When you think of the Bahamas, you naturally think of Nassau. However there are many more islands in the Bahamas you can choose to visit. Exuma (or Grand Exuma as it is officially known) offers many direct flights from Canada and the U.S. With 365 islands in the chain, there’s one for every day of the year! If you’re ready to give up crowded streets full of tourists, huge cruise ships and casinos then you’ll really love the peace and quiet of Exuma – one of the Out Islands of the Bahamas.
1) Rent a car! You don’t want to fly to this gorgeous group of islands and plunk yourself on a beach at an all-inclusive club – what a waste that would be!! Rent a car for at least a couple of days so you can get out, explore and immerse yourself in the local culture. At $350 to rent a car for the week it’s well worth the money as well as the freedom it affords you to get out and see more!
2) As soon as possible, book your 007 Exuma Water Sports adventure (full day, half day or Jet Ski tours) where you’ll meet dinosaurs and swim with the amazing pigs of Exuma! We suggest planning early so that in the unlikely event of dodgy weather at the end of your holiday you don’t may miss this “best experience of your life!” Get the trip in early, but WARNING – you may WILL want to go again the next day!
3) Stop in at the liquor store and pick up a couple of bottles of the finest Rum you’ll ever taste – Olde Nassau (white or amber, doesn’t matter). At $10 a bottle it’s a bargain, and the only thing you’ll need for your evening wind-down time. Grab a couple of bottles to savour once you get home, but when you’ve finished them off you’ll never want to drink any other type of rum.
4) Visit Stocking Island – just 5 minutes by water taxi (there are a couple of companies that operate out of the main pier in George Town that’ll take you over to the island for $12 round-trip) from George Town, the island has plenty to do to keep you busy all day. On the Atlantic side of the island (Highborne Cay) you can see stromatolites (fosils) andthe only open marine environment where modern stromatolites are known to prosper.
5) While on Stocking Island, spend time at Chat ‘n’ Chill. Play volleyball, feed and swim with the stingrays, just chill and chat to other visitors from around the globe but be sure to enjoy their famous Conch Salad at the little shack by the pile of conch shells! The Chat ‘n’ Chill’s famous Sunday Pig Roast is where all the locals gather – so keep in mind that it’ll be busier that day and plan your visit according to your preference (tranquillity or local culture).
6) The Straw Market right in George Town is well worth checking out – there are lots of interesting souvenirs at reasonable prices, but don’t forget to haggle! Local women make hats and baskets right there.
7) Because you’ve been smart enough to rent a car, head down to Little Exuma and stop off at the TROPIC OF CANCER BEACH – 23° 26′ 16″ N (the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith – north of the Equator). NOTE: This one can be tricky to find so get good directions in advance.
8) A little further down the road from the Tropic of Cancer Beach are the Salt Flats at Williams Town, where poor people and slaves used to farm… salt. Not a lot to see, but climb the hill to the Salt Beacon Monument for a fantastic view of the ocean and Little Exuma. Since you’ve driven that far, you might as well keep going and stop in at Santana’s Grill Pit – watch for the colorful beach-side hut – we never actually stopped in to check it out but we hear the food is excellent … but definitely not low fat (we understand it’s best to call ahead to outlying restaurants to make sure they’re open that day). If you decide to visit – be sure to ask to see their pictures from Pirates of the Caribbean – yup it was filmed in these parts!
9) Rent a boat at Minns Water Sports in George Town and spend the day exploring and snorkelling the protected area between the main island of Exuma and the little cays spanning from Hoopers Bay to Man-O-War Cay. While we didn’t have opportunity to do this, we wish we had! This was suggested to us by a wonderful couple we met on Chat ‘n’ Chill beach who have been visiting Exuma for many years. They say that even inexperienced boaters can enjoy the adventure because there’s so much protected area to putter about. They related coming across areas where there were so many starfish that they just anchored and jumped overboard to snorkel and enjoy! With so many protected areas within a short distance it affords the opportunity to see plenty of marine life as these shallower waters act as a nursery for many species.
10) Experience the local culture and visit the Fish Fry – a group of beach-front shacks or restaurants located on left side of the road before you get to George Town if you’re travelling from the airport. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but they are clean and inviting inside. TIP – as much as you want to sit by the beach, eat inside because billions of flies appear out of nowhere once the food arrives at your table.
Copyright © 2014 Iain & Gail Shankland / TravelBloggers.ca (at) Gmail.com
Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
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If you’re interested in Deep Sea or Spear Fishing, Ocean Kayaking, Sailing and/or Camping…. give us a shout at Out-Island Explorers (www.outislandexplorers.com). We love showing people around our little piece of paradise! These are all great things to do on the island 🙂