Spending time sailing in the 365 islands and cays that make up the Exumas is a delightful and diverse experience as each “out island” offers something different. These “out islands” of the Bahamas are a 120-mile-long archipelago that sits off-the-beaten-path. Spend your days island-hopping, following our recommended itinerary in this uncrowded, laid-back, rich oasis of the Exumas.
With our Exumas charter itinerary, you will be sailing around easy-to-navigate strips of secluded harbors and lavish ports nestled throughout pristine turquoise water wilderness, where you are sure to experience swimming pigs, deserted beaches, and quaint seaside bars with delicious foods, strong drinks, and friendly locals. Do keep in mind that navigation in the Exumas requires careful monitoring of the GPS and chart plotting due to the shallow waters.
Highborne Cay is an idyllic location for an overnight stay while sailing the Exumas and is surely a great way to kick off your vacation in the Exumas. There is much to do: spend a day kayaking or snorkeling at Horseshoe Bay’s uninhabited beach, be sure to check out the “Octopus Garden” reef below the surface, and take the dinghy to nearby Allan’s Cay. After a day of water sports in the sun, be sure to take time to relax and enjoy a cocktail and dinner at Highborne Cay. The 360-degree view of the Exumas from this restaurant is spectacular!
Tip: Check out the legendary iguanas at Leaf Cay beach.
Norman Cay is a favorite in the Exumas, due to all the pristine coral reef that surrounds the Cay and its neighboring islets. This is a great place to relax on the beach and truly take in your surroundings. For the activity seeker, there are the remains of a plane crash that can be found on the southwest point of Norman’s Cay. This is a great place to view colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral while snorkeling.
Tip: Pick up seashells on Tinkle Beach, the home of the lone palm tree. It’s also a great location for bonefishing, for our anglers out there.
Read More: 7 Day Sailing Guide to Mallorca Island
Great Guana Cay
This is a must-have if you are craving a genuine “Out Islands” experience while in the Exumas. Regardless of not having moorings, this Cay is one of the largest anchorages within the Exumas. It is well-protected and easy to approach and the locals at Black Point Settlement will make you feel right at home in their quaint little town. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in island culture.
Tip: Order homemade bread from Lorraine’s Cafe to pick up the next morning and shop for handwoven palm leaf baskets.
Staniel Cay may look familiar if you are a James Bond fan, as it is the backdrop for two James Bond movies. This is a great place to snorkel, as there is an extraordinary underwater cave system referred to as “Thunderball Grotto,” which features vibrant heads of coral and marine populations.
Tip: For dinner, head into Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and before dinner rent a golf cart from the marine to explore the island from land. Don’t miss swimming with the pigs!
Read More: Top 7 Places to Sail on the Dalmatia Coast
Warderick Wells Cay
While of course there are great water activities to do while at Warderick Wells Cay (snorkeling, beaches, by this point you know the drill), this anchorage is a great place to spend time on land! It is the headquarters of the 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. There are 20 marked nature trails to explore the island and these hikes offer fantastic views of the breathtaking scenery.
Rose Island is eleven miles long and not far from the main port of Nassau. An awesome spot for snorkeling, secluded coves, and four great beaches—First Beach, MacTaggart’s Beach, Footprints Beach, and Sandy Toes. This is a great place to spend your final night on board and reminisce about your unforgettable Exumas vacation and take in one more radiant Bahamas sunset.
Tip: Visit Sandy Toes on a Sunday for a great party scene at the bar and grill. Or for a more relaxing vibe, check out the hammocks at the top of the hill.
We hope this tried and true Exumas sailing itinerary has you dreaming or planning your next vacation. The Exumas’ crystal-clear waters are perfect for all watersports, including kayaking, kiteboarding, sailing, and fishing. The Exumas are unlike other Caribbean stops in that they offer so much solitude, culture, wildlife with all of the comforts and conveniences of home. Where else can you swim with sharks, pigs, and giant iguanas and then have a five-star dinner? We hate to share this uninhabited, secluded slice of paradise, for fear it will become discovered! Did we convince you to set sail to the Exumas yet?
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Check out other Caribbean favorites with Top 7 Islands in the British Virgin Islands.
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