Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve updated my “Exuma Cheat Sheet“, and now that we are finally post-Covid era, figured it would be a great time to update the information!
* If you are a first time reader, it may be worthwhile to read the original Exuma post for more detail!
How to Get To Exuma
The only direct commercial flights into Great Exuma (airport code GGT) currently are from:
– Miami (MIA) Airport – twice a day
– Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Airport
– Atlanta (ATL) Airport
– Toronto (YYZ) Airport seasonally during winter (once a week on Sundays, starting in November until May)
– Nassau (NAS) Airport and connect with a regional airline like Bahamasair or WesternAir
From wherever you are flying from, you can connect through one of these hubs to get to GGT. Check with google.com/flights to find out exact schedules and airlines.
Where to Stay
There’s been some changes with hotel availability in Exuma – some new renovations, some new management, etc.
Grand Isle: The top luxury hotel still remains Grand Isle Resort. Although it is a nice hotel resort (originally built to be a Four Seasons hotel residence), they should refresh it soon – I believe all the furniture is still from the original build so may not be as modern for some).
Sandals: If you are looking for an all-inclusive option, there is a Sandals hotel on the island. It is very popular and close to the Grand Isle hotel on Emerald Bay.
Peace and Plenty: This hotel underwent quite a substantial renovation. The rooms are modernized and look much better than they used to, and the price point is still very budget friendly. They also purchased the beach across Elizabeth harbour on Stocking Island which they run as a beach bar associated with the hotel – guests get a free boat taxi shuttle over to the beach bar and back! This is a major plus for the hotel, as the immediate hotel location doesn’t have its own beach.
Paradise Bay: This hidden gem of a hotel features cute villas and is located on an amazing quiet beach. It is quite low-key and small, but a good option if you want easy close beach access just steps from your room.
Kahari Resort: This used to be called Lumina Point, but underwent new ownership/management. If an eco-friendly option is important to you, this hotel would be a great option. However, it is located on Stocking Island, and the hotel boat will pick you up and drop you off from the main island. It is remote/quiet but has nice beach access!
AirBNB/VRBO/Flipkey: Exuma is a very safe and laidback island, and has a lot of nice airbnb/house rental options. Since Exuma has gotten more well known and popular travel destination, there has been an uptick in new construction and people renting out their new builds when they are not using them. I would generally recommend this option for those who have already been to the island, and are returning for additional visits, as they would be more familiar with the areas/what to do. For your first visit, it is convenient to have the staff of a hotel to give you some assistance and to help familiarize yourself with the island.
My favourite beaches on the island have generally remained the same – Cocoplum Beach, Hoopers Bay, Tropic of Cancer on Little Exuma. There is a new public access beach called Pretty Molly Bay Beach. It is on Little Exuma, before Tropic of Cancer. It features two coves, one is calmer than the other (depends on direction of the wind). The beach generally is very quiet but a great option to visit if you are beach hopping!
One of the biggest benefits of a remote island are the untouched beaches, however along with that comes one of the negatives which is the restaurant scene. Exuma is not known for the food or service so you have to come with low expectations. That being said, my favourite restaurants would be Rusty Anchor (February Point), Palapa Grill (Grand Isle), 23 North (Grand Isle), Blu on the Water (Rolletown), Santanna’s Bar & Grill (Little Exuma), Driftwood Cafe (Downtown), The FishFry/Shirleys, Chat’n’Chill (Stocking Island), Cocoplum Bistro, Haulover Bay.
Exuma Water Sports is still on top of the tours that originate from Great Exuma, and now with new larger boats. If you are staying at a hotel they will provide you the latest tour operators that have partnerships with them, as the operators generally do change over time. If you are unsure about an operator, just check their reviews on Tripadvisor and make sure they are aligned with your expectations.
Every time I visit Exuma I make sure to rent a car, since it is the best way to get around the island. The cars are in great condition and it gives you the freedom to check out all the beaches on the island. My favourite car rental provider is Thompson’s Car Rental, and they are located across from the airport (just walk across the street) next Kermits. I email them a day in advance with how large of a car I need and for how long and they always have availability and I am always satisfied with their service – just note be careful with sand in the car. Use towels on the seats if you get sandy and don’t return with a lot of sand on the seats!
If you have any other questions about Great Exuma feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or direct message on instagram!