The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and swimming pigs? That's the Exumas, Bahamas for you! This ultimate travel guide will give you the run-down on what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a trip to the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas!


When I first saw the pictures of adorable pigs swimming blissfully in turquoise waters pop up in my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, two thoughts came into my head…

  1. Pigs on a beach?? What the heck??
  2. …I’VE GOT TO GO THERE.

And that, my friends, is how I discovered the Exumas, Bahamas.


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | If swimming with pigs in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas is on your bucket list, the Exumas, Bahamas should be where you book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the beautiful Exumas, Bahamas, including (but NOT limited to) swimming with the pigs!


My family and I spent one week vacationing on Great Exuma during mid-July, and it was truly paradise. If you’ve never heard of the Exumas, it is a collection of 365 cays in the Bahamas, the largest cay being Great Exuma. The white sand beaches, neon-blue waters and unique animal encounters are what makes this destination so memorable.

I’ve compiled a list of things to do, restaurants to eat at, and where to stay while in the Exumas so that you can make the most out of your time there!


WHAT TO DO


TAKE A BOAT TOUR:

I’m typically not one for guided tours and excursions; I prefer to explore on my own and try to avoid feeling too “tourist-y”. However, taking a boat tour in the Exumas is an absolute must! A full-day excursion by boat is the best way to see several of the Exuma Cays and check off tons of activities while you’re there.

There are many companies to choose from when scheduling a boat tour, but my family went with Turtle Divers. We knew we wanted to be in a smaller group for our tour (30+ people fighting over selfies with the pigs didn’t sound too appealing). Keeping this in mind, we spoke to our hotel’s concierge and she set us up with another family to do our excursion with, totaling at 8 people. Although he specializes in diving trips, Garvin Turtle from Turtle Divers was able to take us all on a 9 a.m.-6 p.m. boat tour that covered everything we wanted to do!

This was by far my favorite day of our whole trip. It was a long and tiring one, but every minute was tons of fun. One of the best parts was that Garvin strategically stopped at each location after other tour groups had left, so we got most places all to ourselves!

Here are the things we did on our tour, and the things you should do, too:


Chill with the Iguanas on Allen’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | Chilling with iguanas by the turquoise waters of the Bahamas? Sounds good to me! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if you're planning a vacation to the Exumas, Bahamas! And if you don't plan on visiting, read this post and you'll change your mind!

One thing you’ll learn quickly in the Exumas is that nearly all of the animals you encounter are very social. The iguanas are no exception! Allen’s Cay has heaps of iguanas, and while you can definitely bring lettuce or grapes to feed them, food is not necessary to get up close and personal. They have no problem with being pet!


See a Sandbar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!
The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

There are several sandbars scattered throughout the Exumas. Make sure you see one of them! The wide stretch of ivory sand surrounded by crystal-clear water is a sight that you wouldn’t want to miss.


Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From mile-long sandbars to swimming pigs to lounging on white-sand beaches...the Exumas is where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Known for its appearance in two James Bond movies, Thunderball Grotto was one of the best snorkeling locations I’ve been to. It was probably my favorite stop of the tour! This underwater cave is abundant with colorful fish and coral, all lit up by sunlight seeping through holes in the ceiling and walls. You’ll definitely want to bring an underwater camera to capture all of the beauty, along with some fins (these were provided on our tour) as the current is pretty strong.


Feed the Swimming Pigs

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | The Exumas has much to offer including turquoise waters, white-sand beaches...and the FAMOUS SWIMMING PIGS of course! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Now for the famous swimming pigs! Not gonna lie, feeding the pigs looks a bit more glamorous on social media than it is in reality. Let’s just say these pigs can get pretty aggressive…they won’t hesitate to knock you over for some bread, and one nipped my knee! Nevertheless, it was a fun and unique experience that I was happy to check off my bucket list!


Swim with Sea Turtles at Little Farmer’s Cay

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From sea turtles to stingrays to the famous swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Our final stop of the tour was Little Farmer’s Cay, where we were snorkeled with sea turtles, but it didn’t end there! The cutest pufferfish came to greet me multiple times, stingrays were gliding along, a nurse shark was spotted…once again, we were not disappointed by how social the animals were!


BESIDES THE BOAT TOUR:

Hunt for Sand Dollars on Coco Plum Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounter...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight for a fun and relaxing vacation! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Coco Plum Beach was one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. The water is warm, shallow and clear…it’s like relaxing in a bathtub! Dotted along the water are wooden swings (ahem…the perfect picture-taking opportunity!) and enormous sandbars that emerge at low tide. Speaking of low tide, this is the best time to scavenge for sand dollars. We collected over 30!


Visit Tropic of Cancer Beach

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

The peaceful, turquoise water and white-powder sand trend continues at Tropic of Cancer Beach. Located on Little Exuma, this beach is uncrowded and a beautiful location for a few hours of sunbathing.


Swim With Stingrays on Stocking Island

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

 

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From stingrays to iguanas to swimming pigs...the Exumas offers the most unique and exciting animal encounters! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay if plan to visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

If you’re in Georgetown, Stocking Island is a 10-minute water taxi ride away. This island is best known for their Chat ‘N’ Chill restaurant and bar (which we’ll get into shortly) and of course, the stingrays! Lounge in the water and you’ll immediately be greeted by plenty of these guys. They coast from person to person and are not shy at all!


