|The Marsh Harbour Interactive Local Map
Restaurants, hotels, yacht charters, boat rentals and just about anything else you might want or need are right here. Please remember, if you're planning to stay directly in Marsh, we have no nearby "postcard" beaches on the Great Abaco mainland. However, within a 5 mile radius, we're surrounded by some of the Abacos' finest deserted islands (and equally deserted beaches) as well as populated islands, dive and snorkel sites, reefs, wrecks and much, much more ... all easily "reachable" in a locally rented boat.
|Welcome to Marsh Harbour|
|A Commercial Center|
|Cottages, Beaches and Transportation Rentals|
|Shopping, Dining ... and "The Stop Light"|
|Grocery Prices and Food Shopping|
|Duty-Free Shoping, Services and "Radio Abaco"|
|Medical Facilities, Clinics and Pharmacies|
|Marine Services, Yachting Facilities and Chartering|
|Fishing, Permits and Catch Limits|
Centrally located on Great Abaco's mainland about 23 miles south (about 18-20 miles "as the crow flies") of Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour is the Bahamas' third largest settlement (approx. 6,000 residents). By far the largest community in The Abacos, Marsh Harbour is the shopping, dining, banking and marine hardware & equipment supply center of The Abacos.
A Commercial Center:
As such, Marsh is truly the commercial "hub" of The Abacos and also boasts the larger of the islands' two international airports. It is also the most crowded and, in relative terms, most congested. Marsh is the Abacos' banking and insurance center, as well as home to more import-export companies than anywhere else in the Out Islands. As of January 2004, Marsh can boast of having three computer equipment sales, service, repair and supply companies, an internet cafe (or two) and some fairly decent broadband connections through Bahamas Cable.
As a further indication of the importance of Marsh Harbour in the overall scheme of all things Abaconian, Marsh supplies electricity to The Abacos' offshore cays and mainland settlements as far north as Green Turtle and as far south as Cherokee Sound.
Marsh offers a fairly wide selection of comfortable and realistically priced tourism accommodations, including the internationally recognized Abaco Beach Resort and (right next door) Abaco-Towns-By-The-Sea. Located within a 5 minute walk from these hotels, you'll find several smaller and less imposing accommodations such as the legendary (and recently renovated) Conch Inn Marina and Hotel (recommended), the very upscale Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina, The Regattas of Abaco - (formewrly called Abacos Towns By The Sea - centrally located luxury rental condominiums), and The Lofty Fig (recommended - a collection of extraordinarily clean, very well air-conditioned bedroom-living room-kitchen suites, complete with screened porches and a central pool and gazebo).
Cottage, Beaches and Transportation Rentals:
Although Marsh has numerous private homes (a surprising number of them are almost mansions), and a residential construction "boomlet" is currently underway, the selection of "affordable" cottage and home rentals is fairly "thin". Additionally, since Marsh has no readily accessible natural beaches, the Abacos' surrounding (and usually deserted) postcard beaches must be reached by boat or car.
If beach-combing is a part of your vacation plans, it would be wise to reserve your island transportation at the same time (if not BEFORE) you reserve your vacation accommodation. Several of the better car and boat rental companies are, on a regular basis, fully booked for 2 to 4 weeks in advance. "Ramblin' Wrecks" (both cars and boats) are almost always available for 10-20 percent less than the newer rentals such as offered by Sea Star Rentals, but their prices usually increase as demand increases, and the quality of a last minute transport rental can sometimes be questionable.
Shopping, Dining ... and "The Stop Light":
Marsh Harbour is a hilly, seaside town crowned by the Disneyesque pillars of Seafoam Castle built by an expatriate and now operated (as of June-1998) as an upscale restaurant and island-style bistro. The town has a relatively large number of fine seafood restaurants, interesting "discovery shops", one of the best resort wear and quality gift shops in all the Abacos (IggyBiggie -- strange name - GREAT store!)), and an excellent "native" arts & crafts gallery and boutiques. Located in the central "Tourism Area" on the harbour-front, Wally's, Mangoe's, Sapodilly's (the very best hamburger in Marsh), and the recently re-opened Conch Crawl Pub provide a wide range of generally excellent food and equally good food service. Dinner prices generally range from $12 to $25 (US) and usually include a choice of several Abaconian and American side dishes and salads.
