Unspoiled Tropical Oasis
An authentic Bahamian experience, one of the best kept secrets of The Bahamas. Rum Cay’s turquoise waters and pure sand beaches will surely steal your heart away. Known as a “sleeping beauty” because it’s considered one of the best-kept secrets in The Bahamas southern region, Rum Cay is recognized for its historical ruins, vivid coral reefs, miles of pure sand beaches and thrilling surf. Just offshore in the crystal-clear turquoise waters is an abundance of vibrant marine life that attracts fishermen, divers and snorkelers from all around. Rum Cay truly is an authentic Bahamian experience.
What Makes Rum Cay Unique
Rum Cay, San Salvador’s smaller and more sparsely populated sister island, is located 20 miles southwest of San Salvador. It is a relatively flat island with a few rolling hills, the highest of which reaches an altitude of about 120 feet. Originally named Santa Maria de la Conception by Columbus, the present moniker of Rum Cay is said to be in memory of a wreck destroyed with a cargo of rum which foundered off the coral reefs which abound the island’s shore.
In the early days, Rum Cay was home to Arawak Indians. But by the start of the 16th century, after the arrival of Christopher Columbus, a majority of the Indians had left the island. Evidence, such as cave drawings, bowls and utensils, suggest that a small group of them lived in Hartford Cave before departing.
As with other islands, Rum Cay has seen a series of economic peaks – pineapple, cotton, salt and sisal have all been important industries. However, competition and natural disasters destroyed them. Tourism is now the main source of employment and draws divers, fishermen, and snorkelers to the island’s sparkling clear blue water and numerous colorful reefs. As such, additional sources of employment include reaping bounty from the sea.
By 1901, Rum Cay had five distinct settlements, with a majority of residents calling Port Nelson home. Port Nelson, the main settlement where cottages can be rented, is the only inhabited town today, with less than 100 persons. Settlements such as Port Boyd, Black Rock and Gin Hill are now deserted and overgrown.
The street signs in Port Nelson are made in the shape of the island, the only place in The Bahamas where you will see that. The Bahamas’ first Governor General, Sir Milo Butler, was born on the island and is remembered by the town square named for him.
The few island residents warmly welcome all visitors during chance encounters and while socializing in their quaint restaurants and bars.
Discover Rum Cay
Christopher Columbus’ 2nd Stop
Originally called “Mamana” by the original inhabitants, Rum Cay was renamed “Santa Maria de la Concepción” by Christopher Columbus, who made his second stop here during his voyage to the New World in 1492.
Rolling hills, stunning coral reefs, miles of pure sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, exhilarating surf on the north coast—all of these combine to make the island unique and stand out from its sisters with its multiplicity of offerings.
Two Theories. One Name.
Two stories abound regarding the origin of the island’s name—one says that a West Indian ship wrecked with a cargo of rum during the rum-running 1800s; the other that it was named in honor of the Isle of Rhum in Scotland.
Weddings on Rum Cay
Rum Cay has a very laid-back and rustic atmosphere and much happens here on the fly. It is not the norm to make any wedding plans before arrival, so this locale is definitely for adventurous persons who are not afraid to wing it. Upon arrival, the first order of business would be to make arrangements with the priest for the ceremony and when that’s confirmed, there are a few ladies in the community who would be willing to assist with your decorations, cake and whatever food and refreshments you want. And if you need a bridal party or guests to help celebrate your nuptials, persons in that small community would gladly fill in.