KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Language: The most commonly spoken language is English.
Currency: Bahamian dollar
Country layout: The Bahamas consist of an archipelago of over 700 islands and cayes. A few main districts for tourism: Nassau (the capital), Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Freeport and Abaco. Elbow Cay is located in the Abaco island chain.
Transportation: Golf cart is the main mood of transportation on Elbow Cay.
Hotels: Firefly Sunset Resort, Abaco Inn, Hope Town Habour Lodge and Hope Town Hideaways vacation rentals
Restaurants: On Da Beach, Cap’n Jacks, Firefly Sunset Resort restaurant, Abaco Inn Restaurant and Mackey’s takeout
WHAT WE DID
Elbow Cay is a small island in the Abaco chain of the Bahamas where the main mode of transportation is a golf cart and people are relaxing on island time. When I asked if there were any rules for the golf cart like driving with an open container, the response was “as long as you can stand, you are fine.” Again, I will reiterate the laid back vibe of Elbow Cay.
Because I assumed all places in the Caribbean are warm year round, it was surprising to find that was not necessarily true. Located off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Elbow Cay can be chilly and windy during the winter months with highs only in the 60s. However, we lucked out with most of our vacation being warm enough to enjoy the sun and sand with temperatures in the high 70s or low 80s for most of our stay in January. The most ideal weather in Elbow Cay is March through June. You can expect dry warm weather but not sweltering tempatures of the summer months. Hurricane season is also important to note when traveling anyway in the Caribbean. Hurricane season starts in June and lasts until October. More severe weather expected in August and September when the water tempature is the warmest.
The quaint town of Hope Town located at the north end of the island is golf cart free with narrow winding walking paths easy to get lost in. There are several souvenir and artesian shops for browsing and Cap’n Jacks for casual dining on the water. (It’s important to note, most shops in Hope Town are closed on Sundays.) Grab a coffee at Hope Town Coffee Shop and stroll down Lovers Lane for an Instagram worthy picture of the town.
There are several wonderful lodging options on Elbow Cay: Abaco Inn, Firefly Sunset Resort, Hope Town Harbor Lodge and Hope town Hideaways Vacation Rentals. Our family opted to rent a home for the week, Seaduction. Located right on the beach, the 1960s cottage has a sweeping ocean view from the large pool deck and a beach we had entirely to ourselves during our stay. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an oversized living room, this is a perfect vacation rental for a family.
Delicious food and fun drink atmospheres are always important finds on our travels. Try On Da Beach for a fun tropical drink, or their fish melt for a delicious and easy meal. For a more upscale dining experience, Abaco Inn and Firefly Sunset Resort are great options. But if you are feeling like a meal at home, Mackey’s Takeout is a must. Their fried chicken is a local hit.
Elbow Cay was a great destination for our family vacation, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t come without some logistical travel challenges. Most flights land in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco. Travelers must book a ferry to Elbow Cay, as well as transportation from the airport to the ferry dock. Ferries run throughout the day and a schedule is posted online on Albury’s Ferry Service. Our flight landed at noon meaning we would not catch the 12:30 ferry and needed to wait until the 2pm departure. This gave us time to do our grocery shopping in Marsh Harbour, where prices were slightly cheaper with a bigger selection than the stores on Elbow Cay. Tip: ask for your groceries to be packed in boxes for easier transport on the ferry. I had been apprehensive about the ferry ride from the beginning. We had packed the kitchen sink and were now adding boxes of groceries to the list of personal items we were responsible for on the ferry. All the while making sure our toddler did not fall overboard! However, our driver and ferry attendants handled all of this for us and we were free to enjoy the boat ride and a beer! Our rental company was waiting for our arrival at the ferry dock in Hope Town to take us and our kitchen sink to our rental house for the week. 10+ hours later we had arrived!
Most of our time was spent soaking in the slow pace of island life by relaxing on the beach or by the pool. Stop by Tahiti Beach to enjoy a day in the sand or hunting for conchs in the water. (The tides greatly affect the visbility and accessibility of the beach. Make sure it is low tide before visiting.) We rented kayaks from Abaco Inn and spent the afternoon exploring the sound around the Inn. Paddle boards are also available.
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