A Haute Guide To The Bahamian Secret Island: The Exumas

ExumasPhoto Credit: Chris Sariego

The Exumas, Bahamas—the secret paradise for the rich and famous and one of the most romantic getaway destinations. Located just 45 minutes away from Miami by plane, you don’t need to travel to the Maldives or Bora Bora anymore to get these picturesque views.The turquoise water and white, powder-sand beaches make the perfect tranquil escape. Exumas is a unique luxury destination, a retreat for the soul and body that will be in your memory forever.

After my brief research by the hashtag #Exumas on Instagram I thought that this was the kind of glamorous island resort destination where you are lounging and working on your tan all day long, wearing big hats and sunglasses and drinking cocktails with views of the sunset—however, this was very naïve!

This place can offer so many forms of natural entertainment that you need at least five days to experience all of them in a more or less relaxed pace.

During the precious day time you spend time in the sun outside in the water, on the various little islands and on the boat, admiring your surroundings, peace and quiet. The hotel will serve only as a place to have breakfast with a spectacular ocean view, come back for dinner and crush the bed absolutely overwhelmed with the beauty of the island.

ExumasPhoto Credit: Chris Sariego

Chart a fast and furious boat that can sneak in everywhere and be ready to explore. Have your snorkel ready to jump in the water as soon as you see sharks—there are many of those. The most friendly and safe are the nurse sharks. You will see quite a lot of those, especially at the Compass Point—a marina and restaurant with very unique domestic animals that settle right around the dock.

The next stop: Island with swimming pigs. I’ve never seen so many adorable creatures in my entire life. You’re surrounded by real pigs, running around the beach with the white sand, playfully making noises when they see you and running towards you, knowing that you will feed them. Iguanas can be found nearby, which live on the island, owning their beach and being protected by the country.

We anchored near the Thunder Grotto, where the famous 007 chapter was filmed. To get inside you will have to dive with a snorkel, go through the narrow holes between the rocks and finally you are inside of the mountain, which is empty from inside and has a round shaped hole on top. The sun is lighting the cave through and gives it a magic look, like a scene from a James Cameron movie. This special location makes for spectacular snorkeling with underwater caves, coral reefs and exotic fish.

ExumasPhoto Credit: Chris Sariego

The Bahamas is the No. 1 diving location in the world. With crystal clear water, great visibility and rich marine life, the diving experience is incomparable. There are several species of the top 10 most dangerous sharks that can be found in these waters, such as lemon sharks, tiger, hammerhead, transatlantic and reef sharks. Adventure seekers can dive with any of those in the Exumas.

For those looking to explore on the safer side, you can just snorkel in a dozen of unique spots such as inside sunken planes, cars and underwater statues.

ExumasPhoto Credit: Chris Sariego

If Exumas is Disney world, then the boat is the all-pass ticket to each of its attractions. Boating around during the low tide will show you amazing sand bars. Right in the middle of the ocean, you can anchor the boat and walk on the sand. The privacy is included. Bring a coconut, crack it, drink the fresh juice and look around. All this beauty lies ahead just for you.

That is definitely the most amazing and unique aspect of the place—it’s so private, and perfectly fits for a honeymoon or  a romantic getaway with your loved one. While it’s pretty difficult logistics as there are no big hotels, no tours or big commercial flights, it has instead little yacht clubs with several bungalows, some private villas for rent, private little boats—all of this, you will need to put together in order to organize your perfect trip. But it is completely worth it, because the Exumas is a must-visit destination!

Here are some of my favorite places on the island: 

  1. Staniel Cay Yacht Club (Resort & Marina)
  2. Staniel Rents (Two stunning private pool villas with their own beach)
  3. Compass Cay – (Marina, restaurant, shark dock)
  4. Swimming Pigs Beach
  5. Thunder Ball Grotto
  6. Iguanas beach
  7. Salt House Exumas (private pool villa with its own beach)
  8. Sunken planes (ask your host or captain for a map)

ExumasPhoto Credit: Chris Sariego