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Exuma, Bahamas Travel Guide: What to Know Before Visiting

The Exumas are a chain of 365 islands and cays that stretch approximately 130 miles in the Caribbean Sea. At 37 miles long, Great Exuma is the largest island in the Exumas (61 square miles) and features charming colonial architecture, colorful houses, and a laid-back atmosphere. The Ferry Bridge connects Great Exuma to its smaller and quieter counterpart, Little Exuma (12 square miles), home to Tropic of Cancer Beach (AKA Pelican Beach) which is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Bahamas. Visitors to Exuma can indulge in a variety of water activities such as snorkeling, diving, sailing, and swimming with the famous swimming pigs at Big Major Cay. There’s a reason they call Exuma “Paradise in Paradise”! And while there’s no question that Exuma boasts some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in all of the Caribbean, the thing that outshines the scenery is the people. Exuma locals are some of the kindest, most helpful, and friendliest people that you will ever have the pleasure of encountering. Pair the hospitable locals with its untouched landscapes and idyllic charm, and Exuma makes the ultimate paradise for those seeking tranquility and adventure amidst some of the most stunning scenery in the Caribbean.

Check out our Caribbean Packing List on Amazon to see what we packed for our time in Exuma!

Watch our Exuma vlogs for a closer look at our experience!


Where to fly into:

Surprisingly, there are 12 airports/airstrips in the Exumas, but unless you’re flying on a small, private plane or jet, there’s really only one option when traveling to Exuma, and that is Exuma International Airport (GGT) located on Great Exuma Island. With flights offered by major airlines like American, Delta, and Air Canada as well as boutique airlines like Western Air, Bahamasair, Silver Airways, and Sky Bahamas, GGT is the perfect access point to Great Exuma and beyond.

Bahamas Aerial view


How to pay for things:

First off, cash is king in the Bahamas! Credit cards are not always accepted, so be sure that you have an ample amount of cash on you before setting out each day. Now that that’s out of the way, the official currency used in Exuma is the Bahamian Dollar, but the US Dollar is widely accepted. And while the exchange rate is one-to-one, that does not mean that you can expect to pay the same amount for items in the Bahamas as you would back in your home country (the US for us). Just like many Caribbean islands, almost everything has to be imported which makes everything more expensive… Especially food, and that includes groceries. If you’re coming from the US (lower 48), you can expect to spend about twice as much on food than you typically would in the US.

Bahamian Currency


How to get around:

If you plan to explore the island beyond your resort or vacation rental (which we 100% recommend), then you’ll likely want to rent a car. If you do decide to rent a car, it is important to note that in the Bahamas they drive on the left side of the road (opposite for us Americans). And while it’s really not that difficult to get used to, it can be quite intimidating. So, if driving on the left side of the road sounds a little too stressful, then the next best way to get around is by taxi albeit expensive. Like anything, each option has its pros and cons but there’s really no wrong way to explore the Exumas!

Car Rental:

Taxi Service:

Big Noch’s Taxi Service: 242-552-1540

Big Noch's Taxi Service Exuma

If you want to take your Exuma adventures up a notch, you can rent a boat to get out and see this beautiful paradise as it’s meant to be… From the water! And just like the rental cars, if driving a boat and navigating the ever-changing waterways of the Exumas is a little too far out of your comfort zone (which is totally understandable), then you can always charter a boat with a driver/captain for your visit!

Boat Rental/Chart Service:


Where to stay:

When it comes to accommodations on Great Exuma, there are many great options to suit your needs and budget, but if you want to truly embrace the Bahamian culture and immerse yourself in island living, then we can’t recommend Ole Ike Bay enough! This 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath 6,000 square foot luxury home sits on the most beautiful property overlooking the breathtaking sapphire blue waters of Man O War Cay and Moriah Harbor Cay National Park. In addition to the million-dollar views, Ole Ike Bay also provides you with a private beach as well as a private boat dock! You really just have to experience this place for yourself. And if you use our code “MATTANDNAT” when booking, you’ll receive 5% off! So head over to to book your Exuma vacation! You will NOT regret staying and this stunning property! ➡️ BOOK NOW ⬅️

Ole Ike Bay vacation rental Exuma

Other Options:

Situated on a mile-long stretch of white sand beach, this luxurious 79-villa complex boasts one of the island's few spas, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and a poolside patio restaurant. ➡️ BOOK NOW ⬅️

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive experience for your Exuma vacation, then look no further than Sandals Emerald Bay & Marina. Located on one of Exuma’s largest and most stunning beaches Sandals Emerald Bay is the only adults-only all-inclusive resort in Exuma designed for couples. The resort features 11 restaurants including French and Italian options, 6 bars including a swim-up bar, day and night entertainment, unlimited land and water sports, championship golf, free scuba diving trips, and even butler service in select room categories!

If money is not an object for you and you want to vacation in the lap of luxury, then Fowl Cay Resort is what you’re looking for. Located on its own island next to Pig Beach, this small and charming paradise is not your regular all-inclusive. Surrounded by the most beautiful waters and beaches in the world, Fowl Cay offers a home away from home unlike any other. You won’t find accommodation closer to the world-famous pigs than Fowl Cay Resort, and every single villa includes a golf cart and a powerboat with unlimited fuel.


