The Exuma islands have been on my bucket list for so long, mainly because I wanted to see the swimming pigs and the iguanas island. We spent a week there and it was definitely enough to explore around.
Where to stay If you plan to visit many islands in the Exuma, then I would suggest you to stay on the Great Exuma Island. It is easy to get to this island as you can fly directly to here from Florida (either Fort Lauderdale or Miami airport) The best location to stay on the Great Exuma island is definitely George Town as it’s in the middle of the island, hence close to everything. If you are travelling on a budget, I would suggest looking through some Airbnb option. Use my link below for 45 CAD off your first booking. https://abnb.me/e/NcVHtkDkv3 We booked an Airbnb place for 40$/night but unfortunately the place was quite far away and dirty hence we ended up booking a nicer hotel. We booked the Island Time Villa for around 200$/night (which was average for the Bahamas, but expensive for us). We enjoyed the upgrade regardless as our resort was a beach front property and the place was very nice and clean. I definitely recommend you to book a beach front accommodation because then you won’t need a car at all staying in the Exuma. If you want to explore the whole island, renting a car for a day should be good enough. It takes around one hour to drive through the whole island, therefore you’ll have plenty of time exploring around in one day and the rest of your time can be spent on an excursion trip or chilling out at the beach. The beaches on the Big Exuma Island is generally nice everywhere, so if the beach is where you want to be at, and your resort is a beach front property, then renting a car won’t be necessary.
Bahamas currency You can use US dollars everywhere on the island, and most places also take debit/credit cards as well. The only places that takes cash only are the 2 gas stations, so make sure you bring cash when filling up. They have an ATM at the airport lounge in case you need to withdraw some. Where to eat If you travel on the budget, I definitely recommend doing groceries shopping at a local market then cook at your accommodation. Most hotels in the Bahamas provide a kitchen inside your room/villa, therefore cooking won’t be a problem. If by any chance there’s no kitchen at the place you stay at, I’d suggest you go to a restaurant and ask them to cook your food for the whole week, they usually charge around 50$ for cooking everything.
There are not a whole lot of restaurants around, and they’re mainly in George Town. If you’re staying in a resort then your resort should have its own restaurant where you can dine in. However, the food option might be limited and the expenses could add up. Regardless, I would definitely recommend having a nice lunch in George Town when you are there!
Transportation There is no bus on the Great Exuma island, so unless you only want to stay at your hotel/resort, you would probably need a car to go around.
Renting a car in the Bahamas could be expensive as all of their cars are imported, but we found great deals at Thompson’s Car Rental for almost half of the price compare to other rental companies. We got a sedan car for 336$/week and I thought it was such a good deal.
Top things to do on the Exuma Islands
1. Tropical of Cancer Beach I’ve asked many locals about their recommendations on the island, and the first location that everyone recommended was Tropical of Cancer Beach. We went to this beach on the first day of our trip and it was a 30 drive from George Town. The sand here is extremely soft, water is turquoise blue and it has a very cute entrance gate. This place was pure paradise!
2. Coco Plum Beach
We came here 3 times: the first time it was raining hard so we couldn’t stay for so long and the ride was high; the second time we just wanted to go back and play on the swings so we didn’t bring any camera equipments. This is when I saw natural sand bars everywhere. I was so amazed and came back to Cocoplum beach on the next day at low tide hour (around noon) to walk around and take some pictures as well. It was absolutely incredible to see those sand bars and words can’t describe how beautiful it was.
3. George Town
George Town is the centre of the Big Exuma island and it was much smaller and quieter than I thought. We drove by it a couple of times not realizing it was the busiest place in the island, as it definitely didn’t seem busy at all. I personally think there weren’t a lot of things to do, except some small shoppings at the straw market. We went back there a couple more times to explore around as everyone recommended it, but it didn’t take us that long to check out the entire town. Regardless, you should still check it out while you’re there. Most locals come here to chit chat with the friends at the bars. George Town also has the biggest gas station, as well as the biggest groceries store on the island.
4. Jolly Hall Beach
This beach is surprisingly empty and beautiful. We went to this beach 3 times and it was empty for all the 3 times that we were there. The water is absolutely stunning and the sand is really soft. You will definitely enjoy this place!
5. Turtle Beach (Hoopers Bay)
The name really describes this beach. At turtle beach, you will find many turtles swimming close to the shore line and you can easily see them at low tide (between 12-2pm). You will see them best in between the piers as we noticed they always swim around there.
6. Stocking Island
This island is well known for its sting rays, beautiful beaches and also the famous Chat N Chill restaurant. You can take the boat to this island and it’s around 10-15 minutes boat ride. The round trip boat ticket is 15$/person and the boat departs every mid hour. The last boat leaves at around 5:30pm if I remember correctly. If you do want the best experience on this island, I highly recommend you to visit in the morning when they feed the sting stays. Also on Sunday, Chat N Chill also has their regular Pig Roast feast which is a very unique lunch experience. Sunday is definitely be the best day to come here!
7. Swim with the fishes at Underground Grotto
This was a really cool experience as you will need to swim down under the cave and there you will find many colourful fishes. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof phone case or a Go Pro to capture some underwater shots, you definitely won’t regret it!
8. Natural Sand Bar
Most of the excursion tours in the Exuma include a stop to the sand bar. Here you will find the clearest water, and a small sand island which you can walk around and being surrounded by turquoise water on both side.
9. Swim with the nursing sharks at Compass Cay
To enter the nursing sharks place, you’ll need to pay 10$/person. You can go down and swim with them for however long you want to. This place gets quite busy in the afternoon when the tour boats come so try to get there before noon.
10. Iguanas Island
The official name of the island is Bitter Guana Cay and this island is full of iguanas laying around. These animals are in danger of extinction and there are not many of them left in the world, so make sure you approach them carefully and respect their natural habitat.
Hands down the coolest experience in the Bahamas. These wild pigs know how to swim and they swim toward anywhere that has food, hence the tourists on the boats usually hold a piece of bread to attract them. The pigs are a lot bigger than I thought (except this little one you see in the picture) and they could get quite aggressive. Make sure you look around if you do hold food for them as there were a couple of large pigs came right behind my back trying to catch that piece of bread I was holding. It was a fun experience and I definitely enjoyed the time there! Have an amazing time in the Bahamas! Love, Annie @anniepwanderlust