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Photo © Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
Photo © Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
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The Abacos

With 193 kilometres (120 miles) of ocean highway, lined by a string of inhabited and uninhabited cays, the Abaco Islands are a destination for sailors. The most recognizable landmark is Elbow Reef Lighthouse, located on Elbow Cay. Before its beacon illuminated the way (and before modern navigation), these islands were treacherous for the uninitiated. Hundreds of Spanish galleons made their final voyage to the bottom of the ocean during the colonial past. Sailors have no cause for worry anymore, but the past still shapes the culture of the islands. In its architecture, its politics, and pace of life, Abaco’s appeal is its constancy. The lighthouse, after all, is still manually operated—one of the last in the world.

 Local Points of Interest
Elbow Reef Lighthouse
   
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Elbow Reef Lighthouse

The British Imperial Lighthouse Service built this candy-striped lighthouse to mark the Elbow...

 Natural Area
Pelican Cays Land & Sea Park
   
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Pelican Cays Land & Sea Park

This vast 2,100-acre land and sea reserve was established in 1972 and is a sister park to the...

 Natural Area
A nature trail in the Abaco National Park
   
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Abaco National Park

Established on May 9, 1994, the Abaco National Park comprises 20,500 acres in Southern Abaco. It...

 Natural Area
Aerial shot of Walker's Cay National Park.
   
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Walker's Cay National Park

The northernmost island in The Bahamas, Walker's Cay is fringed by its own barrier reef. The...

 Festival or Event
Side Walk Chalk Art
   
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Arts for the Parks

This fundraiser seeks to raise funds to support the six National Parks located on Abaco, and it...

 Community
View from The Long Dock at Cherokee Sound.
   
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Cherokee Sound

Cherokee Sound is a quaint community that is the most isolated settlement on Abaco. It has neat,...

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

Quick Facts

Area: 650 sq. miles
Population: 17,224 persons
Highest Point: 120 feet
Location: approximately 55 miles north of New Providence and less than 200 miles east of Florida
Origin of the Name: The origin of the island's name is unknown.