If you prefer finding a stretch of sand where the only footprints are your own, rent a car or bike at Riding Rock Inn Resort & Marina , or call a taxi. Empty beaches are everywhere. Just remember to take plenty of water and, of course, sunblock; you won't find much shade. Along the way, look for the island's various monuments to Christopher Columbus.
On the northeast coast, East Beach stretches for some 10km (6 1/4 miles). Crushed coral and shells have turned the shore a rosy pink. The deep-turquoise patches in the clear waters are coral heads, but the beach isn't good for snorkeling because of the presence of spotted sharks. Tall sea wheat or sea grass sprouts up from the sand. Off mile marker no. 24 on the main road, you can pick your way to the Chicago Herald Columbus Monument.
Scuba divers flock to this remote island, as it's a major destination with some 40 dive sites that lie no more than 45 minutes by boat from either of the two resorts. A major attraction here is wall diving -- diving where the sloping shoreline suddenly drops off and plummets to the ocean depths.
Guanahani Dive, associated with Riding Rock Inn (tel. 242/331-2631), offers dive packages as well as snorkeling, fishing, and boating trips. Divers can book an 8-day, 7-night getaway package year-round that costs from $1,462 per diver, including meals, transportation, dives, and rental gear. Prices are based on double occupancy. Club Med Columbus Isle should really be called an almost-all-inclusive resort because scuba diving is not covered by its rates. Diving courses at the resort run around $250, while certification courses are $475. A one-tank dive costs $80 and a two-tank $125.
With so many unspoiled and unpopulated kilometers of coastline, this area is ideal for swimming, shelling, and, of course, snorkeling. If you stay here a week, you've only begun to explore the possibilities. Places such as Bamboo Point, Fernandez Bay, and Long Bay all lie within a few miles of the main settlement of Cockburn Town on the island's more tranquil western side. At the southern tip of San Salvador are some of our favorite places for snorkeling: Sandy Point and nearby Grotto Bay, which has fine elkhorn coral reefs. Another wonderful spot for snorkeling is the wreck of the SS Frascate, which ran aground on January 1, 1902. Filled with such marine life as moray eels and grouper, it ranks as the area's best shallow wreck for snorkeling. Find it on the west coast, directly north of Riding Rock Inn.
Fishermen test their skill against blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, and wahoo on fishing trips, which you can arrange through Riding Rock Inn. The excursions run around $600 for a half-day and $900 for a full day. Bonefishermen enjoy Pigeon Creek, where some record catches have been chalked up. Rent a boat from a local or get your hotel to set you up.
Tennis players can head to Club Med, which offers 10 courts (3 lit for night play) that are open to nonguests who buy a day pass. Riding Rock Inn also has one (often empty) court.
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.