The Hermitage is a bit of an historical oddity, fascinating and strange. The hike up to see this religious site will take visitors through small villages along beautiful trails, full of island flora and fauna. It is located at the top of Mt. Alvernia, which is 206 feet above the sea and the highest point in the Bahamas.
The Hermitage itself is made from the limestone of the cliffs, with each piece painstakingly extracted, shaped and set by hand by the Canadian mule-skinner turned Anglican turned Roman Catholic priest known as Father Jerome. The Father built the structure to scale, designed it to fit his rather diminutive form. Beloved by the island people, the priest passed away in 1956 after reaching the ripe age of 80.
Other historical sites include an Arawak cave, found at Columbus point, and plantation ruins, left over from the islands efforts at joining the worlds cotton growers. Deveaux mansion was once the residence of Andrew Deveaux of the US Navy, who participated in the 1873 battles to get Nassau back from Spain. Another well known ruins is the remains of the Ambrister plantation, near Port Howe.
For those interested in water sports, the Cat Island Dive Center is the place to contact. They operate out of the Greenwood Beach Resort and have a variety of diving and snorkeling packages available, and there are many fine areas to explore, offering a wealth of marine life and fascinating geological formations. They also have water sport equipment to rent.
Cat Island is the sixth largest island in the Bahamas, and boasts extraordinary beaches. There are literally miles and miles of virtually undisturbed beaches, where swimming and relaxing can be done in near complete privacy.
Fine meals can be had at several locations on Cat Island. Hawk’s Nest Resort and Marina serves a variety of dishes, but among the best are the fresh, grilled fish and the roasted rack of lamb. Fernandez Bay Village is the place to go for creative and delicious native dishes, served either in the dining room or a patio table by the beach. Greenwood Beach Resort’s Bahaman cuisine is complemented by their marvelous breads, which are baked every day.
Cat Island is an excellent choice for vacationers who are seeking a natural beach experience, and enjoy a peaceful and very laid-back atmosphere. The island can be explored at a leisurely pace, which is a much better way to enjoy the local flora and fauna, as well as to enjoy the local culture. Because it is so much smaller in population than many of the other islands, it’s easier to get a real feel for the people and their way of life. Cat Island is an interesting place that will make a lasting impression on its guests.