Long Island Bahamas

People have asked me for information on Long Island Bahamas, how we get there, where we stay, traveling around the island and just plain ole info. So here ya go, folks.

Getting There

Getting to Nassau that is how we begin. We have flown out of Boston, Hartford and JFK. We have flown in December, April and July to Long Island. We have overnighted in Atlanta and D.C. then caught a flight to Nassau. We have flown JetBlue and American. We have tried every possible combination to get to Nassau before the first flight leaves to Long Island, we haven’t been successful with that, only if we overnighted in Nassau we could make the first flight.

Once we land in Nassau, we fly Southern Air Charter. The first flight leaves at 8:30 a.m. We take the afternoon flight that is scheduled to leave at 2:30 p.m. Which means we have to be checked in by 1 p.m. but we always try to be there by noon. We have had the flight leave at 1:30, we have left at 3, we have left on time, we have sat on the runway for an hour in the plane, we have watched our baggage being taken off by the pilot and it finds us days later. Just stop reading this if you can’t fly on small planes or can’t be flexible with going with the flow of inter island travel.

We fly into Deadman’s Cay, but you can fly into Stella Maris if you are staying down North.

You can also charter a flight (Marty Fox), fly Bahamas Air or Stella Maris Air. There are a few options.

Note on baggage, there is a weight limit on bags 40lbs each, you pay by pound after that. There is no overhead bins in these small planes. Truly you don’t need a lot of clothes here, no one cares about the latest fashion and wearing a different outfit each day.

Southern Air Charters 19 seater
The airport terminal

Renting a Car

We have rented four times from Unique Wheels( phone +1 242-337-3088  or email  uniquewheelsrental@gmail.com). Don’t expect a typical Hertz, Avis rental experience. The cars are parked around the airport. The first three rentals, we waited around until a person from U.W. appeared, we filled out the paperwork and were handed over the keys. This last trip, the keys were hidden the vehicle and we were notified beforehand where they were and we were able to drive off no waiting around. The rental house Island Dreams came with a car, but we it was a wee bit small and low to the ground, so we will rent from Unique Wheels again. Ask for a vehicle that has high clearance and the more scratched up the vehicle, the better, trust me. There are other car rentals all over the island, you can shop around.

Finding a rental place

We use Airbnb, Vrbo and Homeaway.

Our first two trips we stayed at Baywatch Cottage. It had a great location, stunning views, the best outdoor shower and it was beautifully decorated. I miss the view from the bed that looks out at Thompson Bay.

The view from the bed, perfect!

What it didn’t have for us was an oven and a washer.

Our next visit had us staying Deans at an airbnb. I won’t list the accommodation because it wasn’t great, the best thing going for it was the closeness to Deans Blue Hole.

We then stayed at Island Dreams, in Miley. This is the high end of our rental budget. It is a wow property and came with a car. It was on the Atlantic side, so it was sunrise not sunset. The owners, Robert and Shawn went out of their way for us when our luggage went missing for a few days, even though they were in the states at the time. If you want long beach walks right by the house this is the place to be. We rented it as a one bedroom, but it can be rented as a two bedroom option. We didn’t have optium weather the time we stayed here, but this was a great place to hunker down and watch the rain. We are returning here again.

We returned to Salt Pond again and stayed at C Shells Guest Quarters. This gave us the most bang for the buck. We had a full kitchen, access to a washer, great internet, kayaks and a paddleboard to use, sunset views, outdoor seating areas aplenty, beautiful property (including a papaya tree). It is a 4 unit motel, but we had no other guest on property. Even if they were other guests, there was enough outdoor seating options you wouldn’t know other people existed. Cheryl, the owner is a wonderful person and shared some local island knowledge including where to find flamingos and sweet snorkeling spots.

There are a great variety of accommodations on Long Island to suit every budget and need. We prefer a self catering holiday, so places with full kitchens are important to us. If you prefer vacations that include restaurants or meal plans, check out Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort, Stella Maris Resort or Chez Pierre.

