Four undeniable qualities that make Exuma stand out
Feb 27, 2018
We love our pigs but it is really all about the water
Exuma is known as the land of peace and plenty. Its natural environment oozes tranquility. And there is plenty to experience, discover and learn, including these four qualities that make many choose Exuma.
- It's simply aquatic: Exuma’s appeal is primarily its waters. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is the first of its kind in the world, covering 76-square-miles in the northern part of the Exuma chain. Inside this protected area, it is illegal to remove any wildlife. This has allowed sealife to thrive and flourish. The most active reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving are inside the park.
Throughout the park, you can find mooring sites, managed by the Bahamas National Trust conservation non-profit. Technically, the park is not only in the sea. Protected on land is the Hutia, the Bahamas’ only native terrestrial mammal. Seabirds also find many breeding habitats within the park.
- It's beautifully blue. If you hate the color blue, perhaps Exuma is not the place for you, because the blues of the Bahama Banks and of the Atlantic Ocean are never far out of sight. To describe all of the shades you would need an encyclopedia dedicated to the color blue. Whether on mainland Great Exuma on in the Exuma Cays, there are very few hotels without ocean views, no matter the price point. Sandals Emerald Bay, Lumina Point Resort and the Staniel Cay Yacht Club are three hotels that stand out for their ocean views.
- It's archipelagic: Exuma can singularly boast of having 365 of the islands and cays that make up the 700 Islands of The Bahamas. The Exumas are divided into Great Exuma, Little Exuma and the Cays. There are so many options you can visit a different cay every day. You can experience the archipelago in several ways, including day trips, and multi-night vacations.
Day trips from Nassau are available by speedboat, usually to visit the swimming pigs. Flamingo Air is the domestic airline with daily flights to Staniel Cay, which is convenient for a day trip by air. From Great Exuma, there are many companies that offer island hopping boating excursions, and there is a water taxis to Stocking Island, where the Chat ‘N’ Chill beach bar is located. Exuma is a destination, within a destination.
- Its animals are celebrities: Nowhere else in the world do pigs live on beaches and voluntarily swim in the sea, which is probably why the Bahamas’ swimming pigs became a viral sensation. Swimming pigs have migrated to several Bahamian islands, including the Abacos, Long Island and Harbour Island, but the original pig beach is Big Major Cay in the Exuma.
Exuma is also home to rock iguanas. These prehistoric looking creatures are so special, they sparked an international incident: Two women were caught at an airport in London trying to smuggle 13 endangered iguanas out of the Bahamas. Thankfully they were unsuccessful and the majority of the animals were repatriated and released back into the wild. Pigeon Cay in the Exumas is home to these herbivorous lizards.
Learn more about the Exumas and research places to stay.