They are really meant to be the islands of sailors with a pleasant temperature, extensive lands and adequate yachting infrastructure. It is worth devoting time for a longer visit. That’s why two one-week trips are recommended by us. Furthermore, useful tips, advice and information on how to spend your time the best while sailing in the Bahamas.
The main points are the following:
- Best time to sail in the Bahamas
- The best coasts and ports in the Bahamas
- Sail in the Bahamas! Bahamas sailing routes and catamaran tours
- Sailing vacations in the Bahamas: A week catamaran sailing trip around the Abaco Islands
- Nassau sailing: sailing around the Exumas islands – for experienced sailors
- 1 week Eleuthera sailing adventure
- 7 Days Bimini sailing route(longer)
Honestly, the sailing season of the Bahamas is much longer than in the Caribbean Sea. There are appropriate conditions all year around. Although the most favourable period is between February and October. Mainly trade winds are dominant throughout the year. Whether beginner or professional the well-balanced climate makes sailing easier for both.
In summer the weather is nice, between June and October is chilly, similarly to the eastern part of the USA or the East-Caribbean islands. Unfortunately, the rainy and hurricane season arrives in July and does not leave until November. The average temperature is usually 25-27 C, even though summer is warmer with 1-2 degrees and higher humidity level. Check the sailing conditions and wind rose diagram of the Bahamas.
The country with over 700 islands offers a sheer number of full-service ports. Their long list would not fit into our page hence just a few are introduced to show you an offer of an enjoyable vacation.
The most popular ports
Seven ports can be found in Marsh Harbour on the Great Abaco Island which provides space for more than 500 yachts even with the length of 60 meters. Furthermore, the most well-known port on Berry Island is the Great Harbour Yacht Club & Marina. On Eleuthera Island, the Harbour Island Marina is the best. Moreover, the picturesque Dunmore Town is worth visiting nearby. Actually, it used to be the capital city of the Bahamas. If interested in the famous pink sandy beaches, just cast anchor and hop off. Over 400 yachts can dock at the port of George Town on Great Exuma.
However, Staniel Cay has no large marinas, the island is rich in tourist sights. The extraordinary swimming pigs are also quite funny to watch here. The Grand Bahama is a major hub for worldwide yachting. Freeport and Port Lucaya towns having well-equipped and busy ports are in the neighbourhood. More information about Eleuthera sailing, or boat rental in Eleuthera.
Ports on the main island
Last but not least; New Providence, the main island, offers countless great docking opportunities. In contrast to luxurious services, the quality of ordinary services is the highest here in the whole Caribbean region. Wherever docking is done, only joyful moments can be expected.
As a matter of fact, the Abaco island group is one of the world’s best yachting and sailing destinations. It is undoubtedly the most ideal place for relaxation with its calm turquoise sea, hospitable towns, two golf courts, fishing and diving facilities.
Day 1. Marsh Harbour – Little Harbour
24, 55 km (15, 25 mi)
We are leaving Marsh Harbour of the Abaco Beach Resort which is a large holiday resort with a huge harbour. In addition, it is the region’s largest harbour accepting bigger yachts. Sailing to Little Harbour is really a light trip, and at the end, we arrive at a marvellous white sandy beach.
Day 2. Little Harbour – Abaco National Park – Sandy Point
97, 10 km (60, 34 mi)
Leaving Little Harbour, we sail in the direction of Sandy Point. However, we make a short detour to Abaco National Park. Founded in 1994, the park covers 20.500 hectares, and is home to many protected parrot species. Sandy Point is a picturesque little town, nestled in the shade of coconut palms. It is hard to decide whether the white sandy beach, the colourful houses and lush gardens offer a more beautiful view. One thing is for sure. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, Sandy Point is the perfect holiday destination for you.
Day 3. Sandy Point – Wood Cay – Great Abaco
47, 96 km (29, 80 mi)
You can spend a quiet and peaceful day at Wood Cay. Locals are famous for their hospitality. They are happy to welcome you into their daily lives. They mainly work in the fishing industry. You should definitely go on a boat trip with locals. After fishing, you will prepare the fish together and have a nice meal. You would rather go to a restaurant? There are only a few places to choose from and they look pretty rustic, but give them a try! You will be offered high-quality fresh seafood dishes.
