All You Need to Know Cat Island in the Bahamas

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All You Need to Know Cat Island in the Bahamas

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If you’re seeking a quiet, unassuming tropical holiday not too far from home, consider Cat Island in The Bahamas. Haven’t heard of it? Not surprising as it’s quite under the radar. But that’s the point, right? Visit this peaceful isle that not only offers miles of pink-sand beach, but The Bahamas’ highest point at Mt. Alvernia. From hiking to kiteboarding, there’s much to do – or, simply sit back, enjoy the serene seaside setting and do nothing at all.


Here’s what you need to know about visiting Cat Island in The Bahamas.


Where Can I Stay on Cat Island?

There are many options throughout the beautiful island, from laid-back beach club-style resorts to family-owned inns. You can even go totally off the grid! Here are some of our favorites:


  • Rollezz

Between a creek and the beach, Rollezz offers five unique duplex-style villas, perfect reflect a traditional Bahamian/British Colonial style. From your front veranda, you’ll have a front-row seat on a breathtaking sunset over the white-sand beach. A cozy restaurant offers casual cuisine – if you wish, the staff can set up intimate meals on the beach. Hang out with other guests at the tiki bar or head out into the water with complimentary water-sports equipment.


  • Ocean Dream Beach Resort

This 100-percent solar-powered, eco-conscious hotel takes you completely off the grid – just where you might want to be. After all, you came to get away from it all! Stay in one of the colorful hilltop beach cottages, dine at the Greek/Bahamian restaurant and play in the waves. Just remember, there is no traffic, phone service or Wi-Fi, so come prepared to disconnect.


Shannas Cove Resort


Facing Cat Island’s most beautiful beach, this intimate resort offers five cottages just steps from the sand. Swim, sail, snorkel, paddleboard, kayak and more – the resort also offers boat trips in the creek so you can snorkel with sea turtles. From the resort, you can wander for miles on the pink-sand beach of Shanna’s Cove or walk the path to Man-O-War, the island’s most northernly point.


How Do I Get to Cat Island?

Cat Island is about 130 miles southeast of Nassau and Paradise Island near the Tropic of Cancer. The island is 48 miles long and 4 miles across at its widest point. Fort Lauderdale offers flights to Cat Island (and other Out Islands) or you can connect from elsewhere through Nassau. Once you’re on the island, you will find jitney service, taxis and golf cart rentals.


When Is the Best Time to Visit Cat Island?

Anytime! Cat Island is a great place to visit year-round. For the very best weather, visit from November to May for an average 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Can I Do on Cat Island?

Photo Credit : Shutterstock

Let’s begin with the beaches, which are as delightfully secluded as this Out Island itself. Just outside New Bight, you’ll find the tree-lined Fernandez Bay Village Beach. In Port Howe, north of Columbus Point, stroll along the 8-mile, pink-sand Greenwood Beach. There is a public beach near Hawk’s Nest Resort & Marina (or stay at the resort), at the southwest tip of Cat Island near Devil’s Point. The Pigeon Cay Beach Club is a nice option – 3 miles of white sand – near Bluff in the northern part of the island. For quiet snorkeling and lounging, try quiet Sammy T’s Beach Resort Beach in Bennett’s Harbour. Old Bight Beach boasts 5 miles of pristine white sand, while New Bight Beach is the sight of weekend dance parties and holiday festivities. Snorkel right from the beach at Fountain Bay near Bridge Inn.


There are plenty of other off-the-beaten-path beaches throughout Cat Island. If you want to explore, so consider Pine Bat Beach, Turtle Cove Beach, Man-O-War Point Beach and Oyster Lake Beach.


Take a break from the beach to learn about Cat Island’s history and see some of its stellar natural attractions. Get a hearty breakfast, then hike up Como Hill to Mt. Alvernia Hermitage of Mount Alvernia, the highest point in The Bahamas at 206 feet. This stone monastery was built by architect hermit Father Jerome and boasts awe-inspiring views.

Photo Credit : Shutterstock
Photo Credit : Shutterstock

Visit the ruins of Armbrister Plantation and nearby Armbrister Creek. The creek runs into a crystal-clear lake called the “Boiling Hole” for the surface bubbles created by the tidal conditions. It’s an excellent place to spot rays, baby sharks and seabirds.


Head to Bain Town to see the 65-foot-wide, 10-foot-wide Mermaid Hole. Legend has it that a mermaid lives below in underground caverns and passageways.


See more of Father Jerome’s work at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, high atop a ridge in Old Bight. Talk to Mrs. Burrow, who lives across the street, to go inside and see the beautiful paintings and sculptures.


There are Arawak Indian Caves to explore. There are countless festivals, including one celebrating Rake ‘n Scrape music. There’s world-class fishing and diving. Go skimboarding and paddleboarding in the surf, or explore the island by bike.


Finally, pop into the Columbus World Centre Museum in Knowles to learn more about Cat Island history or visit the childhood home of Sir Sidney Poitier in South Bight.


Where Else Can I Go Near Cat Island?

While you’re in the Bahamas, consider visiting some of the other Out Islands.  Razor-thin Eleuthra (just 2 miles wide) is known for its pink-sand beaches, rugged cliffs, fishing, diving, snorkeling and just plain taking it easy. On Harbour Island, you can explore historical landmarks and at The Devil’s Backbone, out to sea, you can dive shipwrecks for hours.


The Abaco Islands are one of the world’s top boating and sailing destinations and offer a wide selection of excellent resorts, restaurants and bars. This chain of islands, including Great Abaco Island and Little Abaco goes on for 120 miles. Join a charter cruise from Marsh Harbour, play golf in Treasure Cay, visit the candy-striped lighthouse at Hope Town and visit the New England-esque village of New Plymouth. The Abacos are easy to get to, thanks to regular ferry service.

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