With sapphire-blue water everywhere, The Exumas are an exotic collection of dream destinations. Footprint-free beaches and ultra exclusive resorts and islands fit for celebrities make this tropical paradise an absolute gem. Here, nature outnumbers man, coastlines remain flawless and private homes play host to some of the world’s most famous stars. The Exumas truly are the ultimate escape.
The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau. Once called Yumey and Suma, the islands have gone through many changes over the years. Today, they’re divided into three major areas—Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. Each offers its own unique Bahamian experience. Great Exuma and Little Exuma are known for their laid-back surroundings, while The Exuma Cays act as a playground for the rich and famous, boasting numerous private homes, luxury resorts and beach side condos. The Exumas are also rich in history, as they were settled by British Loyalists with their slaves following the American Revolution. The Exumas Travel Guide will provide you with everything you need to plan your next dream beach vacation. For more information on the best beaches in the Exumas, visit The Best Beaches in the Bahamas Guide.
Exumas Weather – When to Visit
High season is December through April, when weather is in the 70s (although lows can dip into the 60s). Be warned that hotels will sell out for events such as the George Town Cruising Regatta and the Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival in March, and the National Family Islands Regatta in April.
Summer room rates are cheaper than the winter high season, but fall (late August through November) offers the best deals. That’s because it’s hurricane season (June–November), with the most chance of a storm from August to November. Weather during this time can be rainy and hot. Some inns close for September and October.
The 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park, created in 1958, was the first land and sea park in the world and is one of the most successful marine parks. It is the first “no-take reserve” (all fishing is prohibited) in the wider Caribbean. This stretch of pristine water, land and beaches is an ecological preserve and wildlife refuge famous for its breath-taking marine environment. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular here, and you can encounter nature first-hand by feeding the endangered Bahamian iguanas or catching a glimpse of the elusive hutia, with the assistance of one of the professional guides.
Located on the northern end of Great Exuma, this white-sand beach is dotted with beautiful palms. It is ideal for picnicking and most likely you will have the beach all to yourself. It is also well known for great shelling and sand dollars during low tide.
Easily reachable by boat from Elizabeth Harbor, Stocking Island has some of the finest white sand beaches in The Bahamas. Snorkelers and divers love to explore the island’s blue holes, coral gardens and undersea caves. The Island is also home to Stromatolites, said to be the oldest known macro-fossils on the planet, found on the Atlantic-side beaches.
Meet the adorable and famous Swimming Pigs. This is one thing you can’t miss while you’re here. Visit Pig Beach and get a selfie with the swimming pigs—they’re even cuter in person! Big Major Cay is uninhabited and the pigs are not native to the island. Some say they were left by a group of sailors, who planned to come back and cook them. Or that the pigs swam over from a shipwreck nearby. Wherever they came from, there are now about 20 pigs and piglets on Pig Beach. With daily visits from Bahamians and tourists, the pigs are living the easy life on Big Major Cay.
Protected from ocean waves by Stocking Island, the water is as calm and clear as they come. The experience is tranquil and the views spectacular. It is adjacent to Coconut Cove Beach, but the beach at Jolly Hall is a little wider, and possibly fewer people. Located in George Town, Jolly Hall Beach is on the West edge of Great Exuma. You might think about stopping by whether or not you’re staying nearby. Jolly Hall Beach is one of those beaches that is never really too crowded, even though it’s central to many of the area’s urban amenities.
Things to Do in the Exumas
Exuma Water Sports
No. 1 swimming pigs tour in the Bahamas! They proudly try to give you the best boat tours in Exuma. Fun, professional, amazing, and in a premium setting with all the frills. Telephone: 242-357-0770 Web: Exuma Water Sports.
Sugar Adventure Company Day Boat Tours
Escape for a day on the water with Sugar Adventures. You will travel aboard 32ft Contender in most pristine shallow waters of the Exumas Cays. They offer snorkeling, sightseeing, private beach lunches, spear and deep sea fishing. Your captain Horace “Sugar” Smith, has intricate knowledge of the waters around Exuma. Tours launch from Barretarre. (20 Minutes drive from Grand Isle resort and Sandals resort). Snorkeling gear and refreshments are provided. Swim along with swimming pigs, nurse sharks and feed the iguanas. Half day trips from 8:00am-1:00pm & Full day trips from 8:00am- 5:00pm. Telephone: 242-524-2607 Web: Sugar Adventure Company Day Boat Tours.
Island Boy Adventures
Let them make your trip to the Exumas an unforgettable one! They only offer private tours so that you along with your family and friends can cruise the Exuma blues in comfort and style! Check out their website and feel free to like and follow them on Facebook and Instagram! Telephone: 1 242-357-0459 Web: Island Boy Adventures.
Coastline Adventures Exuma
It is their pleasure to take you on your unforgettable full day or half day tour. Snorkel the world renown 007 Thunder Ball Grotto, Sample our mouth watering freshly made conch salad, caught while on tour, play with sharks, swim with the pigs, feed the iguanas. A full fun day awaits you. Nothing but fun times with Coastline Adventures. Telephone: 1 242-524-8687 Web: Coastline Adventures Exuma.
Robert’s Island Adventures
Robert’s Island Adventures promises something for everyone and an unforgettable tour experience. Several different tours are available. Exuma Cays Tour; this full-day tour begins in Barreterre and travels through the cays with exhilarating stops at all the attractions. Reef Fishing, Sightseeing and Snorkeling – half and full-day trips offered. Telephone: 1 242-357-0224 Web: Robert’s Island Adventures.
Bext Exumas Restaurants
Big D’s Conch Spot $11 – 30
For the freshest—and according to locals, best—conch salad and the coldest beer, look for the splatter-painted seaside shack a stone’s throw from Grand Isle Resort. You can’t get a better water view, and the beach is great; bring a swimsuit. Telephone: 1 242-358–0059 Web: Big D’s Conch Spot.
