It’s bare boaters who typically love the Abacos chain in the Bahamas, a place where sailing catamarans and monohulls alike dominate the harbors. This is a t-shirt and bathing suit territory far from the largest luxury yachts, a place where families can feel at home eating freshly grilled lobsters while sitting barefoot on a beach after a long day of playing in the sun.
Most charters begin and end in Marsh Harbour, which is just a short cab ride away from the local airport. It’s here that you’ll find the major bareboat bases along with supermarkets Dolphins on a Bahamas yacht charter where you can provision, restaurants where you can enjoy a waterfront meal, and marinas that include showers and laundry facilities. Smart bare boaters tend to stay the night in Marsh Harbour during their first night in the Abacos, getting over their jetlag while ensuring that their yacht is properly stocked before heading out to explore the next day. There’s no need to rush off the dock. One of the best things about the Abacos is that they run on “Island Time,” which means slow as molasses—just how you want to feel during a vacation!
Hope Town is one of the top spots to visit in the Abacos, with a harbor well-stocked with mooring balls that make it easy for you to tie up and go exploring ashore. The lighthouse here—with a red-and-white-striped base that looks like a candy cane—is perhaps the most photographed landmark in all of the Bahamas. You can cruise by and enjoy the view from the water, or go ashore and climb up the lighthouse steps for a spectacular view of the harbor and islands beyond.
Like most places you’ll visit in the Abacos, Hope Town Bahamas bareboat yacht chartering has just a handful of shops and restaurants, enough to keep you busy for a few hours when you’ve had your fill of swimming and sunbathing. Don’t expect high fashion outlets or chain stores, but instead look for sarongs and T-shirts that look the same at pretty much every island boutique that you visit. At the bars, you’ll find Kalik beer and Bahama Mama specials wherever you go, and of course, conch fritters on the menu to help keep your belly good and full.
There are farther-flung islands in the Abacos, too, if you want to test your navigational skills amid the sometimes shallow reefs. They’re all fantastic for snorkeling, as well, and many are remote enough that you’ll be the only one swimming with fins that aren’t attached permanently to your body.