My 25-year-old daughter wanted to go on dive trip for her 25th birthday. We had been to the Bahamas years ago and enjoyed it, but I was looking for some place unprentious and more secluded with a great beach, friendly staff, comfortable rooms and good food. Boy, did we find it. Greenwood is quite simply one of the real hidden gems in the Caribbean -- and we have now visited a lot of it. The water is beautiful, the eight-mile beach deserted, the accommodation very adequate, the island fascinating and laid back and the food fabulous. Owners Anna and Voldemort knocked themselves out to accommodate us -- literally and figuratively. (Voldemort even held my wife's hand for an hour while snorkeling because she's not all that comfortable swimming.) The reefs are great, and they start just feet from the beach in front of the resort. Voldemort is a veteran diver with fascinating stories to share, and his preparation for our scuba diving in the hotel pool was professional, reassuring and effective. The dive he led us on was a high point for my daughter -- and for me. Another plus was the young German staff, the great, local food and the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere.
Hi J. Have never been to the out islands of the Bahamas but have always been intrigued with them. How was the flight info? (how difficult/easy is it to reach the islands?) How did you find this place? Any other properties close by? Did you cook in or go to restaurants.
Thanks for your interest, Bonnie. The flights are surprisingly easy. Many of the out islands are served by at least two airlines (or they were the last time we looked), Continental and Lynx, both of which fly out of Ft. Lauderdale to Cat Island direct, meaning you don't have to navigate the (shudder) Miami airport or shuffle through Nassau. Lynx is a little lax as far as schedules are concerned, but they maintain year-round flights. We did find the flights a little expensive.
We kind of stumbled on Cat Island and Greenwood. We were looking for a specific combination of factors -- not too commercial (we avoid Nassau and even Harbour Island at all costs), affordable, diving facilities, quiet. After some searching, we came up with Greenwood. We really didn't know what to expect, but the experience was great. Keep in mind that there is virtually no tourist infrastructure (from Greenwood, at least, eating outside of the resort would mean having a rental car, and even then there's not much out there). And the resort is not luxurious, but extremely comfortable. And it is simply one of the nicest stretches of beach I've seen in the Caribbean. In my opinion, it makes the beaches of Anguilla look like crowded pocket beaches.
Hi J. Just the place we enjoy! Are there self-catering properties? We don't need anything fancy. We do enjoy doing our own cooking. We tend to do this in Anguilla and Virgin Gorda. How big is the island? The size of Anguilla would you guess? Thanks for some new travel ideas!
Cat is long and skinny, about 50 miles from north to south. You can spend a fun day driving from one end to the other (Arthur's Town at the northern tip -- where Sidney Poitier was born -- is as close as Cat Island comes to a real village), stopping by the truly weird Mount Alvernia Hermitage, a one-man (it was built over 17 years by Father Jerome) monastery at the top Mt. Alvernia, the highest point in The Bahamas. My guess is that Cat Island is considerably larger than Anguilla, though that may because Anguilla is essentially round and Cat is stretched out. I don' t know about you, but I found the interior of Anguilla scrubby, flat and unattractive. Cat Island, on the other hand, is densely forested and way more interesting -- from a bio-diversity point of view anyway. There are a number of places where you can stay, including vacation homes that rent by the week and month. These, I would guess, are the best bet if you want to prepare your own meals. Getting the raw materials could be a challenge, but an interesting one. Given that there is no public transit on the island, getting around isn't easy, but you can arrange car rentals on the island. A quick Google search will give you a bunch of options.