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Retired1 Jun 9th, 2010 08:51 AM

Food on Cat Island, Bahamas
Hi all,
Celebrating 25 yrs of wedded bliss (!) on Cat Island in August 2010. Would actually prefer to buy food over there. Yes I know it will cost more, but it's less hassle, and there is also the checked bagged fee of around $25 to figure in since I don't think I could fit it in w/ my clothes and such. Also, not to sound prissy, but it is nice that we could be able to in a small way support the local economy by buying food (such as chix milk eggs??) over there. Rambling here, but the question is: is there actually food (chix milk eggs,canned veggies, sodas, etc) available in the tiny food marts? Not sure if we're renting a car (prob not), will do bikes and kayaks, but would like some input as to what exactly is available. I love to eat, but can do w/out that being fancy for a week of blue water sandy bliss. I thought we could possibly russle up some dinners out w enough notice given to local "restaurants", but also figuring 4-5 meals (dinners) in. I can figure out the stuff like canned stuff, rice, beans, etc, but what in terms of other than grouper/lobster is available in the small groceries over there? What about sodas/ beer? Have read $40 case, but since that's so heavy to take, oh well.
Since I have a full kitchen, I would love to use it. We also actually prefer lo-key shacks to eat at than fancy places, so anyone know if we can actually get a meal out there? Maybe even get a lunch out, take home and reheat for dinner?
Open to suggestions! Anyone every mail food over there?

BeachGirl247 Jun 9th, 2010 09:30 AM

Hi retired and congrats on 25 years!

We visited Cat Island June of 2008 and had a great trip. Where are you staying on the island?

We found a few convenience-type stores and a larger grocery store on both ends of the island. The Bight has a large grocery with most everything you will need (not a super store by any means) and a liquor store next door. The hours varied so ask when you arrive so you don’t waste a trip. I was impressed at the choices but still a small store so don’t expect what you get at home but go with the flow of what is there. I would bring spices if you will be cooking. The meat is frozen and don't hesitate to open the small freezers they have to see what's inside.

Orange Creek on the north side has a large grocery as well. I thought the one at The Bight was bigger but Orange Creek still had lots of choices – frozen meats, eggs, few veggies (potatoes, celery, carrots, onions) and fruits (mangos, bananas, plantains, limes, grapes). Most of my fruits and vegetables came from Rev. Johnson who sells once a week when he gets a supply from the weekly boat from Nassau. Our house manager arranged for him to come by so contact your rental to ask about him coming by. I bought enough food for a family of 8 but it was nice to have choices throughout the week. The cleaning lady made a haul with our leftovers.

There are not a lot of dining choices so call ahead to see if they are open. August may be iffy on some spots. If you will be near Sammy T's or Fernandez Bay I would recommend them for dining, especially Fernandez Bay.

Let us know where you are staying so we can help a little better on dining options.

RoamsAround Jun 9th, 2010 09:43 AM

It's been a few years since I've been to Cat Island but perhaps this will help.

There are several small grocery stores on the island where you can buy milk, eggs, fresh and canned vegetables, rice, beans, potatoes, flour and other staples, soft drinks, beer, etc. (sorry don't know what "chix" are - do you mean the cereal "Chix" or perhaps "chicken"???). If you mean chicken, then yes that's available. You can also buy other meats and fish. Lobsters, if in season< are available from local fisherman - ask the locals where you can get them.

The stores may not have all the brands and variety you are used to seeing "back home" but you shouldn't have any difficulty finding plenty to eat. Sorry, can't give you any "prices" other than to say most items will probably be 15% to 20% higher than they are "back home".

Plan on renting a car. The island is more than 50 miles long and things are pretty spread out so bicycles are just not a viable means of transportation.

There are several "local" restaurants on the island and a few of the resorts also have restaurants where you can dine but if I recall correctly Cat Island is not the gourmet dining capital of the Bahamas. There are few, if any, fancy restaurants on the island. So, yes you can dine out for any of your meals and yes, you can take home food from the restaurants at lunch and reheat for dinner.

Yes, you could ship food to the island but the cost will make the $25 extra baggage fee you mentioned in your post look like "chump change" - really the cost will be prohibitive.

Retired1 Jun 9th, 2010 10:04 AM

Thanks to both of you for really really helpful info. Chix is chicken....I am trying to get used to contacts and it is NOT working yet!

We're staying @ Pigeon Cay--which I believe would be nearer the Orange Creek area for the grocery situation.

