Need some inspiration for your one week itinerary in the Exumas? You’ve come to the right place! My name is Gabriel Silva. I’m 30 years old and I’m Brazilian. I recently came back from a brilliant trip to the Bahamas and I must say the Exumas were the highlight.
Being Brazilian, I am used to seeing breathtaking landscapes and beautiful beaches. So after traveling around my country for a while, I decided it was time to explore some destinations abroad.
For the past few years, I have been looking for destinations that provide unforgettable experiences that are unlike anything I have lived.
When I started researching the Bahamas on travel blogs, I was struck by everything about the small district called the Exumas: swimming pigs, sharks, sea turtles, an island with iguanas and, of course, wonderful beaches. So I said “Bahamas, I need to meet you”.
My first impression of this paradise was from above, on the small plane that left Nassau for the Exumas on a flight that lasted about 25 minutes. I spent the whole time looking out the window admiring the blue of the sky that mixed with the blue of the ocean.
When I arrived in the Exumas, my first destination was Cocoplum Beach. I parked the car a few steps from the sand, looked at the beach and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It was a deserted beach with the most beautiful sea I had ever seen in my life. There was a giant swing in the water too. This scene was unforgettable and it marked the beginning of an incredible experience in the Bahamas.
My Blissful One Week Itinerary in the Exumas
I stayed for six days in the Bahamas. Two in Nassau and four in the Exumas.
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas known for receiving a variety of sea cruises and, of course, many tourists. It is a city with great infrastructure, restaurants, souvenir shops and beautiful beaches, such as Cable Beach and Cabbage Beach.
But the real experience of the trip was in the Exumas. As with all trips I take, I planned a detailed itinerary for each day in the Exumas. On the first day, I went to visit some of the most famous beaches: Cocoplum Beach, Flamingo Bay and Hoopers Bay.
These three beaches were incredibly empty and the sea was absolutely beautiful. In Hoopers Bay I had my first contact with animals in the Bahamas. On this beach, you can see sea turtles up close who are swimming beside you.
On the second day, I took a boat trip to Stocking Island, an island close to Great Exuma Island. You can rent a private boat or take the tour via taxi boat. This is a tiny island with a restaurant and a lively atmosphere.
There I had another incredible experience: swimming with manta rays. On the third day, I visited other beaches in tje Exumas: Tropic of Cancer, Haulover Bay and Forbes Hill.
The Tropic of Cancer has the bluest sea in the Bahamas. But the best experience of the day was in Haulover Bay. After some research, I discovered the exact time of the lowest tide of the day. This allowed me to walk on a sandbar in the middle of the sea.
On the fourth day, I took the most unusual tour of my life: a whole day touring the Exuma cays where I met iguanas, sharks and the famous swimming pigs. This tour was booked in advance and the boat goes through small islands, each one with its own “attraction”.
Two Unbelievable Destinations: Hoopers Bay & Haulover Bay
I enjoyed every day of my one week itinerary in the Exumas. But my favorite place was Hoopers Bay – a deserted beach with unbelievably blue waters which offered the experience of swimming alongside sea turtles. This was a unique moment of contact with nature.
Another unique moment was when I crossed the sea to reach the sandbar at Haulover Bay. My friend and I saw the sandbar, parked the car and went into the sea. At this moment, we did not know if the sea was deep during the journey to the sandbank, so we were walking and discovering.
When we arrived, the feeling was wonderful: we were in the middle of the sea and walking on the sand.
An Overview of the Main Island of the Exumas
I visited the Exumas in winter to avoid the risk of being there during hurricane season. Perhaps that was why the place was deserted. It was wonderful to enjoy the deserted beaches and connect directly with nature.
But regarding the structure of the island, we went through some funny moments. We found only 2 or 3 restaurants open, only 1 supermarket and very few people on the streets.
During the time I was there, I realized that the most traditional activity of Great Exuma Island is the tour of the Exuma Cays, where you can dive, swim with sharks, visit the iguanas island and the pigs’ beach.
This tour is so traditional that people leave Nassau, take a plane to Great Exuma Island, take this tour and return to Nassau, which I do not recommend. I believe the Exumas have wonderful beaches and you can spend a few days there enjoying this beauty.
Swimming with Pigs of Big Major Cay in the Exumas
Experiencing an island full of swimming pigs was one of the most exotic things I have ever done. Before traveling, I did a little research on this island called Big Major Cay and how pigs are treated.
I discovered that there is another island in the Bahamas with the same purpose and some complaints about mistreatment of pigs.
On the island that I went to, specifically, I didn’t notice any mistreatment. But I confess that I was a little worried about it. The beach is beautiful, the tour is amazing and it is super fun to interact with the pigs, but we should be aware of the true reality of tourism with these animals.
There is no certain theory about how the pigs migrated here. However, this is the part of the Exumas with the largest number of tourists, that is: the maintenance of the island and the animals is exclusively for tourism.
Many tourists go to the Exumas just to make this tour and end up not knowing all the beauty of this paradise. It was an incredible day, but the Exumas has many more natural attractions than the famous island of pigs.
The Amazing Wildlife and Sealife of the Exumas
In Brazil, we have beautiful beaches and a direct contact with nature. However, I never imagined arriving at a beach and sitting on the sand with iguanas or swimming with sharks that live free at sea.
Everyone should have the opportunity to make this direct contact with wild animals to understand the importance of nature and the oceans. I can’t stress enough how important it is that we understand our responsibility to take care of the environment.
Accommodation for a One Week Itinerary in the Exumas
With the dollar high for us Brazilians (the Bahamian dollar is the same value as the US dollar), Exuma becomes a relatively expensive destination. So I looked for cheaper options for my one week itinerary in the Exumas.
I found a simple hotel located on the beach which had great service, with very friendly and helpful people. The hotel’s name is The Bayinn and is located in Rolleville.
Another place I went to was a hotel called Paradise Bay, on the Flamingo Bay beach. It has bungalows by the beach and a great restaurant.
Tips for your One Week Itinerary in the Exumas
The Bahamas has been one of my favorite destinations to date and I have some very important tips to make this experience even better.
Discover Nassau and set aside some days for the Exumas, as this part of the Bahamas is really special. In Nassau, it is cheaper and more convenient to get around by taxi or bus. But in Great Exuma Island it is necessary to rent a car. Renting is not cheap, but taxiing on the island is much more expensive.
The best time to visit the Bahamas is in the winter (I visited in December). The weather is hot, the beaches are more empty and it is not in the hurricane season.
If you want to have the experience of walking on a sandbar, search for the hour of low tides. There are websites that specialize in this, but the residents themselves can help with this task.
If you want to rent your own boat to visit Stocking Island (yes, in the Bahamas it is possible to fly your own boat to take this tour), make the reservation in advance.
Lastly, don’t worry if you wake up in the Exumas and it’s raining. The sun can come out at any time. Make the most of the experience and take care of the local fauna and flora so that the islands always remain beautiful.
Thanks for reading my article on the highlights of a one week itinerary in the Exumas. You will love this island paradise!