I cannot even type the word Exuma without feeling giddy about my experience there. The moment the plane touched down it was instant like, lust, and love all the same time. You often hear people say “the water is so blue” when they take a trip to a beach. This saying never made much sense to me until I visited Exuma. It is every shade of blue you can imagine, plus shades of blue you never knew existed.
Exuma is a district of the Bahamas with over 360 insanely gorgeous islands, each unique in its own way. The islands are often referred to as “cays”. I stayed on Great Exuma, the biggest island of all the cays, and rented a villa at Palm Bay Beach Club. These little villas are the sweetest looking things – brightly painted with different names on the outside. To call them charming is an understatement; the vibe of this place really got me into the beach bum groove. Besides the mind-blowing views, what make this (and any destination for that matter) great are the locals. The people here live simply and love deeply. Everyone knows everyone on the island and getting around town is usually by hitching rides from one another. Exuma teaches you how to sit back and enjoy life along with all the beautiful surroundings Mother Nature provides us.
Chat ‘N’ Chill
Take a water taxi to Stocking Island and enjoy lunch and drinks at Chat ‘N’ Chill beach bar. This place is graced with visitors from all over the world. Enjoy a nice, cold drink and delicious fresh food and play a game of play volleyball or corn hole. You can even swim with the stingrays. It’s not a beach party until you have been to Chat ‘N’ Chill. If you go on a Sunday be sure to stay for the pig roast. Also, don’t forget to bring a sharpie and sign your name on the bar!
Exuma Boat Tour
I highly recommend taking a full day tour of Exuma cays on your visit. This is what made my entire trip there so special. I bought a day exploration package from 4 C’s Adventures I chose the Exuma Water Tours option and it was one of the most memorable days of my life.
Here are some the things you will do on your tour. Get out your bucket list you’re about to knock a few of items out!
Dive for starfish at Starfish Bay-
We have all seen those dried up starfish for sell at souvenir shops, but have you ever seen a living starfish? Much less, have you ever dove for starfish? This bay has tons of starfish big and small for your viewing and diving pleasure.
Snorkel Thunderball Grotto-
Does that name ring a bell? Maybe you remember several James Bond movies featuring Thunderball Grotto as well as many other Hollywood films. From the outside, it seems like a big rock in the middle of the ocean. To enter, you have to swim in-between narrow rocks. It seems a little scary and dark at first but once you are in the cave an insanely beautiful light shines down and you realize why it is one of natures most gorgeous wonders. The water is warm and there are tons of colorful fish that swim all around. It is truly a magical experience.
Walk along a surreal sandbar-
I have never felt sand like this. This was so intriguing to me because it is a two mile strand of the softest, most beautiful sand the middle of the sea. The sand looks untouched and you get a feeling that you are the first person to ever step foot on it.
Swim with Pigs-
No, you did not read that wrong. I said pigs and swim in the same sentence. This island is often called Pig Beach, although it goes by several other names as well. The name is self-explanatory. It is an island that is populated with pigs. As far as I know, nobody knows exactly how the pigs populated here. When the boat pulls up to this island you hear squeals and snorts coming from the bushes and suddenly many pigs emerge. These guys know they are about to be fed. They happily run into the ocean and swim right up to the boat. From there you can jump in a join them (I did, be careful they kick hard!) or feed them from the boat. How many people can say they have swum with pigs!? Go ahead and write this activity in your bucket list.
Feed iguanas at Allen Cay-
Yet another cay populated by an animal, only this time, iguanas. Although these creatures are a bit unsightly they welcome you to the island as long as you come bearing treats. Our tour guide packed grapes and had us put them on the tip of a stick. This way the iguana won’t get your finger confused for a snack.
Swim with sharks-
Ok, so they are nurse sharks. But, to me, a shark is a shark. These creatures like to hang out at Compass Cay under marina docks. They are friendly and swim right up to you. In fact, they will down right overcrowd your space. Once you get over the uneasy feeling of being surrounded by these guys put on your snorkel gear and swim around with them amongst other fish.
Exuma is the perfect getaway for everyone. Whether it is a trip with the family, a romantic escape, or a trip alone to find yourself. But, let me offer this piece of advice: don’t take Exuma too seriously– you swim with pigs there after all.
“Salt water heals everything”