Like a string of pearls that flow south of Nassau, the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas are treasure that words and photography fail to describe accurately. They must be experienced first hand. Once you do, you’ll fall in love like all those before you. They become part of you.
They say the best places take a little effort to get to. This is true of the Exumas. The best way to make your Exumas vacation come true is to fly into Nassau and connect via Bahamas Air or a small charter plane. Once you arrive to either Great Exuma or Staniel Cay, the main air access points, you’ll be able to easily find a water taxi or boat charter that will take you to your island of choice with your rental villa waiting.
You may think that the Exumas are small remote islands with nothing much to do, but you would be wrong. They are indeed remote, but there is a bounty of activities, many of which you’ll only find in the Exuma Islands. Here is a list of well-known “must” activities and some secret places only a few seasoned Exuma travelers know of. So grab your sunglasses and let’s go island hopping!
Swimming Pork Chops
One of the most popular sights in the Exumas are the swimming pigs of Big Majors Cay. Big Majors which is located just north of Staniel Cay, is a beautiful unpopulated island. Un populated by humans. This island is home to a group of island pigs that come running to the beach when the sound of boats draws near. Bring bags of fruit as these friendly pigs will eat right out of your hand, giving you the perfect picture. It’s not every day you see cute pigs, neon blue water and a beautiful white sand beach all rolled into one. Only in the Exumas.
The Sandbar of Elizabeth Harbour
The Exumas are famous for shallow crystal clear water throughout the entire island group. There is one spot just off of Great Exuma where during low tide an area of sandy sea floor becomes exposed, creating a huge sandbar that stretches nearly the entire span of the southern harbour. Plan your arrival near slack low tide and you’ll find huge starfish and other small crustaceans. Seeing this enormous swath of sand exposed is a magical sight, you’ll find yourself running across its surface like a child filled with joy and amazement.
Chat N Chill
Once you’re done exploring the Elizabeth Harbour sandbar, head to the other side of the harbour to Stocking Island. There’s a small boat ferry in George Town to get you there. This small rugged island just off the the shore of Great Exumas is home to a famous beach bar called Chat N’ Chill. Owned and ran by the charismatic KB, he’ll mix you up a mean rum punch and plenty of cold Kaliks. If you’re hungry, try the Conch Burger. You’ll remember every bite for years to come.
Santana’s Beach Shack
Since we are on the subject of food, no trip to the Exumas is complete without a stop at Santana’s Beach Shack on Little Exuma. Just keep following the Queen’s Highway south to Little Exumas from George Town and you’ll find Santana’s. This brightly colored shack is a great place to relax and cool off with some cold drinks, but the best reason to visit is the food. Santana’s serves fresh seafood like grouper, mahi mahi, conch and Caribbean lobster that will leave your mouth watering.
Swimming into a Cave
There’s a small unassuming island just off of Staniel Cay that draws a lot of attention. You’ll often see dozens of boats anchored right next to it with people swimming in the water. Then all the sudden the people vanish. Welcome to the Thunderball Grotto. This enormous underwater cave was made famous decades ago by a James Bond film, now it’s a popular Exuma attraction that brings amazement to all that swim in.
The Exumas offer many things; amazing food, unique sites, and wonderful island hospitality. While these are reasons enough to visit, there’s one sight that will having you pinching yourself no matter where in the Exumas you go…the water. The blazing electric blue water here is some of the most stunning water anywhere on Earth. There are so many different shades of blue you’d swear it wasn’t real. Shallow sandbars, deep channels, and coral reefs create a blue water tapestry that will having you coming back to the Exumas for years to come.
Go to the Exumas, book a luxury villa to call home during your stay, and soak in everything the islands have to offer. Once you go for the first time, these islands become part of you. They have a way of sinking into your DNA and frequently conjuring joyous memories. Go to the Exumas, they are a welcome addiction.
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