In the beginning of July, we travelled to Exuma, Bahamas for the very first time and oh my goodness it was heaven y’all! So I wanted to do a brief overview of some of the things we did in case you find yourself making your way down there for vacation!
First, we rented a property through VRBO! I know, crazy right? I was a little hesitant to do that with it being international, but I held my breath and honestly, EVERYTHING was absolutely amazing!! The house was beyond beautiful and it looked straight out to the beach. We went with another family, so there were 12 of us total and the house slept 16! I also had a pool, which was great because we didn’t want to only have the option to use the ocean. And let me tell you, it was THE CLEAREST water I have ever seen! The house also came with a concierge service and the girl that helped us was phenomenal! She set everything up for us and answered any question we had in a timely manner.
The first day, we booked our excursion! It was a day that was jam packed full of SO.MUCH.FUN! We snorkeled, swam/fed the pigs, hung out at a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, swam with sharks, fed the iguanas, did a little cave exploring and did celebrity house sightings! It was honestly one of my most favorite days.
We also spent another day hanging out at the Tropic of Cancer and then chowing down on the yummiest fried lobster I’ve ever eaten. Fun Fact: the locals are so laid back and cool, but I will say they’re in no hurry! So you don’t be in a hurry.
The day before we left, we went to one of the coolest places, Chat ‘N Chill! We took a water taxi over to the island where they have a restaurant, beach volleyball, swings, fresh conch salad AND you can feed the stingrays!!!!! It was seriously SO dang cool!
All the other days in between, we honestly just hung out at the house and chilled! The kids had a blest playing in the pool and building sand castles and also going crab hunting! They were completely worn out at the end of our trip!
Soo I wanted to list out a couple tips for anyone planning on going to Exuma!
- Covid stuff- It seemed complicated, but it actually was pretty easy. You get a Covid PCR test atleast 5 days prior. ( Kids under 12 do NOT need one). Then apply for a health visa! You just submit your test and they approve it. Ours got approved within 10 minutes. For the kids, you just add a profile underneath one of the parents and theirs got approved within 10 min as well. Then screenshot the QR code to show during customs. Once you get there, on day 5 you have to get an antigen test to come back to the states. We just went into the local walk-in clinic. It was super easy! You just need a negative test and you will show that to the airline before you get on the plane to come home. That was the only time we had to show the results. Easy peasy!
- Don’t be scared to do a VRBO! They don’t have super nice fancy hotels on the island because it is honestly really small. Just look at the reviews before booking. I would also make sure to look at the location of the house though and I wouldn’t recommend one that is right off of Queens Highway because it is currently under construction
- Hire a chef! We hired a chef to come for one of the lunches at the house and it was fabulous! They prepped, cooked and cleaned and I didn’t have to do a dang thing!
- Rent a car- Ok so originally we rented a 16 passenger van and that didn’t work out. lol. So we ended up with a van and a car! It is important to note that they drive on the opposite side as we do in the US and also there are pot holes EVERYWHERE! No wonder why half the rental cars are missing hub caps or on a spare tire, along with scratches all over. So just know, the cars ain’t fancy.
- FOOD- We originally had our concierge go to the grocery store prior to our stay, but I highly recommend going to the local market and getting groceries yourself. It will be cheaper, especially if you have hungry kids. Note: You will have to pay a VAT tax and that was 12-15%. Eating out was actually very reasonably priced and I highly recommend, especially if you want some local flair!
- If you have little kids, I highly recommend bringing your own life jackets and also snorkel gear! Just a little tip! I was sooo glad I brought our own.
- Towels- Ok so our VRBO had towels, but I really wish we would have brought our own towels and that were beach size. We did laundry everyday to make sure the towels were dry for the next day.
Restaurants we LOVED!!!
- Cocoplum- This place was probably my favorite meal we had. It’s a small french restaurant and the food was extraordinary. I highly recommend a reservation though, especially for a large party
- Santanna’s Bar and Grill- OK also a fave because they had fried lobster! Gosh it was delish!
- Shirley’s- also delish
- Big D’s- a great hang out spot for drinks and you can also get food.
- Of course, Chat ‘N Chill is a must as well
I hope this helps answer any questions y’all may have for anyone traveling to Exuma, Bahamas soon! I have to say, this trip is going to be hard to beat!!