The perfect destination for the eco-traveler, and home to the world’s third largest fringing barrier reef. Escape reality and enjoy the natural beauty of Andros.
All the Bahamian islands boast abundant natural attractions. But Andros—the largest, yet most sparsely developed of all The Bahamas—is king when it comes to exceptional natural surroundings. Here, you’ll find the world’s third-largest fringing barrier reef, mesmerizing blue holes that some say are home to the mythical creature Lusca, the Tongue of the Ocean (a mile-deep abyss teeming with vibrant marine life) and numerous species of flora and fauna. If you’re an ecotraveler, kayaker, bird watcher, hiker, snorkeler, diver or fisher, Andros should be your first stop when visiting The Bahamas.
What Makes Andros Unique
Andros Island, at 2,300 square miles, is an archipelago within the Bahamas, the largest of the Bahamian Islands and the fifth-largest island in the Caribbean.
Its miles of deserted beaches and freshwater lakes play host to countless species of wildlife, marine life, flora and fauna. Andros is covered with vast areas of wetlands that create channels perfect for bonefishing. In fact, many consider Andros the Bonefishing Capital of The World. When visitors feel like taking a break from all the adventure, the island offers quaint settlements and secluded beaches known for their local charm and laid-back lifestyle.
Politically considered a single island, Andros in total has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined. The land area of Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamplands, together with three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros.
The three main islands are separated by “bights”, estuaries that trifurcate the island, connecting the island’s east and west coasts. It is 104 miles (167 km) long by 40 miles (64 km) wide, at the widest point.
Discover More About Andros
Andros Island is a great place for a laid-back beach getaway, wedding or honeymoon, but for eco-travelers, kayakers, bird watchers, hikers, snorkelers, divers and fishermen the big island of The Bahamas is the ideal vacation destination.
Andros Island is the Bahamas’ natural wonder. The earth’s third-largest barrier reef (after Australia’s Great Barrier and Central America’s Belize Barrier Reef) lies adjacent to its shores. A mile-deep abyss — walled with coral and filled with whales, dolphin, marlin and all the wondrous reef animals – that’s called the Tongue of the Ocean, licks along Andros’ east coast. Underwater caves riddle the island, surfacing as mesmerizing blue holes that local legends say serve as lairs for the Lucsa, a sea monster that sucks the unwary down into the bottomless blue. Mangrove-lined wetlands cover huge swaths of Andros Bahamas, intercut with endless mazes of channels that open onto bonefish flats and hidden beaches.
Divers and snorkelers find endless fascination along the reef — going deep into the Tongue or exploring among the coral heads along the inside of the barrier reef – and at the openings to the blue holes that are found all over the island, in the middle of forests, out on flats, inside deep channels, near the reefs and amid the stony ancient reef that makes up much of the landscape (the entire 2,300-square-mile island is made of porous limestone laid down by the sea and reef creatures).
Birds find Andros Island an ideal stopover on their yearly migrations when they join such local exotics as ibis, spoonbills, flamingos, hummingbirds, woodstars and the rare Bahama parrot. Bird watchers who flock to the island find their quarry wading along the shore, roosting in the mangroves (where a silent, peaceful approach by kayak ensures close sightings) and hiding amid the coppice.
Fly fishermen set off in small boats with experienced local guides who somehow know their way through the criss-crossed confusion of cuts and channels that split Andros Island into three sections, and find the flats filled with silvery bonefish. For ocean big game fishermen, the Tongue beckons, with big snapper along the deep reef and pelagics like mahi-mahi, tuna, wahoo and marlin out in the blue just a bit further out. Hikers can get a combination natural history tour and cultural lesson by participating in a walk “backabush,” where inland blue holes appear amid the ancient forest and where a local guide will explain all the medicinal uses of the plants – knowledge that’s been handed down for generations.
When Andros Island Bahamas visitors take a break from adventuring, there’s plenty of other things to do on the island, whether it’s picnicking at Morgan’s Bluff, Love Hill beach or Somerset beach, doing a rum shop crawl, or shopping for locally produced Androsian fabrics in Fresh Creek or baskets and wood carvings in Red Bay.
Diving Andros Island
Andros has the highest concentration of Blue Holes in the world. Exposed to the elements over thousands of years, the island’s limestone bedrock eroded creating this vast expanse of underwater cave systems. These caves have been found to house many unusual and unique cave fish and invertebrates, some not found anywhere else in the world. This park protects a large quantity of blue holes, surrounding rich coppice and pristine pineland forests and part of Andros’ extensive fresh-water lens.
Ocean Blue Holes
All the main islands of the Bahamas have blue holes, but those of Andros are some of the best known. Andros has at least 178 on land as well as at least 50 in the sea. Blue holes can best be described as entrances to the intricate cave systems which run underneath the island and sea floor.
Great For Diving
Because the ocean blue holes are connected to those inland they are affected by the tides. The ocean blue holes will “blow” and “suck” making it necessary to dive them at certain times.
The “blow” usually pumps out cold subterranean water which may be milky with hydrogen sulfide and algae or, during the “suck,” the water will be crystal clear as it sucks in the surrounding sea water. These different conditions create very different ways for us to enjoy the blue holes while diving.