The Least Explored and Largest Island in the Bahamas
With romantic views and exciting activities, the Bahamas has always been imagined as the perfect getaway. Known for its tropical climate, the island nation boasts of scenic beaches that are available all year round, making it the perfect paradise for those who are trying to escape the heat – or the chilling cold. However, aside from its famous beaches, the Bahamas is also willing to share its rich history and culture. Perhaps the most interesting among these islands is the unexplored haven that is Andros.
Spanning an area of approxomately 2,300 square miles, Andros is the largest among the Bahamian islands. Although an archipelago composed of islands and cays, it is considered a single island for political reasons. Despite its size, it is actually the least developed among all the islands – making it rich in undisturbed marine life, flora and fauna. It is also home to underwater caves and what is believed to be a prehistoric riverbed, thus, giving it the nickname as the natural wonder of the Bahamas.
The island was originally inhabited by the Lucayan Indians. When the Spaniards arrived following their quest for exploration, they brought diseases along with them that the Lucayans were not immune to. Eventually, their number started decreasing until they finally became extinct. Years later, Britain also arrived and disputes over the island ensued. Finally, in 1783, a treaty was signed which gave Britain control over the Bahamas.
Like much of the region, the main industry on the island is based on tourism. In fact, the Bahamas’ largest national park system, the Andros Park System, is located on the island. The Blue Holes National Park, the North Marine Park, the South Marine Park, the West Side National Park, and the Crab Replenishment Reserve are among those located within the park system.
Being home to the world’s largest concentration of blue holes and the 6000-ft Tongue of The Ocean, thrill seekers are bound to find this island interesting. Diving and snorkeling on the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest fringing barrier reef, is also a significant source of tourism. These bodies of water also make Andros home to a number of exotic marine life, some of which you cannot find elsewhere on the planet. Additionally, those who love to fish may find that the island has vast areas of wetlands, making it perfect for fishing. In fact, Andros has been dubbed as the Bonefishing Capital of the World.
Those who are fascinated with folklore may also find that the myths surrounding the islands are worth listening to. One tale is about the Chickcharnees. These are large creatures living in the pine forests that appear to be half-bird and half-man, possessing powers that protect the island from evil. They are considered as the lucky charm of the Bahamas. On the other hand, the Lusca is a dragon-like creature, which lurks in the blue hole. If one is not careful, this monster can suck their victims into their underwater lairs.
Souvenirs are also easy to find, as locals of this island are known for their crafts. Aside from making waterproof straw baskets, Androsians are also famous for their colorful Androsia batik, a type of printed fabric that is a well-known item all over the Bahamas.
Getting to Andros is not a problem. By air, domestic and international flights are available via the San Andros International Airport. Likewise, chartered flights are also available via the Andros Town Airport, the Clarence A. Bain Airport in Mangrove Cay, and the Congo Town Airport. By sea, travelers may choose to travel via a fully-air conditioned public ferry service, or by mailboat services. Private boats are also welcome in Andros’ marinas.
Exploring the island is also made easy via taxis that are available in almost every establishment in towns. However, the northern part runs on 65 miles of uninterrupted motorway, so visitors who wish to travel that way are recommended to rent a car instead. Additionally, the government provides a free scheduled ferry service for those who wish to travel on nearby islands and cays within the Andros archipelago.
The island also offers each visitor with various accommodations to choose from. Some may opt to relax at luxury hotels and resorts, while some may choose to spend the night in seaside bungalows with a breathtaking view of the sea. For a more romantic retreat, cottages on private cays are also available. Some locals also offer traditional living spaces to give some travelers a unique peek into the Androsian way of living.
Andros is one of the Bahamian islands, which boasts of breathtaking attractions and exciting activities. It is also the island that is home to stories of mythical creatures and monsters that certainly add to its peaceful island charm. Surely, a trip to this serene haven will always be a memorable one.