
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Apr 9th, 2008, 07:46 PM
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Bambii, we rented a boat and golf cart, and stayed on Elbow for a week. Went with another couple, and we loved it. During the day, we scooted around on our boat, snorkeling and fishing and visiting the restaurants and bars on the other cays. Keep in mind that you cannot operate the boat after dark, so you must either dine at home or walk/golfcart to restaurants (which is a fun thing to do!).

It appears that there are no restaurants on Tilloo, so you'd be at home every night. If that's ok, then I think you'd be just fine to island hop from there.

Elbow, on the other hand, has villas all over and you would golfcart to Hopetown (you have to park the golfcart outside the tiny town!) and browse the streets and shops and restaurants in the evening. There are also a handful of restaurants outside Hopetown.

We rented "Bali Hai Cottage" thru Abaco Vacations. For a $25 fee, they arranged boat, golf cart, villa, and most importantly, they included an invaluable copy of "Dodge's Guide" - boating guide with maps and descriptions of where to snorkel. The boat we rented was made right there on the islands, by the Albury family. Similar to a Whaler, and easy and sturdy. You don't have to be a licensed captain or anything, you are inside the barrier islands the whole time. We were fine with the eighteen footer, and it sure was fun flying into Marsh Harbour, taxiing to the dock, jumping in "our" boat and arriving at Bali Hai with the caretaker waving us in from the dock!

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Apr 10th, 2008, 04:06 PM
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thanks for the feedback! we are still considering tilloo, guana or elbow.
my husband is an experienced boater. do the rental companies prohibit you from boating at night?
we are not concerned with 'nightlife' but typically how late do things run in these areas? our bigger concern with tilloo is not being able to enjoy a bar, restaurant, live music after dark (but if everything shuts down at 9pm anyway it wouldnt matter much!)
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Apr 10th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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Yes the rental companies prohibit at night.

I don't know how late things go, because when we're not really late nighters - been out boating all day, and then golfcart to dinner, we were happy to go back to our wonderful cottage and party there.

I don't think there is anything on Tilloo. I'd go with Hopetown for the most lively area. Rent a cottage in or south of the town, because there are a few resorts in the southern part that you couldn't get to by golfcart if you rented on the north end (because you can't enter or cross the town in the carts).

Check out the website ishkribbl posted, it has everything plus!
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Apr 10th, 2008, 04:58 PM
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Here's another abaco website...when you find a cottage, ask about it on the message board.

http://abacotoday.com/
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Apr 10th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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I still think I would vote for Elbow or Guana- the tip about being south of Hopetown is true, also. If you are north of the settlement there are some nice houses but if you wanted to eat at the Abaco Inn or Sea Spray you would have to get a ride there- sometimes they will come and get you in a van if you have a reservation but it is easier to transport yourself. Did you try Turtle Hill villas on Elbow? That might be a good place for you. Look at www.abacovacations.com and you can look at their listings in Hopetown and on Guana.
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Apr 11th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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We are staying on Lubbers Quarters in June. It looks perfect. You have to hire a boat to get there but as far as we are concerned that is most of the fun of it. we just got sick of heading to the States - driving 4000 miles and needed a holiday to get over the holiday.

I am not being facetious but does everyone need a golf cart - as far as I was aware most of the islands were no longer than 3 miles.
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Apr 11th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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markrosy, if you're staying on Lubber's, which is smaller than Elbow, Guana, etc., you may not need a golf cart. And there's not that many places to go on Lubber's.

But if you're staying on Elbow, for example, a golf cart comes in quite handy. For starters, Elbow is longer than 3 miles -- more like 5 or 6, if I recall correctly. Hopetown is at the north end. White Sound is towards the south end. If you wanted to have dinner at the Abaco Inn or Sea Spray and were staying in Hopetown, that would be quite a long walk there and back (though either or both may pick up and drop off). Further yet is Tahiti Beach, which is at the south end of the cay. All of these are reach-able by rental boat, but not after dark. For about $30/day and no gasoline costs (most carts are electric), it's a nice increase in your range.

Guana Cay is over 7 miles in length. While most of the "action" is centered around Settlement Harbour, it's nice to have choices that don't require hoofing it, especially if you're lugging beach gear or going around after dark.
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Apr 11th, 2008, 02:43 PM
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My favorite place to stay on Great Guana Cay:

http://www.dolphinbeachresort.com/index-thingstodo.html

You can hang out at Nippers:

http://www.nippersbar.com/ an fun colorful place, where sometimes Barefoot Man plays. On Sundays everyone from the surrounding cays has a pig roast there.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 07:29 AM
  #12
 
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I received a lot of info from abacomessageboard.com, too.

Have you picked a place yet? You will love the Abacos. Beautiful water, good snorkeling, white beaches and perfect for boating.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Callaloo

good points about grocery/bags etc - I simply cannot get my head round the "no car" business. It seems so alien. I did put the golf cart thing down to the Americans love of all things with four wheels.

What does shock and concern me a little is that for the past 22 years I have never spent more than 4 days away from a car. Is there anywhere in The Abacos that I could maybe just touch one or even sit in one just to feel at home!!

One serious note is the use of boats - saw a documentary last light about the death of Kirsty McCall - run over by a powerboat in Mexico. In The Abacos - how safe is swimming and how easy is it to see swimmers in waters that would appear to be full of inexperienced boaters zipping around everywhere?
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Apr 13th, 2008, 05:21 AM
  #14
 
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markrosy,

Although care is warranted with swimmers and boats, I can tell you we've generally felt quite safe in the water. Unlike the BVI, where renegade dinghys buzz around anchorages and beaches seemingly heedless of swimmers (and talk about inexperience in some cases...), the Abacos are different.

For starters, the rental boats are bigger than dinghys, and won't be coming as close to shore without slowing down substantially. Second, the boaters in the Abacos seem to be fairly experienced. Third, the water is very clear, so obstacles and hazards and swimmers are quite visible in normal conditions. Finally, Abaco is simply not that busy, so you may well have a beach to yourself, without human or vessel traffic to worry about.

And, if you really need to get close to a car, you can always ferry in to Marsh Harbour ...
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Apr 13th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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thanks Callaloo

I wasn't going to bring up the S word as clearly there is probably 10000% more chance of being attacked by a dog in the UK than a shark in The Abacos.

We have made one major faux pas in purchasing our son's holiday wardrobe of clothes. We got a very cute Tshirt with shark alert splashed across it. Don't think it will go down well with the locals and will leave it at home!
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Apr 14th, 2008, 05:18 AM
  #16
 
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Just want to add, the only time we felt - well, not in danger, but on the lookout - was when we crossed the channel heading out to sea from the main island (just below Guana Cay). Many very large fishing boats were plying the channel, crossing our paths, and we basically had to wait and then dash across the channel. Kind of like crossing a big street, except with big wakes all around.
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Apr 14th, 2008, 08:41 AM
  #17
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beachgirl - we are going with a cottage (well the bottom of a house w/owners on top floor) on elbow between hope town and white sound. we have a boat and a golf cart lined up. thanks to everyone for their feedback!
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