TOLL FREE USA\CANADA
Getting to Andros Island, The Bahamas is very easy!
We may be slightly off the beaten path, but that's a big
part of our appeal. Even though we're not in the center of a big tourist hub (thankfully!) we're really quite accessible.
(more info on getting to Andros)
As the fifth largest land mass in the Caribbean/tropical Atlantic--most of it unexplored--and home of the third longest reef system in the world, Andros offers a remarkable natural environment. Its complex ecology is relatively pristine even though it sits in the back yard of one of the most developed nations on earth. The variety of eco-systems is astonishing. To the north, soft tropical sands sweep back into surprising sweet smelling pine forests. In the center of the island, thick low-lying bush opens to inland waterways and tidal flats. Along the eastern shore, coral rock splits open to underground rivers, while the western shoreline eases out into the Great Bahama Bank. Everywhere, mangrove marshlands feed a pristine reef.
Andros is very old--and not volcanic in origin, but built of coral limestone, layer upon layer. Most of the island lies underwater. Dive deep enough along Andros' walls and you will find ancient beaches, ghostly white remnants of the last ice age, or perhaps the one before that. Underwater caves are filled with stalactites and stalagmites, attesting to the time when water barely dripped from ceilings. Taino Indians (The Lukka-Kairi or Lucayans), who were here long before Columbus and then only for about 50 more years after that, buried their dead in some of these caves.
For over four decades, Small Hope Bay Lodge has had the privilege of exploring and enjoying the bounties of this delicate ecosystem, and sharing it with others. We try to do what we do with conscience and consciously.
(see Our Philosophy about Ecotourism)
Small Hope Bay Lodge is now offering several island eco-tours, providing visitors an opportunity to explore the diverse environment of this Bahamian out island, the fifth largest, and least developed land mass in the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic area.
A number of guided tours are available: The Blue Hole Folklore Tour explores three different types of blue holes, the fault line, round and ocean blue hole, all formed millions of years ago. The tour includes an introduction to local folklore, such as legends of mythological creatures like the Lusca, half shark and half octopus, reputed to inhabit the blue holes.
History buffs can Plunge into the Past, touring through the varied vegetation of North Andros, with stops at sites like Morgan's Bluff and Henry Morgan's Cave, namesakes of a 17th century pirate who's treasure is said to be buried on the island.
Local culture is the focus of the Settlers of the Big Yard tour, which visits different settlements on Andros, like a working Mennonite Farm and Red Bays, where descendents of Florida's Seminole Indians still live. Another tour explores the wetlands on the west side of the island, known as "the muds". Only accessible by boat, this uninhabited water-dominated landscape is a rich breeding habitat for fish and birds.
Guests also may take self-guided tours on foot, by bike or kayak, using maps and literature provided by the lodge to explore trails, blue holes, mangrove swashes and other natural wonders, many starting right on the beach at Small Hope Bay.
Andros is a paradise for birders and naturalists. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Bahamas, and 50 species of orchids have been found here. Sometimes referred to as, "the Big Yard", Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas with an area of 2,300 square miles.
The island is 108 miles long and 46 miles at its widest point. Built of layers of coral limestone, the land mass of Andros has a great variety of ecosystems, with virgin forests of pine and mahogany in the northern interior, and low-lying broad leafed deciduous in the center. Inland waterways and mangrove marshlands provide a breeding and feeding habitat for fish and bird life, and a food source for the surrounding reef.
Just off shore, lies the Andros Barrier Reef, the world's third longest reef system, which plunges to the Tongue of Ocean at a depth of 6,000 feet -- providing spectacular vistas for underwater eco-exploration.
Small Hope Bay Lodge was built in 1960 by Canadian transplant, Dick Birch. The casual all-inclusive resort has 21 beachfront cottage rooms and offers diving to more than 60 nearby dive sites. The resort was awarded the 1998 Cacique Award in recognition for its leadership in the development of eco-tourism in the Bahamas.