Long Island, Bahamas

Long Island was the third Island to be discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. In his diary Columbus is said to have described Long Island as the most beautiful island he had ever seen. A monument to Christopher Columbus is erected on top of the white bluffs of the north end of the Island. Long Island is 80 miles long and is no more than four miles at its widest point — it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas. Long Island’s population is a little over 4,000. It provides excellent sites for fishing, diving and snorkeling.

The island is divided by the Tropic of Cancer and bordered by two different coasts, one with rocky cliffs and caves that dip suddenly into the sea and the Caribbean side with broad beaches. Whymms Villas are located on the Caribbean side. Sloping hills characterize the northeast, while low hillsides make up the south end of the island. This range of physical appearance is why Long Island is considered by many to be one of the most picturesque island in the Bahamas.

History of Long Island

Archaeological evidence shows that the Lucayan Taino settled on Long Island. First called ‘Yuma,’ by the primative who stayed there, Long Island was rechristened ‘Fernandina’ by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Loyalist families from America, settled on Long Island, setting up cotton plantations and raising cattle and sheep. By the time of the abolition of slavery in 1834, most of them had collapsed and been abandoned, leaving the ruins visited by tourists and historians of today.

Economy and tourism

Part of the economy is based on tourism and farming, but fishing dominates. The inhabitants grow peas, corn, bananas and they raise small livestock such as pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. Some cattle are raised for export.

Due to the generally inhospitable soil of the Bahamas, much of the farming done on Long Island is in the pot-hole style, which involves planting in fertile holes in the limestone where good top soil collects. This method of farming contributes to the success of Long Island farmers, who are usually able to generate enough excess produce to sell their fruits and vegetables throughout the Bahamas.

Tourist opportunities include sailing, fishing, scuba diving, freediving, snorkeling and relaxing on beaches. Cape Santa Maria Beach, located at Stella Maris, is frequently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In recent years, competitive free divers have sought out Dean's Blue Hole as a unique dive site, hosting both world records and one world championships. Most tourists Fly into Nassau and take a scheduled or charter flight over to Long Island.