The 120-mile chain of islands stretches over 650 square miles of the northern Bahamas, and set only 180 miles east of South Florida. Settled by Americans who were loyal to King George III during the American Revolutionary War, they have a rich and fascinating history that can be seen in the architecture. Many of the houses and buildings of the Abacos have the appearance of New England, but painted in the bright colors for which the Bahamas is known and fronted by white picket fences.
There is much to do in this expanse of islands, from excellent diving and fishing, to visiting local boatbuilders that have been honing their craft here for generations, and climbing to the top of the candy-striped lighthouse in the picturesque Hope Town harbor.
This action-packed itinerary combines sensational snorkeling spots, jet ski adventures, world-class golf courses and colonial history, with plenty of rum cocktails added to the mix. It has you meeting the yacht in Nassau and also includes a stop-over at the beautiful Harbour Island – famed for its pink-sand beaches and celebrity residents – before heading on to the Abacos.
Fly into the Bahamian capital of Nassau and meet your yacht at Paradise Island’s Atlantis Resort and Marina. Take in some casino action or shopping before setting sail. From here, you will cruise four hours to Harbour Island, home of the famous Pink Sand Beach.
Discover the narrow streets and brightly painted homes by golf cart, then take a sunset paddleboard before enjoying fresh lobster. Harbour Island is known for its celebrity residents and visitors, from designers like Diane Von Furstenberg and India Hicks to actresses such as Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.
After breakfast, head out for some scuba diving – there are exceptional reefs only a short tender ride away.
Explore Great Guana Cay’s beaches; the bluffs on the ocean side overlook the reef and have spectacular views. Golfers can play the Tom Fazio-designed Baker’s Bay course then head to Nipper’s Beach Bar for an infamous Nipper Juice.
Explore Harbour Island, Eleuthera and further afield by jet ski and tender. The small coves and sandbars are home to baby sea turtles, huge starfish and spotted eagle rays. Snorkel or try your hand at spearfishing, perhaps catching dinner, which your chef will grill up on the yacht. Enjoy dinner on board, taking in a colorful Bahamian sunset.
Leaving Harbour Island in the morning, cruise 60 nautical miles to Little Harbour. The yacht will likely moor outside the entrance and you’ll tender into the tiny harbor of the aptly named island. Little Harbour has a ramshackle, Bohemian appeal and is home to a wonderful art gallery. Ashore, visit the Johnston’s Bronze Art Foundry, where Pete Johnston continues the work of his late father, Randolph. Find a piece to bring home for your art collection.
Cruise two hours to Green Turtle Cay, settled by Loyalists during the US Revolutionary War. Stroll through the quaint village of New Plymouth, then have sundowners at Bluff House, which sits atop a hill offering stupendous views of the island chain. It’s the perfect place to take in the sunset. Dine here, or retire to the yacht for dinner under the stars.
After breakfast, head to Baker’s Bay, an exclusive residential retreat on the northern end of Great Guana Cay, between the Sea of Abaco and the Atlantic. The resort has private beaches and every sports amenity imaginable. Book a spa appointment at the resort then indulge in cocktails and hors d’oeuvres aboard.
Stop off at Man-O-War Cay. It’s a “dry island” as no alcohol is sold here, but there is plenty of spirited heritage. Take time to visit Albury’s Sail Shop, which sells colorful cloth bags. You’ll see the name Albury everywhere – it’s said that 70 per cent of the island’s inhabitants can trace their ancestry back to the first Albury who settled here in the 1870s.
The yacht will then head for Hope Town on Elbow Cay, where the tender will take you into the idyllic harbor, with its candy-striped lighthouse towering overhead. Climb the steps of the lighthouse or stroll the quiet streets and have lunch. Then, it’s a short trip to Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay, ideal for shell collecting and paddleboarding. For dinner, head to the Firefly Sunset Resort for baked lobster tail. Spend a final night aboard before departing from nearby Marsh Harbour in the morning.