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Photo © Alex Mustard
Photo © Alex Mustard
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San Salvador

San Salvador is one of the smallest inhabited islands in The Bahamas. It is where Christopher Columbus set foot the first time he landed in The Bahamas and America. A modest white stone cross commemorates his first landfall. In all, several monuments stand in memory of the first encounter between the Europeans and the island, including one under the sea, marking where he dropped anchor. Life on San Salvador exists on the exposed peak of a mountain: most of the mountain mass is submerged 4,600 metres (15,000 feet) below the ocean’s surface. Steep drop-offs along the western coast create popular wall reefs. In the north, memory of the Lucayan population is preserved in cave drawings and carvings. The principal community is Cockburn Town, and Tourism is the main industry for the residents. San Salvador is the only island in the Bahamas where European visitors outnumber those from North America.

 Accommodation
Guest Rooms
   
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Riding Rock Inn & Marina

Riding Rock Resort and Marina is a local family-owned and operated property that is custom...

 Accommodation
Guanahani Beach Club Resort
   
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Guanahani Beach Club Resort

Our secluded property, located on the southeast coast of San Salvador, opened in February 2010....

 Guide or Outfitter
Lagoon Tours Bahamas Ltd.
   
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Lagoon Tours Bahamas Ltd.

We are dedicated to educating all visitors to the island of San Salvador about our wonderful...

 Community
Watling's Castle/Sandy Pointe Estate
   
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Watling's Castle/Sandy Pointe Estate

Very little is known about John Watling, the buccaneer who frequented this area and for whom...

 Festival or Event
Monument commemorating the landfall of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
   
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Discovery Day Homecoming Festival

This festival encourages San Salvadorians worldwide to come home and celebrate Discovery Day,...

 Historic or...
Landfall Park
   
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Landfall Park

Landfall Park, a ten-acre site rich in archaeological artifacts, is so named because it is...

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AtlasHybrid.Imagery(Satellite)OpenStreetMap

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic.

Quick Facts

Area: 63 sq. miles
Population: 989 persons
Highest Point: 123 feet
Location: approximately 300 miles southeast of New Providence and 22 miles northeast of Rum Cay
Origin of the Name: Christopher Columbus also named this island "San Salvador," meaning "Christ the Savior." It was subsequently named Watlings Island, after John Watling settled here during the 17th century.