The Ultimate Adventure Vacation to Exuma, Bahamas
The Exumas, located just southeast of Nassau, are home to endless white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise blue water and the famous swimming pigs. Whether you are looking to spend your days relaxing on the stunning beaches or finding some adventure with swimming pigs, stingrays, iguanas, and more - the Exumas have it all. Add in some delicious food, sailing adventures and incredible snorkeling opportunity, and Exuma, Bahamas might just be the best vacation yet!
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Day 1: Tropic of Cancer Beach
The Exumas are a place for escape and relaxation, so start off your vacation in Exuma with a relaxing day at the beach. Drive to Tropic of Cancer beach, located about 30 minutes from George Town on Little Exuma (Little Exuma connects to Great Exuma by a small bridge). You can park in the dirt lot by the beach.
Then enjoy your day on the extensive white sand beach or enjoy a swim amongst the crystal clear turquoise-blue water. Once you get hungry, drive the short distance to Santana's for a delicious yet casual meal overlooking the beach. Make sure you save room for dessert because Mom's Bakery is right next store and has the most incredible rum cakes to try!
In the evening, make your way to Shirley's in George Town for a fantastic dinner. Shirley's is one of Exuma's most reviewed places to eat, featuring delicious plates such as the grouper plate or grilled lobster.
Day 2: Full Day Excursion to See the Swimming Pigs
This is why many people choose to have a vacation in the Exumas - to see the swimming pigs! And for good reason, as nothing can quite compare to seeing that cute piggy swimming towards you in the water.
You will want to book a full-day excursion with a tour operator that takes you to Big Major Cay (this is important as there is another beach with pigs closer to Great Exuma, but that is not the authentic one). The tour operator will pick you up at your accommodation and drive you to meet your boat. As you make your way to Big Major Cay (Pig Beach), you will pass by incredible islands home to many celebrities. You will have the option to disembark the boat at one of the islands, Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, to see the endangered Bahamian iguanas. You can sit amongst them (don't worry, they won't crawl on you) and watch these incredible creatures interact.
Get excited because your next stop is to see the swimming pigs. As the boat approaches Big Major Cay Island, it will stop before reaching the beach. Suddenly, you will see an adorable pig swimming toward you. Make sure you are prepared to jump into the water immediately, as this may be your only chance to swim with them.
Tip: the only chance to swim with the pigs is when your boat stops before reaching the beach. As soon as the pig hears another boat approaching, they will swim away. Make sure you have your swimsuit on and are prepared to jump in immediately. And if you want photos, make sure you have someone on board ready to snap away.
You can then get back on the boat to glide into the beach or swim the rest of the way there (it's not far). Once on the beach, all shapes and sizes of pigs will surround you. You can wade into the water with them, take as many photos as you'd like, and enjoy the incredible experience of swimming with pigs.
The day continues with snorkeling into a cave at Thunderball Grotto and walking on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean. You can snorkel a sunken plane and have a delicious lunch overlooking the water. You'll also have the opportunity to swim with turtles and nurse sharks if you choose.
A note from Laura
I suggest booking this tour on one of your first days at the Exumas. If the weather is windy or rainy, the tour operators will not go out, so you want to allow time to reschedule should there be any cancellations.
Day 3: Coco Plum Beach
After an exhilarating excursion yesterday, today you will want to enjoy relaxing on a local beach. Coco Plum Beach is located less than 15 minutes from the Grande Isle Resort. Here you will find calm, shallow waters and a very long beach with some shade. If you walk to the left, you will find the Instagram-worthy set of over-water swings that you must enjoy. If you come to this beach at low tide, which I highly recommend, walk to the right, and you will find a sandbar that stretches almost a mile out filled with sand dollars scattered along the path. At times it is even possible to walk out to the islands in the distance.
You may want to pack lunch for the day, or you could drive to the nearby Lighthouse Café and Ice Cream Parlour for snacks and ice cream.
A note from Laura
Make sure you check the Exuma Tide Charts before you go and try to go at low tide so you can experience the sand bar.
Day 4: Chat 'N' Chill, Stocking Island
Another beach day awaits you today, but you'll have beach games, music, and even stingrays to enjoy this time. To reach Stocking Island, make your way to George Town and take one of the local water taxis (it's about a 10-minute ride). You'll walk a short distance along the beach until you reach Chat' N' Chill, the restaurant/bar located right on the beach. A volleyball court, cornhole, picnic benches, a shop and music playing add to this fun beach vibe location. And there are stingrays that you can feed!
If you are feeling brave, walk over to the Conch Stand. To the left of the stand will be an area where they put the conch guts (it may sound gross, but this is what the stingrays eat). Grab some in the palm of your hand, cup your hand, and wade into the water. A stingray will swim nearby, and as soon as they glide over your hand, open your hand, and they will slurp up the food. The experience was fun and quite addicting!
Plan to spend the entire day here relaxing on the beach, feeding the stingrays and playing beach games. You can either grab a bite to eat at the local Conch Stand (which makes the most incredible conch ceviche) or order some delicious conch burgers, ribs or fries from Chat' N' Chill.
Day 5: Hooper's Bay
On your last day of your vacation in Exuma, it's time to explore another beach today! Hooper's Bay is located just a few minutes from George Town. It's an incredibly peaceful and vast beach and is home to some resident sea turtles. You will want to park along the street, look for the blue house and the Beach Access sign and there will be a path. Make sure you are wearing shoes as you walk along some older wooden planks. Once you reach the beach, head to the right to the piers in the distance. The turtles tend to swim between the first two piers. Then enjoy the day on this tranquil beach.
For lunch, you can grab some pizza at Mike's Pizza just down the street. Or you can drive to Blu on the Water (just a short distance past George Town) for a late lunch overlooking the striking blue water. Enjoy a meal of fresh, locally caught seafood and locally grown produce. Or you may choose to have dinner here to end your vacation to the Exumas with a superb local meal.
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