Our Trip to the Exumas! Plus, Where to Stay and What to Do…
Good morning!!! Sigh… posting and looking through these pictures again gave me some mega nostalgia. Missing this beautiful place and clear water and white sand. So excited to FINALLY be getting a chance to sit down and blog all about our trip! I have gotten soooooo many messages asking where we stayed and what we did so I am sharing every single detail RIGHT HERE!
First things first, visiting the Exumas is a MUST!!! The Exumas first hit my “radar” a couple of years ago when we took a day trip by boat to the northernmost point of the Exumas and I instantly fell in LOVE. It was by a mile the most beautiful water I had ever seen in my life. Over the years I have been all over from the St’s to the Cayman Islands to the French Riviera, Aruba and Mexico. None of which even came CLOSE to the beauty of the sand and water around these islands! It truly did not even look REAL!
Fast forward to late Spring of this year and I was DYING (as were and are we all) to go somewhere warm and sunny. Of course at that time I thought for sure Covid would be a distant memory come mid-Summer so John and I booked a little getaway. Our very first big getaway! Although I was a wee bit familiar with the Bahamas I wasn’t sure exactly how the “puddle jumper” flights would work island to island with flight timing and all so we decided to stay the first few nights in Nassau at a resort I had also been DYING to visit… the Ocean Club Resort. We booked our first two nights there and then found the CUTEST Airbnb EVER for our additional seven nights in the Exumas (If you are interested in booking, CLICK HERE and TYPE (BrittanyExuma) into the message line. She will reimburse you a 10% OFF refund once you book! Here is every last detail about our trip…
First up, I had to pack! And if you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I only pack carry-on… EVER! It truly makes every trip soooo much easier and soooo much more enjoyable! Not having to haul luggage all over is THE BEST! I “perfected” this method after three Summers abroad for six weeks at a time. There was just no way I could haul all of my stuff and that of my girl’s on multiple planes, trains and taxis. Here are my secrets…
Just two short weeks ago John and I boarded a plane to PARADISE! A flight direct from Atlanta to Nassau, Bahamas! Sounds easy enough right?!? Except that we spent the two weeks prior running around all over creation trying to get Covid testing done to apply for a Health Visa to enter the Bahamas. Yes, definitely something new required to travel to certain countries. The tricky part was that they don’t accept rapid tests and the turn-around was running 8-10 days and we had to be tested and granted a health visa within 7 days of travel. That’s all another story for another day. It was a headache to say the least but soooooo worth it!!! Truly just so so thankful we were even able to go! Plus, I will say that the airport was EMPTY as well as the plane! We literally didn’t even come like ten feet close to anyone. Plus, we were traveling to the Exumas which had not had one single case of Covid!
We arrived in Nassau two short hours later to another relatively empty airport and took a taxi to our first stop… the Ocean Club Resort. Truly one of the most incredible resorts I have ever seen. Here are some pictures of the resort and our balcony view…
We enjoyed two nights at the Ocean Club Resort before heading back to the same airport in Nassau to take a little “puddle jumper” to the Exumas. I will say first though that not only is the Ocean Club Resort AMAZING, but the staff is incredible as well! They were so so helpful in helping me get our paperwork and health visas all situated. Plus, their beachfront restaurant is a MUST VISIT even if you aren’t staying at the resort. The food and service is amazing and the views are STUNNING!
After our two nights at the Ocean Club Resort, we boarded this cute little plane for a short 40 minute ride to Grand Exuma Island! The airport in Grand Exuma was so tiny that they literally brought our luggage out to us after we deplaned. LOL! We then walked right across the street to Airport Car Rental (literally the name of it) to retrieve our rental car that we’d booked a few days prior. Our very first experience with a right hand steering wheel and left hand driving! Every single time we would get into the car John would say “left, left, left…” to remind himself. He got the hang of it so quickly though!
After a very easy and fairly direct 45 minute drive from Grand Exuma Island over a little bridge onto Little Exuma Island, we arrived at our GORGEOUSSSSSS Airbnb house! First things first, if you are interested in booking, CLICK HERE and TYPE (BrittanyExuma) into the message line. She will reimburse you a 10% OFF refund once you book!
Well, back up… if you are planning to make this same drive, make sure and stop for groceries, alcohol and meat (three separate places) before you arrive at the Airbnb. It isn’t a bad drive back later, believe me we did it quite a few times, BUT it is nice to arrive at the house and be able to just enjoy the house and beach for a day or two or five!
