They say good things come in small packages, and truer words couldn’t be spoken about Acklins, a lesser known island that’s just 244 square km (92 square miles) and 6.4 km (4 miles) across at its widest point. The island hugs the Bight of Acklins, a small but famous lagoon.
Although the population is scarce, with just over 400 residents, there is plenty to do on Acklins Island. Searching for seclusion? Breathtaking beaches, unusual rock formations and scenic plant and animal life make Acklins Island a nature lover’s dream. An exotic location, Acklins is for the traveller seeking solace. In other words, you’ll be making your own adventures on this quiet island with rugged terrain and little development.
The charm of Acklins Island goes beyond the scenery, especially if you’re searching for a snorkelling trip or dream fishing package. People come to Acklins for serious scuba diving and snorkelling, and even more serious fishing. It may not be known as a tourist destination, but Acklins Island is home to bonefish and big game fishing alike.
If you’re looking for a Bahamas holiday that’s more about fishing, diving and snorkelling and less about shopping and socializing, Acklins Island is a place to get lost and love it.
While it may be quiet and remote, Crooked Island is full of excitement and relaxation. The natural, pristine setting features miles of beautiful, untouched white sand beaches and other incredible sights. Birds frequent the cliffs and reefs. The limestone caves are magical. Coral gardens and reefs are waiting to be explored by divers. And the tidal flats and deep creeks are a fisherman’s dream come true.
According to local history, the story goes that when Columbus navigated his way through Crooked Island Passage, the sweet aroma of the native herbs and flowers drifted out to his ship and delighted his senses. Soon after, the Crooked Island area became known as the ‘fragrant islands’, but it wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that the first recorded settlers, British Loyalists from America, actually set foot on the island.
Quickly making themselves at home, these Loyalists established almost 50 cotton plantations, which supported them until 1820 when the crops were destroyed by blight and poor soil conditions. Those people who remained were able to survive by adapting to fishing and small-scale farming. To supplement their income, by the middle of the 18th century, Crooked Islanders began stripping bark from the Croton Cascarilla shrub and shipping it to Italy to be used as flavouring in the famous Campari liqueur.
You’ll still find a number of interesting old plantation houses on Crooked Island. The ruins, preserved by the Bahamas National Trust, overlook Crooked Island Passage, one of the most important sea passages for ships following the southerly route to the Panama Canal.
As for other historic buildings, to the North there’s the shimmering Bird Rock Lighthouse, built to guard the Crooked Island Passage and now a popular nesting spot for ospreys, and the Castle Island Lighthouse on the southern tip of Acklins.
The Crooked Island caves are another place of historical interest to explore. Here, dark passageways open up into gaping chambers with chinks of sunlight shining through holes at the top.