There are not many countries in the world the name of which is as strongly associated with images of beaches and pure paradise as it is with the Bahamas. It’s not just myth, the contrast between pristine white sand beaches with palm trees inclining over them and the turquoise color create some of the most beautiful, dreamy images you can imagine.
Many beaches in the Bahamas that are completely virgin, where you will be almost or entirely alone, but you can also find well-equipped beaches where you can do water sports or enjoy a cocktail in a lovely seaside bar. For the latter, you can go the Nassau or Grand Bahama, whether for the first you can basically pick any of the 700 Out Islands, which the Bahamians simply call Family Islands.
From the Out Islands, we dedicate this post to the Exuma Cays (also known as Exumas), where some of the most excellent beaches in the Bahamas are found.
What are the Exumas
The Exuma Islands are a group of 360 smaller and larger islands in the Bahamas that have become one of the popular tourist destinations in the recent years. The main attraction of these beautiful islands is the tranquillity since you can be alone without too much effort in one of the many secluded beaches.
Most of these are islands virgin and therefore you can enjoy a pristine and unique natural environment there. Most of the islands are connected between each other, and you can easily find therefore the island that fits the most your taste. The islands are protected by the government, which guarantees that this pure natural state will be kept this way in the future.
A brief history of the Exumas
The Exuma Cays were originally inhabited by the Arawak people, who were unfortunately all taken as slaves in the 16th century. Therefore the island became uninhabited for quite some time, and the first new settlers came to these islands after the American Revolutionary War at the end of the 18th century. These settlers established cotton plantations and funded the city of George Town (to honur the English king, George) on Great Exuma, the largest cay amongst the Exumas.
These settlers found a perfect place, where they lived a calm life protected from the consequences of the American revolution. Some of the cays are still in private hands of the original settler families. Probably the most famous person who lived on these islands is Rolle Lord John, who after his death left some of his lands to his slaves. The beauty of the Exumas naturally also attracted film directors, therefore it’s not surprising that several locations were used for Hollywood blockbusters such as Pirates of the Carribean or one of the James Bond movies.
What to do in the Exumas
The beaches of the Exumas, in general, have very calm waters, which make them perfectly safe to swim for even families with small children. You can swim in the water for hours without too much effort needed to float in the water.
The temperature of the water is very stable during the year: it never goes below 20°, but it also hardly goes higher than 30°, therefore, you can enjoy swimming in this Paradise throughout the whole year.
The Exumas also offer great options for those who like aquatic activities. It’s a very popular place to go sailing, and the coral reef is also exquisite, if you plan to snorkel or do some great diving. There are some amazing underwater caves, Thunderball Grotto being the most famous of them, which will undoubtedly be amongst the highlights of your trip to the Bahamas.
How to get to the Exumas
One of the main reason for traveling to the Exumas is that you can stay in a beautiful, remote and not easily accessible place, which contributes to feeling yourself in a real Paradise. To get to most places, you need to have a boat: either you have your own boat or you will need to hire a boat to get to many of the places.
The nicest cays in Exuma
The choice of beautiful cays you can visit on a sailing trip is merely infinite, but we give you some ideas for visiting some of the most impressive places in the Exumas.
Major Cay is one of the most emblematic places in the Bahamas, where you can get to swim together with some cute pigs. According to history sailors left these pigs on the islands, but they never came back. Some others say that they were deliberately put there to promote tourism in the area. In any case, there are not many places in the world, where you get to swim with pigs in such crystal clear waters.
The Thunderball Grotto is probably the most photographed natural site, not only in the Exumas, but in the whole Bahamas. A fascinating cavern where light only enters through the holes in the ceiling. The name of the grotto is the result of the James Bond movie, Thunderball, from which several scenes were recorded in this unique natural location. It’s a fantastic place for diving and snorkeling, although you have to be careful, since the currents can be quite strong.
Another beautiful hideaway is the 6 km long Norman’s Cay with its absolutely amazing beaches. Apart from the beautiful landscape, this cay is also famous for the fact that it was the property of Caelos Rivas, a Colombian drug lord in the 1970s.
Staniel Cay with its population of less than a 100, is one of the most charming islands amongst the Exumas. There’s a tiny village with the essential commodities and some lovely calm beaches there. This Cay is famous for the great bonefishing you can do there, and it’s also a great base to visit the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, an untouched paradise with colorful marine life.
I am sure that this article will make you want to pack your bag and go to discover the Exumas, this pristine paradise in The Bahamas.