Crooked Island opens onto the Windward Passage, the dividing point between the Caribbean Sea and The Bahamas. When Columbus landed at what is now Pittstown Point, he supposedly called it Fragrant Island because of the aroma of its many herbs. One scent was cascarilla bark, used to flavor Campari as well as the native Cascarilla liqueur, which is exported.

For the best view of the island, climb Colonel Hill -- unless you arrived at Crooked Island Airport (also known as Colonel Hill Airport), which has the same vantage.

Guarding Crooked Island's north end is the Marine Farms Fortress, an abandoned British fort that saw action in the War of 1812. It looks out over Crooked Island Passage and can be visited (ask your hotel to make arrangements for you).

Hope Great House is also on the island, with orchards and gardens that date from the time of George V of England.

Other sights include French Wells Bay, a swampy delta leading to an extensive mangrove swamp rich in bird life, and the Bird Rock Lighthouse (also called the Crooked Island Passage Light), built a century ago.

At the southern end of Acklins Island lies Castle Island, a low bit of land where an 1867 lighthouse stands. Pirates used it as a hideout, sailing forth to attack ships in the nearby passage.

Acklins Island has many interestingly named villages -- Binnacle Hill, Delectable Bay, Golden Grove, Goodwill, Hard Hill, Snug Corner, and Lovely Bay. Some Crooked Island sites have more ominous names, such as Gun Point and Cripple Hill.

The Ghost Island of Fortune

Lying off the coast of Crooked Island, Fortune Island is truly a place that time forgot. Your hotel can put you in touch with a boater who will take you here. Experts believe, based on research done for National Geographic, that Fortune Island (sometimes confusingly called Long Cay) is the one Columbus chose to name Isabella, in honor of the queen who funded his expedition. Its only real settlement is Albert Town, which is classified as a ghost town but officially isn't -- some hardy souls still live here. Fortune Hill, visible from 19km (12 miles) away at sea, is the local landmark. Hundreds of Bahamians came here in the 2 decades before World War I, waiting to be picked up by oceangoing freighters, which would take them to seek their fortunes as laborers in Central America -- hence the name Fortune Hill.

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.