Green Turtle Cay, The Abaco Islands, Bahamas

Green Turtle Cay, AbacoGreen Turtle Cay is my favorite little island in the Abacos. It's also a favorite vacation destination, or even a day trip for many a visitor to the Islands of the Bahamas. the island’s only town, New Plymouth, is a quaint little community with its roots set deep in American colonial history. Founded by English loyalists in 1783, just after the end of the War of Independence, it's one of the oldest settlements in the Abacos. New Plymouth was once the second largest city in the Bahamas after Nassau; today is a small settlement on southwest coast of Green Turtle Cay. Reminiscent of old New England, it's a tiny world of neat little clapboard cottages, old-world picket fences, and a veritable profusion of flowers. Unlike Hope Town and Man-O-War Cay, however, New Plymouth is open to vehicular traffic.

Exploring the Island:

With the Albert Lowe Museum as the focal point of your tour, New Plymouth’s narrow streets, galleries, quaint shops and restaurants are wonderful to explore. The museum, on Parliament Street among the bougainvillea, is in an old colonial building. It contains a fine collection of maritime memorabilia and will provide you with a unique peek into the life and times of the loyalist settlers. They are located at Parliament and King Streets. Open from 9 to 11:45 am and 1 to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday. Entrance fee is $1. Other places of interest include the Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden, the New Plymouth Cemetery with gravestones dating back to the 18th century, and the old New Plymouth Jail, unused now for more than two centuries.

But there’s more to Green Turtle Cay than New Plymouth. The island boasts a number of fine beaches, some of the best diving locations in the Bahamas, and a network of roads that will take you on long hikes to romantic bays and inlets, quiet little harbors where boats sit at anchor, and a number of out-of-the-way restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy fish and lobster straight from the ocean.
Green Turtle Cay has three hotels, one in New Plymouth, the others on the harbor at White Sound (see pages 171-72 for details). The island can be reached only by private boat or by the ferry. The ferry service is good. You can leave for New Plymouth early in the morning from either Treasure Cay or the Green Turtle Club, returning to either dock in the mid-afternoon. There are also a couple of local tour operators who run trips to the island on a weekly basis.


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Getting There:

For visitors arriving by air, the Bahamas are served through Nassau by most US airlines and by international airlines from Canada and Europe, and to a slightly more limited degree through Freeport.

The Out Islands are served mainly by Bahamas Air via connections in Nassau and Freeport.

The Bahamas is also a major destination for the cruise ship industry

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