Rich in history and culture, Cat Island captures the imagination. Legend claims that the island was named for the notorious pirate Arthur Catt, who sailed the waters of the Caribbean and was a frequent visitor in the early 1700s. Yet for more than four centuries Cat Island was known as San Salvador, thought to be where Columbus first set foot in the New World. When a nearby island was renamed San Salvador in the early 1900s, the name Cat Island was officially adopted.
Today, the island’s once dominant cotton plantations have given way to a landscape punctuated by picturesque farms and quaint fishing villages, capped by The Hermitage, a handsome stone monastery at the summit of Mount Alvernia, which boasts the highest elevation in The Bahamas. Known for its friendly, inventive people – including Sidney Poitier, who lived here as a youth –Cat Island is the source of much of The Bahamas’ traditions, folklore, and music.