Set on the Atlantic side of the archipelago of The Bahamas, the Island of San Salvador is about 200 miles southeast of Nassau, about a 1-hour flight from Florida. The island’s capital, Cockburn Town, is located on the tranquil west coast of San Salvador. One of the most southeastern islands of The Bahamas, San Salvador is actually the exposed peak of a submerged mountain that rises 15,000 feet from the ocean floor. Only 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with a population of 1,200 San Salvadorians, the island has miles of pristine and secluded beaches and emerald blue sea.
San Salvador has been recognized – with much debate amongst researchers – as Christopher Columbus’ first landfall in the New World in 1492. To date, five separate monuments mark the ‘exact’ spot where he came ashore; however, it is generally recognized that the landing occurred at Long Bay, currently commemorated by a simple white stone cross.
Named Guanahani by the original native inhabitants – the Lucayan Indians – Columbus promptly renamed the island San Salvador or ‘Holy Savior’. Later, San Salvador was taken over by the British buccaneer, George Watling who renamed the island Watling’s Island after himself. It was not until 1926 that the island’s name was restored to San Salvador which it remains to this day.
San Salvador mostly consists of dune ridges, with troughs forming sparkling lakes that make up nearly a third of the interior of the island. Surrounding reefs protect the island and a large break near Cockburn Town, provides access to the island for boats.
The reefs surrounding San Salvador are home to more than 50 dive sites on the island’s lee side including ruins and ship wrecks. Unusual ones are Devil’s Claw and Vicky’s Reef, with stingrays and sharks; and French Bay with elkhorn and staghorn corals.
- Gerace Research Center: Formerly known as the Bahamian Field Station, this educational and research institution is located on an old US Navy base. The Centre has been studying the island’s Archaeology, Biology, Geology, and Marine Science for over 30 years.
- Great Lake Preserve: This lake in the middle of San Salvador has been designated a protected area to preserve its natural pristine wonder. The lake stretches the entire length of the island at 10 miles long and 2 miles wide and connects all of the island’s major settlements.
We can book the following hotels for your stay in San Salvador:
- Guanahani Beach Club
- The Sands Residence Hotel
- Riding Rock Inn