Exuma is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to in my life. When I think of The Bahamas, I think of Atlantis, which is basically like a theme park. But there’s so much more to The Bahamas than Atlantis. In fact, I wouldn’t even count Atlantis as the real Bahamas. The Bahamas is a nation made up of over 700 islands, 16 of which are tourist destinations. The islands are categorized by Nassau, Grand Bahamas and the Out Islands. The Exumas are part of the Out Islands, also known as the Family Islands, and I can totally see why. I felt like I knew everyone by the time I left!
There’s so much to do in The Exumas besides relaxing on the beach, which is obviously a must. The water there is so stunningly gorgeous, just being near it makes you happy. The locals are incredibly friendly and helpful, and make you feel so welcome. We did experience a little bit of cat-calling, but I never felt unsafe. Here is my travel guide for The Exumas:
Where to Stay
We stayed at Peace & Plenty and it was a great experience. It’s not luxurious, but it has everything you need and the location is right in the “city” center. I definitely prefer more local spots as opposed to the big all-inclusives on the island. We were told that Airbnb is popular there, so that’s something to look into.
Where to Eat
You definitely have to go to Chat ‘N’ Chill when in The Exumas! It’s so delicious and an unforgettable experience. It was so great that I wrote a whole blog post about it! Another favorite was Blu, which also has an amazing outdoor atmosphere and view! Another popular option is The Fish Fry, which we sadly didn’t get a chance to try!
What to Do
First things first, you have to go to Stocking Island (where Chat ‘N’ Chill is!). You have to take a boat, but it’s super close. You can see huge stingrays up close and even pet them if you want, which I definitely did not. Anything that can take down Steve Irwin is no friend of mine. I’m also a scaredy cat. Another place to boat to is all the Cays, which is where all the animal activities are, like the famous swimming pigs.
On our visit, we took a boat to a cay about 2 hours away to feed the swimming pigs. We were told by other visitors that they went to a pig beach that was closer, so if you can find that one, I’d recommend it! The large pigs are pretty aggressive, and we had one “butt-biter” on the island. He waits until you’re not looking and bites your butt! He actually chased me at one point. It was pretty funny!
There’s also a place where you can swim with sharks! I of course had to do it, but there were a ton of people on our boat tour – definitely do a private tour if you can! I felt very rushed and didn’t get any good pictures of me swimming with the sharks. These sharks don’t have any teeth, so they’re not dangerous. There were tons of kids in there swimming with them, so if they can do it, anyone can!
You can also feed iguanas on one of the cays. There is an island that is covered in iguanas and it was surprisingly my favorite animal play time! They were so sweet and friendly – not aggressive like the pigs! I seriously felt like Daenerys on Game of Thrones. Mother of Dragons over here!
If you’re not into the whole animal thing, there are still lots of options. One of my favorites is the swings on Coco Plum Beach. There are two sets of swings in the ocean here and they are so much fun. Depending on the tide, you may have to venture out into the water a bit, but don’t worry, I didn’t see any stingrays!
The last must is to head to the Tropic of Cancer. This beach is so beyond stunning; they actually filmed Pirates of the Caribbean here! And when we went, there was absolutely no one there. Pure heaven! There’s a cute little island you can see from the shore called Turtle Island because it looks like a turtle. How adorable!
On the drive back, take Queen’s Highway (pretty much the only road) and stop anytime you see something pretty. There’s so much to see along the drive!
Have you ever been to The Exumas? What would you add to the list?
Photos by Courtney Woodham.