Before Going to Inagua You Must Overcome These Reasons Not To Go

First mistake: I left my GoPro plugged into the wall at home. I was checking in when I realized and impolitely yelled in the airport, “Oh shit!” Thankfully I have good friends and goodwill. My GoPro was chauffeur driven to the airport and is safely en route to Inagua. I am about to step foot on the most Southern Bahamian Island in the chain, for the first time. When I return home, I hope I can become a champion for all the reasons to visit Inagua. My perception of Inagua is that the island only makes sense for people who like bird watching. While I do love flamingos, I cannot say that I am a birder. So I need another reason to visit.

But then again, maybe the flamingos are reason enough. Inagua is not exactly a celebrity island in the Bahamian chain. Aside from its population of 80,000 West Indian Flamingos (and some famous politicians, musicians and public figures born there), its main mark of status is being the most southern island in the chain. So there is a natural sense of intrigue because it is so remote. But what would motivate someone to move beyond the point of intrigue to actually booking a trip to Inagua? Over the next four days I am going to find out. Here are a few things working against Inagua that you will need to overcome before deciding to go:

  1. The plane ticket is $286. I could go to Andros almost three times with that and there are also flamingos in Andros. An Inagua vacation is not going to be cheap. (Update: I booked through a travel agent. It is a little cheaper with Bahamas Air)
  2. You have to stay at least three nights because flights only run on Fridays and Mondays. (Update: There is a Wednesday flight, but who vacations from Monday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Friday)
  3. There is only one settlement and most of the island is inaccessible. I know for me, it feels like a letdown that you go so far and only get to see a small part of the island. (Technically, there are roads leading all over the island, but getting to the very remote spots is not as simple as finding a local guide. It takes tedious organisation. It is not something you do spontaneously.)
  4. Apparently going to Little Inagua is more difficult than flying to the moon. No one (tourists that is) goes to Little Inagua, which of course is the number one reason I want to go there. (I hate it when everyone tries to funnel you into the ordinary things that everybody does. You prove yourself to be very strange if you are a champion of the unbeaten path in the islands). (Update: Fishermen and apparently the occasional human smuggler go to Little Inagua. Apparently the conch there are gigantic.)
  5. Salt mining not tourism is the number one industry on the island. Putting aside the neocolonial politics of salt mining for a second, it is a great thing that Inagua is one of the few islands with a life outside of tourism. But what does that mean for a tourist? Simply that life does not ebb and flow around the needs of a tourist. So if your ideal form of camping is glamping you would not do well in Inagua.

These red flags tell me Inagua is not for everyone, but we will see. So tell ya family and tell ya friends, the Domestic Tourist is coming to town. When I get back, I’ll let you know all of the great things working in Inagua’s favor.