Thanks for the info on the car too. I'm thinking that we don't want it for the entire week, but maybe for 3 or 4 days? What do you think?

I don't care about name brands, so that cuts out a lot of angst out when buying!

Again, thanks so very much for the fast replies!

ishkribbl Jun 9th, 2010 12:06 PM

Retired1- I have still not made it to Cat Island yet so I will look forward to hearing about your trip- please write a trip report when you return! Are you staying at one of the cottages at Pigeon Cay Resort or elsewhere? The area looks very interesting to me. have a great time!

BeachGirl247 Jun 9th, 2010 12:15 PM

We stayed at a rental house just down from Pigeon Cay. The beach is absolutely beautiful there!! Are you staying at the resort or a house? I don't know if the same people are running Pigeon Cay Resort still - they were lovely as were their two boys.

I think a car is a good idea for part of your trip. You can't walk anywhere from Pigeon Cay beach so make sure you have everything you need. We had a car the entire week and were glad we did as we like to have the freedom to explore if we wanted to or pick up food or drinks that we wanted.

Before heading out for a dinner somewhere, be sure to call ahead to make sure they are open. Many times they will close without notice and some for parts of the low season.

Regarding the groceries, if there are certain spices you like cooking with take them with you. Only the basics are there so take your favorites for cooking. I didn't find fresh herbs or an array of veggies either. It all depends on the weekly boat from Nassau. We were happy with what they had as it was all about the island itself for us.

I hope you explore the many beautiful beaches Cat Island has to offer. From sandy, calm waters to rough, rocky shores. It's all good!

RoamsAround Jun 9th, 2010 12:22 PM

Retired1 - I like the idea of being able to come and go as I please and besides I don't mind paying the "daily rate" even if the car sits unused in the parking all day (after all, that happens almost everyday with my own car back home) so for me budgeting for a rental a car for my entire vacation is usually my preferred option. You may feel differently so it all boils down to YOUR personal preference and your available budget. As I said in my earlier response you are going to need a car and you'll probably find the weekly rate is not that much more than renting for 3 or 4 days.

For what it is worth, I've been travelling for more years than I care to count and have made hundreds of trips. Iin all that time I've never once regretted renting a car but I have regretted not having one on those few occasions when I didn't rent one. Honestly, no one can make the decision for you, it's your vacation. Do what works best for you.

Have fun and enjoy your trip.

Retired1 Jun 9th, 2010 06:42 PM

Hey this is all good stuff. We do usuallly rent a car, for some reason this time I was just hoping to not have to find our way around on strange roads, but I think this time ESPECIALLY we need a car from what you all have mentioned. And really, how many roads can there be??!!!

Ishkribbl, yes it's Pigeon Cay. Looks really cute on the internet.

BeachGirl247: Leslie Kennedy is who I've been emailing and everyone remarks on how nice she and her husband are--I'm thinking they're probably the same owners as from when you were there in '08. I was looking to rent a house near there, and found out that there was (and still is) a freebie going on with certain resorts flying two free from Nassau. Turns out it's with Cat Island Air. Oh well. It's done now and perhaps they've improved since your jaunt! And it did save us some $$ which I will keep repeating to myself if there are "issues".

I will try my very best to post when I get back in August. I've always found this forum to be the best for help no matter where we go, and would like to return the favor of good info.

ishkribbl Jun 9th, 2010 07:33 PM

Retired1 (I am so envious- about retirement and Cat Island plans!!)- thanks for the reply. The unit at Pigeon Cay that speaks to me is Little House, although they all look nice. I would love to hear more about your stay there when you return. I had read about the place a few years ago before they added the AC but my husband wouldn't go to non-AC in the times of the year we can travel. I was very happy to hear that they added AC and the owners were so very gracious in their replies when I inquired but we were already committed to a big trip we took in April to the BVI's and could not swing both so I am hoping to get there before too long!! Thanks for filling me in when you get back! Happy travels!

chravis Aug 10th, 2010 07:08 AM

Retired1 - I second the request for you to reply to this thread with your experience. We're planning a trip to Cat Island for early next year and I'd love to get details from you about your stay. I hope you have (or are having) a great time!

BeachGirl247 Aug 10th, 2010 10:03 AM

Me, too. I'd love to hear if anything has changed or still the same as when we were there.

chravis, you will love Cat Island! Beautiful, friendly, unspoiled. A true Bahamian experience.

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