What are the best things to do on a week vacation to Exuma?
Part of the fun of Exuma is just exploring and losing track of time.
For those that want (or need) a plan, here is our check list for a week long visit:
Go to Stocking Island - half day or full day
Fresh conch salad served right on the beach. Feed the stingrays, play volleyball and enjoy some beer and BBQ at the laid-back and iconic Chat & Chill beach bar. Pay the water taxi a few extra bucks and have them swing you by Blue Hole to feed the fish (bring some bread scraps)! You can also rent a boat at Minn’s if you want even more freedom to explore. We often skip the scene at Chat & Chill and go to the ocean side for some body surfing and hike to the peak. (More on the hike and a map can be found here). Water taxi from the main dock in George Town - runs hourly or as customers arrive.
Take a tour of the Exuma Cays (Yes this includes Swimming Pigs!) - 1 Day
Take a tour of Exuma Cays. Tour companies listed here. Available as group or private tours and also full day or half day. They leave from Barratry at the extreme North West tip of Great Exuma. You can see: Swimming Pigs, Iguanas, Nurse Sharks, Thunder Ball Grotto and much more. We have done both the half day and the full day tour as part of a group and also as a private boat...we've always had a great experience. You will end up with many great photos and memories.
Sea Kayaking or Boat - half day (or multi day rental)
Some beach houses come with a sea kayak or other boat. You can also rent both small boats and kayaks from local operators. Minn's in George Town rents small powerboats around Elizabeth Harbour and over to Stocking Island. We think the best Kayaking is around Mariah Cay. There is a boat launch right at the bridge to Little Exuma. The water here is particularly calm. It is truly a marine safari and you always see fish, birds and often sea turtles. Exploring around the nature reserve is incredible.
Find your Best Beach - 2 or 3 days
Chances are you have a great beach where you are staying and we always suggest at least 2 or 3 days just hanging out enjoying the view and the water. We believe the absolute best beaches are on Little Exuma from the gap near the bridge down to the famous Tropic of Cancer beach. If you have rented a car, it is worth driving the Island. We usually alternate a beach day with an activity or tour. There is lots of choice from a few busy beach bar beaches to many beaches where you will likely have all to yourself. We recommend half day trips to explore a beach or two at a time. Pack a picnic or stop at one of the beach bars for a snack. (More on best beaches here.)
Try the best restaurants on the island. (Phone numbers can be found here.)
But we would highly recommend that you plan to visit:
Shirley’s at The Fish Fry. We go every time we are on island. It’s great!
Tropic Breeze Beach Restaurant. It’s on Little Exuma near the Tropic of Cancer beach and also our overall Exuma favourite. It is outdoor only. Call before you go as hours can vary.
Catch-A-Fire for sunsets and live music some nights
Santana’s. Also on Little Exuma. It is probably the most famous and definitively Bahamian experience.
Blu on the Water - new restaurant at George Town Marina. Great views and interesting menu including crack conch, and spicy crab roll sushi.
We don't know the restaurants at the North West side - if you are staying up that way suggest you check out TripAdvisor or one of the other ratings sites. We generally only go up that way to head out on a Boat tour.
For those that like to fish there are some incredible choices. Bone fishing is legendary. You can do by casting or fly fishing. Best to take a guide to give you pointers and help you spot them in the shallow water. They are not easy to catch but give an incredible fight. Also a half day or full day deep sea fishing is incredible. Wahoo, Kingfish, Mahi Mahi and more are just off shore "in the blue" of Exuma sound. And finally, reef fishing or shore fishing is always fun. One of the best spots is the bridge to Little Exuma. A list of guides can be found here.
Make sure you leave lots of time for just hanging out with a good book in that perfect beach chair or hammock. At night, there are some fun beach bars around George Town some with live music on particular nights and the Fish Fry usually is a bit of a scene on weekend nights. We prefer to sit on our patio with a cold Kalik beer, occasionally gazing at the stars or the moon through our telescope which is arguably the best light show on earth
The perfect Exuma week will clearly depend on what you are looking for but the list above hopefully gives you a start!