If you’re a beach-lover like me then you probably like spending a lot of time doing nothing out in the sand. Laying out getting tanned, reading a good book, snacking on fresh seafood, and taking a dip into the ocean... Less is more when you’re on vacation, right? That’s why sneaking a few days at Exuma just might be heaven on earth.
The name Exumamight ring a bell—a very unsettlingbell. You’ve probably watched Fyre Festival or at least come across some of the hilarious memes out there about it (🙏 bless the internet). But besides being a victim of a shocking and disgusting ploy, what does Exuma truly have to offer? Well, I’m glad you’re wondering because there’s actually quite a lot to enjoy for all types of beach-lovers alike. And most importantly, it’s all real, we guarantee it.
Snorkeling above a coral reef in clear blue water near Staniel Cay, Exuma, Bahamas.
To start off, let's revisit geography class. The Bahamas is a coral-based archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean made up of over 700 islands. That means there’s plenty of ocean space to be relishing in several kinds of watersports and beaches. Exuma is a district in the Bahamas made up of more than 365 islands. Whatever you’re into that involves aqua-fun, Exuma has it. That is unless you're looking for an exclusive lavish music festival.
Ohhhhhh snaaaaap. So jumping back from sad cheese sandwiches and wet mattresses at Fyre Festival, let’s talk about the factual goodness Exuma has to offer.
How do I get there?
First things first, the Bahamas is pretty close to the USA. A short plane ride will get you there. You can even take a ferry from Florida. But if you are anything like me and hate wasting time, then you might as well just use your skyhours to book a flight. Depending on where you’re flying from, to get to Exuma might be another quick flight, or you can also book a day-trip by boat and spend the day exploring the sandy beaches and crystalline waters in this natural paradise.
When you arrive at Great Exuma renting a car will make your life easier. Getting from one side of the island to another isn’t easy. You can get around by taxi, but there’s nothing like being able to have the freedom to explore the island at your own pace.
When should I visit?
Exumas has temperate weather and sunshine year-round, so it’s always a good time to visit. Although you might get less rain during the winter. But even a rainy day in Exuma is better than a sunny day at home.
So, what are the best things to do in Exuma?
Swim with pigs
This is an obvious one. After Fyre Festival influencers splashed around with these fun-loving pigs they reached world-renown fame. No one knows for sure how these swimming pigs got to the island, but they have adapted quite well. Perhaps they escaped a nearby shipwreck or maybe they were left there by sailors waiting to be eaten. Swim and feed them on your next visit and speculate on the mysterious appearance of these non-native creatures.
This cay is home to a crazy amount of iguanas. And Exuma is the only place on earth to find this specific type known as Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas, which unfortunately are going extinct. So make sure you take the time to visit this place while it's still here in a respectful manner. These critters might not be here for too long.
A short water taxi or boat ride away from George Town is where you’ll find a top pick amongst locals and tourists alike. Chat N Chill is a wonderful restaurant in Stocking Island. Here you’ll find delicious specialties like conch burger and a pig roast every Sunday. But the food isn’t even the best part! This is also where you’ll find friendly stingrays. These cuties are used to having visitors in their turf, they’ll even let you feed and pet them. So go for a swim!
Exuma Point Bar and Grill is a delicious buffet-style restaurant serving local Carribean cuisine. You’ll find smoked pork ribs, fresh fish and seafood, veggies, rice, mac and cheese…the possibilities are endless. And it can all be enjoyed with an ice-cold beer. The environment here is very casual and you can enjoy your meal overlooking a large patio facing the water.
Santanna’s is a must. It’s the perfect spot to eat some fresh seafood, and the specialty is the Cracked Lobster dish made with spices from their garden and served with a side of rice and coleslaw. Not only is the food amazing but so is the service. The owners will make you feel right at home. And for the perfect end to your meal, stop by the bakery next door for some yummy sweets.
Beach-bumming is fun and all, but if you get tired of nautical activities you can also spend a few hours exploring George Town. It’s Exumas' largest city but can easily be explored by foot. Walk around the city center to find a few Bahamian gems and learn about its fascinating history. Shop at The Sandpiper Arts & Crafts, or at the Straw Market and for handmade souvenirs. And visit the beautiful St. Andrew’s Church.
If you are staying in Nassau and you don’t really have much time to spare you can always visit Exuma for a day-trip. Excursion companies like Harbour Safaris will take you on an 8-9 hour trip through the Exuma Cays. You’ll see the Bahamian Rock Iguanas, swim and feed the lovable swimming pigs, lunch at a local restaurant, and end the day at a secluded beach in the Northern Exuma Cays.
Hopefully, we’ve given you a handful of reasons to keep Exuma on your travel bucket-list instead of being traumatized by the precarious conditions you’ve seen at Fyre Festival. There’s plenty of islands, wildlife, food, and activities to explore besides beach-bumming all day long, so make sure you do your research before heading over. Thalassophiles, this is one destination you mustn't miss.