Japan’s Purr-adise. The Secrets of Cat Island Revealed


Cat Island is located in the central Bahamas, approximately 150 miles southeast of Florida. With an area of 48 square miles, it is one of the country’s larger islands. Cat Island was named after Arthur Catt, a 17th century pirate and one-time governor of the Bahamas. It was originally called San Salvador by Christopher Columbus when he first landed in the New World in 1492. Today, Cat Island retains a remote feel and is known for its pink sand beaches, fertile fishing grounds, and natural beauty.

Natural Beauty

Cat Island is known for its stunning natural scenery, with miles of pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. The beaches are edged by lush green vegetation, creating a striking contrast between the colors. Many of the beaches are secluded and untouched, offering a sense of remote isolation.

Hawknest Beach on the northern end of the island is often named one of the most beautiful in the Bahamas, with its pink-tinted sand. The sand gets its pinkish hue from bits of coral mixed in, making for incredible photo opportunities. To the south, there are long stretches of windswept beaches like Alligator Point and Bennett’s Beach that seem to go on forever. The rocky Armbrister Creek area has small sheltered coves for swimming and snorkeling.

Inland, there are freshwater lakes and dense forests to explore. Altogether the island’s diverse natural landscape is perfect for those looking to explore the island’s natural beauty through beachcombing, kayaking, birdwatching and more.

Outdoor Activities

Cat Island offers a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy during your visit, especially popular water sports. The island’s calm turquoise waters and abundant marine life make it a prime destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are several notable snorkeling spots around the island such as Devil’s Point and Fernandez Bay that allow you to spot tropical fish, stingrays, sea turtles and more while exploring the coral reefs.

For scuba enthusiasts, diving Cat Island provides the opportunity to discover submerged wrecks, swim through underwater caves, and observe sharks, eels, and octopi up close. Top dive sites include the Blue Hole Ocean Cave and the mysterious Mermaid Reef. Most hotels can arrange scuba trips, or you can book a charter with companies like Hawk’s Nest Dive Center.

The island’s shores and surrounding waters also offer prime sport fishing. Visitors can try catching snapper, grouper, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and the massive Atlantic blue marlin. Hot spots include Fernandez Bay and Devil’s Point. Many local guides offer full and half day fishing charters.

In addition to water activities, Cat Island has excellent hiking trails for exploring inland. The trails wind through wetlands, pine forests, and limestone caves. Mount Alvernia, the highest point in the Bahamas, provides panoramic views from its 206 foot summit after a steep climb. Guides like those from Fernandez Bay Village lead informative hiking tours explaining the island’s ecosystem and history.

Wildlife Viewing

Cat Island is home to a diverse array of wildlife that draws many visitors to the island. Birders in particular flock to Cat Island to catch sight of the island’s 200+ recorded bird species, including flamingos, Bahama ducks, white-tailed tropicbirds, and Audubon’s shearwaters (Cat Island, Bahamas). Several globally threatened species can be spotted on Cat Island, such as the magnificent frigatebird and piping plover.

Reptile enthusiasts can hope to see the endangered San Salvador rock iguana and other lizards like the rainbow lizard and curly tailed lizard. The islands even have a small population of boa constrictors. Cat Island is also home to hutia, a rodent once thought extinct until rediscovered on several Bahamian islands (Cat Island Check List).

With diverse habitats including wetlands, beaches, coastal shrublands and more, Cat Island provides the perfect refuge for an array of unique Bahamian wildlife.


One of the main reasons people visit Cat Island is for its seclusion and lack of crowds. With a population of only around 1,500 people, Cat Island offers a peaceful escape from the hordes of tourists that flock to more popular Bahamian islands like Nassau or Grand Bahama [1]. You won’t find big resorts or cruise ships here – instead you’ll discover miles of deserted beaches, quiet coastal villages, and a slower pace of life. As [2] notes, Cat Island’s secluded coves and beaches allow visitors to completely unwind and detach from the stresses of everyday life. Spend your days beachcombing, snorkeling, or exploring historical sites without having to share the experience with anyone else. With so few people, you can enjoy true solitude. Cat Island offers the perfect antithesis to the crowded all-inclusive resorts found elsewhere in the Bahamas.

