By Guy Britton
The Andros Barrier Reef is one of the longest barrier reefs on earth. Another mile offshore the reef meets a wall that drops to a depth of 6,000 feet.
Here on Andros, you quickly realize that there are few places like this — and even fewer like Small Hope Bay Lodge.
Here on the eastern coast of the island is this legendary spot — one that pays tribute to the natural world and feeds our need — our obsession — for adventure, for new experiences.
This is Small Hope Bay Lodge, a place that was built on adventure.
It opened its doors in 1960, the first dive resort in the Caribbean, continuing to lead the industry with cutting-edge adventures and education, a family-run business that has lasted three generations.
But this is no mere lodge.
It is the epitome of the family-run boutique, an all-inclusive resort that understands that true hospitality is about welcoming your guests like treasured friends, about making the traveler feel like family.
First, the resort itself.
While there are just 21 cottages, it’s an all-inclusive, meaning you never have to reach for your wallet. The food is delectable, plentiful and professionally served. The beverage department has its own party piece: an honor bar, meaning you can come and take your beer or rum or preferred beverage all day and all night, taking what you need when you need it.
And you instantly fall into the ritual of this place, equal parts adventure hotel and camp, with happy hour and hors d’oeuvres at 6PM, a conch that calls you to dinner at 7PM and a property-wide communal meal that is a true pleasure, an authentic, jolly, friendly meal that brings you in to the rare warmth of Small Hope Bay.
Everyone is at the table; the guests, the owners, the staff, the adventure guides, everyone eating together, making conversation, sharing stories of the day’s adventures and making plans for the next ones.
Because this is a fantasy camp for adventurers, a place where the art of exploration and rugged experience permeates the walls.
There are three dive boats, and 60 recreational dive sites on the property’s regular schedule, along with more advanced dives on offer, too.
There are guided dives into the blue holes, into underwater caves and wrecks.
There are natural trails, hiking, biking, kayaking and rare bird watching.
There is fishing of all kinds, bonefishing and inshore fishing.
This hotel was designed to help travelers navigate this mysterious, wonderful island, to help you find the right adventure for you, to design an Andros experience just for you.
But the beauty of Small Hope Bay is that you don’t have to be on adventure all day.
You can spend your days at the plentiful beaches, or in the solar-heated jacuzzi and sun deck down the beach away from the lodge.
Simply sitting in the lodge is a delight, listening to the tales of journeys across Andros, about sponging on the west coast, about sailing to Nassau, about sea monsters in underwater caves, about when Al Capone used to come here at the Bang Bang Club.
The adventures don’t stop, and the stories keep coming and you realize you could come here and write a book.
And that the book would write itself.
For more, visit Small Hope Bay Lodge.