I recently returned from a trip from Exuma and I must say, I was shocked at how many people have never heard of the island. Exuma is known for its famous swimming pigs. Ever since I saw a video of the swimming pigs, I fell in love and knew it was something I had to add to my bucket list. I suggested a trip to my bestie and after showing her the swimming pigs we booked our flight and the rest was history. We went for the swimming pigs, but we got to see and do much more and I absolutely fell in love with the island. The island is incredibly safe, the people are so kind and genuine, and the water is unlike anything I have ever seen. It was 50 shades of beautiful blue. I highly recommend a visit to this gem of an island and I hope my guide will inspire you to book a trip.
Sure to Shore Rent a Car
We rented a car from Sure to Shore. Janice the owner was extremely professional. The easiest way to arrange a car ahead of time is to contact her via WhatsApp. The only inconvenience is that her business is not located at the airport so you will have to drive to the car rental to do paperwork. The car will be at the airport upon arrival and that is where we dropped it off the day of our departure so that helped out a lot. If you need to vacuum the car before retuning it there is an AID in town that takes US quarters ($2.00). If you get sand in the car there is a $100 cleaning fee so save yourself some money and vacuum yourself. I highly recommend getting the insurance on the car as there are tons of potholes everywhere and the roads are very narrow. There are no stoplights and very few street signs. You drive on the left side of the road which I have to say was so hard to adjust to. I can’t tell you how many times we got lost and stopped for directions. The locals would give us directions and tell us you can’t miss it! You know what happened, we missed it over and over again, but it led us to have a true island adventure and we really got to know the island this way. Renting a car is a must in my opinion in order to really explore the island.
Rebecca’s Place (AirBnb)
I love staying at airbnbs when I travel because it saves me a lot of money, and what better way to get good recommendations then from someone who lives on the island. Our host was amazing she replied to any question we had so promptly. The recommendations she gave us were incredible. She even gave us step by step driving instructions on how to get places. Our airbnb had everything we needed and even came with a cat!
This was the highlight of our trip and I can’t recommend this tour company enough. They will pick you up from wherever you are staying on the island or you can meet them at the Barraterre Dock. Captain Anton and his first mate Mahi made sure that everyone was having a great time and that we were safe. I loved that the tour group was small, there was only 15 of us on board. They played great music and even let us make song requests. They made sure we had plenty to drink and provided snacks. We stopped and saw celebrity homes such as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s. The animal encounters were my favorite part of the excursion.
The first stop was at Allen Cay to see the Iguanas that had inhabited this island. I was shocked at the number of them there! We were able to feed them, some people even picked them up and held them, but I wasn’t quite brave enough for all that. After this we made a quick stop to see the Turtle Man. He has a small hammer that he would hit over a conch shell and this sent the turtles swimming towards him. From there we made it to a sandbar and I had never seen one but it takes your breath away. I could have spent all day there lounging in the calm waters. After that we went to Compass Cay to swim with the sharks. This is a privately owned dock and there is a $10 fee to enter that is not included in the tour, but it is so worth it! Jumping into shark infested water was absolutely terrifying, and exhilaration at the same time. My friend Carla was terrified and told me that she would not do it, but i talked her into it and she ended up loving it. If you take this tour trust me swim with the sharks it’s truly a once in a life time opportunity.
From there we stopped for lunch and had the most delicious buffet everything was cooked to perfection and you could have as much as you wanted. Lunch was also not included in the tour and it was just under $30 which is a great price for Exuma as food is expensive there and the portion was large. After this we went to see the famous swimming pigs. I have to say I was shocked at the size of the pigs they were huge! I was like a little kid squealing with delight when I saw them. Seeing pigs swimming is so crazy. Make sure to go on shore and see the baby piglets they were so cute, but just be careful of the mama pig she can be aggressive. We also stopped and snorkeled the Pablo Escobar sunken plane wreck and a giant underground piano with a mermaid on it. This was a full day tour, jam packed with so much adventure! Keep in mind this is a speedboat so if you tend to get seasick that some medication as you will literally be flying through the air! The cost of the tour is $220 per person which yes is very expensive, but to me it was worth every penny because it truly was the ultimate bucket list excursion.