Day 4. Great Abaco – Big Joe Downer Cay -Little Joe Downer Cay – South Riding Point
96, 70 km (60, 09 mi)
Our next stop is perfect if you have to refuel. South Riding Point is famous for having one of the largest oil and fuel storage terminals in the region, so the supply of the local port is not a problem. Although, Hurricane Dorian damaged the terminal in 2019, and reconstruction work is still ongoing. South Riding Point is an interesting stop during your journey.
Day 5. South Riding Point – Nunjack Cay – Green Turtle Cay
103, 35 km (64, 22 mi)
Depending on the weather you can choose from two high-standard docking opportunities. Rat Cay on the south, for example, is a great place for nature and watersport lovers. Meanwhile, the northern valley is merely choosen by couples for watching a romantic sunset.
Green Turtle Cay boasts of its popular beaches, accommodation and picturesque ports. Need for repair on your yacht? Don’t worry, there are experienced repairmen to fulfil your needs. Until the reparation goes on, try a delicious meal from lobster in a local restaurant.
Day 6. Green Turtle Cay – Treasure Cay – Man-O-War Cay / Guana Cay
28, 44 km (17, 67 mi)
Take the chance and lay your mattress on the beach which is regarded as one of the world’s top 10 beaches. Before continuing your voyage take a walk and enjoy the fascinating view.
Man-O-War Cay, a historic yacht-building island, which is located north Treasure Cay is just a short ferry ride. Many generations of the famous yacht-builder Albury family used to live and work here. The next stop on your trip could be the Bakers Bay Resort & Marina on Guana Cay. As you would expect, it is a well-equipped marina with 158 berths for yachts. Let’s do some sports on the island either on the golf court or in the water with other divers and snorkellers.
Day 7. Guana Cay – Pelican Cay Land & Sea Park – Elbow Cay – Marsh Harbour
53, 60 km (33, 30 mi)
Move ahead to Pelican Cay Land & Sea Park. This is, in fact, a 2100-acre nature reserve; one of the world’s most wonderful and unique marine habitats with special coral reefs, flora and fauna.
Besides, another great programme for this day is to get on shore at Elbow Cay that is 6, 4 km from the Marsh Harbour. It is well-known for its 37 m tall red and white striped lighthouse called Hopetown Lighthouse which was built in 1863. On the top you can marvel at the stunning, magnificent sea.
A full day is needed for a trip to explore this 13 km long tiny island. Beyond the beautiful nature mouth-watering food, delicious beverages and recreational beaches await you. What else awaits you beyond the beautiful nature? Mouth-watering food, delicious beverages and recreational beaches.
Public marinas around Abaco Island:
- Abaco Beach Resort Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.545434, -77.045303
- Conch Inn Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.546197, -77.053189
- Great Abaco Beach Resort Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.545568, -77.045260
- Green Turtle Cay: Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.776301, -77.340583
- Green Turtle Cay: Sunset Marine – GPS Coordinates: 26.765626, -77.327796
- Jib Room Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.546208, -77.053198
- Sandy Point: Lightbourn’s Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.025612, -77.401478
- Mangoes Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.546687, -77.052472
- El Cow Bay: Lower Public Dock – GPS Coordinates: 26.540836, -76.959752
- Spanish Cay Marina – GPS Coordinates: 26.941254, -77.526883
- Treasure Cay Beach, Marina & Golf Resort – GPS Coordinates: 26.674505, -77.280976
The Exuma Island experience is best with a skipper due to the strong tidal currents that require special anchoring techniques. As the marine charts say: “some local knowledge required”.
Day 1. Nassau (Palm Cay / ONE Marina) – Highbourne Cay (Highbourne Cay Marina)
57, 29 km (35, 60 mi)
Leaving Paradise Island the first destination is the Exumas. This island group looks like a pearl necklace. We can find here several ports and sheltered beaches. On one of its tiny islands protected iguana species hide among the gorgeous cliffs.
