December 2016: Andros Island trip report
We visited Andros Island for 6 days on December 20-26, 2016. We are a family of four, mom, dad and two teen-ager boys. We flew Miami-Nassau-Miami with American Airlines, Nassau-Fresh Creek-Nassau with LeAir charter; we rented a house in Fresh Creek and a van for going around the island. We were in North Andros and we did not visit central and south Andros. I will refer to Andros in the report, but it is intended as North Andros.
Tourist information: there is a small office at Fresh Creek where you can pick up a map of the island. There are a few people working there and you can ask questions. Other than that, there are very few signs on the roads, you just have to explore on your own!
Roads: Andros has only one main road, the Queen’s Hwy, that runs from the south to the north of the island. It is for the most part a gravel road but some parts are asphalt. It is better in the north than in the south, although when we were there, they were remaking the gravel in the Fresh Creek area. The roads heading east will take you to beaches, small settlements, or small harbors. The roads heading west get into the pine forest and they may bring to blue holes or nowhere. At the very north of the island, one westbound road will bring you to Red Bays, the only settlement on the west part of the island. The road to Red Bays is the worst road we took on the island, with really a lot of potholes. Overall, roads were better then we expected, we drove a mini-van and we had no problems. Don’t expect road signs, there are very few of them. So to find places you just have to drive around and ask.
Beaches: our favorite beach was Somerset Beach right south of the Fresh Creek airport. It is a beautiful white coral beach. Other beaches we liked: Davis Creek beach and Nicholls Town beach. Most beaches we visited are actually just marsh and sometimes the smell is not the best. They are still very beautiful but not for swimming. There are not that many roads that bring you to the coast, so the best way is to access one beach and then walk and explore. There were essentially no tourists around so we had the beaches for ourselves.
Grocery Shopping: there are very few shops on the island. Local supermarkets are not bigger than the average American gas station market, but we did find a pretty large in Nicholls Town on Queen’s Hwy. Supplies arrive on the island on Fridays, so Friday is the day to stock up on provisions. The store in Fresh Creek did not have any yogurt when we arrived, but had plenty on Friday after the ship arrival. Most of the food comes from the US, we recognized several products that we see sold at Costco. Expect prices to be higher then in the US. Nothing fancy is to be found on the island. But they did have panettone! We also stopped by the Mennonite farm south of the San Andros airport: they had broccolis, salad, strawberries, zucchini, pumpkins. We bought cookies and bread from Mennonite women along the Queen’s Hwy.
Restaurants: we only tried one restaurant, the Brigadeer’s in Davis Creek. All the other open restaurants seemed to be targeted to locals. Many places were closed because heavily damaged by the hurricane.
Souvenir Shopping: a stop at the Androsia batik shop in Fresh Creek is a must! The factory was closed for the holidays, so we could not visit it. The store was open and we bought some table clothes and t-shirts. We also drove to Red Bays and bought a couple of beautiful and pretty un-expensive baskets.
Hurricane Matthew damage: hurricane Matthew hit Andros on October 6th 2016, so less than three months before our trip. Some areas were very damages. The Lighthouse Yacht Club in Fresh Creek lost most of the boat docks and had damage at the roof: it was closed. The village of Lowe Sound was wiped out. The Bahamian Telecommunication Company (BTC) tower in Nicholls Town was broken in two. Andros Island Beach Resort was closed, and in need of repairs. They lost the roof of the tiki bar. The beach at the resort and around had hundreds of trees down.