Famous for those deserted white sand beaches, the bluest water in the Caribbean (hmm maybe the world?), and those adorable swimming pigs, the Exumas are becoming quite the popular Caribbean getaway. This chain of 360+ islands in the Bahamas just southeast of Nassau will take your breath away. I mean, it did mine.
You come to the Exumas for one reason: to be a beach bum. Salt and sand are the two main ingredients for a vacay here, but you can still find a little variation. Keep reading for some of my favorite things to do in the Exumas:
Things to Do in the Exumas
Snorkeling Thunderball Grotto: Made famous by the James Bond movie filmed there, snorkeling Thunderball Grotto is a highlight of most day tours out of Great Exuma.
Chat n’ Chill: If you’re staying on Great Exuma, you MUST take the ferry over to Stocking Island for the pig roast at the Chat ‘n’ Chill on Sundays. It’s probably one of the best beach bars in the Caribbean (practically on its own private island) and there’s plenty to do (hike across the island to the Atlantic side, volley ball, swimming with stingrays, etc). You’ll find dozens of boaters that drop anchor and swim ashore for Bahama Mamas on Sunday afternoons.
Swim with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay: Another stop on many day tours out of Great Exuma, the nurse sharks at Compass Cay have become famous and you can jump in the water for a swim with them!
See the Iguanas at Allen’s Cay: There are likely iguanas on many islands in the Exumas, but Allen’s Cay is the best place to see them right out on the beach.
Tropic of Cancer Beach: Possibly one of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean, it’s more than likely that you’ll have this gorgeous white sand beach all to yourself. Just down the road from Santana’s and Mom’s Bakery.
Snorkeling: The Exumas really are “untouched” and they offer some spectacular snorkeling. There aren’t a lot of organized excursions offering snorkeling, although if you’re chartering a boat for the day to visit the swimming pigs and other sites, they’ll most likely stop along the way if you mention you want to snorkel. If you’re staying on Great Exuma, call or stop by and talk with Elvis’ Water Taxis at the government dock. He will arrange to take you out snorkeling around the nearby islands for a nominal fee (something like $20/person).
Shopping at the Straw Market: If you’re looking for souvenirs, Georgetown is really your only option. The Straw Market is a great place to find locally made gifts. There are also probably 3-6 decent shops in town (don’t miss the Sandpiper) that sell a variety of gifts and merchandise. Don’t come expecting excellent shopping though, you won’t find it here.
Swimming with the Pigs: No trip to the Exumas is complete without swimming with these cuties. The original swimming pigs are located on Big Major Cay (near Staniel Cay), which is quite a boat ride from Great Exuma. Most day tours offer half day or full day tours, which take you as far north as Staniel Cay and include stops at the Thunderball Grotto, the Swimming Pigs, and Compass Cay (where you can swim with nurse sharks).
Exuma Water Sports (the number one tour provider on Great Exuma) has a nearby private island where they have their own collection of “cute” swimming pigs (the tiny little pink ones). This is a good option if you want to get there quickly and don’t mind missing out on the stellar sites near Staniel Cay.
Exuma Water Tours offers a full day (8 hour) tour for the price of most other company’s half-day tour. It’s great if you want as much time as possible out on the water. Read about my experience swimming with the pigs here.
Santana’s: Besides Chat n’ Chill, this is my other don’t miss beach bar. The food was very good, the drinks are perfect, but it’s the setting that puts it over the top. You’ll need a car to get down to Santana’s on Little Exuma. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Tropic of Cancer beach.
More posts about this area:
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