Are you ready to explore one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets? Are you excited for a getaway full of relaxation? If so, then Cat Island in the Bahamas is definitely the place for you! With its stunning beaches, tranquil waters, and plenty of napping spots for both locals and visitors alike, Cat Island offers a unique travel experience that should be at the top of your bucket list. So grab your sunglasses and prepare yourself for some fun – we’ve compiled all the details about exploring Cat Island into this ultimate travel guide!
Table of Contents
How to Reach Cat Island
If you’re traveling from the United States, the easiest way to reach Cat Island is by taking a flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Alternatively, you can also take a flight from Nassau, which is the capital city of the Bahamas. I flew from Dallas to Nassau to Cat Island. Once you arrive, you can take a taxi or rent a car to explore the island.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Cat Island is between December and April when the weather is dry and sunny. During this time, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches and partake in activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. However, I went in June and did lots of this so I don’t think it matters when you visit.
Things to do on Cat Island
Despite its small size, Cat Island has plenty of things to offer.
Go to the beach!
To start, you can spend your days lazing around gorgeous beaches like Orange Creek Beach, Bennett’s Harbour Beach, and Pigeon Cay Beach.
Greenwood Beach, renowned as one of the most mesmerizing stretches of shoreline on Cat Island, beckons with its captivating allure. Spanning a glorious expanse of eight miles, this pristine paradise boasts pink sand beaches that whisper tales of serenity. Here, one can bask in the solitude and privacy that only nature can provide, a haven for friends seeking their own slice of coastal heaven.
A visit to this resplendent beach is a testament to the allure of Bahamas Island hopping, a voyage that lingers in the heart long after departure. Nestled on the secluded southeast corner of the island, one discovers another gem among the Cat Island Bahamas resorts—Greenwood Beach Resort.
Adventure enthusiasts have an array of thrilling activities at their fingertips, from the adrenaline-fueled rush of kite surfing to exhilarating kayaking expeditions. Crabbing and hiking opportunities abound, tantalizing explorers with the untamed beauty of the land. As dusk turns to dawn, divers descend into the depths, indulging in world-class underwater exploration afforded by this renowned dive center.
Explore the historical landmarks on the island, such as the ruins of Deveaux Plantation and the former slave village of Arthur’s Town.
Deveaux Plantation’s history is as rich as its lush greenery, dating back to the early 18th century when French Huguenot Jacques Deveaux called it home. On a few of the walls, you can see drawings by former slaves. It’s a sobering reminder of our country’s complicated past, but also a chance to learn and reflect.
Guess who built a teeny-tiny medieval getaway on top of the highest peak in the country? That’s right, none other than Monsignor John Hawes! This dude was an architect extraordinaire, known for crafting stunning cathedrals all over the world. But he decided to take a break from the big stuff and treat himself to a mini monastery retreat. And where did he plop it? Mount Alvernia! Standing tall at a whopping 206 feet, this place is not just a mountain, it’s an architectural treasure. So if you’re into epic views and a touch of medieval charm, come check out this hidden gem.
Rake and Scrape Music
Do you know what rake and scrape music is? This is a unique genre of music that originated from Cat Island in the Bahamas. Rake and scrape music is often played using handmade instruments such as saws, goatskin drums, and carpenter saws.
It’s a heartfelt and lively type of music that has been passed down through generations on Cat Island. In earlier times, this music was performed to celebrate events such as weddings and religious ceremonies.
Even though rake and scrape music has evolved over time, it still remains an important cultural aspect of Cat Island. So, be sure to check out a rake and scrape performance and get lost in the rhythmic beats and traditional melodies while visiting Cat Island.
To really feel rejuvenated, you gotta take a dip in the Healing Hole – a natural salt lake that’s said to have healing properties. Located on Cat Island, this little oasis is the perfect place to unwind and recharge. If you’ve ever wanted to float in the Dead Sea but Israel is too far this is the alternative. You will float in the water thanks to the high salt content.
Learning how to line fish while visiting Cat Island is the perfect way to dive headfirst (or headfirst-adjacent, depending on your swimming abilities) into the local culture and get up close and personal with the island’s stunning marine life. It’s so easy to do anyone can be successful fishing here. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of casting your line and waiting in anticipation for that first big tug. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even catch your dinner for the evening. I caught six fish which was basically enough for my entire group’s dinner!
Lastly, you can also visit Ms. Ivy Seymour who makes handmade straw hats at her store Gift Hands Straw Work and Souvenirs. Get a hat here before you head out on a boat!
Where to stay
Cat Island has various accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. You can choose from beachfront villas, resorts, budget-friendly inns, and even camping sites. Some of the popular options include Fernandez Bay Village, Hawk’s Nest Resort & Marina, and Pigeon Cay Beach Club.
Rollezz Beach Villas
I stayed at Rollezz Beach Villas on Cat Island and I highly recommend staying here. These colorful villas are nestled right on the powdery white sand beach, offering stunning views of crystal blue waters and swaying palm trees. But what sets Rollezz apart from other beach resorts? It’s the friendly staff who go out of their way to make you feel like family, the delicious Bahamian cuisine that will make your taste buds dance, and the endless activities to keep you entertained.
Where to Eat on Cat Island
Da Smoke Pot
Da Smoke Pot is a local favorite on Cat Island and is known for its delicious seafood dishes. The restaurant has been in business for over 30 years and serves up some of the freshest seafood you can find in the Bahamas. The menu features classic Bahamian dishes such as conch salad, grilled lobster, and fried fish.
Shannas Cove Resort Restaurant
Shannas Cove Resort Restaurant is a great spot to grab some pizza while visiting Cat Island!
Hidden Treasures is a small, family-run restaurant located on Cat Island in the Bahamas. The menu features an array of local dishes, including conch fritters, cracked conch, and the famous Bahamian stew fish. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with a beautiful view of the beach. The staff is friendly and accommodating, making it one of my favorite places to eat on Cat Island.
Blue Bird Cafe
The Blue Bird Cafe is a cozy spot located near the center of Cat Island. They serve up delicious Caribbean cuisine with a focus on seafood dishes. The atmosphere is laid back and inviting, with live music playing most nights of the week. It’s definitely one of the best places to eat on Cat Island!
The Hot Spot Restaurant
The Hot Spot Restaurant is a popular eatery located near the north end of Cat Island. They specialize in traditional Bahamian fare like conch salad and jerk chicken as well as international dishes like burgers and fries. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere with great views of the ocean from their outdoor seating area. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for some good food on Cat Island!
Mermaids Restaurant is a unique spot that offers up delicious seafood dishes in a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean. The menu features an array of fresh catches such as grouper, snapper, and shrimp served up in various preparations like grilled or fried.
All in all, a trip to Cat Island Bahamas is sure to delight. With its sleepy, lil’ island vibes, protected beaches, and hospitable locals, there has never been a better time to fly the friendly skies and hop on over to paradise. Between hidden coves and crystal blue waters teeming with undersea life, the possibilities for play are endless. And who knows? Maybe you can find an island friend like I did! So don’t wait any longer – start planning your awesome vacation now! Who knows – maybe one day soon you’ll be putting those swimming lessons into practice off Cat Island’s coastline.
Get Travel Insurance
I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! My second favorite site to find flights is Momondo, another great site for finding cheap flights.
Book a Place to Stay
If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.
Rent clothes for your trip with Travel Style Expert for only $50 a month!
Choose Activities and Tours
To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.
When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals.