Normans Cay Travel Guide

Browse travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 7 travel photos from real travelers to Normans Cay.

Normans Cay Overview

Norman's Cay, is approximately 6 miles long, about 100 feet wide - one of the longest in the Bahamas. A beach stretches for nearly the entire length of the western shore.

The Bahamas have long been a haven for pirates but in the 1970s and 80s a river of money from drug smuggling that dwarfed all previous periods of prosperity from illegal activity flooded into the country like a tidal wave. The center of this activity was on Norman's Cay.

In 1977, a Columbian of German ancestry named Carlos Lehder, who was a part of the Medellin cocaine Cartel, bought a villa on Norman's Cay. His purchase included the old Norman's Cay Yacht club, dock and airstrip. Carlos' idea was that drug running could be even more profitable if small planes were used to fly cocaine in to the States, rather than using human mules with suitcases full of drugs.

All this activity soon attracted the attention of the DEA. Their Operation Caribe had the cay under surveillance from a Coast Guard cutter offshore, from agents on Shroud Cay, and from agents who were disguised as boaters feigning mechanical breakdown.

Lehder was arrested during a raid in 1979, but he had been tipped off and the cay was spotless and no charges were ever filed.

After his plane crashed into the water east of the marina dock, he left the cay and began living as a fugitive in Columbia. He was finally captured there and extradited - convicted and sentenced to life without parole plus 135 years. His exact prison location is a secret.

The 2001 movie "Blow" starring Penelope Cruz, with Johnny Depp as George Jung was supposedly filmed or set on Norman's Cay. George met Carlos in prison in 1974 before he bought Normans.

When the DEA finally caught Carlos, George Jung was one of the main witnesses and he walked away from any prosecution or prison sentence in return for his testimony. However, he couldn't stay away from smuggling for which he was sentenced to prison until when he will be 72 years old.

Little is left of Normans notorious drug running past except some bullet holes in the buildings on the southern end of the island, a ruined 'Berlin wall' dividing the north from the south end of the island, and what one guidebook calls "an evil feel".

The runway is still there, along with the wrecked airplane in the harbor. Small private planes fly in and out of the airstrip bound for MacDuffs Bar or his vacation cabins.