You can't beat the location of this rental. Right on the beach, a fully equipped kitchen (you'll need it -- Cat Island doesn't have many restaurants) and use of a car for exploring this remote and rustic island. This isn't a four-star resort so don't show up expecting luxury and amenities. You can't even buy a newspaper on this out-of-the-way place. But you'll never find a more perfect spot for beach lounging, swimming in pristine blue water and relaxation. The owner is lovely and, if she's in residence, she'll be able to direct you to the secrets of this un-heralded island. The house has a few ocean kayaks and a well-situated terrace for al fresco dining. There are some basic grocery and liquor stores nearby and a well-run Internet cafe up the road. The island's suffered a good deal of damage from recent hurricanes and is very slowly rebuilding. The New Bight airport is a five minute drive away. The houses are conveniently located just off the island's only road (it runs from the northern to southern tips) and are set on a spectacular, crescent shaped beach of powdery white sand. The Fernandez Bay resort (a small collection of attractive but pricey stone cottages) sits on the same beach to the north; to the south are several beautiful, large private homes that no one ever seems to inhabit. The beach is virtually deserted, so you'll likely have it all to yourself. The sunsets over Exuma Sound are spectacular and are on full view from the front terrace. Nights are incredible -- the stars overhead are uninhibited by ambient light. Electricity may go out from time to time, but never for long periods. The island has scarce water resources so you'll be encouraged to conserve (limit flushing and such.) The kitchen has everything you need for cooking but it would be a good idea to bring your own spice kit and maybe a few of your favorite kitchen gadgets. Don't count on eating out. The folks at Fernandez Bay will let you eat dinner there, but the food's pretty grim and very very expensive. ($80 for two people to eat a buffet dinner of chicken and overcooked veggies.) It's very tough to find local fishermen who'll sell you their catch -- going out to fish is expensive (gas is $6 a gallon) and this is a very very poor island. Residents of Cat Island are extraordinarily friendly and gracious, but they are very very poor and everything you buy on the island will be very very expensive. Only one boat per week services the island with provisions. Local gardeners export most of their crops and you're welcome to try buying from them on Tuesdays when they show up at the dock at Smith's Bay to ship out what they've harvested. The best restaurant on the island is at the very northern end of the island at Shanna's Cove (run by a friendly German couple.) The trek there is about an hour over some tough roads. My advice: Plan on cooking at the house. Bring any meat you want with you frozen in a small cooler. Also: Bring cash. Very few places accept credit cards. The house has a TV, but the hurricane recently destroyed the satellite box, so until it's replaced, you'll be limited to viewing whatever you bring on an iPod/iPad along with cables to connect it to the set. Just up the main road, near Smith's Bay, you should stop in for a beer at Hazel Brown's Seaside Bar, a rustic place right on the water with a fridge full of beer and a table for playing dominos with the proprietor (Hazel Brown).
Also be aware of the arrangements for payment: You send 50% of the rental by check to the owner. You pay the balance on arrival in cash. When we arrived, she was at the airport waiting for us.
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