The Berry Islands

Discover the Berry Islands.  Miles of secluded swim-ashore beaches, invigorating dive sites, and championship sport fishing are just a few of the highlights that make The Berry Islands a desired destination. Composed of a cluster of 30 cays, a majority of these islands are uninhabited. It’s not uncommon to stumble across a footprint-free beach or private cove. You could spend an entire day without seeing a single soul. The Berry Islands are also home to a number of cavern, reef, wall and wreck dive sites, as well as a 600-foot-wide blue hole, wonderful bill fishing, and ancient churches.

The Berry Islands are made up of a land mass that totals just over twelve square miles. Many of the 30 cays that comprise the islands are great for snorkeling, hiking, diving and beach combing. Great Stirrup features a now-abandoned lighthouse built in 1863 during the reign of Prince William IV. Little Stirrup Cay is a private island that’s used by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a one-day stopover. Chub Cay is known as The Bill fish Capital of The Bahamas, as it borders the Tongue of The Ocean and attracts countless numbers of bait fish. And then there’s Great Harbour Cay. It boasts seven continuous miles of magnificent beaches and one of the best protected harbors in The Bahamas. It once was a major golf resort for the rich and famous. In fact, there are more millionaires per square inch on The Berry Islands than most places on earth.  For more information on the best beaches in The Berry Islands, visit The Best Beaches in the Bahamas Guide.

Weather

The most refreshing time to explore is between September and May, when the temperature averages 70-75°F, with the more northerly islands around 5° cooler than the southern islands.  The rest of the year is a bit warmer, with higher humidity in the summer months and temperatures between 27 and 80-85°F.  Night-time temperatures are generally 5-7° cooler and sea surface temperatures vary between 74°F in February and 84°F in August.

September to May is the most popular time for visitors to Cat Island, when temperatures average from 70 to 75 degrees a day. Nighttime temperatures cool down by just 5 to 7 degrees. Seasons may vary widely in other vacation destinations, but that’s not the case in The Bahamas. Even the rainy season — May through November — rarely offers challenges for visitors. Even the occasional tropical rainstorm is usually short-lived. In fact, The Bahamas have about 340 sunny days a year, and, according to astronauts, the clearest waters in the Caribbean region.

Because of the tropical climate, you can fish, dive and snorkel year-round. You also can comfortably swim in the ocean, as water temperature in The Bahamas rarely dips below 72 degrees (22 degrees Celsius) near the shorelines.

Getting to The Berry Islands

To fly into the Bahamas, United States citizens are not required to present a valid passport. Instead, vacationers traveling by air must show proof of citizenship and identification. Typically, guests must present a birth certificate and a government-issued photo identification in order to enter the Bahamas, according to the United States Department of State (travel.state.gov).  Although a United States passport is not required to enter the Bahamas, Americas will be required to present their valid passport upon returning to the United States. When flying to and from the Bahamas, many airlines require guests to show their U.S. passport.

Two airports serve The Berry Islands: Great Harbour Cay Airport (GHC) and Chub Cay Airport (CCZ). Daily scheduled air service is available from Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and Florida into Great Harbour Cay. Charter services can be arranged through any certified carrier. Sea service is provided by a weekly mail boat from Nassau.  Receive Low Fare Alerts for Flights with Airfarewatchdog

Getting Around The Berry Islands

On Great Harbour Cay, you can choose to rent a bicycle, car, golf cart or scooter to get around. The outlying cays are easily reached by chartered ferry service upon request—$400 for half-day / $500 for full-day. Regular scheduled ferry service is provided from Great Harbour Cay to Little Stirrup Cay and Great Stirrup Cay. The round-trip fare is approximately $20. Pedestrians should remember to first look right and then left before crossing streets.  Ggolf carts, walking, or hitching a ride (it’s safe!) are options on smaller islands. Rentals are done through local micro-enterprises and are often arranged by your hotel or lodge. To have a car or cart ready for your arrival, call in advance. In Bimini, Resorts World runs an hourly tram to Alice Town and offers free buses for getting around the resort.

