Escape Crowds On Your Vacation At This Secret, Tropical Island In The Bahamas

If you've ever had a fantasy of living off the ocean for a week in a remote tropical locale, Crooked Island in the Bahamas is your place. Not only is it far from the crowds in tourist hotspots like Nassau and Pig Beach, but these tropical waters are home to plenty of game fish like bonefish, permits, and tarpons throughout the year.

Crooked Island is best known as an angler's paradise for its miles of flats with shallow, knee-height water and offshore fishing opportunities just a few minutes from the mainland. Yes, you read that right. Minutes, not miles—as wahoo, blue and white marlin, mahi-mahi, and tuna can easily be caught just a quarter mile offshore. Even better, you're unlikely to see many other sporting boats, as there are only a few hundred residents on the island and this destination flies largely under the radar. It'll just be you, your fishing buddies, and the endless turquoise sea.

Things to do at Crooked Island

Crooked Island is part of a group of barrier islands that protect the Bight of Acklins, a lagoon that spans 500 square miles. This provides perfect living conditions for turtles, birds, and an abundance of marine life. Once you've had your fill of fishing and lounging on the beach, you can explore this wildlife-rich area by sea kayak, snorkeling, or diving. You can also take a boat just northwest of Crooked Island to spot a flock of wild flamingos at Flamingo Bay, Long Cay.

Once back on land, explore the remains of the old British fort at Marine Farm National Park, a compound built to protect sea voyagers from getting attacked by pirates during the 18th century. Today, you can still see the cannons, main house, kitchen, and historic drawings. You can also take a boat to the historic Bird Rock Lighthouse on the northwest part of the island. The lighthouse was built in the 1800s in the same place where Christopher Colombus is said to have docked in 1492 when he first visited the Bahamas.

What to know before you go

With such a low profile, there are only two ways to get to Crooked Island: by boat and by inter-island air transport. Bahamas Air flies from Nassau Lynden Pindling International (NAS) to Colonel Hill Airport (CRI) twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Depending on when you go, tickets cost $140 to $150 round trip, with prices subject to change. If you're staying at Crooked Island Lodge & Marina at the island's north end and want to charter a smaller plane or helicopter, there's also a 3,500-foot runway and hangars on site. Of course, this will increase the cost of your transport about 10-fold, so we'd opt for the scheduled flights.

Sitting just 425 miles southwest of Miami, you could also take the scenic route and spend a couple of days getting there by boat. The Crooked Island Lodge & Marina can accommodate 35 vessels up to 130 feet. It's also the only place to fuel up on the island. Before you visit, you'll need to get a Bahamas Cruising Permit online through the Bahamas Customs and Excise Department, then you can enjoy your vacation on this underrated Caribbean island.