Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Exuma Bahamas November 2017

This post is obviously a little bit late. We postponed this post in order to cover our Disney World Christmas trip during the holiday season. Hopefully you will enjoy our photos and videos from Exuma.

This was our second trip to The Exumas, a chain of 365 islands that are part of Bahamas. We first visited Great Exuma in 2010 when Sandals took over the former Four Seasons. We were won over by the huge crescent-shaped beach and the water clarity. Since our first visit Sandals has added more amenities to the resort including restaurants, a pastry shop, and jerk shack. This year we opted for a beach house room which gave us quick access to the sand and our own dedicated hammock (that we hardly used). The beach is never crowded here since most guests opt for spending their day in the giant pool with its swim-up bar.

We experienced a lot of wind and choppy water this trip, which was not too different from our last visit. It made drinking Kaliks in the water a challenge but allowed us to invent a new game. We brought little unicorn inflatable floating drink holders with us expecting them to actually function (at least in the pool). They always tipped over, spilling rainbow concoctions into the pool. We ended up using them for races. First one into shore wins! Video below:

We don't participate in too many resort activities. One exception is Fish-a-Prize. The goal is to get a metal ring tied to a make-shift cane pole over the neck of a rum bottle. Fastest time wins. Holly was a champion! Dave was very proud and excited to get a free bottle of rum to bring home.
Sandals owns a quality 18-hole course that hugs the shoreline. Holly would use the cart path for a portion of her morning runs while Dave took a few walks to the end of the point.
We had a lot of fun with the staff this trip. They took great care of us while seeming to have fun. Hand them your camera for a photo and you will most likely end up with one of them too.

We had one excursion this trip. We rented a car and drove around the island. In the Bahamas you drive British-style with American cars. Drive on the left with the steering wheel on the left. Not too crazy but luckily there's not a lot of traffic on the island. Our first destination was north of the resort, Coco Plum Beach. One thing we noticed was nothing is labeled. We ended up driving passed the beach road, turned into a neighborhood and realized we were too far. From the top of the hill we could see the beach (it was lovely) but could not figure out where the access point was. We asked a man walking by for directions and he told us to turn at the blue trash bin. We eventually found it. We were the only people on the beach when we arrived and by the time we left about four more people showed up.

Tide was too high to use the swings

After having a walk and quick swim we got back in the car and headed south towards The Tropic of Cancer Beach. This location wasn't labeled either. We lucked into noticing a trash bin within the appropriate miles away from the bridge connecting the two islands. There were a few houses near and on the beach. People count was maybe around ten.

Lunch was nearby at Santana's. The outdoor restaurant was right on the coast. The wind kept us planted at the bar to enjoy our entrees of fried fish and fried lobster. Fantastic. As usual, the staff was friendly and interested in our outing plans. After lunch we walked next doors to Mom's Bakery to pick up one of their acclaimed rum cakes. For $7 we picked a vanilla cake that weighed about two pounds. After making our selection the lady pulled the foil back on the loaf and poured heaping ladles of rum sauce all over the cake. Best rum cake ever! Sorry, no pictures...

Our final destination was the "famous" Chat 'n' Chill bar across the bay from Georgetown. Our water taxi ride was $30 round-trip. We arranged a pickup time with our driver to give us a good two hours on the island. Unfortunately the skies were not looking so good. Rain was coming at some point. Once we landed on the island we went right to the main beach to watch the sting rays go by. They know where the food is so they hang by the beach all day. They are used to people and don't freak out when you pet them. We also saw a small shark while here. When a light rain started we retreated inside. We met a nice patron from Tennessee whom recently sold a business he started many years ago for $20MM. We enjoyed hearing about how he lives his life between TN and Exuma and his plans to fly his personal airplane to Europe and South Africa. You just never know who you will run into in an island bar.

Our new friend offered us a boat ride back to the ferry dock but we turned him down so the water taxi driver wouldn't wonder where the heck we went to. The ride back was miserable with a hard rain beating down on us as we crossed the channel. We wanted to visit one of the more interesting hotels in town (one of the oldest buildings) for a drink, but they were closed for renovations. We opted to go back to the land of prepaid food and drink instead of stopping anywhere else.

After two trips The Exumas are gaining rank in our list of favorite locations. As far as Sandals properties go, this one has everything we enjoy (a variety of restaurants and a large, quiet beach). The islands and water are gorgeous, and the people are friendly. Not Jamaican friendly, but still very nice (especially when they see you are not fussy and willing to go with the flow). There aren't too many people that live in these islands so there are still many unspoiled pieces of land.


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