All about San Salvador in the Bahamas

This site is all about San Salvador, a little island in the Bahamas.

south tip of San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador Bahamas

About 180 miles south-east of Nassau, San Salvador is roughly 12 miles long and 5 miles wide. The most well know fact about this island is that Christopher Columbus discovered San Salvador in 1492.

San Salvador Columbus land fall park

San Salvador Columbus land fall park

We have maybe 1200 people living here year around and in average 400 guests per week in Club Med. (they never leave the club)

club med san salvador bahamas
Other than that San Salvador has maybe 30 more tourists per week living in rental homes or condos and the Riding Rock hotel which is famous for diving or the Guanahani resort that is famous for kite surfing and 30 something families visiting during the year that own property on San Salvador or people come on their boat and spend time here in San Salvador. There is also the Gerace research centre which host students from the US for a few weeks at the time.

San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador Bahamas

So, with only a hand full of people you can probably already imagine that the beautiful beaches of the Island are not only breathtaking beautiful but also deserted. You can walk for hours and not see another soul. People coming on vacation to San Salvador usually seek the peace and quiet and the beauty of the crystal clear turquoise and aqua waters. They go diving or fishing or swimming or snorkeling or boating but basically every activity involves the water.

San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador Bahamas

We have a few restaurants on the island and a few bars and a festival once in a while and some beautiful sites to see but San Salvador is not your typical tourist destination. This island is all about relaxing and letting go and seeing the incredible beauty this Island has to offer.

Bahamas water and beach

Bahamas water and beach

Some people call San Salvador the “Hidden gem of the Bahamas”, I like to refer to it as “The forgotten Island” (there is a book with this title) but most locals call it “The Rock” because it really is a rock sticking out of the water.

Bahamas, mother nature

Bahamas, mother nature

Life here in San Salvador never seems to change, it feels as if time stands still. No rush, no stress, no drama, no crime, only friendly people that help each other. If you have a car and drive around the Island you have to keep your window open so you can greet each car that passes by. (if you know the people or not doesn’t matter)

Bahamas San Salvador Marshal track
Going shopping for milk usually takes me a few hours because I have to stop at Stanley’s bar for a drink or soda, then I talk to Edna for a little bit (Stanley’s mother) and before I leave some other people that I know show up and you have a little chat and once I am on the road again I might run into a neighbor and exchange some words and at the grocery store I always meet people that I know and we joke around a little and and and. Life is different here !!!

San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador Bahamas

Please check out the picture section and read some of my posts/ stories to get a better understanding of this very special place. Hope you enjoy all the information about San Salvador.

Conch dinner on San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and Crafts

Boat rescue on San Salvador Bahamas

Buying real estate in San Salvador Bahamas

renting a home on San Salvador Bahamas

Conch dinner on San Salvador Bahamas

We had an awesome dinner of cracked conch and conch salad at “The Bohemian” here on San Salvador in the Bahamas.

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (9)

Andre was the chef and he did a fantastic job. The evening was a lot of fun and the food was out of this world. Not only did Andre prepare and cook all the food but him, Tommy and Rodney went out on a boat  the same morning and dove for conch. So, it could not have been any fresher !!!

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (4)

The guys came back to the house around 6 pm and brought a cooler full of conch.

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (6)

We all got a drink and now the work started. We chopped the conch, tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers and hot pepper and squeezed a bunch of lime and sours and to finish it all off we add just some salt. This is probably my most favorite dish in the world and it can’t get any healthier.

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (8)

 

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (29)

After that Andre made Cracked Conch. He pounded the conch very thin and then dipped it in eggs and floured it and put it in hot oil.

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (17)

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (15)

Fresh out of the pot we eat conch with a tomato based hot sauce and a spicy mayonnaise dip. It was sooooo good.

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (31)

See, to me this is Island living at it finest. No fancy white table-cloth and sitting still at the dinner table, no, flip flops, shorts, nice friends, good conversation, a few drinks and lots of laughter !

