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Exumas Itinerary

Updated: 2 days ago

EXUMAS, BAHAMAS


Each island is unique and together they offer unsurpassed cruising grounds and anchorages. Each land has its own charm, people, beauty, friendliness, and harbors. Embark on a vacation where giant starfish, wild iguanas, swimming pigs, dolphins, turtles and sharks are far more numerous than people.


Allen Cay is the first cay of interest in the Exumas chain. It is uninhabited except for a rare and endangered species of iguanas not found anywhere else in the world. The pristine beach is perfect for a liesurely walk and optimal for nature photographers, especially those fond of iguanas. The anchorage here is lovely and protected.


Highborne Cay is a privately owned island. Stop by the marina to sample some fresh Bahama bread, walk along pristine beaches or snorkel offshore. The anchorage, which is close to the cut, is ideal for deep water fishing. Neighboring Saddle Cay is fun to explore by tender.


Norman’s Cay has a dramatic recent history as the headquarters for Carlos Lehder’s drug-smuggling operation from 1978 to 1982. Lehder purchased most of the island, including an airstrip, used as a strategic stopping point for Colombian drug flights bound for the United States. With the Bahamian authorities looking the other way and the local inhabitants scared off, the island became a private haven of debauchery for Lehder and his associates. In 1982, the Bahamian government cracked down on the activities on Norman’s Cay, ultimately confiscating Lehder’s land. It is now a tourist destination where visitors can snorkel the wreckage of a drug running Douglas DC-3 plane that crashed in shallow water.


Shroud Cay, an uninhabited cay owned by Exumas Land and Sea Park, is an archipelago of cays and rocks surrounding a shallow tidal mangrove salina which serves as a unique nursery for conch, crawfish, sea turtles, birds and many varieties of fish. The beach on its eastern side, accessible from the western anchorages through a mangrove river, is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Unspoiled with crystal clear waters, the colors are simply magnificient. Providing there is wind, this is an amazing place for kitesurfing and the Shroud river is interesting to explore by tender or kayak. If you boat around to the back of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, you can climb up to one of its highest points. To do so, you need to wade through shoulder deep water and climb up a rocky path, but the 360 view is so worth it!


This island was selected to be the headquarters for the Exumas Park due to the wide variety of naturally occurring ecosystems, and it’s centrally located geographical position within the park. From rocky bluffs to sand dunes, mangrove creeks and sand flats, this island has it all. Hike across the island on more than seven miles of trails. Vist the skeleton of a 53’ Sperm Whale (died after swallowing a plastic bag) that watches guard over Powerful Beach. The southwest end of the island is the pirates hangout. Stromatolites, an ancient and very rare form of early life on earth, line the sand bank. A short trail leads from the beach to the Pirates Lair on Warderick Wells. Numerous snorkeling and exploring opportunities abound in this area. On Saturday nights, cruisers frequently gather around the small tiki hut on the beach for a happy hour.


Cambridge Cay, also known as Little Bell Cay, is privately owned but visitors are welcome ashore. Here visitors find a very nice anchorage off a beautiful beach. The rock wall on the cay is believed to have been some kind of holding pen for animals. Conch Cut has a stand of pillar coral over four feet high – one of the largest remaining stands of pillar coral in the region.


A magnificent crescent shaped half mile beach, voted one of the best in the Bahamas, is just one of 13 on Compass Cay where visitors enjoy swimming and shell collecting. Snorkel the many shallow reefs surrounding the island or swim with Tucker’s pet nurse sharks. There is also a batcave and Rachael’s Bubble Bath”, a large natural pool full of bubbles formed from ocean waves that crash over the edge of the lagoon. Fishing enthusiasts will enjoy bonefishing in the creek. Yachtsmen can stretch their sealegs hiking trails to the Low Tide Airport, Hester’s House, the old Haitian shipwreck, or circumnavigating the island. In the evening, meet other boaters at the marina for sundowners and watch for the elusive green flash.


Dock at the marina or at anchor. Fowl Cay, a private 50-acre island, features a lovely resort with amenities that include an excellent bar and restaurant, tennis court, swimming pool and beach games. Spend the day relaxing on shore or explore the surrounding islands by tender.


Staniel Cay is one of the few inhabited islands inthe Exumas and home to the renowned Staniel Cay Yacht Club, the only full service marina in the cays. Staniel Cay is located just a few hundred yards from Fowl Cay, Musha Cay, Iguana Cay and Thunderball Grotto, this latter is the location of the James Bond film “Thunderball”. Staniel Cay is the activity hub in the cays, and a favorite destination of yachtsmen. The yacht club restaurant is the place to be for lunch, dinner, and nightlife. An airstrip, grocery store, and a few shops round out the island’s offerings.



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