May 17, 2022

Best Things to Do in Exuma Bahamas: Exuma Islands Travel Guide

Thanks for being here! I’m Sarah & I’m the Creative behind SALTY LUXE. I hope these words inspire you to live your best life & see the beauty in every day. And I hope you never stop searching for a life of infinite happiness. Stay Salty, Sarah xxx

Salty Luxe.





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Our epic guide to the best things to do in Exuma Bahamas covers everything you need to know to explore Great Exuma & Little Exuma Islands. This Exuma Bahamas travel guide includes includes where to stay, best foodie spots, most incredible beaches, how to get around & all the not-to-be-missed experiences!

The Bahamas consists of 16 major islands and thousands of cays in the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth! If you’re wondering where to visit in the Bahamas, the Exuma Islands are the place to be! 

We decided to stay on Great Exuma island for one week and be perfectly positioned to visit the nearby islands, Little Exuma and Stocking Island. As an addition, you can also choose to charter your own luxury catamaran. This lets you island hop your way through paradise to see everything the region has to offer from beautiful beaches to colorful fish and from seeing the coral reefs to a variety of water activities!

Get our full Exuma sailing itinerary here.

exumas bahamas beach

Please note that some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission on any purchase made (at no additional cost to you). Of course this blog captures all my own personal thoughts and feelings and if you’d love to know more about anything, please reach out to me!


Access to the Exumas is straight forward! Various airlines offer direct flights to the Bahamas capital of Nassau. The direct flight from Miami takes less than an hour!

Great Exuma island is another 40 minute scenic domestic flight onwards from Nassau. Daily flights operate out of Exuma International Airport.

Flying into Nassau

This is the main city on New Providence island that you will likely fly into the Bahamas. Personally we’d recommend limiting time here as it’s very busy and expensive even by Bahamas standards for basic food and accommodation.  

If you do need to stay for a layover or a night before or after sailing, we stayed at the very reasonably priced and small Bell Town Hotel, right near the airport (with airport pickups).


There’s a lot to see on Great Exuma. The island is big and untouched by mass tourism. Public transport is almost non existent, so you’ll definitely need a car!

You can easily rent a car in central Georgetown for around $60 per day (and most guest houses will even help you organise this). 


I would highly recommend staying in a guest house or Airbnb. Although there are a few hotel options in central George Town and scattered throughout the island, there are loads of stunning Airbnbs and short term vacation rentals for different budgets that will have you feeling like a local!

All the best sites are spread out, so you can stay anywhere you like. We knew we would be moving around a lot, so we chose Sea Star villas in Moss Town, an extremely small town 20 minutes outside the main town known for its powdery white sand beach and empty stretches of coastline. 

The property is simple and clean, with 3 separate villas to choose from. We had amazing sunsets and dips in the ocean between our travels around the island.

We didn’t love the North end of Great Exuma but there’s some big resorts up there to check out too if you are craving some nicer restaurants and pools.

If you want an adults-only all inclusive resort, consider Sandals Emerald Bay. For us, we wanted more of the local experience over the resort experience in Exuma.


It’s important to know that down here (like most of the country) there’s basic food and not a lot in the way of good vegan / vegetarian options. You can make it work for a short time, and it helps if you cook from home! There are a few supermarkets in Georgetown that have reasonable fruit and vegetables + all your rum needs. 

The must-try dishes are conch (a sea snail pronounced ‘konk’), grouper, and rum cake, all Caribbean specialties. Expect steamed veggies and rice or simple salads if you are vegetarian (like me) when eating out, otherwise seafood is fresh and abundant.

Top Things to Do in Exuma Bahamas

There are plenty of things to do on Great Exuma, and we loved our Bahamas vacation. We also wanted to see Little Exuma and some of the surrounding islands and cays.

While we cover the top things to do in Exuma here, we also have our full itinerary for sailing the Exuma islands to give you a timeline and more of what we saw on our catamaran trip.

Quick list of what to do in Exuma Bahamas:

Stocking Island (Chat n Chill & Starfish Beach)
Little Exuma Island (Tropic of Cancer Beach & Santanas)
Haulover Bay
Hooper Bay
Staniel Cay (Thunderball Grotto & Pig Beach)
Compass Cay

Best Things to Do in Great Exuma

Stocking Island

This beautiful island is just a 5 min boat ride from Georgetown marina. On Stocking Island, you’ll find the famous Chat n Chill beach bar and the ultra stunning Starfish Beach. This is a not-to-be-missed experience & was one of the best days of our trip!

We organised a round trip ($20 per person) with a local skipper, exploring Starfish Beach on our own before heading over to Chat n Chill for a conch burger and a few local beers.

There’s so many stingrays hanging out in the shallows, so don’t miss that! Boats go all day, so you can come and go as you please!

Sarah on a beach swing
beach hut exumas bahamas

Little Exuma Island

Little Exuma Island is accessible by car via a small bridge from the island of Great Exuma. This was our favourite area and where we believe are the Exuma’s best beaches!

Here you’ll find many pristine unnamed beaches, as well as the famous Tropic of Cancer Beach and Santana’s restaurant.

We spent a full day beach hopping (make sure you have a cocktail at the Tropic of Cancer Beach Bar), before having lunch at Santanas. Make sure you grab a rum cake to-go from Mums Bakery next door too. 

under water photo of sarah

Haulover Bay

Haulover Bay is an empty, shallow bay just below Georgetown.

Come for the stunning blue hues, but stay for the Haulover Bay Bar & Grill, a little restaurant shack serving up delicious fresh seafood with a view. Foodie tip: make sure you try a mango daiquiri here. I still dream of it. 

Hooper Bay

Just off the main road on Great Exuma, Hooper Bay is a quiet spot to get out of East winds. You’re almost guaranteed to be able to swim in the shallow water with sea turtles!

The crystal clear waters made this a perfect stop for us to enjoy the white-sand beaches of the Exuma islands.

Hooper Bay Exumas Bahamas

Other Things to Do in the Exuma Islands

Staniel Cay

Staniel Cay was a top spot for us in the Exuma Cays because we wanted to see the nearby Thunderball Grotto and Pig Beach (Big Major Cay).

Thunderball Grotto is the cave made famous by the James Bond movie of the same name. There were actually two James Bond films shot here as Never Say Never Again also filmed in the grotto. It’s best to visit Thunderball Grotto at low tide if possible.

While the Staniel Cay Yacht Club is a big draw to the area for boaters, we wanted to visit the nearby Pig Beach. We were the first to arrive at Pig Beach after heading there around 9 or 10 a.m. There were piglets nuzzling up to your legs and huge pigs that would give you a little bite for food.

Make sure not to take any food ashore though! There are people who care for the famous swimming pigs and feed them, so they try to keep visitors from feeding the pigs.

Later in the morning, boats start pouring in with people feeding the pigs from the boats as they swim out to say hello and snapping pictures. There is a lot going on once the tour operators start appearing at this popular attraction!

Why not see the Exuma Islands on a luxury catamaran? Check out our Exuma Sailing Itinerary to find out how to explore this beautiful place on a private boat.

Compass Cay

Besides the famous swimming pigs, the Exumas are also famous for Compass Cay where you can swim with nurse sharks. Compass Cay Marina has become a shark sanctuary after the owner started feeding the nurse sharks and people started swimming with them. Personally, we didn’t enjoy this place due to the handling of the sharks – it all feels very unnatural.

You can book boat tours that visits both Pig Beach and Compass Cay as well as other nearby stops.

Compass Cay is just south of where the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park begins, and you can see more of our stops there in our Exuma sailing itinerary.

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