San Salvador Island of the Bahamas, conch dinner (1)

It was a beautiful meal. Thank you again to Andre and Tommy. Things like this can happen on this beautiful Island of San Salvador in the Bahamas !!! Life feels so real here………..not sure how to say this. You got to come and visit San Salvador and see for yourself.

Arts and Crafts festival in San Salvador Bahamas


Arts and Crafts festival in San Salvador Bahamas on Labor Day.
The night before Labor day me and some friends went to the Club Med for some great food and drinks and entertainment.

Club med San Salvador Bahamas

Right before the show the chef of the village announced that there will be free bus rides from Club Med to the Almond tree park that people can take to visit the San Salvador Arts and Crafts festival. I was surprised that neither me nor my friends, living on the island, even knew about the festival but I was also very excited and we made plans to go there the next day.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (4)

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (3)
So, all made up and ready to go, we left the house the next day about 10.30 in the morning. As always, parking is never a problem on San Salvador. Guess we were a little too early, the food and the drinks had not arrived yet but some vendors had already set up.

The arts and crafts festival was held at the Almond tree park which has a beautiful water view.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (9)

People were selling home-made guave jam and hot goat sauce and beautiful island bracelets and earrings and necklaces from “island glass” and now I am the proud owner of my first piece of real San Sal Island jewelry.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival

We also bought the jam and the sauce and I can only say they are REALLY good.

For me the music was the best part of the festival, it never fails, the Bahamian rhythm always puts me in a fun mood and it is such a joy and pleasure to watch the guys play.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (6)

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (5)This is the little fire the guys need to prepare their instruments.

Another fun part of the festival was a little contest of “which one of the tourists is the most Bahamian” 3 guys out of the crowed were picked and they had to play the cow bells, it was so funny.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (1)Here are two Island ladies enjoying the show.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (12)Here are two tourists enjoying the show.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (8)

We stayed for 2 hours or so and had a good and fun time. Hope to see another Arts and Crafts festival on in San Salvador here in the Bahamas soon and maybe next time more vendors will set up their awesome and unique creations. (This last sentence is to motivate Mr. Kenny, the wood-carver )

This is the new Setup at Juice, the local bar here in San Salvador where the party continued after hours.

San Salvador Bahamas Arts and craft festival (2)

Boat rescue on this little Island of San Salvador in the Bahamas.

Never a dull moment on this little Island of San Salvador in the Bahamas.
You wonder what I do all day? Well here is a story from last week.

For years, Tommy had a little aluminum fishing boat about 16 feet with a 9 horse power motor. When he wasn’t using it, he kept the motor in the garage and the boat in Pigeon creek, the east side of the San Salvador coast line. One day he was all excited to go fishing with a friend, packed up his motor and fishing gear and went to Pigeon creek, only to find out that his boat was gone !!!
Well other than cigarettes and booze people do not really steal anything on San Salvador. Keep in mind, it is a little island in the Bahamas and everybody knows each other and stealing and keeping it a secret is impossible. Especially something as big as a boat.

BUT where is the boat ???

A few month ago Tommy somehow found out that a guy from the Island had  “borrowed” the boat without asking and then abandoned it somewhere ……. Just recently and by accident a friend of Tommy’s found the boat on Treasure beach , FULL of sand and imbedded into the beautiful beach.
So, today was the day, off we went to resume the boat. Two cars, seven people and six shuffles, beer and egg salad and home-made bread.
7.30 in the morning we left the house (which was a real challenge since we all had way too much to drink in Club Med the night before)
The pictures will tell the rest of the story from our boat rescue operation on San Salvador In the Bahamas.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

T&T (Tommy and Tony) arriving at Brian’s boat dock in Pigeon Creek on San Salvador’s east coast.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Loading up the Boat in Pigeon creek and getting ready for our San Salvador boat rescue mission.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

After a beautiful boat ride we arrived and Brian is pointing out the boat. Yes, I do understand if you can’t see it, it is this tiny little sliver of red sticking out of the beach by a few inches. To this day I have no idea how Brian spotted it. Treasure beach in San Salvador is a very special place, you can find all kinds of things from all over the world that somehow make their way onshore.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Boat is beached and we are unloading the shuffles and some refreshing drinks like water and maybe some beer…… Everybody is in high spirits, ready to rescue Tommy’s boat and bring it back to the west coast of San Salvador for much needed maintenance.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

And the digging begins ! Didn’t really go as fast as we hoped.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Can you see it, we are making progress ! Well maybe I should not say “we”, I was taking the photos and the guys were doing all the hard work.   San Salvador is a special place, if you get in trouble you will always find people to help you out. Even if it involves digging out a boat in 86 degrees temperature.

