A Beach Lover’s Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas

A Beach Lover’s Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas

Cat Island, My Island Paradise

I celebrated a certain “big” birthday in the Caribbean. Cat Island, Bahamas is a dreamy place. It’s one of the six Bahamas Out Islands, which also include The Abacos, Acklins, Andros, The Berry Islands, and Bimini. It truly is my island paradise.

There are no high-rise hotels, five-star restaurants, shopping malls or casinos here. If that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend you opt for more popular Bahamas destinations, like Nassau or Grand Bahama.

Cat Island was right up our alley: Long stretches of powdery pink sand to ourselves, al fresco dining along the tranquil, aqua sea, unsurpassed Bahamian hospitality, and one incredible sunset after another.

This picturesque and friendly island is an ideal place for disconnecting from technology and leaving the daily hustle behind. Clearly, it was a perfect fit for this laid back couple.

Sea & Sand

island paradise at the beach on Cat Island
Crystal. Clear. Water.
Take only memories, leave only footprints
“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” My feet sank in the powdery pink sand. Secluded beaches stretch eight miles along the eastern coast of Cat Island.
A whelk shell washed ashore on Cat Island Bahamas
A lovely pink whelk shell washed ashore on Cat Island, Bahamas. Souvenir!
Aqua sea, pink sand…how does it get better than this?
My feet in the sand = HAPPY!

Accommodations

We spent eight days at Fernandez Bay Village Resort in November for a much-needed escape from cold New England weather. The hurricane season had cleared out, missing the island as it usually does, and the resort had just opened for business. We enjoyed the company of two other couples, a solo traveler, and a young group from Germany who was island hopping by private plane.

With so few guests, the hosts upgraded us to the Royal Palm Cottage, a large private room with a wraparound porch just steps from the pristine water. The room was air-conditioned and had a private, open-air bathroom. How wonderful to shower with warm breezes and a view of the sky!

A Taste of Island Life

Every morning offered a full buffet breakfast to start the day off right. Our days were tranquil. We relaxed, swam, read, napped. When we felt like it, we kayaked, took a short boat ride, and walked along the shoreline. No pressure at all.

We especially loved Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres (our favorite: Caribbean Lobster Salad seasoned with lime and cilantro) and the famous “honor system” bar. It was always stocked with Fernandez Bay’s famous Rum Punch, as well as beer and wine. Buffet dinners included Bahamian specialties, like grouper and fried plantains, served under the stars. We were very pleased with the food!

The Club House at Fernandez Bay Village is the resort’s central gathering spot and offers guests dining by the sea.
I loaded a breakfast plate with fresh and wholesome foods for a great start to my day…yum!
My morning view…pure heaven.
Just look at that color!
A kayak called me to explore the mangroves…
Loved our private beachfront accommodations in the Royal Palm Cottage. The big decision of the day? Afternoon nap here or in the hammock on the wraparound porch…
Bougainvillea blooms brightly outside my cottage window on Cat Island, Bahamas.
The beach-side bar at Fernandez Bay Village is well stocked with rum punch and more. Yummy!
Yes, I could get used to this life very easily.
Warm breezes, ocean air…Life is better at the beach!
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The Hermitage

We arranged to rent a car for a couple of days to explore the island. It was relatively inexpensive. (FYI, even though we let our U.S. bank know we were traveling out of the country, the transaction did require a phone call to process.)

One must-see attraction was The Hermitage. We climbed Mount Alvernia to see the small but impressive dwelling built single-handedly by Father Jerome. Stations of the Cross led up to Father Jerome’s remote home, the highest point in the Bahamas. We took in breathtaking water views from a peaceful vantage point on high.

It was worth the walk up Mount Alvernia, also known as Como Hill to see the Hermitage.
The elevation at the peak of Mount Alvernia is the highest in the Bahamas. Here, Fr. Jerome single-handedly built what’s known as “The Hermitage.”
You can catch a perfect ocean view on high as seen through an archway of the hermitage, or ring the tower bell.

The Regatta

We also visited the Regatta, where we hear there is a booming nightlife. During the day it’s pretty quiet, but lovely just the same. It’s the gathering place for locals on the island. We passed an island party getting ready for a beach wedding. How romantic!

A dog guards a brightly painted building at the Cat Island Regatta.
One of the best places on earth is under a palm tree.
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Gentle waves take on a surreal color in the Caribbean Sea.

More Island Exploring

We found some of the most memorable sites off the beaten path. Beautiful ruins and colorful homes dotted the island’s curving coastal roads. We loved the natural beauty and meeting interesting people wherever we went as we toured the island from head to toe.

An abandoned property is a beautiful contrast to the aqua shores of Cat Island, Bahamas.
Wildflowers glistened with dew…their simple beauty makes me smile.
Fish doesn’t get fresher than this! Prep work outside Da Smoke Pot in Cat Island, Bahamas.
We were delighted to find a collection of giant conch shells along the shore from which to choose.
Next, we met a lovely woman weaving straw into hats, purses, placements and more…beautiful work!
Colorful layers of weathered paint, like a fine patina, add character to these Bahamian homes.
I wouldn’t mind being shipwrecked on Cat Island. Would you?

Greenwood Beach Resort

We happened at Greenwood Beach Resort to take a midday break and decided to celebrate my birthday in an island way with tasty pina coladas. Having just missed Open Mic (an informal music jam) at Greenwood the night before, the innkeeper broke out his guitar and offered another to Jim, so I enjoyed a private concert! Who would have thought?

Feeling Adventurous?

The Atlantic side of the island was quite a bit windier than Fernandez Bay but just as lovely. For the more adventurous, Greenwood Beach is an excellent place for diving, snorkeling, and kiteboarding. Also, sportfishing–more specifically, bonefishing–is very good here!

We celebrated with two cold piña coladas at Greenwood Beach Resort. Yummy!
Innkeeper Andre was more than happy to play a little impromptu guitar with Jim at Greenwood Beach Resort. What a great afternoon!

Sunsets

If you’re looking for a private island paradise, this may just be it. It is certainly ours. Eight incredible days culminated with one colorful sunset after another. I’d love to say everyone should visit Cat Island, but part of its appeal is it is not overrun with tourism. It’s a romantic, remote, getaway…that’s for sure.

Ahh…sunset. You never disappoint me in the Bahamas.
Did I mention that each sunset seems to be better than the last one Cat Island, Bahamas?
Another spectacular sunset over Fernandez Bay. That’s a wrap!
The sunset silhouettes a beautiful shipwreck on the north side of Cat Island.
Ahh….paradise found.
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We loved Cat Island, Bahamas! Have you been to Cat Island or another tranquil destination we might love as well? Let me know about it! I’d love to hear from you.

 

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

A Caribbean Interlude

I enjoyed being an invisible stowaway on this couple’s two-year sailboat adventure from Canada down to the Caribbean. I learned a lot about sailing (of which I knew nothing), US waterways, procedures, risks, weather, islands’ culture and people.

I also loved the food, fishing and recipe elements covered in the book. The notion of this couple leaving daily responsibilities behind for a two year adventure was very appealing to me, especially as Jim and I are also freelancers. No doubt we would choose very similar off-the-beaten paths toward getting to know the “real” island life.

These two made it happen and reaped big-time personal growth (and no doubt, creative) benefits. Kudos! Reading this book was an excellent getaway from the daily grind, and I am so happy this couple successfully achieved one of their dreams and captured it so well. Thank you for sharing a most interesting and entertaining story. Very inspiring, indeed!

Other books by Ann Vanderhoof: