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1. What should I pack? Sunscreen, beach bag, good book, bug repellant, reef walker (water shoes), bathing suits, cover-ups (t-shirts, sun dresses, fishing gear, shorts, sandals, hats, sunglasses). Flashlight, hand held VHF (if you have one), snorkel mask, camera, any prescriptions you sometimes need.
Summer: Afternoon Thunderstorms - light hooded rain slicker.
Winter: Can be hot like summer or breezy cooler temperature - wind breaker, sweat shirt, cotton sweater.
A glance at the weather channel a day before departure should give a fairly accurate forecast. We are due east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Slightly southeast of Freeport and Northwest of Nassau.
2. Should I bring groceries? There are two small grocers in Hope Town and a third convenience store. Large (U.S.-like) grocery shops are in Marsh Harbour and some are open on holidays and Sundays (ask your taxi driver). Hope Town's two grocers are open 8 am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm Monday - Friday and extending to 7pm on Saturday. Closed Sunday and holidays.
We get delivery of food 1 time a week (Thursdays). If it is a busy week for visitors we sometimes run out of milk and eggs but in general you can get the basics. Prices are slightly higher than U.S. due to transportation and duties.
Bring any "must-haves." If Junior only eats Coco-Sugar-Krinkles for breakfast, go ahead and throw it in a duffel bag. Gourmet seasonings, Ethnic Cuisine ingredients (we have a little Indian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese in Marsh Harbour). Red meat is limited in Hope Town so if you want a steak with that lobster - Bring the Beef! Beer is pricey at $35.00 a case, but rum is inexpensive. You can bring 12 beers per adult.
3. Is there night life? Several of the waterfront eateries have music December through August - small band or acoustic guitarist or solo keyboardist, etc. usually on the weekends. All live music must stop by 12p.m. There is a pool table with dart board at Harbour's Edge for those 18 years and older.
Generally if you have been swimming, boating, snorkeling, fishing, etc. all day there is a desire to SLEEP early. Our night life includes moonlit walks, dinner conversation, a good video and popcorn, playing cards and reading.
4. What is the number one complaint of your guests? A. Packed too many things - You live in your bathing suit and flip flops. We tend to dress down, one of the richest guys here generally has an old t-shirt on (sometimes inside out and occasionally backwards), casual shorts and barefoot.
B. We have to go home! The complaint is the stay was too short. Stay at least a week so you can truly relax.
5. Is there Medical Care available? Hope Town has an active fire department and many of the volunteers are skilled in CPR and First Aid.
There is a Government Clinic with limited and sporadic hours. There is a large Government Clinic in Marsh Harbour, as well as two private doctors. There is also a pharmacy that can fill U.S prescriptions. Over the counter drugs are available in grocery and drug stores, but be sure to bring filled prescriptions of any medications that you need!
For very serious accidents and illnesses we have charter planes to evacuate to West Palm Beach or an air ambulance from Miami can be called. (You'd better be sick or the bill will make you ILL!) Bring insurance cards.
6. Should I get a boat? Definitely, we do everything by boat, even grocery shopping. We have docks in lieu of parking lots. The area that you will be boating in is fairly protected and you will never be out of sight of land. Your boat rental representative will give you maps and just ask lots of questions. Some folks pick up a boat in Marsh Harbour and bring themselves across. If it is raining, there is always the ferry. BOOK IN ADVANCE as boats always sell out.
7. Should I get a golf cart? Absolutely, if you are in a home other than in the village or Northend. Even though it is basically a short walk - at nights we do not have adequate lighting and the roads may have pot holes, etc. Plus if you are in a private home on a ridge or a beach, carrying coolers, fishing gear, etc. gets to be a bother. Having a quick ride in a golf cart to the boat is great!
8. Should I bring gear or rent? Fishing Gear - There are some rentals for light tackle and gear. Serious fisherman should bring their own and even bait, as we are sometimes limited.
Snorkel Gear and Scuba Gear - Some rentals but there is nothing like your own personal stuff that fits, etc.
Surf Boards - There is a company on island that rents surf boards, if yuo do not want to bring your own.
9. Can I drink the water? We do not have wells or treatment plants for water. Every drop in your house is from heaven above! It is rainwater that is caught on the roof and stored in a cistern below the house. Generally untreated though some people have filters or add minute quantities of chlorine. We suggest buying bottled water for the taste. We do not have a problem with sickness but as one doctor guest put it, "anytime you change your water, your system can get upset...." why chance it for a week? Bottled water is readily available in all stores.
Rainwater is soft, so great news, less shampoo and conditioner is needed. Most homes do not include washers/dryers due to the major water conservation we practice here. Owners request that there is no boat washing, clothes washing or wasteful practices to ensure that you do not run out, causing an expensive water refill.
10. Do you have clothing optional beaches? (I'm asking for my friend, not me!) Most beaches by villages do have an occasional beachcomber, family swimming, etc. So probably not a good idea to disrobe. However once you get in your boat and leave the populated areas there are hundreds of uninhabited cays with pristine beaches and no other people. No one will know or care whether you were with suit or suitless. (I mean your friend).
11. Cancellation Policy, Terms & Conditions
CHANGES & CANCELLATIONS: There is a $35 fee for changes to a reservation after confirmation. The rental is for a private home, refunds are only available if we are able to re-book the time. Should you need to cancel; a 10% cancellation fee will apply. You will receive the remaining balance after the 10% deduction has been taken from the entire reservation, again if alternate guests are found. Should the home not re-book, no refund will be given. Please note (in the event of a hurricane, refunds are given if Abaco is under hurricane warnings).
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Please read home description and amenities carefully (for example not all homes include washer & dryer). NO PETS are allowed unless specified on our website or by special permission. Please note that this is an island and we do experience power outages on occasion (not all homes have generators). Generally, there are NO HOLIDAY arrivals, but exceptions can be made if necessary. Should you check in or out on a Sunday, a $50 fee will be added to your bill for each. Checkin is at 3pm and Check-out 9am. Ask for early check-in / late check-out and we will be glad to assist where possible, but we will need to know ahead of time for maid scheduling. No live a-boards at the homes’ dock. Accommodations are for personal use only.
Please do not plan large events at the private homes, we will be happy to recommend restaurants with waterfront decks or other gathering options. Golf cart & boat rentals should be reserved in advance. NO SMOKING IN THE HOMES. The use of home facilities and premises is at the sole risk of the renter. The renter agrees to hold Hope Town Hideaways & homeowner harmless for any and all liability for loss of life &/or loss or damage to personal property.
12. Does My US Cellular phone work in Abaco? Maybe but probably not. You need to contact your carrier and find out if they have a reciprocal agreement with the Bahamas phone company (Batelco). Phone Cards are available locally and can be used at your home's phone.
13. Will I have internet access? Some owners offer use of their personal internet service in their homes to their guests. You should bring your laptop because there are lots of hot spots throughout the island. Some paid wireless services are also available and can be arranged once on island.