The Allure of Abaco

“Stay at home”, aren’t we all tired of hearing that??? Even while knowing it’s necessary, it certainly dampens one’s spirits.

Make no mistake,  I adore my farm here in southern Missouri, but ohhhhhhhh how I love immersing myself in the local culture of a tropical island!!!!

As soon as this social distancing is lifted, I’ll be booking a trip, and so should you!!!!

There are so many enticing options. Now is a perfect time to research and start making a to go list.

Ahhhhhhh Abaco, part of the Bahamas,  deserves a place on anyone’s to go list.

The chain of “Out Islands”, known collectively as the Abacos, is only 180 miles from the Florida coast. This location makes for less flight time than a great deal of the Caribbean,  which in turn equals more beach time.

Unlike my usual trips, where I try to take in all that my destination has to offer, on this particular trip I was searching for a laid back atmosphere,  and some true down time for some reflection and renewal. 

I chose to book a transfer from the airport in Marsh Harbor through my lodging,  rather than having a rental  car booked.

I knew if I rented a car for the week I’d feel the need to use it every day, and I would be in constant motion. I needed a reset, and that’s what I got in the Abacos. There was a wide variety of restaurants within walking distance.

Warm soft breezes on my skin, birds singing,  gentle waves,  bare feet in powdery sand, fresh fruit adult beverage in hand………the first couple of hours on Abaco convinced me I had made an excellent choice,  this island is certainly to my liking!

I’m very much a tropical island fan, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many across the Caribbean. I have found much to love about each and every one.

While I’ve only returned to one island,  Ambergris Caye,  multiple times,  and while I do absolutely love it,  my usual modus operandi is to search out a new place to explore, and absorb local flavor.

Abaco did not disappoint.

Flowers are in abundance, and a favorite on this trip was the jasmine,  which only blooming  at night, adding a wonderful tropical scent to evening walks.

Plumeria is common,  and offers beautiful blooms of many colors.

Huge plants look familiar somehow,  then it  sinks in that those shrubs, many being over  six feet tall, are the same plants found in pots on someone’s window sill back home in the states. An almost whimsical touch to the landscape.

I’m often called a  “Type A” personality,  lol, but I try to leave that at the departure gate.

The remainder of my arrival day is usually spent taking deep breaths of that beloved salty air, watching palms swaying, getting the first taste of local cuisine, and asking questions of the residents about their recommendations for things to do, things that shouldn’t be missed, and of course,  places to eat.

I ask these questions throughout my stay. I am convinced it is, bar none, the best way to get to the heart of any location. I’m not interested in eating at a US chain restaurant.  I want a true taste of the area, and when ordering at a restaurant that locals sent me to, I ask the waitstaff what they recommend.  Sometimes it’s a dish I’m familiar with,  like a Cobb salad at Colors of the Sea, but no Cobb salad I ever had before holds a candle to that one. Sometimes it’s a  new dish, or an unfamiliar preparation of a common food, and sometimes I love it, sometimes I don’t,  but I know, because I tried it.

Get off the beaten path. Go to events such as street fairs and farmers  markets. Ask questions when you see a booth set up with a food, or craft, that intrigues you. I have found locals will happily explain,  and often offer a sample. I have added numerous foods to my favorites list as a result of exploring what each island has to offer. Take advantage of the bounty around you, but keep in mind, many species of fish/shellfish are endangered,  so please always check sources to prevent further damaging the ecosystem.

Speaking of eating out, prepare to spend a lot more time getting meals than you are probably used to. The phrase “island time” didn’t come about for no reason. I recommend you find a place on the beach, order a drink as soon as your server comes around, then just let the tropical pace settle in.  Isn’t that why you took the trip?

Enjoy the sounds of waves lapping the shore, the perfume of tropical flowers, and watch the curly tail lizards race down the boardwalk, the spotted eagle rays slowly drifting by, the crabs darting through the waves, and various birds feeding at the shoreline.

There are two day trips I suggest. One is to take a ferry to Elbow Cay. Spend the day walking the quaint streets overgrown with bougainvillea. There are many shops, restaurants,  and bars to visit along the way.  The Hope Town Lighthouse, the last of its kind, while damaged,  is  still standing after Hurricane Dorian, and is thankfully being restored.

A must for supper is Firefly, which while heavily damaged, is being remodeled and has reopened. If you call them, they will pick you up downtown, and take you back.

The grilled wings, and various tropical drinks are fantastic, and the sunset gorgeous!!

I did end up renting a car to check out the not to be missed beauty of Treasure Cay.

Bahamians, who gained their independence in 1973, still adhere to the British tradition of driving on the left. 

The rental cars on Abaco have a sticker on the windshield,  right in front of the driver, that has an arrow, and the words “stay left”. A helpful reminder for sure, even if people in the car chant it at every turn, lol.  Some attention must be paid, obviously,  but it isn’t as difficult as it might seem.  Give it a go!!

The drive to Treasure Cay is filled with gorgeous beaches. Keep your eyes peeled because there is a parrot crossing sign along the highway. I never did find anyone who could explain that one.

Once you arrive at Treasure Cay Beach, do yourself a favor and kick back with scrumptious food and drinks at Coco Beach Bar and Grille.

Ahhhhhhh Abaco,  how I wish I was there right now.

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