Most people that visit the Bahamas spend their time in the capital of Nassau. Nassau boasts a beautiful harbor which is especially popular among prominent cruise lines, it is cluttered with small colorful houses and colonial architecture, and it has a warm and breezy climate. Most importantly, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. It is likely that your cab driver from the airport will hand you a personal business card or a whatsapp number, take it – the prices are the same no matter which cab you take and it’s always nice to have one person take you around. Due to its incredible popularity among cruise line travelers, Nassau turned out to be quite expensive especially relative to other islands in the Caribbean. To my surprise, meal prices were comparable to the prices I see in New York City – for food that is quite average in comparison. Nassau is beautiful but there is a lot more to see in its neighboring areas so if you go, spend some time outside of Nassau as well, like I did.
About an hour away by plane from Nassau are 365 cays and islands that make up the Exumas, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! The area is divided into three parts: The Great Exuma, Little Exuma and the Exuma Cays – each unique in it’s own way. If you’re visiting the Bahamas, make some extra time for the short flight to Georgetown & experience The Exumas, which are home to arguably the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean (and perhaps even the world). Certain parts of Exuma can be reached by boat from Nassau but overall a day trip from Nassau to Exuma can’t be done, especially if you plan to see the swimming pigs and Staniel Cay. On the bright side, it’s a local flight so you don’t need too much time in advance to get to the airport. Pack light and travel a lot – it will be worth it, trust me. There are also many flights that go directly to Georgetown especially from the southern coast of the U.S.
British Colonial Hilton
The British Colonial Hilton is conveniently nestled in Downtown Nassau near the Cruise Port. This chic property is on the Old Fort of Nassau and it’s the only resort in Downtown Nassau that has it’s own private beach. I could not have asked for a better location to stay in during my short visit; the resort is walking distance from Nassau’s well known high end shopping district, The Straw Market and Rawson’s Square. Also nearby is the local Fish Fry, a strip of local cuisine and fantastic seafood that you don’t want to miss. The rooms are spacious and the property feels like a lush tropical garden. Private hammocks, comfortable day beds and cabanas are scattered all around the property, giving everyone a little piece of privacy.
The British Colonial Hilton is perfect for traveling with kids, too. There are a multitude of children’s activities on site, a babysitting service, and amenities for both adults and kids like kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling gear. In addition the beach, there is a large freshwater pool surrounded by comfortable private cabanas.
Hideaways at Palm Bay, Exuma
Like a bag of skittles, colorful pastel houses scatter a section of the Georgetown shore where the Hideaways at Palm Bay are nestled. This property is unique in it’s variations of one, two and three bedroom villas and cottages; all cute and colorful reminding me of my childhood dreams. My pink villa was so close to the shore that I could practically taste the salt water on my lips.
Hideaways at Palm Bay is a casual and friendly resort that truly feels like home. Each cottage & villa comes equipped with a kitchen and ours even had a fantastic porch overlooking the water. While there is a pool on site, nothing compares to the beach and for the guests’ convenience there are kayaks, paddleboards and paddle boats available, complimentary.
Walking distance across the petite beach front property is Splash! Bar & Grill which has an extensive menu of snacks and entrees attractive for kids and adults alike. They also have this fancy bar setting for the kid inside of you!
Things to Do
Undoubtedly, Exuma is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The real reason for this trip was to check off one of my bucket list items: to see the swimming pigs. What I discovered, however, is that there is SO much more to these breathtaking islands than just the pigs. Since most people travel to the Bahamas and stay in Nassau, I cannot recommend enough that you take a flight out to Georgetown and explore so much more that the Bahamas have to offer.
When you visit Exuma, you have to (at least) visit the cays, and the pigs. We went on a half day tour with Exuma Water Sports (they handle the notable @theswimmingpigs account on instagram). I cannot recommend them enough! The team, Captain Al & Tazzy, kept a smile on everyone’s face the entire time. They were knowledgeable, kind, attentive and kept the whole experience fun from start to finish. I strongly recommend doing a half day or full day tour in order to see as many cays and islands as possible. You won’t regret it.
The half-day tour includes stops at a number of different islands including the swimming pigs, iguana island, snorkeling, beautiful beaches + cliffs, and more. The full day tour includes even more so if you have more time to explore different islands, do it!
A very special thank you to my friends Brendan & @itsbetterinthebahamas for an unforgettable time in Exuma – make sure to follow them for Bahamas inspo!