Bahamas is my one of my favourite Caribbean destinations, and when you visit Great Exuma it is easy to see why!
The Exumas are known for their beauty- pristine beaches and blue water, but possibly the best part is the location. Only an hour and a half flight from Florida, this island is typical Bahamas scenery: low, flat and desert-like.
My travel agent said it best when she listed off what I would like and dislike about this place, so I will make a quick summary for you.
I cannot stress this enough. This place is GORGEOUS. It used to be a Four Seasons Resort before Sandals bought it, and you can tell that they have made a solid effort to upkeep the property. If you are looking for a specific resort or honeymoon experience, this would be the place to visit. It is one of my favourite resort properties that we have visited.
If you’re not looking to be totally lazy the whole week, a stay at Sandals Emerald Bay includes a chance to play on their prestigious, oceanside golf course. Each of the 18 holes has gorgeous views, and if they are hosting their PGA-Tour Classic, you get complimentary tickets!
Even though we didn’t play a round of golf, we made an effort to walk the course. You are allowed to walk the trails, but keep in mind that you must be aware and respectful of the golfers that are playing (or, if you don’t care, just wear a helmet and see how many balls you can get to bounce off of your coconut). We picked the former as there were no helmets to be found, and we only had to pause twice to allow a swing or two.
PRO/CON: REMOTE LOCATION
This can be a pro or a con, depending on your outlook. For us, the isolated location of Sandals Grand Exuma proved to be a bit of both.
The remote location means that you are sharing the stunning landscapes of the Bahamas with very few people. Long, gorgeous beaches, clear waters and limited tourists (and vendors) meant that it was paradise. We truly felt unbothered and relaxed.
The remote located can also be a con, as flights in and out are limited, as are the attractions. Small, remote islands can also mean limited services and resources: the airport was a small room with two desks inside. Your luggage was thrown through an opening in the wall, and there was one security scanner in the whole place. This can mean that you may be waiting some time to go through customs as a whole plane load of people is stressful on the resources available.
CON: SAND FLEAS
No see-ums. You can’t see them, but they are there. They are nibbling away tasting your blood and you have no idea until your bite is itchy later. We were very fortunate and had a nice breeze coming through, and I think that kept them at bay. Probably difficult to jump up onto your prey in the wind when you are only the size of a grain of sand!
WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND
If you are thinking of doing an excursion, I can’t say enough good things about the Swimming Pigs Island Routes tour. This is probably the only tour that I would do again and one of the best value tours I have ever done in my lifetime.
I am all about saving money, but this tour definitely gives you value for your hard earned dollars. If you can choke down the cost of $100 US Dollars per person, this would be the best and only excursion if you can manage to take one.
Included in the trip is a boat ride, where you zip off to see the swimming pigs, an island of endangered iguanas, a hike up another to see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, and the blowhole to see where they filmed the Bahamas portion of the television series The Bachelorette.
I can think of only one other time where we got what my husband calls “our money’s worth”. We went swimming, four-wheeling, kayaking, and zip-lining in Mexico for $100.
I traveled here in 2017. As always, be sure to check your country’s travel advisories before booking any trips or excursions. You can check out the Canadian opinion here.