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Getting There

By Plane -- Reaching Andros is not too difficult. Western Air (tel. 242/377-2222 in the U.S.; www.westernairbahamas.com) has twice-daily 15-minute flights from Nassau to the Andros Town Airport, in Central Andros (tel. 242/368-2759). The island is also served by the San Andros Airport in North Andros (tel. 242/329-4000), the Clarence A. Bain Airport on Mangrove Cay (tel. 242/369-0003), and the Congo Town Airport in South Andros (tel. 242/369-2222). Florida Coastal Airlines (tel. 954/772-9808; www.flyfca.net) flies from Fort Lauderdale to South Andros.

Make sure you know where you're going in Andros. For example, if you land at Congo Town on South Andros and you've booked a hotel in Nicholl's Town, you'll find connections nearly impossible at times (involving both ferryboats and a rough haul across a bad highway).

Andros's few available taxis know when the planes from Nassau land and drive out to the airports, hoping to pick up business. Taxis are most often shared, and a typical fare from Andros Town Airport to Small Hope Bay Lodge is about $24.

By Boat -- Many locals, along with a few adventurous visitors, use mail boats to get to Andros; the trip takes 5 to 7 hours across beautiful waters. North Andros is served by the MV Lisa J. II, which departs Potter's Cay Dock in Nassau heading for Morgan's Bluff, Mastic Point, and Nicholl's Town on Wednesday, returning to Nassau on Tuesday. The MV Captain Moxey departs Nassau on Monday, calling at Long Bay Cays, Kemp's Bay, and the Bluff on South Andros; it heads back to Nassau on Wednesday. The MV Mangrove Cay Express departs Nassau Wednesday night for a 5 1/2-hour trip to Lisbon Creek, sailing back to Nassau on Monday afternoon. Finally, MV Lady D departs Nassau on Wednesday for Fresh Creek, stopping at Staniard Creek, Blanket Sound, and Browne Sound. The trip takes 5 1/2 hours, with the return voyage to Nassau on Sunday. For details about sailing and costs, contact the dock master at Nassau's Potter's Cay Dock at tel. 242/393-1064.

A far more luxurious way to go over the waters is aboard the Sea Link or Sea Wind, operated by Bahamas Ferries (tel. 242/323-2166; www.bahamasferries.com). The Sea Link carries 250 passengers, while the Sea Wind seats 180, with another 100 seats available on the open-air deck of each vessel. Trip time varies depending on where you dock on Andros: From Nassau to Fresh Creek, it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes; from Nassau to Driggs Hill, however, it takes 2 1/2 hours.

Island Layout

Chances are, your hotel will be in either Andros Town (Central Andros) or Nicholl's Town (North Andros).

North Andros is the most developed of the major Andros islands. At its northern end, Nicholl's Town is a colorful old settlement with some 600 people and several places that serve local foods. Most visitors come to Nicholl's Town to buy supplies at its shopping complex. North of Nicholl's Town is Morgan's Bluff, namesake of Sir Henry Morgan, a pirate later knighted by the British monarch. Directly to the south of Nicholl's Town is Mastic Point, which was founded in 1781. If you ask around, you'll be shown to a couple of concrete-sided dives that serve up spareribs and Goombay music.

In Central Andros, about 47km (29 miles) south of Nicholl's Town, is Andros Town, with its abandoned docks. Most visitors come to Andros Town to stay at Small Hope Bay Lodge or to avail themselves of its facilities. The biggest retail industry, Androsia batik, is based in the area, too. The scuba diving -- minutes away on the barrier reef -- is what lures most visitors to this tiny place; others come here just for the shelling. On the opposite side of the water is Coakley Town. If you're driving, before you get to Andros Town, you may want to stop to spend some restful hours on the beach at Staniard Creek, another old settlement that feels like it drifted over from the South Seas.

Moving south from Andros Town, this part of Andros is the least developed and is studded with hundreds upon hundreds of palm trees. The Queen's Highway runs along the eastern coastline, but the only thing about this road that's regal is its name. In some 7km (4 1/3 miles), you can see practically the whole island. It's truly sleepy, and for that very reason, many people come here to get away from it all. You won't find much in the way of accommodations -- but you will find some places to crash (they're listed below).

The third and last major land area, South Andros, is the home of the wonderfully named Congo Town, where life proceeds at a snail's pace. The Queen's Highway, partially lined with pink-and-white conch shells, runs for about 40km (25 miles) or so. The island, as yet undiscovered, has some of the best beaches in The Bahamas, and you can enjoy them almost by yourself.

Another tiny island, undeveloped Mangrove Cay, is an escapist's dream, attracting naturalists and anglers, as well as a few divers. It's separated from Andros's northern and southern sections by bights (inland waterway). The settlements here got electricity and a paved road only in 1989. Mangrove Cay's best place for snorkeling and diving is Victoria Point Blue Hole (any local can point you there). Another village (don't blink as you pass through or you'll miss it) is Moxey Town, where you're likely to see fishermen unloading conch from fishing boats. Ferries, operated for free by the Bahamian government, ply back and forth over the waters separating Mangrove Cay from South Andros. At the end of the road in North Andros, private arrangements can be made to have a boat take you to Mangrove Cay.

Visitor Information

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism maintains a branch office in Andros Town (tel. 242/368-2286). It's open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.