San Salvador, secluded little island of the Bahamas

San Salvador, secluded little island of the Bahamas

How awesome, the boat is nearly empty.

San Salvador, secluded little island of the Bahamas

San Salvador, secluded little island of the Bahamas

First try to get it out but this boat was still so heavy.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Yes, everybody is feeling good, boat is moving.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Some more digging but we are nearly done.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Boat is out, the guys flipped it a few times to get the last bit of sand out.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

That is me, bringing egg salad and fresh baked bread to the “digging site”

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Breakfast is served, San Salvador style in the rescued boat.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Happy Tommy (on the left) he has his boat back and was fed, what more can you ask for on a Saturday morning in San Salvador?

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Before launching the boat in the water we all took a well deserved break, This is Andre, he found a brand new drum while walking on the beach and he was determined to bring it home.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Stefan and Brian took a walk up the hill to one of San Salvador’s Lookout towers and took this beautiful picture of Treasure Beach.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

All set, ready to leave but wait a minute, Brian (boat spotter) and Tommy (happy boat owner) wanted one last picture of the “boat hole”

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Getting ready to leave, bringing everything back.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

This is the big test, will the boat float? answer is YES. San Salvador boat rescue mission successfully accomplished.  (drum made it on board too)

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

On our way back we took the time to admire Pigeon creek and the crystal clear waters of San Salvador here in the Bahamas.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

We stopped the boat and walked through the shallow water and soak in the beautiful scenery

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Here is Brian, playing with some star fish.

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

San Salvador, our beautiful secluded little island in the Bahamas

Time to leave, guys are walking back to the boat.

It was just another awesome day on this beautiful little island of San Salvador

with a bunch of friends.

When I left Florida mid February my friends were taking bats on how long it would take till I get totally bored and rush back to Fl. Most of them thought it would be two month and only a few had three month, nobody gave me more than that. By now it is beginning of June and I am still not bored….. And this was one of the stories that keeps things interesting here on San Salvador in the Bahamas.

overview

Bahamas, pictures of San Salvador

Bahamas, pictures of San Salvador

San Salvador Bahamas

San Salvador is about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide. About 180 Miles south east of Nassau. 1200 to 1500 Bahamians live on the Island. Water and Electricity is available in most parts.

Airport of San Sal has an 8000 feet runway, one of the longest airstrips in the Bahamas. Daily flights from Nassau Weekly charter flight from Fort Lauderdale and weekly non stop charter flights from Paris – France and Montreal – Canada come to San Sal in the Bahamas.

Club Med operates a beautiful resort on the island of San Salvador and there is another little local hotel called the Riding Rock Inn and a beautiful kite surfing resort named Guanahani.

Most roads and infrastructure on San Salvador already in place.

San Salvador is famous for its beautiful diving spots, great fishing, crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches and incredible scenery. It is a very, very peaceful and friendly place.

What a travel agency had to say about San Salvador

Some scholars believe that San Salvador Bahamas was the first stop for Columbus in 1492, thought others dispute it. Either way, San Salvador Bahamas has a number of attractions for tourists looking to escape the modern world and sink into the soft white sands of a quiet Bahamas island. San Salvador Bahamas is one of the eastern-most islands in the Bahamas, located near Long Island and Rum Cay.

To reach San Salvador you can schedule boat passages or take a flight to San Salvador. A flight to San Salvador can be booked from Miami, Nassau, or sometimes even New York during the busy winter season. If you don´t want to take a flight to San Salvador, you do have the option of traveling by boat from Nassau, but the trip is 12 hours and not by any means a luxury cruise service. A flight to San Salvador is largely the more popular choice.

