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islndgrl82 Jun 8th, 2009 06:21 AM

Stanial Cay or Elbow Cay?
Trying to decide between Stanial Cay or Elbow Cay for Bahamas trip. Family of five with teenagers. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Callaloo Jun 8th, 2009 07:19 AM

What activities are you hoping to enjoy? What is your budget? Are you experienced boaters?

I have been to Elbow Cay many times, and am heading to Staniel Cay later this year (so my thoughts are based on what I've experienced in the Abacos, and what I'm expecting to find in Staniel Cay....). Given that you are with a family, I think Elbow Cay may be better to keep everyone happy, for several reasons:

- It's easier to get to Elbow Cay. There is regular, commuter and charter air service to Marsh Harbour, and Elbow Cay is an easy ferry ride over. Staniel Cay is reachable only by small commuter/charter air.

- There is a wider variety of accomodation on Elbow Cay, from small inns/resorts to rental villas.

- There are more options for activities on Elbow Cay, with restaurants, shops, and more people about. Staniel seems very secluded, with activity limited to the couple of hotel/bar/marinas in the area.

- While both Elbow and Staniel seem to be popular for getting around by boat, boats are not the only option on Elbow. As well, for a larger group, there are more choices for boats on Elbow, but you can also get around via golf cart.

I'd love to hear more from someone who has actually visited both, since I'm looking forward to my own trip!

kellybeaches Jun 8th, 2009 01:55 PM

Hi Callaloo,
When are you going to Staniel Cay? I'm jealous. Have a great time -I can't wait to hear all about it -and see pictures! We've decided to hold off on Staniel Cay until the kiddies are older. For some reason swimming with pigs is still high on my to do list!

ps -islndgrl82, unfortunately I haven't been to either, but I can tell you to go during the warmer months to visit either of them as it can get chilly in the winter months. There's a great TR with lots of pics of Staniel Cay on this site-try doing a search for it. I can't think of who wrote it off the top of my head but it was my initial inspiration to go there...

Callaloo Jun 8th, 2009 03:15 PM

kellybeaches, we are going to Staniel Cay (and Andros) in November. Since I was thwarted last year in my November plan to go to Long Island by Hurricane Paloma (and I read your trip report avidly, yet wistfully), I don't count a November trip successful until it actually happens!

BeachGirl247 Jun 8th, 2009 03:51 PM

Callaloo, I hope you make it on your trip this year. I know how disappointing it is when one is cancelled. We had planned on Staniel Cay this month but I found air into Georgetown, Great Exuma, so we leave tomorrow. I had no idea the distance between Georgetown and Staniel Cay until we planned this trip.

Swimming pigs will have to wait for us,too, kellybeaches!

**islndrgrl, We were in Treasure Cay in the month of May and it was getting pretty hot (80's) but otherwise nice. April could be a perfect time to go.

albee622 Jun 8th, 2009 06:49 PM

Our girlfriend getaway is in less than two weeks to staniel cay and we about as excited as we could be. We tried to go last august but hurricane fay got in our way and pretty much locked down florida...we re-routed to bermuda at the very, and i mean very last minute....had a great time there and just re-booked for the following year...which is now =)

...but staniel cay has been on our minds for a long time and we are finally "almost there". I fell in love with the little that I saw of the out islands on past vacations and the pigs have gotten my well as being able to have your own boat.

We booked Raymond for a day tour, upgraded to a larger boat with a steering wheel, asked for a gasoline powered golf cart in advance...also inquired about dinners off of the yacht club (sampson and fowl cay) and we are good to go. Now if I can sedate my childhood buddy for the flight from ft. lauderdale (watermakers...she "found out" that there is no co-pilot)....we will be mint !!

We are looking forward to the simplicity of such a remote and beautiful place, ditching the make-up and heels and getting our "island" groove on! Our first intro to the caribbean was a trip on a cruise when we were 18...and right there we vowed to continue to travel when we got "old" !!

There isnt a ton of stuff written about staniel cay,,,but what I have seen and sure looks amazing! I personally loved some of the trip reports I have read, thankful for them......I believe one of the first pics I had come across was the pigs in that gorgeous water....gotta love the pigs!

All the best!

MollyM Jun 9th, 2009 07:14 AM

I stayed at Staniel Cay Yacht Club for a nite a few weeks ago. Although it was one of my favorite accommodations I've ever stayed at (cute pastel-colored houses, some perched right over the water), I wouldn't recommend staying here for an entire vacation unless you have a boat, you're planning on chartering one, or you just want to disappear and need few activities/amenities. It's very much a boater's island. There's one main restaurant/bar that everyone hangs out at, and besides a few small local boutiques, that's pretty much it. However, if you have a boat, you can cruise around to some of the most beautiful, uninhabited cays and islands I've ever been to. And yes, there are swimming pigs, iguanas, dolphins, sharks, giant starfish, etc.

The grounds at Staniel Cay are beautiful, and I can't wait to return. To me, it is the perfect vacation. But if you're looking for a lot of activity, this isn't the place for you.

islndgrl82 Jun 9th, 2009 07:51 PM

Thanks for all the info! It's very helpful. We are experienced boaters and my son and I are both certified divers. We live on the Fla gulfcoast and make trips to the keys, etc... We are on a budget. I'd like to keep costs down if possible. My husband had to take a salary drop to keep his job in 08. What about lodging on Elbow Cay. Any favorites? I'd like to rent a house if possible.

Callaloo Jun 10th, 2009 04:04 AM

If you want to rent a cottage on Elbow Cay, I would suggest you visit one of the Abaco message boards ( or They will have links to rental companies and lots of advice and personal experience. You should be able to find something that will help you keep your costs in line. Good luck planning!

ishkribbl Jul 2nd, 2009 10:16 AM

Just returned from a week at Staniel Cay. You will love it. I think your reply about Elbow Cay over SC for this particular family is right on the money and good advice. I love both places but the kids will have more space and freedom to roam- it is very safe and you can easily rent bikes for them that they would enjoy depending on where you stay (I would look for houses near the settlement/Hopetown).

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