Cat Island is worlds away from, and yet close in proximity to, the teeming tropical tourist traps of Nassau and Paradise Island. Life is quieter here, on this, the 6th largest of the islands in the Bahamas.
The source of Cat Island’s name is up for debate. Was it named for the descendents of cats abandoned by Spanish colonists, who bred like mad in the tropical sun and greeted the arriving English in purring swarms of fur? Or, the less colorful but still compelling explanation, was it named for Arthur Catt, a pirate from Britain? Whatever way you skin it, Cat Island is a purrrfectly peaceful alternative to the crowds of more traveled islands in the Bahamas. Its tranquility caught the attention of Father Jerome, a Jesuit architect, who built “the Hermitage” – a smaller version of European monasteries. Indian Caves are hidden about the island, one of which is at Columbus Point, where locals swear Christopher Columbus first set foot on Western soil. The 18th century Deveaux Mansion is a former plantation house which now lies in ruins. Cat Island’s beaches are, for the most part, quiet and unspoiled stretches of pink sand, but for those seeking a livelier beach environment, New Bight Beach is the site of picnics and parties.