I shouldn’t be telling you this because I kind of don’t want anyone else to know. But my excitement is totally overruling my prudence and insisting that I tell everyone what we found!
If you are looking for a secluded beach, with crystal clear swimming-pool waters, that is easy to get to (I’m talking a normal commercial flight y’all), we have found it. It’s the Exuma Islands. The Exumas are part of the Bahamas, which is an archipelago made up of 700 islands. No big deal, just found a needle in a haystack.
I’ve been wondering for a while if there were any beaches in the Caribbean that would rival what I found in southeast Asia: Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, Boracay in the Philippines, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia.
Until this winter, I was really beginning to doubt. Anything that was off the beaten track was either not as beautiful (churning seas in Cariacou), overrun with mosquitos (protected habitat on North Caicos), or under-built (lack of facilities in Las Terrenas). Even places with big resorts and lots of tourism were lacking the ultra calm pristine beach waters. Mexico, Jamaica, Grenada – we just never found that beach.
In March, all of that changed and our vacation plans will never be the same.
I present to you, the beaches of Great Exuma:
Calm, clear, untouched. We were giddy with joy at discovering these huge stretches of magnificent coastline.
Great Exuma isn’t hard to get to and I’m not sure why more resorts haven’t been built. (Here’s hoping they stay away.)
We flew from Austin to Miami and took a 40 minute American Airlines flight from there to George Town, Great Exuma. Then we picked up a car from Don’s Car Rental (there are no big name agencies here) and headed down the Queen’s Highway (aka a two lane road that runs the length of the island) to our home rental.
It was an amazing, modern place with a swimming pool overlooking the sea. Although there are a few smaller resorts you could stay in, there are also tons of private rentals that in my opinion seemed to be a much better bargain.
Our 3 bedroom 2 bath house was about $400 per night which was a great price for the location and amenities.
Split it with another couple, add one cute neighborhood dog, and the deal couldn’t get much sweeter.
We were situated right outside the bonefish flats on the south side of the island. It wasn’t a beach per se (most of the good beaches are on the north side) but the water was clear, and still as a lake.
The flats are very shallow. At high tide they are only about four feet deep. At low tide, the water sinks so far down that a sandbar appears about 50 yards out.
If you’re into fly fishing, you can stand in the shallows and watch for bonefish. They’re usually caught and released, although you can eat them too if you want.
We skipped the fly fishing and opted to take kayaks and explore the outlying uninhabited islands.
If you go exploring in a kayak, be sure to return before the tide goes out or you will be stuck dragging it across the sandbar, which is much less rewarding than paddling. Unless you’re a navy seal. In which case, this is probably what you do for fun.
You do need a car when you’re here. There’s no public transport and George Town itself is pretty sleepy and doesn’t have beach access.
Traffic drives on the left side of the road, a la the UK, which was a change for us Americans. The term “traffic” is very loose though so we managed alright.
Now that I’ve gotten you pumped to vacation in the Exumas, I better give you some advice about getting here and getting around. In my next post, I’ll share logistics and give you the scoop on Great Exuma’s awe inspiring beaches.