So, this GORGEOUSSSSSS Airbnb house (If you are interested in booking, CLICK HERE and TYPE (BrittanyExuma) into the message line. She will reimburse you a 10% OFF refund once you book!)… what can I say. It truly speaks for itself. Even more beautiful and perfect in person. So much so that we are already planning a trip back with all four of our kiddos! Here’s a little tour…
Ummmm… is this Airbnb house not PERFECT?!? (If you are interested in booking, CLICK HERE and TYPE (BrittanyExuma) into the message line. She will reimburse you a 10% OFF refund once you book!) I cannot even tell you how much we enjoyed this home. It is so private (we did not see a sole on the beach the entire week) and the views are unlike anything I have ever seen. We enjoyed coffee on the porch every morning and dinner on the side porch table quite a few nights! Plus, the host (home owner) was sooooo wonderful to work with and her housekeeper was so so so wonderful. I could chat all day about how much we loved her!
My number one suggestion, if you know how to drive a boat, is to RENT A BOAT! The main, and I think only, place to do so is Minns Water Sports back on Grand Exuma Island. It’s about a 25-30 minute drive but a pretty straight shot. We rented a fairly small boat for a full day and it was truly one of the best days of my life. We popped around to so many secluded islands and beachfront restaurants. It was SOOOOOOOO fun. And my gosh the water and sandbars are AMAZING!
There is also this cute little restaurant across the side street from Minns where we had lunch once and breakfast twice. It was so so cute inside and the food was delicious!
Our first stop on the boat was Chat ‘N’ Chill. A MUST!!!! It is a little beachfront restaurant only accessible by boat. They have so many cute little areas around the restaurant to hang out and relax plus the water right there is CRYSTAL CLEAR! We just pulled our boat up right out front onto the sand and anchored it. SOOOOO FUN!
We found so many shells on our boat day too by anchoring in fairly shallow water and walking onto random islands.
Another MUST is literally right across the street from the Airbnb house neighborhood and it’s called the Tropic of Cancer beach. Named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!!! There are no words for how clear and perfectly turquoise the water is there…
If you’re wanting to eat lunch or dinner out, my NUMBER ONE SUGGESTION is Santanna’s! We ate dinner there TWICE! It’s about a 8 minute drive from the house at the end of Little Exuma Island and it is a literal hole in the wall restaurant with some of the best food I have ever had. Plus, the views are AMAZING!
My next MUST-DO is a little hidden gem of a bay on Grand Exuma Island called Hooper’s Bay. It is home to sea turtles! Friendly ones too! It is so hidden though that it took us forever to even find the right spot! So I took a picture for y’all. Simply drive along Queens Highway toward the airport, past a little grocery store on your right until you see this sign on your right and a little shoulder on the left next to a road where you can pull off and park. Then walk down this tiny little path to the left of the wall onto the beach.
To find the turtles, you’ll want to walk all the way down to the boat docks. That’s where we swam with about ten! Just don’t go onto the private docks.
Another MUST MUST MUST is a restaurant/bar called Haulover Bay! It is truly the Exuma’s best kept secret. To find this gem of a place, you’ll want to drive along Queens Hwy headed back toward the airport until you see a sign for Rolletown (you can also put Rolletown in your GPS). Turn right at that sign and then take a right at the top of the hill at the deadend. You’ll see Haulover Bay on your left. Just out the back deck of this tiny little restaurant/bar is what seems like miles and miles of walkable/kayakable (depending on the time of day) SANDBARS! It is one of the most incredible places I have ever seen. John and I walked all the way out and around the little island through sandbar after sandbar finding all kinds of sealife. It feels like a DREAM!
After our day out at Hooper’s Bay and Haulover Bay we wanted a quick, local bite so I took a recommendation from all of y’all on IG and we stopped at Shirley’s Fish Fry Shack! It is located at the Fish Fry which has all kinds of local Bahamian food. Their Dirty Shirley drink and conch fritters are both a MUST!
Last but not least and our very last stop on or very last day… Forbes Hill Beach. Located not far at all from our house and also on Little Exuma Island, Forbes Hill Beach was STUNNING! Super secluded and the perfect way to finish off our relaxing and super romantic trip. See you next time Bahamas!!!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes