Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas
Half Moon Cay, also known as Little Salvador Island, is an island in the Bahamas that is famous for its long crescent beach of white sand. This sunny slice of paradise is privately owned by Holland America and has proven to be a supremely popular stop on their cruise itinerary, treating visitors to panoramic vistas of blue skies and turquoise waters.
The tropical island has plenty to offer holidaymakers. Lounge on the beach, snorkel among the plentiful fish in the sea or go for a memorable horseback ride along the sand. Half Moon Cay is a great place to explore, as only 50 of its 2400 acres are developed. It is home to a Wild Bird Preserve and a wildlife sanctuary, as well as a 700-acre lagoon. There is even a pretty chapel on the island for a sunny destination wedding or vow-renewal.
As Half Moon Cay is a privately owned island, it can only be accessed by cruising with Holland America or Carnival Cruises, who provide visitors with all they could want on the island, ensuring that everyone has a wonderful, carefree day.
The island of Half Moon Cay is located about 100 miles south of Nassau in the Bahamas archipelago, about halfway between Eleuthera and Cat Island. The cruise ship anchors about 10 minutes off shore, with double-decked tenders taking guests to the marina.
Though only a small portion of the island has been developed, Half Moon Cay has plenty of facilities ensuring a comfortable stop for guests. There are plenty of bars as well as an ice-cream shop and a food pavilion that serves salads, hamburgers, fresh fruit and non-alcoholic drinks. Half Moon Cay also has its own post office and a market that sells Bahamian souvenirs. There are of course plenty of restroom facilities as well as a first aid station.
How to Get Around
The village on Half Moon Cay is only a short walk from the pier where the tender boats arrive. The rest of the island can be easily explored on foot or by bicycle as there are plenty of surfaced paths. There is a tram that runs continuously from the Welcome Centre to the food pavilion that is situated further down the beach.
Travel times from Tender Pier:
- It is a 1 minute journey to Welcome Centre
- It is a 15 minute journey to Food Pavilion
- It is a 35 minute journey to the horse-riding facility (located at the far end of the beach).
- It is an 8 minute journey to Food Pavilion.
There are also tram rides escorting visitors to the locations of on-shore excursions, such as horseback riding, from the Welcome Centre.
- Currency – Most facilities on the island use visitors’ Sail and Sign cards (Stateroom key) as payment and lunch is included in the cruise package.
- Time Zone – Half Moon Cay operates on Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). From March and until November the island switches to Daylight Saving Time (DST), setting the clocks back an hour.
- Weather – Like most islands in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay enjoys a warm climate all year-round. The winter months (November to April) have temperatures ranging from 18 to 24 degrees Celsius. The summer months (May – October) are more humid with higher temperatures about 30 – 34 degrees Celsius.
- Horseback riding– Have an experience of a lifetime and enjoy a horseback ride along the shore and even take a splash in the ocean. It’s the best way to enjoy the island and stunning views. The hour and a half adventure is ideal for adults and children alike. Participants must be at least ten years old.
- Enjoy a cocktail – There are plenty of bars on the island in which you can enjoy a cocktail or two, complete with a decorative umbrella for a true tropical experience. Rumrunners bar is located in the lively central village or escape to the Bonefish Lagoon and relax at the Lookout Bar.
- Massage – Half Moon Cay provides a massage on the beach service in air-conditioned cabanas. The massage cabana is located near the ‘I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever’ Bar, just a short distance up the beach from the Welcome Centre.
- Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park – There’s lots for kids of all ages to do at the aqua park, with a pirate ship to explore complete with water-spraying cannons. The park is situated at the southern end of the main beach.