Great Guana Cay
Great Guana Cayis the first island you come to south of the Whale Cay Passage. The reef strewn ocean beaches that line its 5.5 mile of coast are reputedly the most beautiful in all the Abacos. The white sand beach is bathed in waters of every shade of blue, aqua marine and turquoise.
At its northwestern point is Bakers Bay, a lovely crescent mile long beach. Disney used to use Bakers Bay as their "out island" and tendered guests ashore or to New Plymouth. Sea conditions at Whale Cay often made mooring treacherous and Disney eventually pulled out. Disney still has their island in the the Abacos, although it's nowhere near the cays and more importantly has no impact on this region. Then in 2006, a major resort was started. Its simply called The Bakers Bay Club. It was to consist of a golf course, 200 plus slip marina and hundred plus condos on the property. I, like many of the islanders worried that this mega-undertaking will kill the fragile environment of Guana Cay who's reefs are world renowned. It became a classic battle of jobs versus the environment with the aid of a corrupt Nat'l Government. Today the marina is complete as is the golf course, restaurant and sales office. Rental condos are upwards of $2,000 a night for the Celebs (Jennifer Lawrence spring 2016) that often play here protected from the paparazzi by an over zealous cadre of private police. Tread lightly if you go and are not invited. Unless one rents a boat for the purpose of visiting the BBC it is more or less isolated from the rest of Guana Cay.
Guana Cay's picturesque small settlement lies three miles south of Bakers Bay with, as mentioned, limited accessibility between the two. (Map). It follows the harbour side road where you'll find a couple souvenir shops, food store and liquor store. The settlement here makes one feel you are really on an "Out Island" unless you are caught in the foot traffic headed to Nippers along the road. Along the way you will no doubt pass Milo's produce stand which has been at the same location for generations. Be sure to say hi on your walk. Furthure along you'll also notice the remains of the old fig tree surrounded by benches, the settlements version of the "town square" where local folks gather to chat and play dominos. Midway on front street between Grabbers and Nippers is Kidd's Cove Bar and Seafood Restaurant making for a perfect pit stop when bar hopping on the island. Spotted at Kidd's recently was Kenny Chesney who often uses Abaco as the environs for his music videos.
The settlement adjoins the Great Guana Resort property whose main building burnt down, and which was the premier resort on the island. The Guana Beach Resort which was the grand daddy of all resorts on Guana, was for all practical purposes, destroyed by Floyd and Fire. Despite that fact, their Sunset Bar at pool side was resurrected from the debris and is now called Grabbers, Light food is served and naturally the "Guana Grabber" the drink of choice. The original motel type cottages that remained have been renovated plus an additional five condo/apartments in place of the old hotel. All are available for rent. Grabbers is a popular spot especially with the cruising folks who anchor just off its beach in Fishers Bay.
It has been just over a decade since the opening of Nippers, now one of the hottest spots in all of the Cays (Video). It is a trendsetting place that lives up to its reputation and one of a few places that stays open in early fall. Often you find Johnny Nipper himself bar tending. (see food & drinks). It's on a bluff overlooking their snorkeling beach and ocean - Spectacular. It really packs them in. You can also dine in style at "Overso", Nippers new enclosed air conditioned restaurant. Chef Debbie also includes many state side favorites in her menu of local fare.
For those not staying on Guana, access to Nippers is only by boat or ferry from Marsh Harbour. Every Sunday they serve a Hawaiian style pig roast which attracts folks and yachtsmen from all over the cays. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis. It's generally very crowded. The Barefoot Man, who's CD's are in every gift shop and hotel, makes a couple annual appearance here (Video). At one time, Nippers had its own webcam focused on their beautiful beach below. A storm knocked it out years back and it's never been replaced. If anyone should have a webcam, it's Nippers. When you stop by, bug them about that. (Abaco Webcams.)
Across from the settlement at the harbours edge, youl'll see the Orchid Bay Resort. It's a resort, marina and restaurant with sales office. You cant miss their a large stone jetty protecting its marina and harbour. Orchid Bay has been off again - on again the last couple years caught in the economic downturn. That includes their marina too. Sometimes open sometimes closed. But we hear tell their restaurant & bar is open 2016. (Video)
As for home and villa rentals on Guana, they are numerous. Some are quite a trek from the settlement on this 5.5 mile long island. One rental, self described, "Our cottage is right in the settlement and I find it a lot of fun to hang out on our deck and meet new friends and see old ones", and that be Rick & Tina's Beach Walk Cottage. Also close to everything is Elaine and Mickey Hashem's lovely house with studio apartment. It’s on the south side of the settlement right on the water with unsurpassed view of the sea of Abaco. You can rent one or both. Info is here Abaco Sea Fan & Sea Biscuit. For a rental agency you might want to check out Guana Luxury Villas. For more Guana homes for rent, go to Sandy's Quick Links to Accommodations & Services.
On Guana Cay you'll find another of Abaco's premiere dive shops, Dive Guana. Even if your not staying on the cay, the proprietor Troy will come pick your group up. Diving equipment may also be rented along with boats & golf carts. Troy also offers excursions to events elsewhere. Just stop by and ask. It's located in Settlement Harbor, right on front street.