Bahamas > San Salvador

Additional Information

Find more San Salvador information on the sites listed below.

San Salvador Island, also known as Watling Island, is an island and district of the Bahamas. Until 1986, when the National Geographic Society suggested Samana Cay, it was widely believed that during his first expedition to the New World, San Salvador Island was the first land sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Columbus's records indicate that the native inhabitants of the territory where he landed called the island Guanahani.

Thanks to its many sandy beaches, the island's prosperous main industry is tourism. About 1,000 people reside on San Salvador Island and its principal community is Cockburn Town, the seat of local government and home of a public teacher's college.

The Gerace Research Center (formerly the Bahamian Field Station) is located on the north end of the island on the shores of Graham's Harbour. Hundreds of students and researchers use the station every year as a base of operations from which to study tropical marine geology, biology, and archaeology.

The island is home to many shallow-water reefs which allow snorkelers to observe hundreds of fish species without the use of SCUBA equipment. It is also known for its quick drop in the continental shelf, allowing for numerous dive sites.

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