Things to Know about the Island

  1. It is long, 80 miles with one main road, the Queen’s Highway. You need a car. You drive on the left side of the road. You do a friendly finger wave when driving past a car.
  2. The people are very friendly and welcoming. We have accidently crashed two family parties, but was never made to feel unwelcomed.
  3. Grocery stores, don’t expect a Stop n Shop experience here. Small stores, cash mostly and not a great deal of fresh fruits or veggies. Food comes on the boats, Tuesday/Thursday. They get delayed, fresh stuff goes fast, don’t say I’ll come back tomorrow and pick it up, buy it when you see it. You have to be creative when cooking. On Sunday they are only open 8 -10 a.m.
  4. Gas for the cars is yes expensive and on Sunday stations are open from 8 a.m. – noon, plan accordingly.
  5. Bring cash, don’t expect to stop at an ATM to pick up cash when you run out. The island has one ATM (maybe 2), but it isn’t always available.
  6. There are critters, no seeums (they will leave you looking like you have the measles), reptiles, goats (they cause traffic jams), wild pigs.
  7. Support local artists; the strawworks people, the shell artists, the fabric artists. Stop at their shops, their roadside stands.
  8. If you like active nightlife, go somewhere else. For us nightlife here is watching the sunset, viewing the stars, watching the moonrise and set.
  9. Be respectful of private property, there are lots of roads to take to see things, but don’t go on private property to see beaches or views
  10. Just be, slow down and enjoy the adventure of exploring.

Items We Always Bring

  1. Long sleeve shirt to snorkel swim in
  2. Long pair of pants if we plan on exploring ruins or caves
  3. Sneakers to walk on the rock ledges or rough limestone
  4. Snorkel Gear
  5. Our own coffee, we aren’t Maxwell Coffee people
  6. Long sleeve lightweight sweater/hoodie to ward off no-seeums
  7. Hoa Kai Turkish Towel. It makes a great beach towel to sit on, a coverup and/or a blanket. Dry sand, wet sand, pine needles shake right off and you are a supporting a small company.
  8. Packable backpack to put our snorkel gear and other stuff in when walking beaches
  9. Dry bags to place cameras, phone in just in case a pop up shower happens
  10. Icemule Cooler to keep lunches cold and when we swam over to a cay, it kept things dry and if I got tied I could float on it.
  11. Cooler Shock Ice Packs, yes we flew with these, just add water at your destination and freeze (we left them at the rental)
  12. Bees Wraps for sandwiches and other items. We try to minimize our garbage waste, so these always come with us.
  13. Playtpus Water Bottles
  14. Our own grocery bags, called EnviroSax
  15. Reusable snack bags, Itzy Ritzy
  16. Rickshaw Soho Tote, this is my carryon bag, perfect beach bag, go everywhere bag
  17. Suniela Beach Cabana to set up to block the sun on non shaded beaches
  18. I bring a dress that can easily go over swim suit, wet or dry (Costco had the best one this summer season)
  19. Of course bathing suits, shirts, shorts, flip flops

Things to Do

  1. Walk beaches for miles
  2. Snorkel
  3. Experience Deans Blue Hole (the 2nd deepest blue hole in the world)
  4. Explore ruins, Adderly Plantation, Dunmore Ruins
  5. Go caving. There is Hamilton Caves with a guide or find the few caves without a guide
  6. Discover all the churches
  7. Take a dip in the Shrimp Hole
  8. Charter a boat to bonefish, take yourself out to the pigs (not the Exuma ones), deep sea fishing,
  9. Swim over to Guana Cay and visit the curly tailed lizards
  10. Lunch at Max’s Conch Bar
  11. Watch the sunrise, sunset
  12. Find the Flamingos (seasonal)
  13. Visit the Saturday Farmer’s Market
  14. Take the drive to the Columbus Monument
  15. Just BE

This is just our style, it works for us. Most people won’t need all the extra stuff we bring, it is just a comfort for us and like I said it works for us! If you have any questions just ask!

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