Kathy is a freelance writer from Canada who is always on the lookout for fun things to do with her family.
While staying in Nassau, Bahamas on a four day vacation with my husband a few years ago, we had a chance to see some of the Exuma islands firsthand. We were very impressed and truly felt like we had found a piece of Paradise.
Map of the islands of the Bahamas
Where Are the Exuma Islands?
The Bahamas is made up of 700 different islands. The biggest island is Grand Bahama Island, followed by Nassau/ Paradise Island. The other islands are referred to as the out islands of the Bahamas and stretch for hundreds of miles southeast of Grand Bahama Island.
The Exumas, or Exuma Islands, are considered to be part of the out islands of Bahamas. They are an archipelago of over 260 islands, beginning 35 miles southeast of Nassau and stretching approximately 120 miles to the south.
Our Day Trip to Exuma
We arranged a day trip through a tour agent at our hotel in Nassau. There were many day trip packages to choose from, but the one from Island World Adventures caught our eye first, so we booked an excursion with them. Am I ever glad we did - we had a fantastic time!
Our trip started at the Paradise Island Ferry Terminal early in the morning. We boarded the Island World high-speed powerboat with a few other couples, our captain and first mate for the day, and we were off. We passed some very impressive homes along the way, including Nicholas Cage's island retreat on Paradise Island, and private islands owned by movie stars like Johnny Depp.
The weather had been overcast and drizzling when we left our hotel in the morning, but we were happy to discover a beautiful sunny day awaited us once we got a little further south. We were told the weather in Exuma is often different than the weather on the two larger main islands of the Bahamas, and we were happy this was the case.
One of the highlights of the day was snorkeling in the ocean off the boat. The water was crystal clear, and there were so many beautiful and colourful fish all around us. I wished I had an underwater camera to capture photos of some of the beauties we saw in the ocean.
We also had a chance to explore a sandbar of beautiful white sand during our trip. I felt like a kid again, playing in the sand and splashing in the warm water!
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Sandbar in the Exumas
Feeding the Sharks After Lunch
Feeding the Sharks
After a lovely BBQ lunch on the island, we had the opportunity to feed some sharks. There was a special area set up where you could take any leftovers from your lunch and throw it into the water off the dock. The sharks quickly appeared to eat their lunch.
They were fascinating to watch, but I'll admit I was more than a little freaked out to realize that I had been in the water not too far away just a couple of hours earlier.
Relaxing on Saddleback Cay
In the afternoon, we had some time to explore the island of Saddleback Cay and relax on any of the seven private beaches on the island that are used exclusively by guests of Island World Adventures. The Half Moon Bay beach is the largest beach on the island.
The water was crystal clear, and the sun was hot. We were in our own tropical paradise, and felt incredibly blessed to be experiencing this wonderful day. I began to wonder if anyone would notice if we didn't board the boat for the return trip back to Paradise Island. I wanted to stay there much longer!
Half Moon Bay and Beach on Saddleback Cay
All too soon, it was time to leave. On our way back to Paradise Island, we made a stop at the small island of Leaf Cay. Leaf Cay is home to one of the only remaining populations of the endangered Exuma Islands iguanas, also known as Allen Cay iguanas. They are a type of rock iguana native to Bahamas, and they are an endangered species, with a population of less than 2500 remaining. The iguanas on Leaf Cay are used to tourists stopping by to feed them and will run right up to you to take a grape from a stick. They are faster than they look!
Leaf Cay and the Endangered Exuma Island Iguanas
Bahamas Travel Poll
Although our trip to the Exuma Islands was brief, it made a lasting impression on me. I hope to return there some day, and spend much more time enjoying the natural beauty of the Exumas.
Exuma Trip Poll
© 2012 Kathy Sima