Postcard views, rich history, and unparalleled dive sites – it must be San Salvador! Our small island is one of many nestled amongst the crystal waters of the Bahamas, but its story is larger than life. Thrill-seekers flock here to escape the mundane and live in the present. But to fully enjoy San Salvador as it is today, you must take a deep dive into its past.
San Salvador’s white sand beaches have long-been a beckoning oasis for seafarers. The island is widely believed by historians to be the first landfall location along Christopher Columbus’s expedition route to the New World in 1492. The mariner’s expedition team was on a quest to find passage to the spice-laden Far East, but instead stumbled upon the shores of San Salvador. Columbus took particular note of the area’s surrounding shallow waters. He called the collective group of islands, “baja mar” (Spanish for shallow sea), which is believed to have evolved into the spoken word; Bahamas.
Columbus’s landing in San Salvador is certainly a defining moment on the timeline of modern human existence, but the Lucayan people called it home as far back as 300 to 400 AD. Settling here from what is now known as Cuba, the Lucayans took advantage of the ocean’s abundant natural resources. Their name for the island was Guanahani, and they cultivated complex social, political, and religious systems over the centuries. There were about 40,000 native Lucayans inhabiting the island when Columbus arrived, but within a short span of 25 years, the peaceful peoples were eradicated by disease and enslavement.
The practice of Piracy took hold and thrived in the protected inlets of San Salvador and surrounding Bahamian Islands during the late 1600’s and early 1700’s. Being in close proximity to the shipping traffic of goods being brought to and from the Americas, the islands offered a strategic launch point for attacks. Famous Pirates like Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read prowled the shallow Bahamian waters, often stashing their plunders here after returning from raids. San Salvador’s aptly-named Fortune Hill is fabled to entomb a hidden treasure of immense wealth. The trove allegedly contains innumerable gold bars, which to this day causes disputes amongst supposed claimholders searching for the spoils of the past.
One may think that a small island’s allure would be trampled after enduring centuries of habitation by native peoples, European overthrow, and piracy. However, San Salvador still has plenty of hidden secrets. Riding Rock Resort & Marina offers a glimpse into the island’s sparkling inland lakes, secluded beaches, and plethora of dive sites. Those who visit our renowned diving hub will experience stunning sites along the island’s shallow reef and deep crevasses. Experience rich Bahamian history and find treasures – both visible and perhaps even unseen, on the island of San Salvador.