Before I was Castaway Crystal, before I knew RumShopRyan, I had a longing for Cat Island. I discovered Cat Island’s existence during a trip to Nassau. As I was taking a picture under one of the touristy signs, there was a little sign that said “Cat Island 116 miles.” And boom, just like that, I knew I had to go – simply because of the name. Silly, I know. But this cat loving beach girl is full of the silly.
You should know that the name really has nothing to do with adorable fury felines. It was named after Pirate Arthur (William) Catt. Legend has it, he frequented the island to bury his treasures. Sadly, we didn’t find any.
Five years later from when I first knew about this intriguing island – after one hellish attempt (you can read about that nightmare here and here) and cancelled flights (thanks Silver Airways), my wonderful husband made sure my dream came true – he finally got me to Cat Island.
Now that I’ve been to this beautiful, pristine rock, here is a list of my top five things to do while you’re there.
1. The Hermitage
It’s only fitting that I put The Hermitage at the top of the list since this breathtaking structure rests on the highest point of the Bahamas (206ft. above sea level). The Hermitage is a small monastery built in 1939 by Father Jerome – a well known priest who built churches throughout the Bahamas. This spot was his sanctuary when he wanted to get away from it all. Once up there, you’ll agree that he couldn’t have picked a better place to find tranquility. When you’re high above the trees, you get a spectacular 360 degree view of the island. We enjoyed it so much, we visited twice during our trip. I have to say, around sunset is the best time to go.
2. Da Pink Chicken
You absolutely cannot go to Cat Island without having a drink (or two, or three) at Da Pink Chicken. It’s the ultimate island beach bar where visitors from long ago let you know they were there by leaving their mark all over the walls (let us know if you see ours).
The bar is located on the south side of the island in Bain Town. Once you turn off the main road, the isolated dirt road may seem a little sketch, but don’t worry. Just follow the pink arrows and you’ll soon run into the quirky concrete shack. From 2pm to 6pm (closed on Mondays), Dean and Patti will be ready to serve you up a couple of cold Kaliks and fresh conch salad – the best on the island. Also, if you’re in need of wi-fi, they’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax and enjoy. And as they say, it’s “a good place to do nothin.'”
3. Fish Fry
The fish fry is where locals and visitors alike come to enjoy fresh Bahamian food, great conversations and maybe even a little rake and scrape – the native music of the Bahamas. This was actually the only place where I did see cats on Cat Island.
The fish fry is in New Bight, not far from The Hermitage. This is one of the reasons why we stayed in New Bight (You can read about where we stayed here, Fountain Bay Resort) – most of the attractions we wanted to see were there. We chatted it up with some locals and had a few drinks at the Sunshine Shack the first day we arrived on island. A few nights later we went back and had dinner next door at Hidden Treasures. Hidden Treasures has a few tables on the beach where you can enjoy your meal while listening to the waves in the background. Ahhh, paradise.
4. Lunch at Shannas Cove
It’s a bit of a drive from New Bight, an hour and a half to be exact but it’s so worth it. The good thing is, driving north is a beautiful, scenic route right on the water.
Shannas Cove is a resort that sits at the very tip of the north side of the island in North Bain Town. We were informed that this place had the best pizza on the island (actually the only pizza on the island) and we were not disappointed. I never thought I’d eat a shrimp and pineapple pizza but let me tell you, it was AHHHHMAZING. The view at the top of the restaurant is one you don’t want to miss either. So grab a couple of roadies (It’s allowed here) buckle up and start driving north for some of the best grub on the island.
5. Experience The Real Bahamas
Cat Island is one of the many Out Islands or Family Islands as they also call them. These islands are the authentic Bahamian islands – meaning no giant resorts or spoiled land with touristy, commercial property on every corner. Cat Island is small in population (around 1200 residence) and big in natural beauty. Nature is left as it should be here – untouched.
Islands like Cat are the destinations where you can unplug and truly get away from it all. Along with its pristine beaches (that you’ll most likely have to yourself) and rolling hills in the background, this island is full of history, culture and folklore. Ruins from early settlers still stand throughout the island. The unique landscape will keep you in a state of awe.
If you haven’t ventured passed Nassau or Grand Bahama, I highly recommend that you give islands like Cat a visit. It’s where you’ll experience the islands and the people in their truest form.
Here’s a little list of spots we missed but you might like to see for yourself. Keep in mind there is so much more to explore, but this is a good start for your Cat Island itinerary.
- Sea Glass Beach – North tip of the island – Flamingo Point
- Deveaux House Ruins – South side of the island – Port Howe
- The Healing Hole – Close to Greenwood Beach Resort.
- Greenwood Beach Resort – This is where you’ll find beaches covered in pink sand.
I hope this introduction to Cat Island has made you want to buy a ticket and pack your bags right meow (I can’t help myself). The Bahamas are looking forward to your visit.
Never Stop Exploring