By Car

No matter which island you are on, they are all small enough that you can walk or rely on hiring someone to take you from place to place. Still, having a vehicle on hand is helpful when you want to get up and go on your own time schedule. The recommended vehicle for rental is a Jeep or other sports utility vehicle with four wheel drive because the roads are known for being rugged. You’ll be able to find rental cars on Great Harbour Cay more so than anywhere else, where on the other islands it is more common to rent bicycles or scooters, and even golf carts to get around.   Avis is the best rental car company on Great Harbour Cay.

You must be 21 years old and possess a valid driver’s license for all rentals. Visitors may use their home driver’s license for up to three months or can apply for an international driver’s license if staying with us longer. But remember, when you take to the road, please keep to the left.

By Taxi

Taxi service is readily available by phone or radio (VHF channel) and they are usually stationed at the airports or at the docks to meet incoming flights and boats. The basic price from the airport to marina is $10 for two passengers. Surcharges apply for more than two persons and extra luggage. Suggested tip is 15% of fare.

Restaurants – Top Picks

$-Inexpensive     $$-Moderate     $$$-Pricey     $$$$-Ultra High End

Carriearl Restaurant, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, best restaurants in The Berry Islands, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islands$$$$  Carriearl (Great Harbour Cay)

The Restaurant serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and is open to non guests. Serving a fine selection of International Cuisine and Chef Marty always has a culinary surprise up his sleeve.  Their Restaurant offers the finest food with dishes from all over the World – the perfect venue for Weddings, Birthdays, or that special Celebration.  For more information call 242 451 8785, or visit them on the web at Carriearl.

Beach Club Restaurant, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, best restaurants in The Berry Islands, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islands$$ – $$$  Beach Club (Great Harbour Cay)

Also known as Da Beach Club, they are located just above the tranquil beach shore, and across from the Great Harbour Cay Airport. They are the only restaurant directly on Great Harbour Cay Beach, and have become the main hangout spot in the area.  They serve the best Bahamian and American dishes for breakfast and lunch, specializing in hamburgers, fish sandwiches, and our famous club sandwiches.  Their Club received the Tourism Award for unselfish commitment and contribution to the growth of Tourism in The Berry Islands in July 2007.  For more information call 242-367-8108, or visit them on the web at Beach Club.

Rocky Hill Pool Bar & Restaurant, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, best restaurants in The Berry Islands, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islands$$ – $$$  Rocky Hill Pool Bar & Restaurant (Great Harbour Cay)

This quaint open air restaurant and bar offers Bahamian and International dishes for lunch and dinner, along with a pool. They cater to visiting yachtsmen, who enjoy sharing their escapades over a refreshing tropical drink.  For more information call 242-367-8051, or visit them on the web at Rocky Hill Pool Bar & Restaurant.

Coolie May's Sunset Restaurant, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, best restaurants in The Berry Islands, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsCoolie May’s Sunset Restaurant (Great Harbour Cay)

In the native food category, expats, locals, and visitors rate Mae’s food as true-true excellent. Her bright sign makes the casual 60-seat restaurant, on Bullock’s Harbour’s central seafront, easy to find. A couple of outside tables give heightened views of a sleepy anchorage, the ocean, and gorgeous sunsets. Midday, try the conch salad, pan fried grouper, or a tasty burger. Broiled lobster, steaks, pork chops, and fried conch along with peas ‘n’ rice and macaroni and cheese are dinner specialties. The menu changes daily, but the world-famous guava duff is always available for dessert. Place your order in advance or call a day ahead for a reservation. For more information call 242-367-8730, or visit them on TripAdvisor at Coolie May’s Sunset Restaurant.

Things to Do

Stingray City, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsStingray City

You’ll love the beautiful white shallow sand where you can stand up or swim with the Rays who will greet you with the familiarity of an old friend.  Your encounter includes feeding, snorkeling and taking lots of pictures with your new Stingray friends.  For more information call 242-424-3116, or visit them on the web at Stingray City.

