A Beach Lover’s Winter Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas

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. 

In this article, you will…

Discover an Island Paradise in Fernandez Bay Village Resort

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

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!

Escape to The Royal Palm Cottage

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.

Fernandez Bay Village lent us their boat for an hour which was great – but you can rent a boat from Sailo.com for island-hopping in the Bahamas or wherever you are in the world. That way, you can take as much time as you want to explore.

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…
RELATED:  Looking for more perfect couples getaways? Check out some of the most romantic places to visit around the world.
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!

[bctt tweet=”‘…Life is better at the beach!'” username=”enjoytravellif1″]

Explore The Hermitage on Mount Alvernia

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.

Experience Local Flavor at The Regatta at the Beach

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.

[bctt tweet=”‘One of the best places on earth is under a palm tree…'” username=”enjoytravellif1″]

Gentle waves take on a surreal color in the Caribbean Sea.

Tour the Beauty of Cat Island Off the Beaten Path

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?

Enjoy Drinks and Music at 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!

Behold One Colorful Island Sunset after Another

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.

[bctt tweet=”‘Take only memories, leave only footprints…'” username=”enjoytravellif1″]

We loved Cat Island, Bahamas!

Have you been to Cat Island or another island destination we might love as well? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

39 thoughts on “A Beach Lover’s Winter Getaway to Cat Island, Bahamas

  • September 18, 2020 at 6:11 am

    TY for a fresh look at an popular destination. I am sharing this!

  • February 27, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Anchored off Cat Island for a few days in 2013 but was in a mad rush to get to the Pacific Ocean so didn’t explore it as deeply as you. Your posts make me want to sail back here right now (although I hope never to be shipwrecked there 😉

    • February 28, 2020 at 7:03 am

      Oh, I hope you get back for a visit sometime! Not that I wish to be shipwrecked, but I couldn’t pick a better place to come ashore if it were to happen!

  • December 11, 2018 at 6:27 am

    I love this because I love Cat Island. We have been there many times & every time is an adventure. We live in Savannah Georgia & have a small plane that for some reasons always ends up somewhere in the Bahamas on a remote piece of paradise.??

    • December 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      How lucky to have been to Cat Island many times…If I had a small plane, I’m almost certain it would follow the same route. You got it right, Angie: Cat Island truly is an island paradise!

  • March 24, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Wow wow wow! This is a true paradise!! Those views from sunrise to sunset are just breathtaking, and your bowl of fresh fruits is making us realize how much we’re longing for a week on an island like this! The fact that there’s no huge malls and luxurious hotels are just perfect. We’re adding Cat Island to our bucket list right away! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • April 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      I do hope you get there, Mei and Kerstin! Cat Island is on our short list for a return trip. As you say, it is a true paradise!

  • March 23, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Oh, I haven’t reached the Carribeans yet, but this island really makes one want to get on the plane 🙂 and it’s nice that you get so many activities. I love kayaking, and my husband fishing, so I am pretty sure we wouldn’t get bored. Thanks for sharing this

  • March 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Aah yes.. your pictures took me right there i could almost smell the ocean! This looks like a perfect honeymoon destination where it would seem the rest of the world does not exist. I really hope i get to the Bahamas one day, i have always read the locals are really friendly too.

  • March 21, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I was actually expecting a photo gallery of cats, but I must say you’ve got me clicking. 🙂 Just kidding, your photos and experience on the island seem exhilarating.

  • March 21, 2018 at 4:42 am

    Love all the pictures! The sea and the pink beach is breathtaking. Have never seen such real non-styled photos of Bahamas. The fresh fish and the heavenly sunset sounds such a wonderful combination. Thanks for sharing!

    • April 10, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you!! It was a great way to celebrate. 🙂

  • March 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Great post. The beaches of Cat Island look amazing, especially during sunsets. Wish to visit one day.

    • March 21, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Thank you! I hope you get to check it out for yourself sometime.

  • March 19, 2018 at 3:57 am

    Wow, this is a dream vacation! May have to wait until the kids are big enough to leave at home :))) The sunset/boat photo is amazing!

  • March 19, 2018 at 3:55 am

    What a lovely place for the perfect vacation. The Caribbean Lobster Salad sounds amazing and the sunsets are gorgeous. Someday I will have to stay here!

    • March 21, 2018 at 1:09 am

      I hope you get the chance to visit Cat Island. (I sure wish I had some of that Caribbean Lobster Salad right now!)

  • March 18, 2018 at 12:46 am

    I admit i’m not much on island paradises, but the hermitage and such gives one other things to see there, and of course if tropical drinks are involved, so much the better. The shipwreck photo is stunning.

    • March 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Yes, it was nice to adventure out to the Hermitage, and the tropical drinks are so tasty (yum)! Glad you like the shipwreck photo.

  • March 16, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    To be honest, I didn’t know there was much to see past Nassua. Your article has really opened my eyes and now I want to go back and experience the rest of the Bahamas! 🙂

    • March 17, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Oh, there is SO much to see beyond Nassau! I hope you have the chance to explore further.

  • January 16, 2018 at 9:08 am

    This is a beautiful place to be, crystal clear beaches and blue horizon, what else would one need for a memorable vacation.

  • January 14, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    WOW! As someone who seeks out the beautiful water I can find, this is an exciting place to stumble upon. The touristy aspect of the Bahamas is what has kept me from going there thus far, but I may have to check out Cat Island!

    • January 15, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Samantha, we are like-minded! I definitely prefer the less travelled destinations and seek beautiful water. I hope you get the chance to visit Cat Island. Get it on your bucket list, for sure!

    • January 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      It truly is a bit of Paradise! So glad you enjoyed my photos. 🙂

  • January 14, 2018 at 12:53 am

    What beautiful water and sunset views. Also, love the dog hanging by the building. I’ve got to go here.

  • January 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

    I really like your article! I always wanted to visit Bahamas but never planned a trip here… Your gallery is so amazing and I have the impression to have done the tour by myself thanks to the photos 🙂

    • January 13, 2018 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you for your compliments. It truly was an amazing, restorative trip. I recommend Cat Island to anyone looking to get away from it all!

  • January 13, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Wow some of those sunsets look amazing! I’ve only been to Nassau but I’d love to explore some other destinations in the Bahamas

    • January 13, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Honestly, each sunset was better than the last. The lesser known Bahamas Out Islands are definitely worth visiting — all just a quick hop from Nassau. Hope you get to check them out sometime, Kristina!

  • January 13, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Wow spectacular. I particularly love the lady weaving. One of the amazing things about travelling is meeting locals and learning about their way of life. The sunsets are pretty spectacular too! I still have the Bahamas on my bucket list – one day!

    • January 13, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Yes, she was just lovely, and more than happy to answer my questions about her craft. She made hats, boxes, purses…all kinds of intricate things expertly woven from palms. We enjoyed crossing paths with such friendly, charming locals. As you say, it’s such an amazing part of traveling. (p.s. Did you know Sydney Poitier is from Cat Island?)

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