The Bahamas' low-key Out Islands

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 9-16, 1996
The Bahamas' low-key Out Islands
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The Bahamas' low-key Out Islands
Question: I am planning a seven-day honeymoon in Hawaii or the Bahamas. I'd like to find a nice, not crowded resort with access to sea sports. All-inclusive is preferable. Thank you.

Nazar Noori
Philadelphia, PA
[email protected]

Beautiful, palm-fringed beaches and sleepy, low-key resorts lie just off the coast of Florida
Adventure Adviser: Why schlep your newlywed selves 12 or so hours to the Aloha State when you can find beautiful, palm-fringed beaches and sleepy, low-key resorts just off the coast of Florida? If I were going on your honeymoon--which of course I'm not--my vote would be for a week on one of the 30-plus Out Islands of the Bahamas.

To narrow the field, here are a couple of worthy spots with strong honeymoon potential. Due west of glitzy Nassau and Freeport, Andros Island--at 40 by 104 miles--is the biggest of the Bahamas, covered with dense mangrove and mahogany forests and, more importantly, home to giant, two-foot long iguanas and ground-burrowing parrots. Base yourself at the homey, family-run Small Hope Bay Lodge on the island's east side (800-223-6961). Sadly, you'll have to sacrifice the heart-shaped Jacuzzi and gigantic waterbed of your dreams for a rustic, beachfront cottage, but the water sports options will keep you plenty busy. The $140-$165 per person, per day rate includes all meals and three daily dives, and there are day sailors and windsurfers ready and waiting on the hammock-strung beach.

Best of all, Andros is conveniently located on the edge of the Tongue of the Ocean, a 6,000-foot-deep abyss in the Bahama Banks--which, for you, means spectacular diving and snorkeling. The 120-mile barrier reef just offshore is the third longest in the Northern Hemisphere, and a dive anywhere off its outer edge will take you careening over the Tongue. Favorite scuba spots include the Black Forest, where black coral grows in 70 feet of water, and Over the Wall, where you imitate a slo-mo free fall into the Tongue. The Tongue's a particularly good choice for night diving, when the water's teeming with shards of glowing, blue-green bioluminescence. And since Andros is fragmented into lots of little cays, divided by bonefish-rich bights and tidal flats, the fishing is primo.

Another good bet is the Romora Bay Club on Harbor Island, a tiny historic cay just off the northeast coast of Eleuthera. The entire windward shore is a luscious, three-mile-long pink-sand beach. On calm days, you can snorkel the patch reefs just offshore. At Romora Bay, on the island's more sheltered bay side, guest rooms are terraced into a hillside landscaped with palms, ferns, and bromeliads. On the beach, Jef Fox's dive shop offers two-tank dives for $50 per person (809-333-2323), as well as sailboard and Sunfish rentals and sportfishing charters. For information or reservations, call 800-327-8286, and be sure to check out our Bahamas write-up in Outside's winter 1995-1996 Travel Guide.

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