There are few beach bars more aptly named than the Tranquil Turtle.
Firstly, it’s located on Green Turtle Cay, a tiny islet in Abaco, one of the scattered archipelagos that make up the Out Islands of the Bahamas. Secondly, if you are lucky, you can spot turtles swimming from the deck. And finally, it sure is a tranquil spot, in the best sense possible.
The Tranquil Turtle is located at the Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina, a charming, lush 12-acre resort, now the oldest surviving hotel in the Out Islands. The bar is actually named after a cocktail that was first served at this location an amazing 70 years ago. (More about that later).
The bar sits above the sands of the resort’s private beach. There’s ample, kind of dark, indoor space manned by a friendly and efficient staff. But the best seats are the ones on the open over-the-water wooden deck, where you can grab a seat under one of the umbrellas and gaze out over the incredible multiple shades of blue of the Sea of Abaco, keeping an eye out for the aforementioned turtles.
You can grab a drink and something to eat and kill as much time as you want. It’s not the kind of place where staff are always trying to ensure you have a drink in your hand. It’s a bright, colourful, setting, usually with a delicious light breeze. And the adjacent beach offers swimming in calm, shallow water, volleyball and other amenities if you feel the need for an activity break. Not something I experience too often these days.
The number of rooms at Bluff House is limited so you won’t be overwhelmed by guests. And while the Tranquil Turtle can be a popular place (mainly among boaters and fishermen, in particular), its out-of-the-way, not exactly easy to get to location means crowds are rare.
What will you have?
Beer: You’ll find Bahamian beers front and centre, specifically Kalik, Sands and Sands Light, available again now that the brewery has recovered from damages caused by the last hurricane. There’s also Corona, Heineken, Bud Light and a few more.
Rum/Cocktails: A decent lineup of rums; Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Goslings, Meyers and a selection of Ricardo flavoured. Nothing super high-end, not unusual in the Out Islands. There’s a good cocktail menu, with decent margaritas, Bahamian favourites like the Bahama Mama and Goombay Smash (invented at Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar on the other side of Green Turtle Cay). And of course, there’s the eponymous (and very popular) Tranquil Turtle, the house spin on a rum punch, made with pineapple, orange, grenadine and three types of rum.
Food: A good quality lineup of locally sourced island food, with emphasis on fresh seafood. The fish BLT (offered three ways) is a specialty. There are also burgers, wings, nachos and the like.
This is a Bahamian bar, and an Out Islands one at that, so it’s not the place to go if you are in a hurry. The walk from the front of the resort to the bar is short but a touch challenging. Guests and staff get their own golf carts, so if you aren’t staying there you may want to hitch a ride – easy enough to do.
Generally, the Tranquil Turtle is only open during the day to take advantage of the beach and views, but there are some evening openings. If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful spot offering good food and stunning views, this is the place. And if you are lucky enough to spot a turtle or two, chances are they’ll be as tranquil as this place makes you feel.
Bluff House Beach Resort & Marina
Green Turtle Cay