CoCo Plum Beach
Cocoplum beach is at the northern end of the island and definitely a drive from the center of town. There will be a concrete slab on the right hand side of the road that is painted blue, this is where you turn and you will drive through a crazy gravel road filled with potholes, but once you reach the end and see that beautiful beach it will all be worth it. Make sure you go early in the morning during low tide as you will be able to walk out as far as the eye can see and the water will only be about knee deep. The scenery there was so beautiful and I loved the two swing sets! It was so much fun playing on the swings, whoever thought to do that was a genius. As the day went on, the few people that were there left and we had the entire beach to ourselves! That’s what I loved about Exuma so much is that at times I felt as if we were on our own private island. This was hands down one of my favorite beaches and a must see!
We spend our Sunday at Stocking Island visiting the famous Chat-N-Chill. They do a pig roast there every Sunday and the food is fantastic! Take the Elvis Water Taxi to the island as the only way to get there is by boat. It is $15 round trip for the taxi. We were greeted at the dock by the island pimp (yes that is what he called himself, and he was dressed exactly like one too!). He asked us if we wanted anything to drink and I asked for some coconut water and instead got some coconut infused rum. I don’t drink alcohol so I though it was awful, but Carla got a kick out of it. Make sure to check out the souvenir shop and grab a fresh conch salad it was to die for! The cool thing about this island is that there are stingrays in the water that you can swim with and you can even feed them. Just ask the guy at the conch stand for some scraps. There are swings and hammocks and the vibe on the island was all about relaxation. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Make sure to snap a photo with the famous directional sign there and play with the cats!
The Salt Marker
We stumbled upon the salt marker when we were headed to the southern tip of the island to grab some food at Santana’s. The marker is past the Tropic of Cancer, but before Santana’s restaurant and it will be on your left hand side. There is a quick hike up to the top and the views are out of this world beautiful! We learned that the salt marker served as a marker to guide vessels to the salt ponds. Exuma is a relatively flat island so this made it the perfect spot for the salt industry. You honestly can’t miss it from the road it’s 30 feet tall. This is definitely worth the stop for the incredible 360 views and it makes for some stunning photos.
Tropic of Cancer Beach
This was another one of my favorite beaches on the island. The water in Exuma is so pure and clean it really is unlike anything I have ever seen. The Tropic of Cancer latitude runs along this beach (hence the name). If I had to pick a beach that was the prettiest this one would win the vote. Powdery soft white sand, turquoise water, and two beautiful islands off in the distance. We met a man from Stuttgart, Germany (I used to live there growing up) that owned a property near by. He offered to let us use his kayak and the next thing we knew we were out in the middle of the ocean kayaking! That is one thing I love about traveling is meeting people from all over the world.
This beach was recommended to us by our airbnb host and I am so happy we took the time to see it. Getting to this beach is a bit tricky. If you are staying in Georgetown, head back towards the airport. You will see a green medical clinic/ dentist on the left and then a larger sign that says Exuma Building Supplies. Right across the street from there you will see the beach access sign and a narrow path down to the beach. Look for the longest dock on the beach this is where the turtles like to hang out at. The long dock provides a nice shade and is a perfect calm area for swimming, It was incredible seeing turtles small and big swim up to us. We could have easily spent the entire day here.
Restaurants & Food
Food was kind of a hit and miss on the island so I will only mention the places I think are a must to stop and grab a bite. Big D’s Conch Spot was one of my favorite spots, the grilled conch was so delicious I could have ate there every night. Their raw conch salad was amazing too, but had a little bit of a kick to it. Exuma is know for their conch salad so it is a must when visiting, What I noticed about the service at most restaurants is that it was very slow (island time) so go to dinner well before you are hungry as you will be waiting for your food.
Santana’s was another place that stood out in my mind I had the BBQ ribs and they were so delicious. The view of the ocean from our table was incredible.
My favorite meal that I had on the trip would be from the Rusty Anchor. This restaurant is located inside February Point Resort and is open to the public. We took a gamble and did not make a reservation. We were seated within minutes. This is the nicest restaurant on the island, but you don’t have to dress up guests were there in their flip-flops and casual wear. I opted for the grilled lobster and veggie plate and it was WOW! I am still thinking about that meal, it was that delicious and service was exceptional.
I hope you guys enjoyed this travel guide to Exuma and if you end up visiting I would love to hear all about it!