WHERE TO EAT


To be honest, I wasn’t particularly wowed by the food in the Exumas. The choices of restaurants were relatively limited, and most of the dishes I ordered were nothing special. Some may disagree, but this is just my personal opinion.

However, out of the places we tried, here is where I recommend grabbing a bite:


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Sunday Pig Roast

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

Every Sunday, the Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island has their weekly pig roast. To avoid any confusion, there’s no actual whole pig being roasted. Bahamian-style roasted pulled pork with all the fix-ins (including peas ‘n’ rice, mac ‘n’ cheese, cole slaw, glazed carrots and pig skin) are served in generous portions. It was a super flavorful lunch and a fun place to meet locals and other tourists!


Chat ‘N’ Chill’s Conch Bar

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

Conch is a big thing in the Bahamas, and the best way I tried it was in a conch salad from the Chat ‘N’ Chill’s conch bar. The salad is made right in front of you and served pico-de-gallo-style with chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper and lime juice. It’s so fresh and tasty!


Shoreline Beach Club

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

After trying a few restaurants and being unimpressed, we were very happy to come across Shoreline Beach Club! The fish tacos and fried plantains were delicious, and my brother thoroughly enjoyed his cracked conch. Violet, the manager, was extremely warm and welcoming.


Shirley’s at the Fish Fry

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From roasted pulled pork to conch salad to fried fish tacos...get a taste of the Exumas with this ultimate travel guide! If you're planning a trip to the Exumas, Bahamas, this post covers what to do, what to eat and where to stay so that you make the most out of your time!

If you’re craving something fried, Shirley’s is the place to go. Although I wouldn’t say the food was extraordinary, it’s a good local option to share some fried appetizers. This restaurant has a great view of the water featuring a cool shipwreck!


The Palapa Grill

We ate at our resort’s restaurant, The Palapa Grill, at least once a day during our stay at the Grand Isle (more on this resort in a bit). Whether we wanted breakfast with a view, lunch served pool-side, or an upscale dinner, The Palapa Grill became our go-to choice. All of the meals I ordered were excellent; I don’t think you could go wrong with anything on the menu! Along with the items from the fixed menu, there were different dinner specials offered most nights so we always had new dishes to choose from. My only complaint about this restaurant is that the service was sloooowww…but at the same time, the leisurely pace of the Bahamas as a whole is something you learn to appreciate.


WHERE TO STAY


Grand Isle Resort and Spa

The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

My family stayed at the Grand Isle Resort and Spa, which is located on the beach of Emerald Bay on Great Exuma. Our two bedroom villa was clean and spacious with two stories that included two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and an oceanfront view!

Golfing at the Emerald Reef Golf Club is a popular activity for those staying at the resort. If you feel like treatin’ yo-self, the Seastar Spa will fulfill all your pampering desires. A spa treatment wasn’t necessary for me, though…lounging by the pool with a good read satisfied my relaxation needs!

This resort is family-friendly and for the most part, the staff are very kind and attentive. Overall, I would definitely recommend the Grand Isle if you are planning a trip to Great Exuma!

Some other options include:


And there you have it! I hope you found this travel guide helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Exumas, or simply enjoyed reading about my own experiences there! If you’ve visited the Exumas before, what was your favorite part? If not, would you want to go after reading this guide?


The Exumas, Bahamas: Travel Guide | From turquoise waters to white-sand beaches to unique animal encounters...the Exumas is definitely where you should book your next flight! This ultimate travel guide will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat and where to stay when you visit the Exumas, Bahamas!

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60 Comments

    • August 21, 2017 / 1:16 am

      Thanks Daniel!

  1. August 20, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Such lovely pictures! It’s my actual dream to go to the swimming pigs, I keep nagging my boyfriend about going there with me haha x

    lucyneve.blogspot.com

    • August 21, 2017 / 1:17 am

      Thank you Lucy! Keep nagging, it’ll be worth it 😉

  2. August 20, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    I love your photos. Now I want to visit the Bahamas so baaad…! The pigs are so funny 😀

    Dani | https://struda.blogspot.com/

    • August 21, 2017 / 1:19 am

      Thanks so much for reading Dani!

    • August 21, 2017 / 1:19 am

      Thank you Mainou!

  3. August 21, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Looks like you had a blast in the Bahamas! Really great photos.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    • August 21, 2017 / 2:42 pm

      Thank you Jessica!

  4. August 21, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    Such a gorgeous post Mia! Loved discovering the Bahamas and wow those pictures are stunning😍 Now I NEED to go there asap!

    Love,
    Roxanne

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:29 am

      Thanks so much for reading Roxanne!

  5. Siffat
    August 21, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, there is so much to do in The Exumas. Swimming with pigs is on my bucket list. But I have to say, I’d be SO scared with all those iguanas, reptiles freak me out!
    xo
    Siffat
    http://icingandglitter.com

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:33 am

      Before going I wasn’t sure if there would be much to do in the Exumas besides lounging on a beach chair all day (not that I could complain about that 😉 ), but there’s definitely a lot to see! Thanks for reading Siffat!

