Long Island is an island in the Bahamas that is split by the Tropic of Cancer. Its capital is Clarence Town. Long Island is one of the Districts of the Bahamas and is known as the most scenic island in the Bahamas.
It is easy to figure out how Long Island got it’s name. It is 80 miles long, but only about four miles across at it’s widest point.
There are amazing and contrasting coasts on both sides of the island. On the west coast, the shallow seas stretch toward Cuba. The calm, shallow banks dotted with coral heads and small islets go on and on, as far as the eye can see.
There are also flats on the west side that are perfect for bonefishing and aquatic mangrove nurseries.
On the east coast, the ocean reaches endlessly toward Africa! You will see crashing surf, boats sailing and fishing offshore, and underneath are awesome coral formations and drop offs that are just perfect for viewing aquatic wildlife.
The road that runs almost the entire length of the island provides glimpses occasionally of the lower, flatter western water’s edge. However, in order to see the Eastern shore, you often must drive uphill.
The hilltops reward you with glorious views of both coasts. To give you an idea of how far south this island is, the Tropic of Cancer runs right through it’s Northern end.
There are roughly 4,000 inhabitants. The local community is a friendly and gifted population of farmers, boat builders, fishermen, sailors, and small business owners.
There is also a great community of winter residents.. Interesting people of different nationalities and from all walks of life have come together on Long Island to live the good life. Every single person we met there was helpful and having a good time! Watch the video below to see what I love about Long Island.
Long Island is about 130 kilometers long and 6 km wide at its widest point. The land area is 596 km². Long Island is situated about 265 km southeast of the Bahamian capital of Nassau, which is located on the island of New Providence. The Tropic of Cancer runs through the northern quarter of the island. The northeast side of Long Island is noted for its steep rocky headlands, while the southwest coast is noted for its broad white beaches with soft sand. The terrain ranges widely throughout the island, including white flat expanses from which salt is extracted, swamplands, beaches, and sloping (in the north) and low (in the south) hills. Long Island is particularly noted for its caves, which have played a major role in the island’s history. Dean’s Blue Hole, located west of Clarence Town, is the world’s deepest underwater sinkhole, dropping to a depth of about 200 meters, making it more than double the depth of most other large holes. Long Island is surrounded by small bays and inlets, including the large New Found Harbor west of Deadman’s Cay, at approximately the midsection of the island. There are also smaller islands off-shore, including Sandy Cay.
The island was originally called by the Arawak name “Yuma.” It was rechristened “Fernandina” by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage in 1492, during which Long Island is believed to have been his third stop, following San Salvador and Rum Cay to the east. Archaeological evidence, including ceremonial stools called duhos, shows that the LucayanTaíno tribe settled on Long Island, probably in the island’s cave system. After the demise of the Lucayans, who were carried as slaves to Hispaniola and Cuba, there was no large settlement until the arrival of the Loyalists. The original Loyalists were mainly from New England and New Jersey and arrived on Long Island after fleeing the American Revolution. These families started the first farms, primarily raising cattle and sheep. By the 1790s, settlers began to arrive from the Carolinas and proceeded to set up cotton plantations. The plantations flourished for only a few years and, by the time of the abolition of slavery in 1834, most had collapsed and been abandoned. There are many ruins from this era today, the majority of which are overgrown by bush. There are also remains of some of the houses built after slavery, which are usually small and built of stone. Originally, they had thatched roofs; today, most are shingled. The descendants of these families continue to be widespread on the island.
Clarence Town, located in the south-central portion of the island, has a population of approximately 350 people. Nearby Deadman’s Cay is the major settlement at the center of the island and is home to Deadman’s Cay Airport, which offers several flights each week to Nassau and is the island’s largest and busiest airport. Mangrove Beach is the home of the island’s boat-building trade, while Hamilton’s is noted for its extensive cave system that is partially open for tours. Salt Pond is home of the Long Island Regatta, an annual event that draws tourists from around the world. Stella Maris, at the northern part of the island, is the center of the island’s tourism industry and features several resorts. Buckley’s is home to Nelson Granville MacFarlane Major High School, which frequently has the highest Bahamian GCSE scores among the nation’s public schools, as well as the Long Island Library and Museum. Other settlements include Hamilton’s, Scrub Hill, Simms, and Burnt Ground. Most of the island’s settlements are named after the families that first settled them. As a result, many (but not all) are named in the possessive form. The settlement of the Gray family, for example, is known as Gray’s. One main road, originally designed for carriages, runs from Cape Santa Maria, at the northern tip of Long Island, to the southern tip at Gordon’s. Transport on Long Island is road-based, with limited taxi service available, particularly from Stella Maris to Deadman’s Cay and Clarence Town.
Economy and tourism
Part of the economy is based on tourism and farming, but fishing dominates. The inhabitants grow peas, corn, bananas, and they raise small livestock such as pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. Some cattle are raised for export. Due to the generally inhospitable soil of the Bahamas, much of the farming done on Long Island is in the pot-hole style, which involves planting in fertile holes in the limestone where good top soil collects. This method of farming contributes to the success of Long Island farmers, who are usually able to generate enough excess produce to sell their fruits and vegetables throughout the Bahamas.
Tourist opportunities include sailing, fishing, scuba diving, freediving, snorkeling and relaxing on beaches. Cape Santa Maria Beach, located at Stella Maris, is frequently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In recent years, competitive freedivers have sought out Dean’s Blue Hole as a unique dive site, hosting both world records (most notably by New Zealander William Trubridge) and one world championship (in 2009). Most tourists charter an airplane or take a commercial flight from Exuma International Airport at George Town, Exuma or Nassau. International flights offered by Locair mark the first return of regular international flights in over ten years. Discover history, walk pink and white sand beaches and dive the blue holes of Long Island, in the Bahamas Out Islands. Home to one of the oldest dive operations in the Bahamas, Long island has numerous shallow and deep dive sites.
The western shoreline of the 80-mile long island has soft sandy beaches capped with rich green mangroves. With the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Long Island is a haven for fishing, sailing, and yachting in The Bahamas Out Islands. A towering spine of ancient reef gives 80-mile Long Island, Bahamas, two faces: the dramatic cliffs and caves of the east coast that front the crashing Atlantic waves, and the soft, sandy edged lee side which slides calmly into the Bahamas Bank. Shark diving, vast schools of fish around towering coral bommies, and the spectacular wall of nearby Conception Island (a national park) are serious draws for scuba diving enthusiasts, while the angling for both bonefish and big pelagics is enough to keep any fisherman thrilled. Cape Santa Maria Beach has been recognized by beach lovers and travel writers alike as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Long Island, Bahamas, is also home to Columbus Point.
This towering memorial to Christopher Columbus is perched high on a hill at the island’s northern most tip where visitors can experience outstanding oceanic views. You’ll find sloping hills in the northeast, while low hillsides make up the southern portion of the island. It’s the drastically contrasting landscape that makes so many people say that Long Island is one of the most picturesque islands in the Bahamas. The island beckons visitors for world-class bonefishing and thrilling encounters with sea life, where divers and snorkelers explore gardens, caves, and old plantation ruins. But Long Island, Bahamas, also is a quiet island dotted with quaint, friendly villages and miles of uninterrupted beaches that offer soft pink sand changing to yellow-white. And along the way, sea shells and plenty of them.