This post will hopefully save some of my fellow real estate colleagues some grief, and may even helps some other business persons around the Bahamas as well. It is about how the Bahamas is large collection of scattered islands with travel infrastructure that is not like hopping on the London Tube or the New York Subway. It takes time to get from one place to the next and one island to the next.
I have a friend and fellow sailor (who happens to be the head of the Abaco Rage sailing syndicate right now), Stafford Patterson. He has a boat rental business (www.seahorseboatrentals.com) and he also takes folks out on charter day trips snorkeling or swimming or fishing or stopping at a few of the many eating establishments around Abaco (http://www.captplug.com). Stafford is a great guy with good sense of humour. He has shared a few tales about inquiries he receives from potential clients and it goes like this: They are staying at the big resort Atlantis for 5 days and want him to pick them up form the beach there one morning, go to Harbour Island for lunch, Exuma Sound and perhaps check out Mount Alvernia on Cat Island, maybe a quick run to San Salvador to see the Columbus monument and drop them back by 5pm. The problem is it would take about 5 days in a super fast boat and really really calm seas to make all of those stops and return to Paradise Island and Atlantis. Or, even if you had a seaplane it would still take you at least 2 whole days and some good weather.
This request is like calling up a tour company in the US and telling them you wan to see Liberty, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Arches National Park all in one day and be home for supper at 7pm. IT is not physically possible at least until we figure out teleportation (hello Startreck fans?? Help please?)
If only people visiting the Bahamas would spend a little bit of time doing some homework, we Bahamians would have a little bit less exasperation in our lives.
All the time, pretty much every week I get an inquiry from someone who wants to view some property (can you tell I’m in real estate yet?) in Abaco and the want to see one or two on each of the cays, a few in Treasure Cay, a few in Marsh Harbour and then a couple down south in Casuarina, Bahama Palm Shores and Schooner Bay. And everytime i have to explain the logistics of ferrys or water travel and time and distances between all of these places. To do all of the spots I mentioned above including the main outer cays (being Green Turtle Cay, Man O War Cay, Great Guana Cay and Elbow Cay) we are talking about a travel distance of about 100 miles. That 100 miles would include a few hours of driving at 50+ MPH, round trip on 4 different ferries and another possible hour plus of driving on rough unpaved roads (BPS, Casuarina, Schooner Bay). As you can see it is impossible to do in one day. Ideally one would need a week to really get to see all the key settlements and areas of Abaco and make an informed decision.
Please people – Do some homework, look at a map, check out the ferry schedules (Found here: Green Turtle Cay http://www.oii.net/Information/Ferry.html Or the ferry schedule for the other cays (Guana, MOW & Elbow) is here: www.alburysferry.com/schedule.html
To help you out a bit here are some approximate travel times form various areas, assume you are driving at 55mph on the highway:
Marsh Harbour to Treasure Cay – 35 minutes
Marsh Harbour to Green Turtle Cay including ferry ride – 1 hour but work around the ferry schedule, they will leave you on the dock if you are 5 minutes late.
Marsh Harbour to Schooner Bay – 50 minutes
Marsh Harbour to Hope Town, Elbow Cay – 25 minutes
Marsh Harbour to Guana Cay – 30 minutes
Green Turtle Cay to Hope Town – 9 am ferry from GTC, plan to get the 10:30 ferry to HT and arrive at 11, so 2 hours.
Now for travel among the islands of the Bahamas because I have people asking about real estate in Abaco and also want to look at Exuma and Eleuthera and perhaps check out GRand Bahama too just for good measure. It makes sense to cover all your options and make an informed decision when you are spending hundreds of thousands or even a million or two a home in paradise. But plan accordingly. With a few exceptions all the commercial flights use Nassau as the hub so you typically need to fly through Nassau to get form say Abaco to Exuma or Exuma to Eleuthera. Unless of course you have your own plane or charter a plane to take you around.
Hopping in a decent 6 or 8 seater charter plane is probably one of the best ways to see the Bahamas. It will cost you but you will love the experience, there nothing quite like flying only 800 feet over some of the most beautiful unspoiled tropical beauty we have to offer. Check out the facebook page for outislandflyer, he’s got some neat pictures.
Anyway, back to the point, if for instance you want to visit Abaco and Exuma you would plan to fly to Nassau, then onto Marsh Harbour. spend a night to two in Abaco and then plan to take the better part of a day to layover in Nassau and then get a connecting flight onto Exuma International. There are no flights directly between MHH and Exuma, sorry.
There are select flights directly between Marsh Harbour and North Eleuthera on Fridays and Saturdays with Cherokee Aviation. And there is a company that flies direct from Freeport to Marsh Harbour but all other routes go into or out of Nassau International Airport.
There, now we have it clear as mud, come visit the Bahamas, but plant to take your time to enjoy the trip and explore a little. There are some wonderful places to visit here, like Deans Blue Hole or Hole in the Wall Lighthouse.
Above: A beautiful 7 bedroom home on Treasure Cay’s world famous top ten beach. It is a stunning property with lots of toys. Contact me for details or check out more pictures at http://www.hgchristie.com/details/abaco/treasure-cay/house-as11990
Thanks for reading.