Are crystal-clear waters and sparkling white sand beaches your thing? How about endless days relaxing in a luxury resort, cocktail in hand? Do you love having new encounters with animals?
If you answered YES, then you already have all of the reasons you need to visit the Exumas in the Bahama Islands.
If you need more convincing as to why you need to go to the Exuma Islands, keep reading!
What are the Exumas?
Exuma is an archipelago of 365 cays and islands located in the Bahamas. Exuma has everything you would expect from a pristine tropical island destination (and more!). Expect unbelievably beautiful beaches, inquisitive wildlife, outstanding snorkelling and of course, some of the clearest water in the world.
The Bahamas are made up of 700 islands and 2500 cays. The islands are categorised into Nassau, Grand Bahamas and the Out Islands. The Exumas are located in the Out Islands and are further divided into three areas: Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. Each area is different and has its own unique attractions and vibe.
Continue reading to discover 10 very convincing reasons why you need to go to the Exumas in the Bahamas.
1. To see the clearest water in the world
Our first reason you need to go to the Exumas is for the clear was. The Exuma’s are world renowned for the sapphire blue, crystal clear waters. The water surrounding the Exuma Islands is thought to be some of the clearest water in the world! The beaches are also surrounded by powdery white sand.
If you love nothing more than being in and around sparkling aquamarine blue, impossibly clear water, then you need to go to the Exumas!
With 365 islands and cays all surrounded by the "Bahama Blues", there is no shortage of places to enjoy the clearest water in the world.
2. You can swim with wild pigs
Incredible snorkelling is the next reason why you need to go to the Exumas. Swimming with wild pigs is one of the best reasons why you need to go to the Exumas!
Ever thought you would be swimming in the clearest water in the world, not to snorkel, but to swim with pigs? That is exactly what you have to do in the Exumas! This is one of the most famous things to do in the Exumas and is an incredible reason to visit.
It is a mystery as to how the pigs ended up on the island and how they even learnt to swim. Whether they were put on the island to breed as an extra source of food after Y2K or survived a shipwreck or were simply left behind, no one knows! What we do know is that this island is home to a small but thriving population of friendly wild pigs. They associate humans with food so are generally pretty happy to see people.
The pigs are located at Stanley Cay and are only reachable via ferry or private seaplane.
3. The snorkelling is incredible
Given that the Exumas have the clearest water in the world, it comes as no surprise then that the Exumas are one of the best places for snorkelling too. No matter where you are in the Exumas, grab a snorkel, find the nearest water and snorkel.
Receive a pristine view of the area’s abundant sealife of tropical fish, sea slugs, turtles, starfish and even sharks! While pretty much anywhere is good for snorkelling, there is one famous snorkelling spot to add to your activities list. This is the Thunderball Grotto. This island was used as a filming location for 2 bond films (which is where its name comes from!).
The outside of this limestone island, may not look amazing, but once you’re inside, the magic of the Thunderball Grotto shines. There are caves, swimming holes, beaming rays from the sun and incredible underwater rock formations, teaming with life to explore.
4. Walk along a sand bar for a mile
One of the best reasons to go to the Exumas is for a mile-long white sand bar in the sea. If hues of white and blue are your favourite holiday hues, then you need to go to Exuma to experience the Big Farmers Cay sand bar. Situated on the south side of Big Farmer’s Cay, you will find a spectacular mile-long sandbar (also known as Musha Cay sandbar) which becomes exposed during low tide.
The water is so shallow which allows you to walk out towards to sea but remain in the shallows. Not only does this sandbar look like something straight out of a protocol paradise dream, but it is also a fun way to go sea shells and starfish hunting.
This truly is heaven on earth.
5. There is a beach full of endangered Iguanas
The famous Iguana beaches of the Exumas are a huge reason to head to this tropical paradise. If you thought wild pigs were the only interesting wildlife experience on offer in the Exumas, think again! There are only 3 beaches where Iguanas can be found, Allen Cay, Southern Allen’s Cay and Leaf Cay.
These 3 beaches in Exuma are home to the only remaining Bahamian Rock Iguanas, making visiting these guys even more special.
The Iguanas are big, old and quite scary looking, however, they are docile and mostly very friendly to humans. There are many tour options and boat trips in Exuma to the famous Iguana islands.
6. You can safely swim with sharks at Compass Cay
Are you ready to up the ante with wildlife encounters? Always wanted to swim with sharks but can’t quite get over the fear? If so, swimming with sharks at Compass Cay is a great reason to go to the Exumas.
The beautiful Compass Cay Marina is where you can swim with the sharks. Expect shallow, clear water and white sand to perfectly highlight the sharks swimming all around you.
The sharks that come along to the shallows of Compass Cay are Nurse Sharks who are harmless, for the most part, to humans. This is one of the best places in the world to swim with them. They are relaxed and more friendly than other sharks and the ones around the marina are used to humans and being fed by them.
7. To visit a beach where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed
The Tropic of Cancer beach is an excellent reason on its own to book a trip to the Exumas. It is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in Exuma and beyond! It is also where some scenes from Pirates of The Caribbean were filmed and was the place that inspired Johnny Depp to buy his very own island for himself.
The Tropic of Cancer beach is named after the meridian line which defines the northern boundary of the tropics as if runs right through this stunning beach.
It is the longest stretch of sand on Little Exuma and forms a gorgeous crescent of white powdery sand that falls into Bahama Blue water.
Since this beautiful beach isn’t easily accessible, if you make the effort to take a trip here, you will likely have the place to yourself.
8. You can go conch diving
Conch diving is our next reason to head to the Exumas. Conches are beautiful shells that we often associate with bathroom decorations and not seafood dining experiences! However, Exuma is a place where you can experience a completely new seafood experience by diving for conches. Most tour companies in Exuma offer this as an excursion!
9. Experience swimming in a Blue Hole
Our next reason to go to Exuma is to have a totally unique Blue Hole diving adventure experience. A blue hole is a sinkhole that is filled with water and has a submerged entrance under the water. There are many known Blue Holes in the world, however, Dean’s Blue Hole in Exuma is the deepest known to man at 202 meters deep. On clear days you can see up to 115 feet deep! This is a must-do bucket list experience for avid divers and daredevils.
10. Snorkel around Pablo Escobar’s Sunken Plane
Last, but not least, another incredible reason to go to Exuma is to have the unique experience of snorkelling around a crashed plane. But this isn’t just any old place. This is an infamous plane that belonged to the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.
You will find this shallow wreck on the Southern end of the Norman Cays, which is accessible by chartered plane or yacht. It is easy to dive down and around the plane, as it is only around 10 feet underwater.