Diving, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsDiving

The Berry Islands offer spectacular blue hole, cavern, reef, wall, and wreck diving with several “must-see” sites. You can dive 20 feet off a cliff into Hoffman Cay’s famous blue hole or walk into the blue hole near Bullock’s Harbour from the shore. View exotic sea creatures at Mama Rhoda Reef, the “eel garden,” among others throughout the chain. When diving the Chub Cay Wall, you can venture far into the deep with great visibility. At Great Stirrup Cay, the wreck of an unidentified ship lies just offshore and other named sites provide a glimpse into the islands’ history.

Hoffman's Cay Blue Hole, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsHoffman’s Cay Blue Hole

This blue hole, located in the southern Berry Islands, is about 600 feet wide and has a cliff that hangs 20 feet above the water. Those who jump into it from the cliff speak of an adrenaline rush as they venture into its mysterious depths. Its only living inhabitants are said to be oysters.  Hoffmann’s Cay is the most visited blue hole in these islands. It is accessed via a horseshoe-shaped beach, just behind a patch of Australian Pine trees at the shoreline.  For more information call the Berry Islands Tourism Representative at 242-451-0404 or 242-225-8947.

Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsGreat Stirrup Cay Lighthouse

Built by the Imperial Lighthouse Service in 1863, the Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse has since warned passing ships of the nearby rocks and shoreline. Some time after its building, during the second world war, the Lighthouse grounds became part of a US military base that included early detection technology. Today, there is not much left save for the lighthouse.  Those wishing to visit Great Stirrup Cay Lighthouse may choose to book their trip on Great Stirrup Cay, as travelers to this area of the Bahamas will be pleased to have easy lighthouse access during their time there. With only a few accommodations around the area around this lighthouse, relatively little tourist traffic can be predicted.

Sugar Beach, Sugar Beach Caves, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsSugar Beach & Caves

Sugar Beach, considered on of the prettiest places in The Bahamas, consists of numerous sandy coves set among cliffs, which are said to resemble the great Mediterranean beaches. There are also caves, an abundance of thatch berry trees and ruins. The shelling is excellent and, for the more adventurous, the creeks are filled with many species of wild life.  Not just a lovely beach – there are also caves, old ruins and many species of wildlife for you to discover.

Fishing, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsFishing

Fishing conditions throughout the Berry Islands is ideal and in fact, Chub Cay is known as the Bill fish Capital of the Bahamas.  Both flats and deep sea, big game fishing is a possibility, so depending on what your preferences are and where you’re staying, you could hire a charter to take you out and hunt blue marlin, or stick to bone fishing.  If you are intrigued by the idea of reeling in a big catch during your vacation, there are two charter operators that can help make it happen.

  • Kenny’s Aranah Fishing Charters  Contact:  242-451-0200
  • Percy’s Bonefish  Contact:  242-464-4149   Web:  Percy’s Bonefish
Chub Cay, Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, things to do in The Berry Islands, things to do in Great Harbour Cay, best beaches of the French Polynesia, Berry islands beaches, best beaches of the Berry islandsChub Cay

Chub Cay, the southernmost cay of The Berry Islands chain, is known as the “Bill fish Capital of The Bahamas.” It borders the Tongue of the Ocean and bait fish are drawn into the deep-sea gully with larger fish following. Record catches have been made of mackerel, blue and white Marlin and sailfish. Bone fish, craw fish and conch are also plentiful, and the area is perfect for wall diving.  Miles of unspoiled, white sand beaches and a brilliant blue sea are just steps from your boat, room or villa. Chub Cay is connected by land to Frazier’s and Hog Cay, accessible at low tide.

Chub Cay offers a large variety of fishing but is best known for large Big Game in the pocket. The pocket is an area west south west, only minutes out of the Chub Cay Marina, where the tongue of the ocean that is very deep terminates into the shallow Bahama Bank. Sailfish, Blue and White Marlin congregate in this pocket, together with Wahoo and Kingfish. At the buoy south of Chub Cay, Yellow Fin Tuna and Mahi-Mahi hang out in deep water.

