Just 45 minutes by airplane from Florida, Elbow Cay is a four mile long island in the Abaco Islands. The Abacos are 180 miles east of Miami, Florida and consist of 100 mile long Great Abaco Island with a string of small islands about 5 miles off its shore. The protected area between Great Abaco and the barrier islands is called The Sea of Abaco and is consistently listed as one of the best cruising areas in the world. Elbow Cay lies in the middle of the barrier islands which makes boating from island to island within the Sea of Abaco easy and the water is usually calm. Some of the popular destinations include Man of War Cay, Guana Cay, Little Harbour and Treasure Cay. Being the third largest barrier reef in the world, there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel or dive in both shallow and deep water. The reefs are magnificent with two underwater marine parks, wrecks and some of the clearest water in the world. Fishing is popular and includes wahoo, grouper, snapper, marlin, mahi, tuna, sailfish and bonefish. There are local fishing charters and guides who will take you offshore, bonefishing or fishing within the Sea of Abaco.
Hope Town is one of the most picturesque settlements in the Bahamas. Founded by the Loyalists in 1785 the town has retained many of the charming old houses, and has the feel of stepping back in time. With no cars in the town, and no public motorised traffic on the island, golf carts or bicycles are the only way to get around. The candy-striped Hope Town Lighthouse is one of only three hand-lit kerosene powered lighthouses in the world. It is open to visitors during the day and the climb to the top affords spectacular 360 degree views of Elbow Cay and the surrounding islands.
Hope Town has c. 300 permanent residents and has the feel of a New England fishing village. There are two town docks and a marina along with three grocery stores, restaurants, bars and a handful of gift shops. It is an extremely friendly island and visitors are always made to feel welcome. There are many artists and musicians on the island and there is often an art show or live music to be found. There is a clinic in town staffed by a nurse who arrives daily from Marsh Harbour. A brand new hospital is set to open in Marsh Harbour in 2015.
The north end of the island with a lovely atlantic beach is only accessible by foot and the south end of the island boasts Tahiti Beach, well worth a visit for its sheer unadulterated beauty. At low tide a long sandbank emerges from the turquoise water, perfect for shells, sand dollars and picnics. The white sand beach is lined with coconut palms and the water crystal clear. There is also a beautiful swimming beach along the atlantic side of the island accessible from The Hope Town Harbour Lodge and On Da Beach bar.
The climate is temperate with temperatures similar to South Florida. The island is thankfully free of large resorts and the restaurants and bars are very relaxed with only casual attire required.