– Into the Blue –
The Exumas, Bahamas best kept secret
The Exumas represent a conundrum for most Bahamians. When asked by people outside of The Bahamas where among the country’s thousands of islands is best to visit, it is for many the first place that springs to mind. It is, simply put, heaven on earth. But besides that, part of its allure is also that “best kept secret” quality. So..to reveal, or not to reveal? Take a trip and you’ll easily see the dilemma.
Seen from space, the shallow turquoise waters of the Exuma chain of islands appears like a bright turquoise splash from an artist’s paintbrush against the dark royal blue of the Atlantic.
Better still, it’s more than just a pretty face. Exuma, home to hundreds of islands – many of which are owned by some of the world’s most wealthy and discerning individuals, while others are available to enjoy on a more short term basis through rentals and cruising – also provides one of the world’s prettiest locations for boating, sailing, diving, fishing and snorkeling.
With much of the area designated a protected sea park, the sealife in Exuma is particularly abundant and spectacular. Meanwhile, come April, it’s also the backdrop for one of the biggest parties in The Bahamas – Great Exuma’s Out Island regatta.
There’s also some wildlife you might not expect. Hit Allan’s Cay and you’ll stumble across the home of a rare species of Bahamian iguana, which over run the island, coming down confidently onto the sandy beach to meet visitors. At Staniel Cay it’s the world famous Swimming Pigs you’ll want to look out for – though given their tendency to swim up to visiting boats it won’t be hard to spot them.
The dive sites are some of the most fun and diverse you’ll find, with those who are keen able to gain access to a list as long as your size 12 fin of breathtaking locations.
Don’t just take our word for Exuma’s appeal. Thunderball Grotto, where you can enter at low tide to enjoy a snorkeling adventure inside a cavern filled with the dappled light that streams through its hole-filled ceiling, was picked as the location for two James Bond movie scenes, as well featuring in the movies “Splash” and “Into the Blue.”
For those who prefer to take it easy on land with a cocktail or dinner with a view, Norman’s Cay’s restaurant, MacDuff’s offers relaxation in a setting with a risque back story – the island was once the private home of Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder in the 1980s. Whatever it is that you enjoy, Exumas many islands and hidden treasures are not likely to disappoint. Just see if you can keep it to yourself once you’ve seen it!