We took our first big trip in three years and went to Exuma! Where is that, you might ask? That is what I heard a lot when we said we are going to Exuma. Exuma is a district of the Bahamas. The Cays of the Bahamas. The Exumas include Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Cays. Exuma has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water is indescribable. Perfect hues of blues. White sandy beaches. This is spot on since the word Bahamas means “shallow waters.” The shallow water is nature’s playground, in my opinion. It was the perfect way to unplug, unwind and be together as a family. Not only is Exuma picture-perfect, but the locals are super friendly. Exuma is separated by a small bridge, Great Exuma and Little Exuma. We stayed in Little Exuma. This is where Tropic of Cancer Beach is located, along with some delicious restaurants. Exuma is not a touristy destination or overcrowded, which was my idea of a great beach vacation.
To get to Exuma, you fly into the Exuma International Airport. The airport is super tiny. There are a few resorts on the island like Sandals and Grand Isle Resort and Residence. We rented a house on Little Exuma. You can see the rental here. We like to rent since we have kids, and it gives us more space. I would highly suggest renting a car. It is the best way to explore the island and try different restaurants. The car rental is right across the street from the airport. They do drive on the left side. It was easy to adjust.
Some of our favorite restaurants on the island are Santanna’s, Mama’s Bakery (try the rum cake, it’s amazing!), Tropic Breeze (“best seafood on the island,” from a local), and The Driftwood Cafe (which serves breakfast as well). We had lunch and breakfast at Driftwood and both were excellent! So many other great restaurants we didn’t get a chance to try. Shop, restaurants, grocery stores, on the island close early. If you google a restaurant and it says open until 6 pm, it doesn’t mean they are open. Island time is a real thing! Always call to see if they are open or stop by before 4 pm. We have made that mistake a few times.
Some fun activities to do on the island are taking a full-day, half-day, or private tour with Exuma Water Sports. You can find them here. You will go swimming with the pigs, see iguana island, stingrays, explore some cays, and more. On the full-day tour, you will explore even more – snorkeling, swimming with the sharks, etc.
Also is a must is to go to the Chat ‘N’ Chill. It is only accessible by boat. You can grab a water taxi in town or rent a boat from Minn’s for the day to get there. It has a restaurant (outdoor seating), bar, and Conch Bar. The area is full of fun things to do, but mostly to chill and, of course, chat. The fresh conch salad from the Conch Bar is fantastic, made right before your eyes – even getting the conch out of its shell! The area is full of fun things to do, such as swings, corn holes, volleyball, feeding the stingrays, and of course, to chill and take in the views.
Another activity to do is rent a boat from Minn’s Boat Rental. Minn’s is located in the center of Georgetown, between Driftwood Cafe and Sandpiper Gift Shop. It is the best way to explore on your own and a must-do! Yes, you will be your own captain of the boat, exploring all the cays, sand bars, and other secluded beaches. Be sure to reserve your boat months in advance of your trip as we made that mistake, and they were fully booked for two weeks when we were there.
Things to know before you go. You can travel to Exuma no matter your vaccination status. You will need to apply for a Travel Visa here. It will list out all you need to know and do before you go. You will need to get a Covid test 72 hours before you arrive in Exuma. This goes for vaccinated and unvaccinated status. Find a local testing site where it is same-day results. It can take some time to get your Travel Visa approved. Although, ours came back within an hour. You will need to print out your negative covid test, travel approved visa, and travel insurance that comes with the Travel Visa. I printed out everything just to be safe.
Also, check out the Bahamas website here. Covid travel restrictions are slowing lifting in Exuma but can change daily. Make sure to always check the website. When we left for our trip, you had to take a 5-day covid test, but it was lifted right before we got there. So we only had to take a Covid test 24 hours before the departure flight back to the states. The test site was in the town of Georgetown and super easy. Also, as it goes for any international travel, be sure to check your passport’s expiration date. Lastly, download the VeriFly app to upload your travel-approved documents. We were asked for our paper copies at check-in for our flights and on the way home the airline asked us for the VeriFly app approvals.
All in all, going to Exuma was the best family fun trip we have had! Now, that we know what to expect and the process. Exuma has so much to do and explore that we possibly could not do it all. It by far is the best relaxing beach vacation we as a family have ever had! My kids said it was more fun than going to Disney World. Now, that is a winner!!! We all definitely can’t wait to go back! We are counting the days until we return to paradise. For more information check out my post of what we took with us and my favorite must-haves here. If you have any questions or would like to know more, let us know in the comment sections below. XOXO