FROMMER'S GUIDE FOR BERMUDA AND THE BAHAMAS
"Longest of the Abaco Cays, Great Guana, on the east side of the (Abaco) chain, stretches seven miles from tip to tip, lying between Green Turtle Cay and Man-O-War Cay. The cay has a seven-mile-long beach, which some consider unsurpassed in the Bahamas.
The settlement stretches along the beach at the head of the palm-fringed Kidd's Cove, named after the pirate... . The island has about 150 residents, most of them decendents of loyalists who left Virginia and the Carolinas to settle in this remote place, often called 'the last spot of land before Africa'".
Great Guana Cay is also listed in Fodor's under "FODORS CHOICE" for best Bahamas beaches.
Travelers in search of the "Perfect 10" in beaches can end their quest at Guana Cay. In addition to discovering more than 7 miles of "picture perfect" beaches on Guana's Atlantic side, Travelers will find a sparsely inhabited island with two small resorts, a limited number of rental cottages, a modestly stocked grocery store (easily reached from Guana's public dock), several locally operated "discovery shops" and some superb diving just offshore as well as on the nearby cays.
BEACH ENTRY DIVING
Much to the delight of the fortunate Traveler who happens to be on the right beach at the right time, friendly dolphins occasionally "investigate" beach-entry snorkelers and divers as they explore a well developed reef system which starts less than 50 feet from shore [please see pix next page]. Due to the sparse population of Guana, as well as the comparitively small number of Travelers who visit this rather incredible cay, the diving and snorkeling of Guana's eastern shores is among the very best in all the Abacos. Dive trips (and instruction) for first timers as well as seasoned "pro's" can be conveniently arranged by your resort of rental cottage manager
If you scuba dive or snorkel off Guana Cay, the visibility of our turquoise seas will astound you. You can scuba dive or snorkel on a coral reef which rises from a depth of about 40 feet to within inches of the surface. Guana offers extensive dive and snorkel opportunities on one of the world's largest barrier reefs, much of which remains uncharted and unexplored.
THE BARRIER REEF
The Great Abaco Barrier Reef consists of large, branching formations of Elkhorn Coral with medium to large Brain and Star Coral tumbling down the inside of the barrier. The formations are riddled with fissures providing meandering trails and caves as well as isolated Coral Gardens. A few of the more well known sites include: The Blue Hole, Guana Gardens, The Tower, The Catacombs, Grouper Alley, Twin Sisters and Wayne's World.
You don't need a boat to snorkel off Guana Cay. Just off the beach, you will see a cove or bay with shallow water. Begin snorkeling here. If you have children with you, they will love this spot. In water only two feet deep, you and your children will have an opportunity to find a tremendous amount of marine life without ever going to the reef. It's almost certain you'll see massive schools of minnows, sea cucumbers, snappers, baby barracuda, small brightly colored tropical fish, huge puffer fish, ocean trigger fish, southern stingray and occasionally even a dolphin will visit. If you don't mind a walk down the beach, you can find a spot where you'll find the most incredible reef you are ever likely to visit. And it is just a few feet from shore. You may want to take a picnic lunch to take along with you and make a day of it. The walk itself is spectacular - by the time you have walked 5 minutes, you will have passed all the people you are going to see during your walk. It can be a very peaceful, relaxing and romantic walk along this beautiful, secluded beach.
While one can snorkel right off the beach or from your own boat, guided snorkel trips can be arranged starting at $35 per person.
A DO-IT-YOURSELF KIND OF ISLAND
Varying in width from less than 200 feet to a little more than 400 yards, Guana's single settlement has a permanent population of less than 150 souls. There is no "Night Life" as such nor are there "Tourist Attractions" on Guana. The cay's one and only "townlet" is situated on picturesque Kidd's Cove, reputedly frequented by one of The Bahamas' many infamous pirate captains. As is true on many of The Abacos' Cays, the majority of Guana's population are decendents of loyalists who fled America during its Revolutionary War.
A CENTRAL LOCATION
Located in the south-central Abacos on the north side of Man 'O War Cay, Guana has the dubious distinction as the home of one of the first major Abaconian "tourist" invasions (now, thankfully, discontinued!) via "The Big Red Boat" cruiseship and its twice-weekly visits to a "Madison Avenue" version of Treasure Island. Depending on weather conditions and the occasionally trecherous Whale Cay Passage, Guana is easily reached by small boat from Green Turtle Cay on the north (15 nautical miles) to Elbow Cay on the south (8 nautical miles). This long, skinny island is relaxing, refreshing and exciting in its uncomplicated approach to life.
Guana is also distinguished as home to the new Nipper's Beach Bar (pictured at the top of this page), one of the most colorful and best situated dining and drinking establishments in all The Abacos. A new favorite among "locals", the view from Nipper's "dune front" tables and the bar's Sunday Bahamian wild boar roast and bar-b-que should not be missed!
STRANGE NAME ... EXCELLENT ISLAND
This unique island takes its name from 'guana, described in the American Heritage Dictionary as a corruption of the word "Iguana", a rather large and moderately "trendy" lizard currently enjoying a limited degree of acceptance as a pet in some parts of the United States. Fortunately iguanas are a protected species in most civilized parts of the world.