Where to eat:

There is no shortage of dining options on Great Exuma, but here’s a list of options that we either personally enjoyed or that came highly recommended by local guides:

If you want to take your Exuma dining experience to the next level, then consider booking a private chef to bring the restaurant to you! We can’t speak highly enough of Chef Keva and her team who not only made an incredible 4-course meal but also made us feel so special and cared for. You won’t regret booking Chef Keva for at least one night of your stay in Exuma!

Chef Keva Exuma


What to do:

Exuma offers a stunning array of activities to enjoy. You can start by exploring the breathtaking Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, where crystal-clear waters teem with marine life perfect for snorkeling and diving. Then, of course, there are the famous swimming pigs at Big Major Cay and the Instagream-worthy nurse sharks at Compass Cay. For those looking for relaxation, the powdery white sands of Stocking Island are a good place to start, while more adventure-seeking travelers can kayak through the mesmerizing mangroves of Moriah Harbour Cay National Park. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy!

Top things to do in Exuma: Swimming with Pigs, Swimming with nurse sharks, swimming with turtles, starfish island, Chat N Chill, Bahama Iguanas

Here are some of the top things to do while visiting Exuma:

The swimming pigs are without a doubt the most popular and iconic symbol of the Exumas, and visiting them has become a must-do activity for tourists. The pigs inhabit Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Beach, and they have become accustomed to interacting with humans who visit the island. You can take a boat tour from Staniel Cay or neighboring islands to reach Pig Beach and spend time with the friendly and curious pigs. During the excursion, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and play with the pigs in the crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounding the island. Many tour operators also offer opportunities to feed the pigs, which adds to the fun and excitement of the experience.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush and a chance to connect with nature in a remarkable setting, swimming with sharks at Compass Cay Marina is a must-do activity in the Exumas. Compass Cay is renowned for its clear turquoise waters and abundant marine life, including a healthy population of nurse sharks. Visitors to Compass Cay Marina have the unique opportunity to swim with these gentle creatures in their natural habitat making for a thrilling and unforgettable experience! The nurse sharks at Compass Cay are accustomed to human interaction and are generally docile, making this encounter safe and enjoyable for adventurers of all ages.

Travelers should note that while nurse sharks are generally considered harmless to humans, it's important to respect their space and follow any guidelines provided by local guides or staff members. Additionally, wearing appropriate swimwear and being mindful of one's surroundings can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Chat ‘N’ Chill is a quintessential Bahamian experience where you can kick back in colorful beach chairs, sip on tropical cocktails, and indulge in delicious Bahamian cuisine including freshly grilled seafood, cheeseburgers, and mouthwatering conch salad. The rhythmic beats of local music fill the air, setting the perfect backdrop for socializing, playing beach games, or simply relaxing under the warm Caribbean sun. In addition to the uniquely Bahamian atmosphere, there are at least 4 resident stingrays that hang around the beach at Chat ‘N’ Chill offering the opportunity to feed and swim with these magnificent creatures. As with any wildlife, it’s important to remember to respect their space.

Hooper's Bay is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sands, and abundant marine life, including the iconic sea turtles. Travelers can embark on guided snorkeling tours or simply wade into the shallow waters to encounter these gentle creatures in their natural habitat. Hooper's Bay boasts a healthy population of green sea turtles, which gracefully glide through the shallows, feeding on seagrass and captivating onlookers with their serene presence. Visitors should remember to adhere to responsible tourism practices, such as maintaining a respectful distance from the turtles and refraining from touching or disturbing them.

Nestled within the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Bitter Guana Cay is renowned for its population of Bahamian rock iguanas, a species found only in the Bahamas. Visiting these iguanas is an unforgettable wildlife encounter where visitors opportunity to observe and interact with the native iguanas in their natural habitat. These fascinating reptiles, known for their unique appearance and docile nature, can often be found sunbathing on the rocks or meandering through the island's vegetation. Just remember that the iguanas at Bitter Guana Cay are wild animals and should be treated with respect and caution. While they are generally accustomed to human presence, it's essential to maintain a respectful distance and avoid any actions that may disturb or harm the iguanas or their environment.

This iconic underwater cave system gained fame as a filming location for the James Bond movie "Thunderball" and has since become a must-visit destination offering an unparalleled snorkeling experience for travelers seeking adventure and natural beauty. Snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto unveils a mesmerizing world of marine life and geological wonders. As you glide through crystal-clear waters, you'll encounter vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and perhaps even spotted eagle rays gliding gracefully beneath you. The cave's limestone walls are adorned with intricate formations, creating a captivating backdrop for underwater exploration.

As its name suggests, Starfish Beach is famous for its abundant population of vibrant starfish scattered along the shoreline, creating a mesmerizing sight for visitors. The shallow, calm waters make it an ideal spot for snorkeling, allowing visitors to observe not only the colorful starfish but also an array of tropical fish and marine life. In addition to the abundance of starfish and natural beauty, Starfish Beach is also home to Da Sand Bar, a small beach hut offering ice-cold beverages, cheerful conversation, and a pool table! Yep… A pool table on the beach! So, be sure to add Starfish Beach to your itinerary during your visit!

Book your Exuma tours and activities with trusted providers with GetYourGuide!


Additional services on the island:

Butler and Concierge Service: Island Hospitality

Real Estate & Property Management: CK Moxey


We hope that this guide has helped you make the most of your Exuma vacation, and if it has, we hope you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!

Disclaimer: We only recommend products, services, and resources that we believe will provide value to our readers/viewers. If you purchase anything using our referral links, we may get a small commission with no extra cost to you, and the money we receive from our advertising relationships helps us to keep creating content free of charge to our readers/viewers.


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