[1] https://www.oyster.com/articles/guide-to-most-secluded-bahamas-island-cat-island/
[2] https://www.thetravel.com/how-to-visit-cat-island-in-the-bahamas/

Experience the Rich Local Culture of Cat Island

Despite being one of the more remote islands in the Bahamas, Cat Island has a vibrant local culture deeply rooted in tradition. The island’s small villages provide a window into traditional Bahamian life that has remained largely unchanged for generations.

In the fishing village of Old Bight, for example, three generations of women have lived a traditional Bahamian lifestyle, treating common ailments with natural remedies and passing down generations-old recipes (https://www.bahamas.com/experiences/bahamian-traditions-cat-island).

Local Bahamian cuisine on Cat Island highlights fresh seafood, tropical fruits and vegetables, and traditional dishes like peas ‘n rice, mac ‘n cheese, and conch fritters. Trying authentic home-cooked meals at local restaurants and roadside shacks offers a delicious taste of island life.

The islanders proudly carry on customs like storytelling, bush medicine, basket weaving, and traditional music and dance. Visiting the small settlements allows you to experience their hospitality and learn about Cat Island’s unique heritage firsthand.

Historical Sites

Cat Island has a number of interesting historical sites that provide a window into the island’s past. One of the most notable is Mt. Alvernia Hermitage, a monastery built by Father Jerome in 1939. It sits on the highest point in the Bahamas at 206 feet above sea level. Mt. Alvernia offers sweeping views of the ocean and surrounding islands. Visitors can explore the Stations of the Cross that lead up to the Hermitage and see the hand-carved wooden figures that Father Jerome created.

Another significant historical site is Columbus Point at the north end of Cat Island. It was named after Christopher Columbus, who first arrived at the island in 1492. Today there is a monument marking the spot where Columbus likely first stepped ashore in the New World. Columbus Point provides panoramic views and an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling.

Old Bain Town, on the southern end of the island, offers a glimpse into the past through its historic stone ruins and foundations. It was once a bustling port town and home to wealthy loyalists. But after the American Revolution, the town was abandoned. Visitors can still see the remnants of old homes, churches, and businesses.


Cat Island offers a variety of accommodation options for visitors including hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals. Some of the most popular hotels on Cat Island include Rollezz Villas Beach Resort, Pigeon Cay Beach Club, and Fernandez Bay Village which offer beachfront rooms and villas.

For all-inclusive resorts, visitors can stay at Shannas Cove Resort which has its own private beach and on-site dining. Smaller boutique resorts like Greenwood Beach Resort offer a more secluded island experience.

Vacation rentals are also popular on Cat Island, with beach houses, apartments, and villas available to rent. Many are located right on the beach, providing easy access for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing in the sand.

Getting There

Visitors looking to travel to Cat Island have a few options for transportation. Regular flights from Fort Lauderdale and Nassau provide the fastest and most direct route. According to Flights to Cat Island – Four Flights a Week, Makers Air operates 4 flights per week between Fort Lauderdale and New Bight Airport on Cat Island. Flights take approximately 1 hour.

For a lower cost option, visitors can take a ferry from Nassau. The ferry ride takes 4-5 hours each way. Ferry schedules vary so it’s important to plan ahead when traveling this way. Ferries dock at Arthur’s Town, so visitors will need to arrange ground transportation from there to other parts of the island.

Driving is not an option as there are no bridges connecting Cat Island to other Bahamian islands. Boaters can sail or motor to Cat Island by private vessel if desired.


Cat Island is truly one of a kind. From its natural beauty to its remote location, the island offers visitors an experience like no other. For anyone seeking a peaceful escape in a beautiful and relaxed environment, Cat Island is an ideal choice.

Throughout this article, we covered many of the top reasons why people visit this unique Bahamian island. Cat Island’s magnificent beaches, lush greenery, and abundance of wildlife draw nature lovers from around the world. The island provides endless opportunities for swimming, diving, boating, and fishing. Outdoorsy travelers appreciate the secluded trails and stunning landscapes perfect for hiking and birdwatching.

Cultural enthusiasts are drawn to Cat Island for its rich history and local heritage. The age-old traditions of the islanders along with historic churches, buildings and monuments offer a glimpse into the past. Those looking to disconnect from the fast pace of modern life are lured by the remoteness and tranquility of Cat Island. With few crowds and modern amenities, it’s a perfect spot to relax and focus on life’s simple pleasures.

If you’re considering a true island getaway, Cat Island should be at the top of your list. Its natural beauty, seclusion, and local culture make it a one-of-a-kind destination for adventure, serenity, and exploration.

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