A Brief Synopsis
- Fly from the southern US (usually Florida) or Nassau to Marsh Harbour
- Take a taxi to the ferry dock or boat rental company
- Take the ferry or a rented boat to Elbow Cay
- Meet the caretaker and ride to Calypso
- Relax and unwind - the hard part is over!
Most travelers will depart from somewhere in the southern US and fly into Marsh Harbour airport, unless traveling by private boat. Marsh Harbour is the 3rd largest town in the Bahamas and was devastated by hurricane Dorian in 2019. There is not much to see or enjoy as recovery has been extremely slow.
Travel to the Bahamas
American Airlines, Delta, United/Silver, and Bahamasair are the major carriers with flights 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. These options are sometimes worth exploring.
In recent years, seasonal nonstop flights have been offered by Delta from Atlanta and American Airlines from Charlotte. American Airlines has regularly scheduled flights direct from Miami. These flights utilize comfortable regional jets and 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.
Cherokee Air flies small planes once a day between West Palm Beach (departing at 11:30 am) and Marsh Harbour (departing 9:00 am) 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.
- The Abaco Community Message Board is a good way to check on traveler's recent experiences.
- Passengers to Marsh Harbour are given a Bahamas Immigration Card while enroute. 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.
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
If you are not renting a boat in Marsh Harbour, you will take either G and L Ferry or The Ferry at the Crossing from Marsh Harbour to Hope Town. The two ferries available depart from the same area. These 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 to 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.
The Ferry at the Crossing
Leaving Marsh Harbour to Hope Town
6:15 am* | 7:15 am | 9 am | 12 pm | 3:30 pm* | 4:30 pm
Leaving Hope Town to Marsh Harbour
6:45 am* | 8 am | 9:30 am | 12:30 pm | 4 pm* | 5 pm
TImes with * not on Sunday
G and L Ferry
Leaving Marsh Harbour for Hope Town
6:30AM*, 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:30AM, 1:00PM, 2:00PM*, 3:30PM, 4:30 5:45PM*
Leaving Hope Town for Marsh Harbour
7:00AM*, 8:00AM, 9:45AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM, 3:00PM*, 4:00PM, 5:00PM, 6:30PM*
Times with * not on Sunday.
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.