In the past few years we have been lucky enough to make annual trips to Long Island and the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort. Our experience has been consistently excellent. Some specifics follow.
Location: (location, location) This is a beautiful spot. The resort is situated right on the most spectacular white sand beach you can imagine. The waves lull you to sleep every night. The beach has a very gradual slope and is perfect for small children. There is virtually no surf unless it’s really stormy. There is relatively little boat traffic. The Cape has kayaks which you can take surfing on the sandbar or to poke around into the bay behind the resort. The water is exquisite and you can see rays glide by from the beach. Long Island is pretty poor without much of an economy beyond tourism and subsistence farming. The resort management seems to have done an excellent job of integrating with the local community and in general there isn’t any of the uncomfortable walled-off us and them feeling. We know some islanders and really value our relationships with them.
Activities: This is one of the all time best places to do nothing and I highly recommend that you spend a good part of your visit doing nothing. If you must do something, the fishing, snorkeling, and shelling are superb. I like to swim across the cut and meander along the beach in the bay behind the resort. The fishing is very good, the guides are knowledgeable and fun and the boats and equipment are top-notch. This past year we took a trip out to Sandy Cay (site of filming for one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies). Wow! It was the perfect place to imagine oneself a castaway and it had rare rock iguanas, too. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful!
Birding: We’ve mostly been there in January and March. My birding has mostly been casual. The more I look the more I find. Seabirds are remarkably few. There is a colony of terns in the bay behind the resort and I’ve seen singleton Brown Pelican and Magnificent Frigatebird, Oystercatcher are sparse but reliable, so to Turnstones. Osprey seem to be getting more common. Bahamas Mockingbirds are everywhere, Bananaquit are common and I reliably see hummingbirds (but not yet with binos and book in hand). Walking the beach along the back bay I’ve seen a number of warbler species. There is a colony of Whistling Ducks you can see by boat. I think there are Flamingos somewhere on the island. I saw an Antillean Bullfinch (was it greater or lesser?) last year. The habitat is mostly low scrub on limestone.
Staff: The staff are very kind and genuinely interested in the quality of your stay. We have become friendly with many of the staff (not much turn over in 4 years) and look forward to seeing them again each year. Brook and Ewa are lovely people and skilled hoteliers. I particularly appreciate Brook’s low-key style and honesty. If you ask him a question he gives you a straight answer, no excuses or telling you what you want to hear.
Food: The food is quite good, especially given the remoteness of the place. I particularly like the breakfast. You’re cheating yourself if you don’t try the boiled fish with grits. Service can be slow. We buy the meal plan because it makes things simple for our family. Others cook. The villas have beautiful kitchens, but groceries on the island are limited.
Getting there: It isn’t easy, but that’s part of the adventure. If you have a group of five, consider a charter from Ft. Lauderdale. It is very convenient and not subject to the vagaries of the other local carriers.
Summary: I was looking over pictures from out last trip recently and really missing Long Island. It is a wonderful place. Maybe we’ll stay a year sometime. We like the Oak Bay experience so much we’re going to try April Point in British Columbia this year.
Splurge on a Villa. I prefer the layout of the older (closest to the bungalows) downstairs units be...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC