Hope Town, The Bahamas 26.5010° N, 76.9960° W

Hope Town, The Bahamas Coordinates

Hope Town is a favorite destination for anyone who likes a quaint seaside town on the edge of the Atlantic. The Sea of Abaco separates Hope Town from Marsh Harbour and the rest of the Abacos, which are itself an out-of-the-way island group in the northern Bahamas. This makes Hope Town the perfect place to getaway from it all while still being just 200 miles from the US mainland.

Founded in 1785 by a loyalist who fled from the new United States, Hope Town and its 400 inhabitants now welcome folks from all over the world. It draws tourists from the US, Canada, Britain, and elsewhere. While flights do come into Marsh Harbour, a lot of Hope Town’s visitors are cruising sailors who make their way to the Sea of Abaco to spend the winter months. And the Hope Town harbor, where these sailors rent moorings, offers the best protection in the area.

Elbow Reef, just off Hope Town, used to be a dangerous place for sailors. And the early inhabitants of Hope Town made money as wreckers, taking valuables from ships that ran aground on the reef. And these inhabitants, forefathers of those who now welcome sailors, opposed the building of Hope Town’s iconic candy-striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse. But built it was in the 1860s. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, which is one of the last illuminated by kerosene and manually operated (the mechanism needs to be cranked by hand every few hours to keep the light flashing at regular intervals).

The diving on Elbow Reef and elsewhere in the Abacos is magnificent. And visitors will not want to miss the pink sand beaches of the Abacos. While in Hope Town, also spend at least a day at Tahiti Beach, a sandbar that is a favorite sunning, bathing, and party spot for locals and marine life. One of the best surf spots in all the Bahamas is also just off Hope Town, in front of the Abaco Inn. There, Elbow Reef captures any large swell in the Atlantic and sends some pealing tubes.

One of everyone’s favorite things about Hope Town is the lack of motor vehicles. While cars are allowed on the island, they are banned from the center of Hope Town. And, it really does not matter anyway, because even the golf carts, which are the main mode of transportation, cannot make it through most of the streets. Instead, slow down and enjoy a nice stroll through the town.

Category five Hurricane Dorian pummeled Hope Town back in September 2019. But the village has rebuilt and has been welcoming visitors back since just a few months after the storm.