Only yards away west of the marina, Mama Rhoda rock offers excellent diving and spear fishing. North of Chub Cay, the flats team with Bone Fish and the occasional Permit. Fishing guides are available for charter or guests can walk the Bone Fish flats from shore. The area behind the Customs building at the airport is especially productive.

Top Berry Islands Hotels

Carriearl Boutique Hotel

‘CarriEarl’ is a small Boutique Hotel located on one of the most magnificent beaches in The Bahamas, and has the best Restaurant in The Berry Islands, offering delicious food with an International flavour, all served with a unique British flair.  From the moment you walk through the front door you will want to take off your watch, kick off your shoes and jump into our beautiful freshwater pool, and then chill out with one of Dronzi’s famous Rum Punch’s.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Carriearl Boutique Hotel.

Chub Cay Club

A private island paradise in the southern tip of The Berry Islands, Bahamas with full resort amenities, a sport fisherman’s and diver’s dream location right next to the edge of “The Pocket” known as “The Bill fish Capital of the Bahamas” and miles of untouched, magnificent beaches.  Chub Cay Clubhouse is a full service hotel with a restaurant, indoor and outdoor bars, and an infinity pool overlooking the amazing Sunset Beach.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Chub Cay Club.

 

24 Comments

  1. Matthew

    This place looks amazing and im due for a holiday, it looks more for honeymooners and couples though, do you think i could take my children or would they get bored easily?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It depends on what your kids like. Mine love the beach, the ocean, and playing in the sand. So this type of vacation suits them well. I do not think they would get bored easily, yet it is a really great destination for couples and honeymooners 🙂 Thanks for reading The Berry Islands.

      Reply
  2. Patrick Hughes

    I have never heard of this place until now. I have been looking for a great place to go on vacation and this looks like a pretty amazing place. I am actually glad I found your site. What a wealth of information. I am definitely look into Berry Islands, what a wonderful destination. I need this vacation!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you found my site on The Berry Islands. Truly is an amazing beach destination with so much more to offer. Please let me know if you need any additional information! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply
  3. Mr. Progress

    Wow! Never heard of the Berry Islands, but is sure looks awesome! Thanks for the restaurant reviews with the tags on how expensive they are, great value. I don’t have the money right now, but I am making sure I remember the Berry Islands for in the future!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, a lot of people have not heard of them 🙂 Just a wonderful slice of paradise in the Caribbean. One day, you will have to visit and you will absolutely fall in love with the islands. Thank you so much for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  4. Linda

    Your site is the best! I quite frankly never heard of the Berry Islands. Looks like the perfect get-away spot to rent a scooter and explore. Very helpful information and love the video. Our next destination was going to be a beach get-away, so this will be on our list.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, I am glad you enjoyed visiting my site! Yes, the Berry Islands would make a perfect getaway and personally I love beach destinations anyway. When you begin planning, please let me know if you have any questions, as I would be glad to help. Thanks for visiting the Berry Islands!

      Reply
  5. Haitham

    It is cool, i love it. In fact, I’m planning to visit one island next year, I was thinking to go to Phuket Island. I think i will change my mind now, i will come to you soon in order to get help from you 🙂

    Thank you for your wonderful article.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, I would love to help any way I can 🙂 It is a passion of mine, so make sure you shoot me a message. Thanks for visiting beachtraveldestinations.com!

      Reply
  6. Anubhav

    That’s a great post about Berry Island.

    Makes me wanna put it on my bucket list.

    Thank you for bringing to us such great places.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome and yes definitely worth a bucket list item 🙂 Glad you enjoyed and thank you for visit The Berry Islands 🙂

      Reply
  7. Michael

    I want to go to the Berry Islands now. I love how you have a mixture of reviews, media, content, pictures, and a ton of other stuff going on that I did not have the time to really go through. I really enjoyed it! It really feels navigable and everything too.

    Did you ever think about breaking up your post into smaller posts?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for visiting. Well, breaking it up into smaller posts would mean that I would end up with a LOT of posts. Too many really. I am glad you enjoyed and thank you for visiting!