One of the major draws to San Salvador Island is the miles of empty beaches that seem to be everywhere. Tourism in San Salvador centers on these beaches, and San Salvador tours for snorkeling or scuba diving are quite popular. If you rent a car or a bike to get around the island, you will want to be sure and head out to one of the many beaches on the island for at least one afternoon. Often times you will have the beach to yourself, a major advantage to tourism in San Salvador. If you do take such a trip just remember to bring your own food, water, sun block and other supplies as you won´t find any rest stops along the way.

Tours of the Island are popular. The most notable sites on a San Salvador tour of the island include the Holy Saviour Roman Catholic Church, the New World Museum, and Cockburn Town. Cockburn Town is the capital of San Salvador and a small village named after its first settler, George Cockburn. Events and festivals for the island happen in Cockburn Town, including a large celebration on Columbus Day. An enormous almond tree is also a noteworthy site in the town of Cockburn.

You won´t find any notable shopping on San Salvador Island, and for many tourists seeking a retreat from the busy resorts this is an advantage. Two excellent restaurants can be found on the small island. The Rock Inn Restaurant and the Three Ships Restaurant have both been operating on the island for years and serve local cuisine. There are also multiple restaurants located at the large Club Med resort on the island, and you do not need to be a hotel guest to dine there.

To get around the island of San Salvador Bahamas you will likely be fine without a car. The two major hotels on the island both rent bicycles out to guests for the day, and this is probably the most enjoyable way to visit the beaches and other sites. Tourism in San Salvador tends to be a relaxed arrangement and you won´t see many cars on the island at all. If you decide to rent a car you can do so at the Riding Rock Inn Resort and Marina.

San Salvador used to be named Guanahani by the Arawak people when the came over from South America between 1000 and 1300 A.D. Christopher Columbus landed on October 12, 1492 on an island in the Caribbean´s, which historians agree that he landed on the island of San Salvador. The meaning of the name he bestowed on the Island is Holy Savior. The journal entry he made about San Salvador is “the beauty of these islands surpasses that of any other and as much as the day surpasses the night in splendour”. The Arawak didn´t share his sentiments, who were enslaved by the Spanish to work in the mines of Cuba and Haiti. Traces of their culture were found on a few archaeological sites in Pigeon Creek on San Salvador. The Bahamas where controlled by the British in the 16th century due to the strategic value near the Spanish colonies. The Bahamas were declared a “possession” of the British crown in 1629. San Salvador was used as a stronghold by the pirate John Watling in the beginning of about 1680. Watling´s Castle is a site that still exists on San Salvador. The British shipped African slaves to the Bahamas and San Salvador, to work on the cotton plantations on the Islands. In 1834 the British Crown abolished slavery and the islands shifted, leaving the population of the Bahamas at a bare subsistence level. In 1926 the Bahamians changed the name of the Island from Watling´s Island to San Salvador.

Climate

The Bahamian climate is very pleasant year around. The hurricane season lasts from July to November. A great portion of the island´s water supply is provided through those tropical storms. San Salvador has a significant amount of freshwater and sediment of interior lakes. In 1999 hurricane Floyd caused extensive damage to some of the Island. During the winter time the temperature is still pleasantly warm and dry. San Salvador averages only 101 cm of annual rainfall. The rainy season lasts from June to December. October is known to be the wettest month on San Salvador.

Christopher Columbus was the first to record the existence of hyper saline lakes that dominate the interior of San Salvador.Bahamas.

Landmarks

Cockburn Town (“Ko-burn”) is the largest settlement located on the west coast of the island of San Salvador, named after Sir Francis Cockburn, the British governor of the Bahamas in 1840. San Salvador´s Cockburn´s Town provides the most services of the island such as mail, telephone service and electricity.

Farquharson Plantation

Is locally known as “Blackbeard´s Castle” because he might have held court there at one time. The ruins of that plantation can still be seen on San Salvador and include a great house, a prison and a kitchen, and are the most famous of the Bahamian Islands. The Lighthouse on San Salvador was built in 1887 and has a visibility of 19 miles. It is kerosene powered and being refueled every 2 hours and 15 minutes. It flashes every 25 seconds. There are only 10 kerosene fueled light houses in the world and 4 of them are located in the Bahamas.

