Few sites in the world compare with the staggering beauty offered by the 365 islands that make up Exumas archipelago. This unique group of beautiful Tropical Islands consists of: The Exuma Cays, Great Exuma and Little Exuma.
While Nassau might draw the most tourists, Exuma Bahamas is another region of the country that’s worth visiting. From Great Exuma Island to tiny islands like Big Major Cay, home of the Exuma Pigs, you could spend weeks exploring the region and still not have enough time to soak in all the sights, especially since they have just as much to offer beneath the surface of the water as they do above. Besides boasting some of the brightest and bluest water in the world, Exuma is also famous for its snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Contrary to popular belief, Exuma Bahamas is also accessible. Air travel lets you fly into an Exuma airport from places as far away as Nassau and Miami. Given how much time flying saves, you can even sign up for Exuma Island day trips. These allow you to go sightseeing during the day and then return to your original destination that same evening. You don’t have to worry about local accommodations or any other logistical hurdles holding you back!
If you’re looking to enjoy postcard-perfect beauty, Exuma Bahamas is the place to do it. Unfortunately, that, along with the region’s abundant marine life, makes it vulnerable to human activity.
To preserve Exuma’s beauty and biodiversity, the governor of the Bahamas agreed to set aside nearly 113,000 acres of pristine beaches, mangroves, and coral reefs. Years later, this site, known as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, remains one of the best places in the country to get up close and personal with the true splendor of the Bahamas.
From strolling along picturesque beaches to snorkeling through the bright coral reefs, the park is a worthwhile and important part of the Bahamas to visit. Just remember: you’re there to look, not touch or take!
Located towards the middle of the Exuma Bahamas chain is Staniel Cay. Travelers often fly into the Exuma airport on Staniel Cay when participating in Exuma Pigs tours and other day trips. As mentioned, many of these travel by air to save time, but boat tours from nearby places like George Town are also an option.
While many tourists use it as their Exuma island base of operations, Staniel Cay is worth exploring in its own right. It features the stunning vistas that make Exuma Bahamas famous, as well as a small town. If you’re looking for a good place to eat lunch, the Staniel Cay Yacht Club won’t disappoint.
However, most travelers that visit this part of the island chain are there to see one thing: the Exuma Pigs! Luckily, they’re right around the corner from Staniel Cay.
The Exuma Pigs live on Big Major Cay, a tiny island that would otherwise be just another verdant dot in a sea of turquoise. The pigs themselves put Big Major Cay on the map, to the point that many people now refer to it as Pig Beach or Pig Island.
Regardless of what you choose to call it, know that there aren’t any human inhabitants residing on the island. All you’ll find are the Swimming Pigs and some other animals, like a couple of goats and cats.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Exuma Pigs is that no one knows exactly how they arrived at Big Major Cay in the first place. Some locals will tell you that farmers from a nearby island brought the pigs there to eat them and then never returned. Others claim that the pigs were shipwrecked and found sanctuary on the island.
Either way, years of people feeding the pigs have conditioned them into the friendly and gregarious creatures they are today. They’re lovely hosts, which makes a visit to Big Major Cay a great answer for anyone wondering what to do in Exumas.
As if the Exuma Pigs weren’t though, in the area around Staniel Cay, visitors also have the chance to see another very special animal: iguanas.
Bitter Guana Cay is one of the homes of the beautiful northern Bahamian rock iguana – a resident of the region. Unfortunately, habitat loss and competition with domesticated animals like goats have caused its population to rapidly decline. Today, the species has an IUCN rating of “vulnerable,” with fewer than 5,000 animals alive in the wild.
Given its status as a species, Bitter Guana Cay is more than just another sun-drenched tropical island. Like the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park as a whole, it’s the perfect place to appreciate and respect the beauty of the Bahamas in a non-threatening manner.
Great Exuma Island is the largest in the chain. Its capital, George Town, is an excellent stop on any Bahamas day trip or tour, especially since it has an Exuma airport. It also offers prime access to stunning surroundings, as well as modern amenities, like delicious dining. Speaking of dining, while you’re in the Bahamas, make sure to try conch (pronounced “konk”). Similar to calamari, you can have conch fried, in a salad, and just about every way in between.
Great Exuma Bahamas is home to some of the most upscale resorts in the Bahamas. While you can certainly budget (or avoid accommodations altogether by signing up for a day trip), the island is the perfect place to splurge, if you’re looking to do it.
If you’re looking for an upscale resort on Great Exuma Bahamas, you can’t go wrong with Sandals Emerald Bay. Set on a 500-acre estate, this luxurious, all-inclusive resort borders one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
While exploring your surroundings is never a bad idea in the Bahamas (especially since hopping is so easy), Sandals Emerald Bay is designed to keep you content no matter how long your stay. With three impressive pools, 11 restaurants, and a massive golf course, the resort has everything you need to feel pampered and at peace.
Right off the coast of Great Exuma Island is another gem worth visiting: Stocking Island. While it may only be four miles long, Stocking Island offers some of the prettiest vistas in the whole archipelago. It also features a network of walking trails that make it easy to explore the island.
When you need to cool off, head into the water for a dip. The waters around Stocking Island are full of vibrant marine life, making it perfect for snorkeling, as well as another one of the highlights of Exuma Bahamas.
Accessible via a bridge on the southern part of Great Exuma, Little Exuma is another contender for the most beautiful island in the country. It features some of the brightest blue water in the world – water that clashes brilliantly with the snow-white sand on the beaches.
Little Exuma is so beautiful that many Hollywood films have used it for backdrops and sets. If you’re a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, you might recognize some of the different islands as filming locations. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom spent a lot of time there enjoying the beaches – even once the cameras stopped rolling.
From the Swimming Pigs on Big Major Cay to the pristine marine life in the waters around Stocking Island, Exuma Bahamas is a can’t-miss part of the country. While you won’t be able to see it all your first time around, air travel makes it easy to hop from one island to the next.
Sign up for an Exuma day trip today to enjoy all that the region has to offer!Share this tour
Bahamas Air Tours Inc
doing business as, Swimming with Pigs
Fla. Seller of Travel Ref No. ST41785
Mon – Sun 9.00 – 17.00
4300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL