Visiting Man-O-War Cay is like going back in time. The island has lovely beaches, and many visitors come here to enjoy them -- but it's best to leave more daring swimwear at home, as the people who reside on this island are deeply religious and conservative. You won't find any crime -- unless you bring it with you. No alcoholic beverages are sold on the island, although you can bring your own supply.

Like New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay or Hope Town on Elbow Cay, Man-O-War is a Loyalist village, with resemblances to a traditional New England town. The pastel clapboard houses, built by ships' carpenters, are set off by freshly painted white picket fences intertwined with bougainvillea.

The people here are shy, but they do welcome outsiders to their isolated island and are proud of their heritage, which includes a long boat-building tradition. Many locals, especially the old-timers, have known plenty of hard times. Like Key West's Conchs (pronounced "conks"), to whom they're related, these are a tough, insular people who have exhibited a proud independence for many years.

Tourism has only just begun to infiltrate Man-O-War Cay. Because of the relative lack of hotels and restaurants, many visitors come just for the day, often in groups, from Marsh Harbour. If you do stay for a while, stop by the Man-O-War Marina to arrange your boat rentals and watersports; there's also a dive shop there.