Marsh Harbour is also the site of the Out Islands' one and only stop light! Even with its rapid growth, Marsh offers a wide variety of pleasures and treasures. It is home to the largest hotel in The Abacos, far more marinas than any other settlement, and more (and larger) grocery and supply outlets than the whole of The Abacos combined.
Food prices in Marsh's stores have dropped considerably over the past few years to the point where (with a few ridiculous exceptions) grocery costs are not much higher than U.S. (10-15%). As of 1-1-99, the grocery prices at Abaco Wholesale (an island version of a US warehouse club) appeared about equal to the US: a gallon of pasteurized-homogenized milk sold for $3.80 US; Tyson chicken legs for $1.19 per pound; Kraft Sharp Cheddar for $1.89 a "brick", with the majority of prices on other foods hovering at about the same relative level. In Sandy Point, fresh cleaned conch right off the boat was selling for $1.75 per pound, one of the lowest prices in years! Veggies are usually good quality, with somewhat smaller selection than the States. Delicious fresh baked bread is available in a wide range of locations. If you're looking to "lightly" stock up,
NOTE: These "US parity prices" are rarely found in the smaller grocery and food stores in other Abaco settlements.
Fish, especially "off the docks", is one of the best food values you'll find. For good selection and value in FRESH iced fish and seafood, contact Kenny Long at Long's Landing (242-367-3079) ... he's right on the waterfront and is almost always open (except Sundays!). Kenny is NOT a Go-Abacos sponsor.
Duty-Free Shopping, Banking, Courier Services and "Radio Abaco":
Marsh is also the site of The Abacos' largest "duty free" shopping options, several "Cuban Cigar" stores (no, you're NOT supposed to bring Cuban cigars back into the United States), several major branches of international banks, the Abacos' only UPS office, the Abacos' ONLY radio station (93.3FM - Radio Abaco with Silbert Mills).
Medical Facilities and Pharmacies:
24-hour medical and dental services are also available at the Marsh Harbour clinic and from various "private practice" doctors. Several well-stocked pharmacies are all within a leisurely walk or a 5 minute taxi ride from the central harbour area as is The Abacos' only "while you wait" film processor.
Marine Services, Yachting Facilities and Chartering:
As host to numerous summertime sailing regattas as well as bluewater sport fishing competitions (including central Abacos' largest), numerous modern marinas, yacht charter (The Moorings has major charter bases in Marsh), dockage and boat repair facilities (including the Bahama Out Islands' Yamaha dealer network).
Marsh occasionally resemble one of Florida's internationally acclaimed boat shows. Marsh Harbour also offers a choice of more electronic, marine, outboard engine and related repair facilities than any other city in The Bahamas except Nassau and Freeport-West End. Certified Yamaha repairs and a huge parts and new equipment inventory are conveniently available at Abaco Outboard Engines, Ltd., on the north end of Marsh Harbour (242)367-2452. For large yacht hauling and repairs (up to 50 tons, 65' LOA and 7' draft), Green Turtle Cay's Abacos Yacht Services is still the "only game in town".
Fishing, Permits and Catch Limits:
Expert fishing guides are widely available for full or half-day excursions - either bluewater or bonefish (both are exceptional in the Marsh area) - and can generally be located through dockmasters or rental boat operators. It is usually not a good idea to ask your accommodations manager for advice on a fishing guide since you're just as likely to receive a recommendation to employ the manager's uncle, son or brother as you are for the services of a truly experienced guide. Bonefishing flats on both the east and west sides of Great Abaco can be easily reached from Marsh Harbour. If you are unfamiliar with the Abacos' fishing license and catch limits, you might want to check Go - Abacos' local Fishing Rules and Regulations.
Since Marsh Harbour is less than 5 miles from Elbow Cay, and just a bit further to Guana and Man 'O War, if you're visiting the southern Abacos you're probably going to travel through Marsh Harbour.
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