At 2300 square miles, Andros is one of the biggest islands in the entire Caribbean. Certainly the largest of the Out Islands that make up the Bahamian archipelago, it is known for its unique flora and fauna. Unusual orchids and plants flourish alongside diverse species of birds and other wildlife. At 2,300 sq. miles,
Andros boasts five National Parks. It features exceptional natural surroundings from mangrove flats, creeks, estuaries and vast areas of wetlands that create channels perfect for bonefishing. You can be as busy as you want – kayaking, bird watching, hiking, snorkelling, diving, fishing and so much more. Or, you can relax and get away from it all as Andros has miles of deserted white-sand beaches, sunny weather and friendly Bahamians!
We often hear the term “Blue Hole” but what exactly is a Blue Hole? Think of a marine cavern or sinkhole that is open to the surface. Harbouring a rich variety of marine life, they are favourites for fishermen and recreational divers. With 178 blue holes all over Andros and 50 more in the waters surrounding the island, Andros has the largest collection of blue holes in the Bahamas – perhaps in the world! This is the place to see, swim & dive into the wild blue yonder.
A diver’s paradise, the east side of Andros offers a 190 mile long fringing barrier reef. Just a mile offshore, the ocean plunges 6,000 feet in the “Tongue of the Ocean” where divers can view the lush coral growth.
Andros is a perfect spot for all kinds of fishing. As bonefish love the cooler water temperature, December through February is a good time to plan to fish. Summer time is perfect fishing time for Tarpon – and fly fishing is good anytime. On calm days throughout the year, fishing off the reef is possible for tuna, grouper, snapper, sharks and barracuda.
If you love crab, Andros, also known as “The Land of the Crabs” is the place to be in June for their annual Crab Fest. Attend a crab cultural show, or join the crab culinary contest. Crabs cooked in many different ways is yours for the asking. Check out a tried & true recipe down below.
In a post COVID world, visitors can choose to stay at a number of smaller, boutique properties and villas around the island, everything from rustic to luxury. Canadians will no doubt recognize the luxury resort, Caerula Mar, located in South Andros as the property renovated by fellow Canadian, Bryan Baeumler and his wife Sara and featured on HGTV.
Here are some other properties to consider - for beaches, families, and fishing include:
Big Charlie’s Lodge, Cargill Creek
Broad Shad Cay Lodge
Kamalame Cay, Staniard Creek
Swain’s Cay Lodge, Mangrove Cay
Bair’s Lodge, South Andros
Tiamo Resort, South Bight
How do I get there?
Andros has four airports – all have frequent domestic flights. These airports are serviced by regular scheduled flights as well as charters and private planes. The North end of Andros is only a short 15-minute flight away (San Andros), the ‘middle’ of Andros is about 30 minutes (Andros Town). Flights to South Andros will take longer.
By sea, you can take an early morning, air-conditioned ferry from Nassau to Fresh Creek twice per week – offered by Bahamas Ferries.
Yachties can charter from Moorings or Sunsail, and then cruise various harbours throughout Andros.
Nancy Drolet/Nicola Blazier
Jesson + Company
How To Prepare Bahamian Crab & Rice At Home
Credit: Monalisa Hanna
Another thing we love about Bahamian Crab & Rice- it’s super easy to prepare. In fact, the most challenging part of the process is managing to place the crab in the pot while keeping all of your fingers attached (just kidding!). Our suggestion is to purchase crabs that are already cleaned and segmented (ask your seller or fisherman) to save you even more time in the kitchen.
Here’s what you’ll need for some good ‘ole Bahamian Crab & Rice:
Ingredients: 8 black/red land crabs 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 white onion, diced ½ green bell pepper, diced 2 tbsp fresh thyme 1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp black pepper 2 bay leaves 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ goat pepper (scotch bonnet) or habanero pepper, diced ½ cup tomato paste 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 5 cups water 1 cup pigeon peas (gongo beans), boiled and tender 2 ½ cups long-grain rice
Preparing The Crabs: Wash crabs under tap using a toothbrush until completely clean. Turn each crab over so that its underbelly is facing up and use a butter knife so split the shell in two by pushing upward at the seam. Pull apart and scoop the fat (orange-brown in colour) from both sides of the shell into a bowl. Discard the empty half shell, band, mouth, gills and all other remaining internal organs. Separate each toe and claw at the joint by snapping each segment, or chop with a cleaver.
Making The Rice: Place a large pot over medium high heat and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add onions, green bell pepper, thyme, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, garlic, and goat pepper to the pot and sautee for 3 minutes or until onion is transparent. Add the crab fat and segments and sautee, stirring constantly until fat liquefies, for about 7 minutes. Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes and stir ingredients together for another 5 minutes. Add the water and stir, bringing the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, pour pigeon peas and rice into the pot and stir to allow all the ingredients to distribute evenly. Cover tightly and lower the heat, allowing the ingredients to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Do not lift lid while cooking as the steam needs to remain in the pot to cook the crab sufficiently. After 25 minutes, turn heat off and let rice stand covered for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Serve hot as a side dish and enjoy!