Getting to Calypso
A Brief Synopsis
Fly from Florida (or sometimes Nassau) to Marsh Harbour
Take a taxi to the ferry dock or boat rental company
Take the ferry or rented boat to Elbow Cay
Meet the caretaker and ride to Calypso
Relax and unwind
Unless arriving by private boat, all travelers to Elbow Cay will land at the Marsh Harbour international airport, and most all will depart
from somewhere in Florida. The beautiful new commercial terminal is a welcome improvement over the old worn out and undersized terminal. Marsh Harbour is the third largest Bahamian city and a hub of commercial activity for the area. There are several resorts, restaurants, and shops, but most of the fun is on Elbow Cay! Travelers arriving by private aircraft can click here for pertinent information.
- Enterprising travelers that are stranded by one of the larger carriers should consider chartering a plane and sharing the expense with fellow stranded travelers.
- The Abaco Community Message Board is a good way to check on traveler's recent experiences.
- Passengers to Marsh Harbour are usually given a Bahamas Immigration Card while en route. Completing it prior to arrival helps all passengers get through customs quickly. Customs agents are also much friendlier if you have your card completed and don't ask to borrow their pen!
- Clearing customs, especially when there are lots of people, can take a while and force you to take a later ferry. Sitting in the front of the plane to be among the first off can put you at the front of the customs and taxi lines.
- ALWAYS take a carry-on bag with enough clothing and essential items to survive comfortably for several days if your checked bag is delayed or lost.
- All air carriers require a current passport to board flights to the Bahamas, and US Customs will also require one for re-entry into the US.
Travel from Florida
There are many large carriers flying to southern Florida. The airport identifiers are:
- Orlando = MCO
- Ft. Lauderdale = FLL
- West Palm Beach = PBI
- Daytona Beach = DAB
- Miami = MIA
- Marsh Harbour = MHH
- Freeport = FPO
- Nassau = NAS
New - nonstop from Atlanta and Charlotte
Delta now has nonstop flights between Atlanta and Marsh Harbour, and American Airlines has nonstop flights between Charlotte and Marsh Harbour. Flights from these major hubs in comfortable regional jets are the quickest and easiest way to get to the Abacos.
An alternative, which is also sometimes less expensive, would be traveling to Florida on one of the low cost carriers such as JetBlue or Southwest, and then use one of the smaller carriers or charter companies outlined below to get to Marsh Harbour.
Travel to the Bahamas
American Airlines, United/Silver, and Bahamasair are the major carriers with flights from Florida to Marsh Harbour, and are the ones most likely to show up if searching for flights on the internet. Many major US cities have direct flights to Nassau and Freeport, from where flights to Marsh Harbour can be obtained on smaller carriers, and these options are often worth exploring.
Cherokee Air flies small planes once a day between West Palm Beach (departing at 11:30am) and Marsh Harbour (departing 9:00am) from the private aircraft terminals. They are timely, casual, friendly, and accommodating. There are no lines for boarding, security, customs, and immigration. One can catch the 8:00 am ferry from Hope Town to Marsh Harbour and easily make their 9:00 am flight to PBI. As of fall 2015, the round trip rate is $568/person. If 5 round trips are purchased the rate is $410/person. Purchasing 10 round trips reduces the rate to $353/person.
The following listing of air carriers and charter companies that fly to/from Marsh Harbour was taken from the Visitors Guide of the area newspaper, The Abaconian. The smaller carriers and charter companies are in a constant state of flux, so this information is not always current.
Bahamasair - Nassau, W. Palm Beach, Ft. Laud - 242-367-2095
Delta - Atlanta - 800-241-4141
Craig Air - Jacksonville 877-893-4619
Flamingo Air - Freeport 351-4963
iJet Charters - Ft. Lauderdale, New York - 954-318-3327
Airport to Ferry Dock - Taxi
Taxis are readily available just outside the customs exit, and will take your party to the ferry dock, or the boat rental office if you are renting in Marsh Harbour. If you have time, the taxi will wait while you stop in the liquor store or grocery store. These stores have better selections than those in Hope Town.
Marsh Harbour to Elbow Cay - by ferry or rental boat
If you are not renting a boat in Marsh Harbour, you will take the Albury Ferry, the principle means of inter-island transport, and one of the few services in the Bahamas to actually operate on a dependable schedule! At the ferry dock, grab a cart and take your bags to the boat, or allow one of the several helpers assist. Be sure to ask the ferry captain to call on his VHF radio to inform the caretaker of your arrival. Enjoy the ride, and let that internal clock start to slow down to a Bahamas pace. When arriving at the dock, be prepared to unload your own bags, and to assist others. Everyone pitches in.
Albury Ferry Schedule
Leaving Marsh Harbour for Hope Town from Albury Ferry Dock
7:15AM, 9:00 AM,10:30AM,12:15PM**, 2:00PM, 4:00PM, 5:45PM Daily
Leaving Hope Town for Marsh Harbour Albury Ferry Dock
8:00AM, 9:45AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM**, 3:00PM, 4:00PM, 5:00PM, 6:30PM Daily
** Unavailable August - October
On Elbow Cay
The caretaker will meet you at the dock (usually the Harbour Lodge dock) and transport people and bags to the house. For information on getting around on Elbow Cay, see Getting Around.