Watlings Castle

Stands on a point 85 ft above sea level on the south end of the island of San Salvador with views of both sides of the island. The plantation may have been owned by the pirate John Watling, after whom it was named. It was inhabited by Loyalist plantation owners in the 19th century. Ruins of that plantation including a main house, a cookhouse, and slave quarters can still be seen in San Salvador, Bahamas.

 

Bahamas taxes

Bahamas Real Estate San Salvador

Tax Breaks and Investment Incentives   Just ponder the fact that the Bacardi family (BACARDI rum) and Sir John Templeton (Templeton Investment Fund) live and run their world-wide empires from The Bahamas. It’s not just the perfect weather that keeps them happy here. It’s also a modern treasure trove of tax breaks, investment incentives and trade advantages – starting with NO INCOME TAX and NO INHERITANCE TAXES.

International Trade Advantages   Many businesses in the Bahamas enjoy financial benefits as a result of very special trade advantages for business in The Bahamas under the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative, the European Economic Community’s Lome Convention, Canada’s Caribcan and the Caribbean Caricom.

These financial advantages place the Bahamas in general and Freeport in particular at the top of any short list of the world’s most financially attractive locations for new investors or businesses. (Legislation changes, however, so local legal advice is suggested.)

Bahamian Investment Incentives

Agricultural Manufacturers Act (Refers to Agricultural factory sites)

  • Exemption from custom duties
  • Exemption from export taxes

Export Manufacturing Industries Encouragement Act 1989 (Must EXPORT 95% of Production)

  • No customs duty INDEFINITELY
  • No export or real property taxes for 25 years. (This legislation was created to protect firms accommodated under The Hawksbill Creek Act when some exemptions expire.)

Hotel Encouragement Act

  • No income tax
  • No real property tax for the Grand Bahama, Freeport area.
  • No Customs Duties for:
  • Construction materials
  • Remodeling materials

No real property tax for new construction for up to 10 years.

Industries Encouragement Act

  • No customs duty on raw material and capital equipment for lifetime.
  • Exemptions from export, income and real property taxes for 15 years.
  • Amelioration of raw material bonding requirements.
  • Automatic duty-free importation of replacement parts for capital equipment.

(Must manufacture an approved product.)

Benefits of International Trade Agreements

  • Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) – No duty on exports to U.S.
  • Caribcan – Duty free entrance to Canada for exports from Caribbean Commonwealth countries except for clothing, footwear, textiles, garments of leather, refined methanol and petroleum oils. Sixty percent of price must be produced by Caribbean countries with a certificate of origin from the exporting country’s customs office.
  • Caricom – The Bahamas is not a member of the Common Market but did become a member of Caricom in 1983.
  • Lomé Agreement – Little or no duty on exports to 12 EC (European Community) countries (until 2000AD).

Ocean Industries – Aragonite Mining Encouragement Act

  • NO customs duty, tariffs, emergency taxes, fuel taxes or other levies on materials necessary for operation.
  • NO harbour dues, freight taxes, wharfages, tolls or other levies connected with operation.
  • EXEMPTION from:
  • Real property taxes
  • Taxes on net income, dividends, interest, shares and other securities.
  • All ad Valorem, severance, mining, occupation, gathering, gross receipts taxes.

Spirits and Beer Manufacturing Act

  • NO duty on raw material
  • NO duty on equipment
  • Duty rebates
  • Exemption from business license fee payment subject to payment of $1M export taxes. Examples already in The Bahamas: Bacardi rum, Heineken and Kalik Beers in Nassau; Tod Hunter-Mitchell in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

International Business Companies Act

20 years ALL TAX FREE:

  • NO income tax
  • NO capital gains tax
  • NO gift tax
  • Limited liability
  • Exemption from exchange controls
  • NO agency reporting

Other specific exemptions exist including those for agricultural, floricultural, horticultural, fisheries, forestry and mariculture, aircraft supplies, collector pieces and works of art, educational, scientific and cultural goods and gifts to Government.

Please check with the official Bahamas Government website to confirm above information