Many Shades of Blue
The ultimate escape for the rich and famous. Boasting of the clearest waters in The Bahamas, The Exuma Cays are a must on your Bahamian bucket list.
120-mile chain of 365 cays
70 minute flight to the U.S.
Foot-print free beaches
Ultimate diving experiences
Playground for celebrities
Exuma International Airport
With sapphire-blue water everywhere, The Exumas are an exotic collection of dream destinations. Footprint-free beaches and ultra-exclusive resorts and islands fit for celebrities make this tropical paradise an absolute gem. Here, nature outnumbers man, coastlines remain flawless and private homes play host to some of the world’s most famous stars. The Exumas truly are the ultimate escape.
What Makes The Exumas Unique
The Exumas are an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, beginning just 35 miles southeast of Nassau. Once called Yumey and Suma (names of Amer-Indian origin), the islands have gone through many changes over the years. Today, they’re divided into three major areas—Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays. Each offers its own unique Bahamian experience. Great Exuma and Little Exuma are known for their laid-back surroundings, while The Exuma Cays act as a playground for the rich and famous, boasting numerous private homes, luxury resorts and beachside condos. The Exumas are also rich in history, as they were settled by British Loyalists with their slaves following the American Revolution.
The Exumas are a 120-mile-long island chain-within-the-chain of the Out Islands, with the Exuma Cays scattered in a long line extending north toward New Providence from Great Exuma. The Cays are the most exotic of the Out Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water you’ve ever imagined.
Flying down the Exuma Cays, looking down on the tiny jewel-like islands and every shade of blue on blue on blue possible where the crystal-clear tropical Atlantic pours over the deep cuts between the cays and the constantly shifting sandbars that look like meditative sand paintings has been named one of the top ten things you absolutely must do in the Caribbean. The area is so precious — it’s reefs and island environments so pristine — that the Bahamian government set aside a 176-square-mile section as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, one of the world’s most successful marine parks.
Many of the Exuma Cays are private, some operated as luxuriously exclusive private-island resorts and others the ultra-exclusive homes of such stars as Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, David Copperfield and country singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The hub of the Exuma Cays is Staniel Cay, where boaters gather at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club’s bar and restaurant, and where a landing strip serves as the gateway from Nassau and Florida to the northern stretch of Cays. Within sight of the Club is the famous Thunderball Cave – seen in the James Bond film of the same name as well as Never Say Never Again, Splash and Into The Blue – where you can put on a mask and snorkel and duck inside a small hollow cay that’s filled with friendly fish accustomed to being hand fed. And just around the corner from Thunderball you’ll find the wildly popular swimming pigs!
The anchor of the Exumas archipelago is Great Exuma, Bahamas. Here, you’ll find the laid back capital George Town and a great selection of casual Bahamian restaurants like Iva Bowes’, Big D’s Conch Shack, Eddie’s Edgewater and Peace & Plenty. Hotels here range from five-star resorts such as the Grand Isle Resort & Spa or luxury-inclusive like Sandals Resort to condo-resorts and locally-owned fishing lodges.
A short boat ride from Great Exuma is a barrier cay that protects the main island from the Atlantic. Stocking Island features spectacular views from atop its high bluff and a series of idyllic beaches separated by limestone promontories. On the lee side, the Chat & Chill is a classic beach bar with great food that seems to attract every boater in the area.
With beautiful blue water, water everywhere, the Exumas are a dream destination for boaters, fishermen (flats, reef and offshore), divers, snorkelers and kayakers. The private islands are custom-designed for those seeking the ultimate escape, and the new levels of luxury available in both the Cays and Great Exuma are a definite draw for lucky couples looking for the perfect spot for an island wedding or honeymoon.
Discover The Exumas
National Family Island Regatta
There’s normally five days of sailing featuring Bahamian native sloops – Classes A, B, C, D, and E. Some 60 native sloops from all over The Bahamas gather at Elizabeth Harbour to take part in various Series and Cup Races. This tradition started in 1954 and today it is one of the oldest regattas in The Islands of The Bahamas. Venue is beautiful Elizabeth Harbour in George Town.
Moria Harbour Cay National Park
Covering 13,440 acres, it is a vital part of the ecosystem between Great and Little Exuma. It includes sand dunes, beaches, mangroves and sea grass beds, home to nesting seabirds and a nursery for marine life.
World Famous Swimming Pigs
These “domesticated” pigs live on Big Major’s Cay, and it’s uncertain how they got there. Whenever a boat arrives, they swim out to it and expect to be fed, a practice that’s been going on for years.
The Bahamas is the ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs’. Visitors to the islands are happily embracing the unique and special experience of swimming with the pigs on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay, which is home to these special creatures and affectionately called “Pig Beach”. The swimming pigs join the vast selection of aquatic activities already popular with visitors to The Bahamas, from snorkelling with tropical fish and sea turtles to shark and eel sightings to scuba diving.
The family of pigs, dubbed ‘adorable’ by tourists, locals and media alike, have become incredibly popular. They live freely on the sandy beaches, and after basking in the sun for hours, they swim in the surf. The pigs, though feral, are exceptionally friendly, running from under the shade of the almond trees to greet visitors that bring them treats. They are also fed by the crews of passing yachts and vessels. The swimming pigs are truly a sight to behold and have become so popular that they have inspired a children’s book, “The Secret of Pig’s Island,” by Jennifer R. Nolan, and a song by children’s author Sandra Boynton.
It is unknown how the pigs originally came to live on Big Major Cay, as they aren’t native and the island itself is uinhabitated.
Popular lore suggests that the pigs were dropped off by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them, or that there was a nearby shipwreck and the pigs swam to safety. However it was that they came to be, there are now approximately 20 pigs and piglets surviving easily on Big Major Cay, partly because the island is blessed with three freshwater springs, and partly due to the generosity of visiting Bahamians and tourists.
Visitors may book their visits to Big Major Cay for their opportunities to swim with the pigs through a variety of excursion vendors on The Islands.The Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Joy Jibrilu, has concluded that, “As a destination that is world-renowned for welcoming visitors and providing them with the most beautiful beaches, lavish hotels and resorts, and fine dining, and for being a dream destination, the Islands of The Bahamas are very proud to be the Official Home of the Swimming Pigs. Providing visitors with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of interacting with these wonderful animals is just one more thing that distinguishes The Bahamas. We’ve already introduced thousands of visitors to ‘Pig Beach’, and we look forward to welcoming thousands more in the years to come. These animals are now as much a Bahamian experience as any other that visitors may discover while visiting The Bahamas.”