This is the easiest way to get to Abaco (with tips)

The Abaco Islands are a 120-mile-long chain of islands and cays in the most northeastern part of the Bahamas, east of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There are several ways to reach the destination, but with only one major airport, Leonard Thompson International Airport, most visitors from the United States and other countries will fly to this main hub, located in the town of Marsh. Harbor on the island of Great Abaco, one of the three main islands in the string and considered the safest island in the Bahamas.


The island chain consists of the northern, central, and southern regions of Abaco, and most of the outer islands are accessible by ferry or private air charter, as several islands have small airports. One of the most scenic ways to get to The Abacos is by ferry from Nassau, on the island of New Providence, just southwest of the Abaco Range. It’s a scenic ride, less than two hours, and it gives tourists a chance to see the crystal clear turquoise waters of the area.

Most flights originate from the southeastern United States

In addition to a strong ferry network between Nassau and many islands in the Bahamas, Bahamasair offers three daily flights between Nassau and Leonard Thompson International Airport on Great Abaco, but for visitors who wish to bypass Nassau altogether, there are many options from the United States.

Related: 10 things to know about beautiful Baker’s Bay, Bahamas

Service to Great Abaco is operated by major airlines from several southeast cities, and it’s the best and easiest way to reach the island chain.

Flight schedules show that, from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, American Airlines and Bahamasair offer services; from Atlanta, Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines; and from Charlotte, North Carolina, American Airlines offers service, for example.

Travelers starting their route from the Midwest and West will need to connect in one of the eastern cities. From the northeast, Jet Blue, United Airlines and Delta all offer direct service to Great Abaco or to Nassau, where travelers can connect to Great Abaco on Bahamasair.

Charter services and, for the more affluent, private planes are also options. Charter flights can be arranged through a few local carriers, such as Tropic Ocean Airways, which offers private seaplane flights to the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale.

Travelers who wish to arrive at the Abacos in a unique way can take a ferry boat mail from Nassau. They will see up close how the locals live and work during a trip that will take approximately 12 hours.

The MV Legacy mail ship sails weekly on Tuesdays from Nassau to Hope Town, a village in the Bahamas that is one of the best places Abaco is known forMarsh Harbour, Turtle Cay and Green Turtle Cay, a destination considered one of the Bahamas best kept secrets.

Here are some tips for finding the cheapest flights to the Bahamas:

  • Book early.
  • Midweek trip.
  • Consider a cheaper arrival destination and take the last leg by ferry.
  • Book afternoon flights; they are generally less in demand than morning flights.
  • Travel light, using carry-on baggage, to avoid checked baggage fees.

On Abaco, it’s mostly luxury hotels

Great Abaco’s hotels and resorts are not suitable for travelers on a tight budget, as there are few properties with nightly rates below $200. (Airbnb-style rooms can be found for less.) Here are some luxury hotels to consider:

Auberge du Bécasseau

  • Cost: $$$
  • Address: Schooner Bay Village, South Abaco
  • Why stay here: Water-view decks, beach cabanas, kayaks, water sports

Abaco Beach Resort and Marina

  • Cost: $$$
  • Address: Bay Street, Great Abaco
  • Why stay here: Prime location in Marsh Harbor with 40 oceanfront acres. Watersports, waterfront family rooms.

Abaco Club on Winding Bay

  • Cost: $$$$
  • Address: Cherokee, Grand Abaco
  • Why stay here: Beachfront cottage rentals, private decks, spa, multiple bedrooms, over 2 miles of private beach

Try These Must-Do Activities in the Abaco

Snorkeling and scuba diving are some of the most popular activities across the Abacos. Two of the island chain’s national parks are great for both activities and both are free.

Fowl Cays National Park is a 1,346 acre destination with a rich expanse of coral reefs, sea grasses and coastal habitats. Located on the barrier islands of Great Abaco, it lies between Scotland Cay and Man O’ War Cay and is only accessible by boat.

It includes three main dive sites and numerous snorkel sites along the reefs of the island.

Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park covers over 2,000 acres of land and ocean just south of Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco. Snorkelers and divers can explore four cays: Channel Rock, Gaulding Cay, Sandy Cay and Sandy Cay Reef.

These areas are known to have underwater caves and extensive coral reefs. The park is accessible by boat.

Related: Elbow Reef Lighthouse is a reason to visit Elbow Cay

Watersports enthusiasts who want to snorkel, dive or swim with stingrays should head to Manjack Cay, where dive operators say the stingrays are friendly and will accept food from humans.

And, experts say, those who explore about 50 feet off Guana Cay, about 8 miles south of Marsh Harbor, have a good chance of spotting dolphins.

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