      Reply
  8. Jen

    I live in Florida so have access to beaches year round, but I must admit looking at these beaches makes you want to travel to the Bahamas! The water looks so clear and refreshing. Looks like I may have to put this on my bucket list. Going to a beach definitely makes for a relaxing vacation!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, I too live in Florida, but there is something different about the water in the Bahamas.  We sure don’t have that amazing crystal clear water, and the crowds in the Bahamas are going to be substantially less.   It is the perfect place for a change of scenery in beaches and well worth it!

      Reply
  9. JeffWA

    Hi, Leahrae,

    Whenever I think of the Bahamas, and being a big James Bond 007 fan my entire life, I recall the 1965 movie “Thunderball” which was set in the Bahamas. At one point trying to find a secluded “cay” in which the criminal mastermind had possibly hidden a nuclear bomb, Bond and another person were flying by helicopter over so many of these uninhabited small islands.

    Gorgeous settings, also seen in the YT vid that you embedded in your review article, Leahrae!

    I can imagine that if a couple wants to be off on their own in a nice tropical setting, as opposed to vacationing in a densely populated setting, (Waikiki, Hawaii) that the Berry Islands, which you did a fantastic job of explaining in full detail, would be the perfect place to visit.

    With so many water activities to choose from, people could not possibly get bored even if on certain days they saw few other human beings.

    You mentioned that one restaurant, “Carriearl” as being extraordinarily expensive as far as eating a meal. I would gather that this place is not your average fast-food place, even one that serves seafood – Popeye’s seafood eating establishments located in many Southern U.S. states.

    Jeff

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for your wonderful comments on my website.  Yes, you are right about the Carriearl Restaurant.  It is one of those places that I would dine at for special occasions, or just for a wonderful meal.  So, yes it is miles apart for your average “nice” restaurant and well worth it.  I also agree that, the Berry Islands is that type of place for couples to go and just enjoy.  Thank you so much for visiting!

      Reply
  10. James

    I loved reading your article, as well as watching the video. They made me dream about vacation. I feel like I can follow my dreams and make them all possible now. I love the peace and tranquility of the beach. To be honest, I have been wanting to go to Bahamas for a while!  I was surprised though, how expensive the hotels are in the Bahamas!  But I really do plan to go in two years for my 30th birthday.  So this is great information for the planning stage.

    I’d like to say great review here, but I have a question. Are the Berry Islands safe there?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, the Bahamas tend to be a little more expensive because of their location and popularity, along with all the amenities you get then you are there.  I think it will be doable for you for your birthday if you are already planning 🙂  Yes, it is totally safe there.  With the Berry Islands being a huge tourism area, they take great effort in keeping their visitors safe.  Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  11. Marty

    After reading your article on the Berry Islands, I watched the video and now I am sold! I wanna go!

    It looks so calm and serene but, maybe I am a bit prejudiced because I adore pristine white sand beaches!

    My problem is I am normally on a pretty tight budget and I would have to save forever to be able to afford such a luxurious vacation.

    You labeled the hotels using $, $$, $$$, and $$$$. Could you give me an idea of what that equates to in actual dollars?

    Also, are there any all-inclusive hotels on the beach in the Berry Islands?

    Thanks, for a wonderful article!

    Marty

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      No all inclusives at all on the Berry Islands that I could find anyway.  If you head to some of the more popular destinations in the Bahamas, you will find the all-inclusive resorts.  I cannot really put a dollar figure on the hotel $ rating as this is something that is part of the actual hotel information.  I would probably click on the hotels you are interested in to get a better idea of the rates.  Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  12. Karen

    Fantastic review of the Berry Islands. It’s detailed including where to stay, what to do and where to eat which is so helpful for the traveler. The video is enchanting and makes me want to book a reservation. I especially would love to visit Hoffman’s Cay and the blue hole. One question I have is about Bill fish. I’ve never heard of it and wonder it’s comparable to.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Bill fish is a term used to cover such fish as the Marlin, Sword fish, and sailfish.  So a “bill fish” is a broad term for these fish.  I am glad you enjoyed reading and yes Hoffman’s Cay Blue Hole is definitely worth seeing while in the Berry Islands.  Thanks for visiting!

      Reply

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