Day 2. Highbourne Cay – Bells Cay and its surrounding – Compass Cay
59, 28 km (36, 84 mi)
It contains the tiny islands of the nature reserves of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The main attraction for snorkellers is the Rocky Dundas caves on Little Bells Cay.
Day 3. Compass Cay – Staniel Cay – Great Guana Cay – Safe Harbor Marina
48, 04 km (29, 85 mi)
Staniel Cay is the tourist centre of the Exumas. Friendly inhabitants, clear water and small calm beaches are the typical features of this island. You may have heard about it as a great place for deep-sea fishing. It is worldwide known as the scenery of the James Bond films. Do not miss Thunderball Grotto, the most outstanding place for snorkelling in the Bahamas. Moreover, visiting the Staniel Cay New Year’s Cruising Regatta is also a must that is organized by the Staniel Cay Yacht Club annually on 31 December. There is a yacht competition with traditional local sloop sailing yachts. All in all, it can be an unforgettable experience for everybody.
The Great Guana Cay’s beach is the longest in the Bahamas, about 5, 5 miles.
Day 4. Safe Harbor Marina – Emerald Bay Marina
49, 73 km (30, 90 mi)
After berthing at Emerald Bay, you can choose from many entertainment options. There are larger hotel complexes, a golf course, bars restaurants and several shops. Extra tip: rent a squad for the day and discover the opportunities the town has to offer!
Day 5. Emerald Bay Marina – Farmer’s Cay (Little Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club)
49, 73 km (30, 90 mi)58, 66 km (36, 45 mi)
Little Farmer’s Cay is a small island, located between Great Guana Cay and Great Farmer’s Cay. Its port, Little Harbour, is well-protected. It is perfect for berthing. You can find Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club here. The wildlife at Farmer’s Cay is truly amazing. It is home to exotic birds, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and tropical fish. There are deep-sea caves and coral reefs nearby. They are perfect for diving and snorkelling. You have to go swim with the turtles!
Day 6. Farmer’s Cay – Warderick Wells Cay – Shroud Cay (dock at Highbourne Cay)
97, 99 km (60, 89 mi))
A visit to the tourist centre of the nature reserve can make our day very special.The park was the first land and sea park in the world. Still, today is one of the most successful marine parks. Scuba diving and snorkelling are very popular here. You can encounter nature first-hand by feeding the endangered Bahamian iguanas or catching a glimpse of the elusive hutia.
Shroud Cay is a small unpopulated island, an Eden with diverse flora and fauna. It is only accessible by yacht, and animal-watching tours are organized for on-foot tourists.
Day 7. Highbourne Cay – The wonderful Atlantis – Nassau
72, 59 km (45, 10 mi)
Finally, let’s have luxury and glitter. A huge entertainment facility with a big casino, excellent clubs and restaurants, amazing aquariums and a unique aquapark are waiting for you. As you would expect, the port is protected by security guards; and besides smaller boats, there are 63 berths for mega-yachts.
Public marinas around Exumas:
- Paradise Island Ferry Terminal – GPS Coordinates: 25.079938, -77.321459
- Hurricane Hole Marina – GPS Coordinates: 25.080025, -77.319925
- Ocean Club Marina – GPS Coordinates: 25.078917, -77.303810
- Nassau Harbour Club – GPS Coordinates: 25.074570, -77.313092
- Nassau Yacht Haven Marina – GPS Coordinates: 25.074930, -77.317791
- Lyford Cay Club Marina – GPS Coordinates: 25.036386, -77.514627
- Palm Cay / ONE Marina – GPS Coordinates: 25.020405, -77.273897
- Staniel Cay Yacht Club- GPS Coordinates: 24.172750, -76.445132
- Compass Cay – GPS Coordinates: 24.261054, -76.512952
- Safe Harbor Marina – GPS Coordinates: 23.907774, -76.272456
- Highbourne Cay Marina – GPS Coordinates: 24.709507, -76.822518
- Little Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club – GPS Coordinates: 23.964031, -76.323325
- Emerald Bay Marina – GPS Coordinates: 23.630349, -75.917039
- Exuma docking services – GPS Coordinates: 23.503911, -75.767587
- Barreterre Dock – GPS Coordinates: 23.698345, -76.040074
This route is very similar to the previous one for many reasons, but we have to do greater distances every day. We will pass by many of the islands belonging to Exuma Cays between Eleuthera and Nassau, so we will have the opportunity to explore this wonderful area. This route is very popular among sailors arriving in the Bahamas.
