From swimming with huge pigs to seeing the tiny cays of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, there’s a lot that is great (and little!) about this island chain.
Great Exuma and Little Exuma are the more famous ones of these Out Islands of the Bahamas, but this southern district consists of as many as 365 cays. Visit The Exumas by plane or boat to swim with all kinds of odd-looking sea creatures, go scuba diving, play golf, stroll along tropical beaches, and enjoy the Caribbean culture.
Most cays have been snapped up by rich celebrities, such as Nicolas Cage, David Copperfield and Eddie Murphy. Johnny Depp spotted Little Hall's Pond Cay while shooting the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and bought it soon after.
It’s actually true that pirates used to roam here. After the native Lucayan people were shipped away as slaves in the 16th century, The Exumas became the go-to place for these rum-drinking robbers.
Witness to all of this were the islands’ stromatolites. Believed to be over 3 billion years old, these reefs formed by microorganisms are some of the world’s oldest known macro-fossils. See some for yourself in the protected Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park on Great Exuma.
Great Exuma is just 37 miles (60 kilometers) long, but still the biggest island in the chain. The district’s capital, George Town, has shops, a bank, some great places to eat and drink and popular annual regattas and cultural festivals. For curried lobster or seafood pizza, head to The Fish Fry, a row of humble fish shacks near Palm Bay in George Town.
Cross the small bridge to Little Exuma to walk along the idyllic Tropic Of Cancer Beach or rent a boat or kayak to explore Moriah Harbour Cay National Park. Don’t miss the Hermitage Estate in Williams Town, a crumbling remnant of the island’s slavery past.
Just a speedboat ride away, at Big Major Cay, you can swim with wild pigs at Pig Beach. Other options include swimming with turtles at Great Exuma’s Hooper’s Bay Beach, docile nurse sharks at the Compass Cay marina or stingrays at Stocking Island.
To get to The Exumas, sail or take a ferry to Government Dock from Nassau on New Providence Island, or hop on a plane to Moss Town’s airport. You can fly there directly from Toronto and Florida.