Together, the Cays and Great Exuma — with its wide range of resorts and hotels that range from luxury amenities to basic fishing lodges – offer an amazing variety of vacation possibilities in the The Out Islands of The Bahamas.
The Exumas are a 120-mile-long island chain-within-the-chain of the Out Islands, with the Exuma Cays scattered in a long line extending north toward New Providence from Great Exuma. The Cays are the most exotic of the Out Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water you’ve ever imagined.
Flying down the Exuma Cays, looking down on the tiny jewel-like islands and every shade of blue on blue on blue possible where the crystal-clear tropical Atlantic pours over the deep cuts between the cays and the constantly shifting sandbars that look like meditative sand paintings has been named one of the top ten things you absolutely must do in the Caribbean. The area is so precious -- it’s reefs and island environments so pristine -- that the Bahamian government set aside a 176-square-mile section as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, one of the world’s most successful marine parks.
Many of the Exuma Cays are private, some operated as luxuriously exclusive private-island resorts and others the ultra-exclusive homes of such stars as Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, David Copperfield and country singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The hub of the Exuma Cays is Staniel Cay, where boaters gather at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club’s bar and restaurant, and where a landing strip serves as the gateway from Nassau and Florida to the northern stretch of Cays. Within sight of the Club is the famous Thunderball Cave – seen in the James Bond film of the same name as well as Never Say Never Again, Splash and Into The Blue – where you can put on a mask and snorkel and duck inside a small hollow cay that’s filled with friendly fish accustomed to being hand fed. And just around the corner from Thunderball you'll find the wildly popular swimming pigs!
The anchor of the Exumas archipelago is Great Exuma, Bahamas. Here, you’ll find the laid back capital Georgetown and a great selection of casual Bahamian restaurants like Iva Bowes’, Big D’s Conch Shack, Eddie’s Edgewater and Peace & Plenty. Hotels here range from five-star resorts such as the Grand Isle Resort & Spa or luxury-inclusive like Sandals Resort to condo-resorts and locally-owned fishing lodges.
A short boat ride from Great Exuma is a barrier cay that protects the main island from the Atlantic. Stocking Island features spectacular views from atop its high bluff and a series of idyllic beaches separated by limestone promontories. On the lee side, the Chat & Chill is a classic beach bar with great food that seems to attract every boater in the area.
With beautiful blue water, water everywhere, the Exumas are a dream destination for boaters, fishermen (flats, reef and offshore), divers, snorkelers and kayakers. The private islands are custom-designed for those seeking the ultimate escape, and the new levels of luxury available in both the Cays and Great Exuma are a definite draw for lucky couples looking for the perfect spot for an island wedding or honeymoon.