  6. August 21, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Your white romper is just everything! Love the style and the pattern
    Kate || KATE KOUTURES

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:34 am

      Thanks Kate! I’ve been wearing it on repeat all summer!

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:36 am

      It really is beautiful!

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:36 am

      Thank you so much for reading Lauren!

  7. Yana
    August 22, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    Those piggies are so cute! This trip sounds amazing. Loved reading this post. 🙂

    http://www.lifeofardor.com

    • August 23, 2017 / 4:06 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post Yana!

  8. August 23, 2017 / 4:08 am

    This is probably the best travel guide I’ve ever read for the bahamas! I’m book marking this for the future because I’ve been wanting to visit here for forever. xo

    Kelsey | http://www.abalancingpeach.com

    • August 23, 2017 / 2:11 pm

      This means so much Kelsey! Thanks for reading 🙂

  9. August 23, 2017 / 6:53 am

    I’m in love with the photos! Such a beautiful post!

    curlyjosephine.blogspot.com

    • August 23, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Thank you Josipa!

    • August 23, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      It was beautiful for sure!

    • August 25, 2017 / 12:17 am

      It was so nice!

    • August 25, 2017 / 12:18 am

      Thanks Emily!

  10. Leah
    August 24, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    This is genuinely one of my favorite blog posts I have EVER read!! Looks amazing!!!
    Do the stingrays not sting you!?
    xx Leah

    http://www.fashtrav.com

    • August 25, 2017 / 12:20 am

      Thanks so much Leah! I worked hard on this post so your comment means a lot 🙂 Nope, the stingrays don’t sting (as long as you don’t give them a reason to)!

      • Leah
        August 28, 2017 / 9:05 pm

        Amazing!! I just re-visited to show my husband this post! Can’t get over it!
        xx

  11. August 24, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    Your photos are so stunning! And all of the animals you met on your trip – wow! This is one trip I would definitely want to do, haha.

    http://www.ticketforadventure.com

    • August 25, 2017 / 12:21 am

      Thank you! You should definitely plan a trip there 🙂

  12. August 24, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    This holiday looks and sounds incredible! The boat trip sounds absolutely amazing, I love how comfortable all of the animals seem to be with socialising, and swimming with pigs has been on my bucket list for aaaages now <3 Your pictures are beautiful! xxx
    http://www.samanthafrances.co.uk

    • August 25, 2017 / 12:22 am

      Thank you so much Samantha! The fact that the animals were so social made the trip amazing!

    • August 25, 2017 / 2:58 pm

      Thank you for reading Charlotte!

  13. August 25, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    Oh MY goodness! What an absolute paradise! I would LOVE to swim with those piggies!

    • August 26, 2017 / 2:57 am

      Swimming with the pigs was an interesting experience 😉 But a lot of fun!

  14. August 26, 2017 / 8:19 am

    This must be one of the most beautiful posts I’ve seen this month, you captured your trip so well! I feel like I was there with you lol Can’t wait to visit Bahamas and pet those cute little pigs. You were so brave with reptiles and stingray though! I would probably just scream and run away as far as I can lol

    Naya // http://www.partyparrotblog.com

    • August 26, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      Thanks so much Naya! The animals were really friendly which made petting them a bit easier 😉

  15. Elizabeth Seal
    August 26, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Ohhh your blog and photos are so gorgeous! This sounds such an experience, even better you captured the memories so beautifully 😀 can’t wait to read more from your blog! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

    • August 26, 2017 / 11:42 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth! You’re too kind 🙂

    • August 27, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      Thank you Zoey!

  16. August 27, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    Wow, what a comprehensive guide! I’ll definitely save this if I ever go to the Bahamas.
    Also, the swimming pigs sound pretty crazy! I’d never even heard of that, but it definitely sounds like a cool thing to cross off your bucket list.
    What beautiful photos, also! I can never get over how blue the water is in the Bahamas.
    Julia | juliainbluhm.com

    • August 29, 2017 / 3:50 am

      That’s so funny that you’ve never heard of the swimming pigs! They were what made me want to visit the Bahamas, haha:) Thank you for reading Julia!

  17. August 29, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Your pictures are so amazing! You definitely convinced me to add it to my bucket list! Looks so relaxing and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    xx Hannah
    https://www.lilillustrator.com/

    • August 29, 2017 / 10:36 pm

      Thanks for reading Hannah!

  18. August 31, 2017 / 4:14 pm

    Ohmygosh, I love those little pigs!! I’d love to visit the Bahamas but being from England, it’s quite a pricey one. These photos are amazing, such a good travel guide!

    https://paigeunread.com

    • August 31, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Paige!

  19. September 2, 2017 / 7:02 pm

    I so needed this post! I want to go to the Bahamas in the spring. I’ll definitely be looking back at this post!

    xo Logan
    https://peculiarporter.com

    • September 3, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Yay! Thanks for reading Logan!

  20. September 9, 2017 / 10:05 am

    Such gorgeous photos!