Great Exuma, Bahamas Trip report with Video

Feb 13th, 2017, 05:30 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2016
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Great Exuma, Bahamas Trip report with Video

People, Culture and History? Majority of the Bahamian locals are of African decent. The locals we encountered were very warm and welcoming, often greeted us with a smile. According to our taxi driver, they were people from Africa brought in by Christoper Columbus as slaves and were eventually left to live on the islands (please don’t quote me on this as I only heard it from someone else.) English is the official language of the Bahamas and is widely spoken. Creole, which is derived from English and a number of other languages is also widely spoken, most commonly in less formal settings. US dollars, as well as most major credit cards are also accepted. The islands are a popular spot for yachting, sailing, diving, coral reef and cave exploring. Famous movies such as the James Bond Thunderball film and some beach scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean have been shot at Exuma.
Why Exuma, Bahamas and not Paradise Island or Nassau? We have never been to either Nassau or Paradise Island, but based on our research, Exuma has the best beach in the Bahamas. The water in Exuma is distinguishably brighter, bluer—with different shades of blue, green and turquoise. I encourage you to check Google Maps to see the comparison via satellite. We also wanted to go to a place where we will have as much privacy as we want. If you are to check the different beaches in the Exuma area, you can see that they are not crowded. The Bahamas is widely knwon to be a top cruise destination. Nassau and Paradise Island are two of the major stops for most cruise lines. Exuma, however, do not get as many toursists since no cruiseships stop at their islands. Moreover, Exuma also has the popular and world renowned swimming pigs. We originally planned to go to Paradise Island then just arrange a full day excursion to Exuma just to see the swimming pigs, but once we did the math—it turned out to be more expensive.
Is it safe? Yes. They have a small crime rate compared to Nassau and Paradise Island because they are less populated.
Why Exuma and What to do? 1. Beautiful beach with different shades of blue, green 2. Go on one full day tour and you can already see the following (swimming pigs, feeding the iguanas, starfish, sandbar, thunderball grotto (underwater cave, also where the James Bond film Thunderball was filmed), nurse sharks, turtles, conch diving (big snail, also a local delicacy) 3. Rent a boat and tour the Elizabeth Harbour 4. Try their popular local delicacy, Conch, hmmm 5. Snorkeling 6. Diving- I’m not a diver but they do have some blue holes where you can dive or dive in to see sharks
Beaches. They have long stretches of white sand beaches. The white sand in Exuma feel very soft and powdery to the touch. Because the place is not populated, you barely see any people. We stayed at Three Sisters beach during the majority of our stay, and the most people we have seen was about four people on the beach—that’s including my wife and I.
Why did you go with airbnb instead of a regular hotel? It was absolutely cheaper for us (less than half the price per night at a hotel,) and the place where we stayed at has its own beach, which made it very private. We also figured that since we are only staying for a few days and will spend most of our days going on trips and boat excursions, it wouldn’t be worth it to stay at a hotel. Staying in an airbnb made it feel like we were home—we had the standard, basic needs any hotel can provide (bed, couch, bathroom and shower), but also had a well equipped full kitchen with utensils and cookingware all ready to be used. A quick tip we could share about this too is to brainstorm ideas for quick meals that you could prepare during your stay. For ours, we had spaghetti, burgers, hotdogs mainly in mind. Plan it all out—(make a list of what to buy as well as anything you could bring from your native country such as simple condiments, etc) even before going there. A disadvantage to staying in an airbnb was that you would have to buy groceries and prepare your own meals—definitely not a bad one either.
Tips to save money:
We stayed at Sunrise at Three Sisters –fully equipped with microwave and full kitchen with utensils and cookingware, with 2 bedrooms good for 4 people. The cost was $150 per night then +$20 per person, so total is $170 per night for me and my wife. We stayed for 4 nights which cost 680+80airbnb charge, total of $760. Now here is the part where you can save money... If you went as a group of four people, the cost per night would be 210 divided by 4 which is $52.5 per person, $210 per person for 4 days=$840 and you’re already in Exuma. If you’re coming from California like we did, the cost for flights would be $600 per person (that was in February 2017 but you can get a better deal if you go on a “lower season”) $600+210= $810 per person and you’re already in Exuma. Google flights have good prices. Try to also enroll in Scotts Cheapflight (they send you deals about flights). Also, if you went as 4 people, boat rentals would be cheap. A 17’ boston whaler costs $185 +gas divided by 4 =$46.25 per person and you have your own boat for up to 8 hours.
Cons: Not for people who like to party—they don’t have plenty to offer when it comes to night life. They don’t have big malls. Going to places and restaurants can be expensive as 1 dollar is 1 Bahamian dollar.
Advice on things to do:
1. Definitely try the full day tour to see the swimming pigs, iguanas, starfish and etc. Multiple companies offer tours—Four C’s, Coastline Adventures, Sugar Adventure Company, Exuma Sunrise Tours (this is the cheapest tour! only $100 but the itinerary highlight the major places to see in Exuma.
2. Definitely rent a boat at Minns Water Sports. My wife and I had so much fun cruising from island to island at Elizabeth Harbour. The highlight for us was getting to Man O War sandbar—just absolutely out of this world breathtaking!
3. Go on a guided Jet Ski tour and see the different shades of blue/green.
4. Visit Man O War sandbar. This sandbar only last for 4 hours so you should know the time when it is low tide before you go to the place
5. Visit Stocking Island and go to their popular bar Chat N Chill. Don’t forget to try their conch salad. Swim with the friendly stingrays while waiting for your food
6. Go to starfish bay and snorkel around to find some big starfish.
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