Known to Bahamians as ‘the Big Yard,’ Andros is the country’s unexplored backcountry – a whopping 2300 sq miles of mangrove swamps, palm savannas and eerie primal forests full of wild boar and (as legend has it) an evil man-bird known as the chickcharnie. By far the biggest island in the Bahamas, it’s the least densely populated – its eastern shores are dotted with ramshackle, blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em hamlets, while the entire western side is an uninhabited patchwork of swampland known, appropriately, as ‘The Mud.’
Diving and bonefishing are the two main draws for most visitors. A 140-mile-long coral reef, the world’s third largest, lies a few hundred yards off the east shore. Beyond it, the continental shelf drops into the blackness of the 6000ft-deep Tongue of the Ocean. The island’s bizarre blue holes – water-filled vertical caves occurring both inland and offshore – attract both advanced divers and National Geographic crews.
Travel in Andros is not easy. Public transportation is almost nil, roads rough, restaurants mostly nonexistent. Unless you’re staying at one of the islands’ all-inclusive resorts, plan on having a very DIY experience.