If you are planning a vacation to the Bahamas in the near future, consider giving this travel blog a read and check out some of our favorite places & things to do in Exuma (and check out our photo gallery here)! You better believe exploring Exuma was a must on this vacay!
If you are potentially planning a Destination Wedding, I would strongly urge you to consider the Bahamas. And more specifically with Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma Bahamas. In this travel blog, I am going to break down our destination wedding cost, the pros & cons of a destination wedding and much more!
For those of you who don't know Nate and I personally, February is a very special month for us. February 5th was our wedding anniversary (2014)... and yes, we got hitched in the Bahamas! If you want to see a quick snap shot of our wedding, check it out here on our Facebook page or here our Instagram page. Here is our travel blog about our wedding that took place at the Sandals Resort in Exuma Bahamas (Sandals Emerald Bay).
Ok, ok, enough mushy stuff and let's get on with the adventure stuff! So, we were on the tiny little island of Great Exuma for a total of 9 days. You better believe exploring Exuma (all 37 miles 😉) was one of our 'must do's' while here!
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**Our #2 pick for things to do in Exuma**
If you feel comfortable enough, rent your own boat, and explore the surrounding cays! We had no clue what to expect, and it was a 'Hold-The-Phone-This-Is-INCREDIBLE' type moment! We rented a boat from Minns Water Sports for 1 day ( you can do more days - the longer you have a rental, the rates get cheaper). See the price breakdown HERE.
If you don't feel comfortable to drive your own boat, here is a list of charters & guides that you can utilize instead. When you check in with Minns, they will give you a small little map with places to stop.
We HIGHLY recommend boating over to Stocking Island and grabbing a bite to eat at Chat N Chill and maybe you will be lucky enough to swim with a wild dolphin like we did in the little cove (see the post here on our Instagram page). You might even be lucky enough to watch the Stingrays come up and feed off the newly emptied Conch shells for the afternoon lunch rush (rush = about 15-20 people), that also occurs at Chat N Chill.
QUICK TIP: Make sure to bring a day bag with you... trust me, you will be happy you did!! See our suggested BAHAMAS PACKING LIST for both a day trip & a weeks stay! And dont forget the water to stay hydrated!
Ok, I'll be honest, Golf is not our strong suite... but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to gaze at the incredible Bahamas waters at nearly every hole (6 holes to be exact, but it seemed like WAY more). It was more like 'Hey, let's buy a few basket of balls and see how many we come back with' type situation oh and my Dad is a golfer as well, so we just joined him in a game.
At our resort, Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma, they have one of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL golf courses we have ever seen in our lives. Designed by the golf legend Greg Norman, its known to be one of the Caribbean's most scenic 18-hole courses, and yes its definitely a challenging course (especially for us non-golfers)! See the price breakdown HERE.
QUICK TIP: A golf cart is MANDATORY on this course & they do have rental clubs and other necessities if needed (for purchase/rental)
**Our #1 pick on our list of things to do in Exuma Bahamas**
"OH. MY. GOSH".... said EVERYONE on board the boat, as we pulled up to a small little cay (aka Pig Beach), and on que, a Sounder of Swine came swimming up to the boat 🤯
Honestly, this was the funniest and coolest thing we have ever experienced in our lives. I never thought we would live to see the day of swimming pigs... let alone in one of the most tropical areas we have ever been.
When we went on this excursion, there was only one tour company, Exuma Water Sports, that was running the show (see their website here). Now days, you can find multiple tour companies, doing this same excursion. On our tour with Exuma Water Sports, not only did we get to hang out with the pigs, we did some island hopping, fed some massive iguanas, did some snorkeling, experienced our first blow hole, dove down to catch and hold some of the biggest star fish we have ever seen, and learned about multiple cays owned by the rich and famous!
QUICK TIP: Book in advance... these spots go SUPER quick! And if you are worried about seeing the swimming pigs and covid, I've heard they have been really good about refunds/changing dates, but do verify!
Whether you're interested in a Cruise, guided tour, group trip, independent international travel or just a weekend get-away, and even that bucket list adventure... we can assist you with that!
Click 'Lets Go!' & lets start this Exuma Bahamas vacay together!
Because Nate and I were getting married in the Bahamas (read about that travel blog HERE), technically we had to be 'residing' in the Bahamas for 3 days (this has changed to 24 hours). We also had to get the approval from the Registrar General in, what we would consider, downtown Exuma, at the local Police Station. This was such a neat experience, and forced us to meet some of the nicest people we have ever met.
Every Bahamian we met, was genuinely excited and truly appreciative that we chose their home to visit and get married in! Do make a point to check out the tiny city and strike up a conversation with some of the locals.
Not only will they tell you where the best 'anything' is (beach, food, sunsets, snorkel locations, etc.), especiallythings to do in Exuma, but they have some of the BEST stories... especially Mama D and her family at Santanna's (we are getting to them next ⬇⬇⬇)!
**Our #3 pick on our list of things to do in Exuma**
YES... you MUST make this a priority and YES... this is where Johnny Depp and the film crew came and ate for a few days while filming Pirates Of The Caribbean (ask to see there photo album, hopefully they still have it)!
Imagine this... sitting ocean side, on a tiny stool at a tiny beach shack with shudders as the doors & windows - wide open for a fresh salty breeze, eating two Lobster Tails (caught earlier that morning), and washing them down with an ice cold Goombay Smash (a traditional Bahamian beverage)... all the while, listening to the stories from Mama D (the cook/owner) and her husband, about how they free dive everyday to get the fresh catch of the day... and HOW they warn the other diver about incoming sharks trying to steal their fresh catch.
If I can recall the story, there is one diver and one lookout in the boat. While the diver is spear fishing, the lookout gives out warnings - something like this...
• One loud tap on the boat = Keep an open eye
• Two loud taps = sharks near by
• MULTIPLE LOUD TAPS = Get the heck out of the water!!
You can find Mama D and her families shack (aka Santanna's Bar & Grill), at the southern tip of Great Exuma on the left!
Known as a world famous location, the Tropics Of Cancer actually intersects with Pelican Beach on Little Exuma (southern part of Great Exuma), and is a MUST to seek out. So, we actually rented a small van and drove the island for the day, not really knowing where the heck we were going or where to stop at, with exception to Santanna's. There is pretty much ONE main road on the entire island, with MULTIPLE dirt roads broken off the sides.
Honestly, I'm not even going to try to explain how to get to Pelican Beach and the Tropics Of Cancer, and instead am forcing you to chat with the locals on which dirt road to take. 😜🤷♀️ But, what I can tell you, its absolutely stunning... its the largest stretch of sand on the Island... and you will most likely have it to yourself!
And yes, Great Exuma is safe to travel around, so no worries there!
QUICK TIP: DO take a day bag (see our list here), and be prepared to be lured into stepping into that beautiful clear Kool-Aid colored water... and getting lost in the Bahamas 'island time'.
And as always, if you enjoyed my rambling in this travel blog, and you would like to hear more, be sure to sign up for our blog posts. And if you REALLY like us, we would so much appreciate you sharing this with someone else ❤
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Thank you for your trust & Happy Adventures!
- Ashley, (Nate & Blake)
⬇ How we got this excursion ⬇
This picture says it all! Ashley's Mom (orange & grey cover-up) & Dad entered our names into a drawing to swim with the pigs. Obviously WE WON... but one of the coolest parts, Sandals knew we had a wedding party with us and ended up PAYING FOR ALL of us to go on the excursion🤯 There's that hospitality and one more reason why they deserve their six star ratings... doing the unexpected and going above and beyond!
Read ➡ Things To Do In Exuma
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