Chat ‘N” Chill $11 – 30
Yacht folks, locals, and visitors alike rub shoulders at Kenneth Bowe’s funky open-air beach bar on the point at Stocking Island. All of the food is grilled over an open fire; awesome conch burgers with secret spices and grilled fish with onions and potatoes attract diners from all over Great Exuma. Dances and bonfires on the beach during the winter season are famous island-wide. Sunday pig roasts, which start around noon, are legendary, but call first to make sure it’s scheduled. Most guests arrive by sailboat but you can get here by water taxi (242/464–1558; or call Capt. Elvis Ferguson on VHF radio channel 16) from the Government Dock, which leaves on the hour during the day. Web: Chat ‘N’ Chill.
Exuma Yacht Club $11 – 30
Located in the hustle and bustle of central George Town, the Exuma Yacht Club has a magnificent view of the harbor. Enjoy the ocean breeze from the bar on the balcony, or dine in the chic indoor seating area. The menu includes burgers, salads, and a fresh catch of the day. For more information call, or visit them on the web at Exuma Yacht Club. Telephone: 242-336–2579 Web: Exuma Yacht Club.
Palapa Pool Bar & Grill at Grand Isle Resort $11 – 30
This poolside restaurant serves three meals a day and offers a stunning view of the ocean. The extensive menu equally features American classics and Bahamian specialties. Dinner highlights include ahi tuna steak, shrimp pasta, prime rib eye, and baby back ribs. A fun drink list including many frozen concoctions complements the food. This is one of the most romantic restaurants in the Bahamas. Telephone: 242-358–5000 Web: Palapa Pool Bar & Grill at Grand Isle Resort.
Santana’s Grill Pit $11 – 30
This seaside open-air restaurant—you can’t miss the orange-and-yellow building—is the hot spot in Little Exuma, and the closest restaurant to the Tropic of Cancer Beach. Dinner highlights include cracked lobster, cracked conch, shrimp, and grilled grouper, all served with peas ‘n’ rice or baked macaroni and cheese. Ask to see the photo book of celebrities who have eaten here; it was popular with the Pirates of the Caribbean cast and crew. Telephone: 1 242-345–4102 Web: Santana’s Grill Pit.
Best Bars in the Exumas
The Peace and Plenty
The Peace and Plenty in Downtown George Town is a local hot spot for poolside parties and live bands keeping both visitors and locals on the dance floor. Kick off your shoes and sip on a perfectly mixed cocktail as you overlook the vibrant blue waters of Elizabeth Harbour. Arrive at the dock by boat and stay as long as you like. Telephone: 1-242-336-2551 Web: The Peace and Plenty.
Santana’s Grill & Bar
Santana’s Grill Pit is a seaside open-air restaurant and the hot spot on Little Exuma. Grab a cocktail and some of the best conch fritters around. A favorite of the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean, Santana’s won’t run out of rum matey! While you’re there, venture down to Mom’s bakery for her famous coconut bread. Telephone: 1-242-345-4102 Web: Santana’s Grill & Bar.
The Fish Fry
The Fish Fry, a cluster of shacks 2 miles north of George Town, always has something going on. On Monday nights there’s a rake ‘n’ scrape band and a DJ is usually there on Friday and Saturday. Kick back with an authentic Bahamian meal and ice-cold beer. Telephone: 1 242-336-3737 Web: The Fish Fry.
Exuma Beach Resort
Exuma Beach Resort is also just north of George Town, and popular with locals for its festive waterside tiki bar. Plan on being here just before dinner, as the restaurant is one of the best on the island. Curry shrimp, local lobster and delicious conch chowder await! Telephone: 1 242-336-3100 Web: Exuma Beach Resort.
Best Exumas Hotels
Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis & Spa – All Inclusive – Couples Only
Showcasing a private beach area and water sports facilities, Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa All Inclusive Resort – Couples Only is located in Georgetown in the region of Exuma Islands. The resort has an outdoor pool and spa center, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. All rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels and DVD player. Certain units include a sitting area to relax in after a busy day. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom fitted with a shower. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer.
Grand Isle Resort & Spa
With a spa and health club and a restaurant, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is in Farmer’s Hill, right on the beach. It’s close to many golf courses and features free WiFi and on-site parking. Each room or suite here is air-conditioned and includes a spacious sitting area and a private bathroom with free toiletries. Some include views of the sea or gardens. At Grand Isle Resort & Spa, there is a fitness center, and other facilities at the property include luggage storage.
Peace and Plenty Hotel & Beach Club
Here you will find a charming 32-room resort with magnificent waterfront views. To completely submerge yourself in the Exuma’s relaxing ambiance and seaside serenity, you are invited to enjoy our new exclusive Peace & Plenty Beach Club on Stocking Island just across Elizabeth Harbor. The perfect launching pad for all that Exuma has to offer whether it is swimming with famous Exuma Pigs or snorkeling in the Thunderball Grotto and at Dean’s Blue Hole.
Gunhill Bay Villas
Featuring a private beach area and restaurant, Gunhillbay Beach Villas is located in Williams Town Little Exuma. Free WiFi access. There is a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave and an oven. En suite bathrooms come with a bath or shower. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or on the surroundings, including swimming and snorkeling. Free parking is offered.
Augusta Bay Bahamas Exuma
An intimate 16-suite beachfront boutique resort on one of Exuma’s prettiest coves. Reopened in 2009 following a lavish makeover. Augusta Bay is an exclusive boutique hotel. Activities such as fishing, kayaking and snorkeling can be arranged. Beach picnics and party boat rides are available as well. Massage treatments can be requested.