Day 1. Spanish Wells – Annie Bight 39, 50 km (24, 54 mi), Day 2. Annie Bight – Rock Sound 75, 85 km (47, 13 mi), Day 3. Rock Sound – Waderick Wells Cay 72, 55 km (45, 08 mi), Day 4. Waderick Wells Cay – Shroud Cay 29, 75 km (18, 49 mi) (19, 88 mi), Day 5. Shroud Cay – Highbourne Cay 23, 85 km (14, 82 mi) (46, 35 mi), Day 6. Highbourne Cay – Nassau 63, 10 km (39, 21 mi) Day 7. Nassau – Egg Island – Spanish Wells 67, 05 km (41, 66 mi)
Public marinas around Eleuthera:
- SPANISH WELLS MARINE & HARDWARE: , 8-12 & 13-17 , GPS Coordinates: 25.542075, -76.751341
- RUNWAY BAY MARINA: , GPS Coordinates: 25.144444, -76.169167
- CAPE ELEUTHERA RESORT AND MARINA: Depth: 2 m, GPS Coordinates: 24.836154, -76.343758
- HIGHBOURNE CAY MARINA: Depth: 2, 5 m, Working time: 8-17, GPS Coordinates: 24.708938, -76.821578
- HARBOUR VIEW MARINA, NASSAU: Depth: 2 m, GPS Coordinates: 25.074623, -77.312880
- HARBOUR ISLAND CLUB AND MARINA: Depth: 3 m, Working time:8-18, GPS Coordinates: 44.8749, 13.84651
- FRENCH LEAVE HARBOUR VILLAGE MARINA: Depth: 2, 5 m, GPS Coordinates: 25.203069, -76.246944
This route leads us to the Grand Bahama, so we have to do longer distances and should expect days spent entirely with sailing in the first part of the week. This is also a popular route from Bimini, as we can get to know another piece of the Bahamas on the small archipelago. The second part of the week will be more relaxing, as we will have an opportunity to wander around and explore the hidden gems of Bimini.
Day 1. South Bimini, Bimini Sands Marina – North Bimini, Bimini Big Game Club 2.00 km (1.24 mi), Day 2. North Bimini – Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama 112.90 km (70.16 mi), Day 3. Port Lucaya – Old Bahama Bay 47.80 km (29.70 mi) Day 4. Old Bahama Bay – Blue Water Marina, North Bimini 115.20 km (71.58 mi) Day 5. North Bimini – North Cat Cay 20.40 km (12.68 mi) Day 6. North Cat Cay – Gun Cay 4.00 km (2.49 mi) Day 7. Gun Cay – South Bimini 13.80 km (8.57 mi)
Public marinas around Bimini:
- BIMINI SANDS MARINA: Depth: 2.5 m , GPS Coordinates: 25.709361, -79.299608
- BLUE WATER MARINA: Depth: 3 m, Working time: 10-15, GPS Coordinates : 25.724865, -79.298217
- CAT CAY MARINA: Depth: 3 m, GPS Coordinates: 25.554400, -79.275003
- LIGHTHOUSE YACHT CLUB AND MARINA: GPS Coordinates: 24.725000, -77.805000
- CHUB CAY MARINA: Depth: 3.5 m, GPS Coordinates: 25.410965, -77.902506
- PORT LUCAYA MARINA: Depth: 3 m, GPS Coordinates: 26.513939, -78.642033
- OLD BAHAMA BAY: GPS Coordinates: 26.703150, -78.997867
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