The Exuma islands are a string of islands and cays,
beginning approximately 35 miles southeast of Nassua and stretching
over 100 miles to form the western bounds of the Exuma Sound. These
islands form a pearl necklace of long forgotten hideaways, natural
harbours and secluded beaches. The islands span over a hundred miles
of clear blue water--a new island for every day of the year. Exuma
Cays Land and Sea Park is the first and one of the largest underwater
and land preserves in the world, established in 1958.
Great Exuma is part of the Exuma Cays. With the islands of Eleuthera
and Cat Island on the other side of the Sound, the Exumas have access
to but are protected from direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean.
Exuma is approximately 45 miles long, lying northwest to southeast.
The main road, Queens Highway, runs the length of the island and connects
it to the island of Barre Terre at the west end and Little Exuma at the
east end. Numerous villages and settlements exist, with an international
airport located about midway on the island.
The distance by air from Great Exuma to Nassau is 135 miles/225 km and
310 miles/517 km to Miami.
It is relatively easy getting to the Bahamas and even easier to travel
within the islands. British Airways flies direct to Nassau from Heathrow
five times a week. The flight days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays,
Saturdays, and Sundays. You could either opt for direct flights to
Nassau, which take nine hours ( Nassau acts as the connection to the
other out islands), or you can transit in the USA via New York, Miami
and Atlanta. As of July 2005, Virgin Atlantic will be offering direct
flights to Nassau.
Daily flights to Great Exuma by:
American Eagle American Airlines from
virtually anywhere in Florida.
Continental and Continental Connection.
Bahamasair, with flights from
Bahamas Fast Ferries offer scheduled services to
the out islands as well.
About the island
The Tropic of Cancer runs directly through it, giving the island a very
tropical feeling. The South Side of the island features marine fisheries,
great mangrove forests and bonefish flats, and is mostly unsettled and
unspoiled. The North (ocean) side of the islands harbour is composed
of many small hotels, beaches, and communities. Although Great Exuma
may sound remote the island is really quite accessible. It is only a
90-minute flight from Miami to Great Exuma International Airport.
The 3,500 residents of Great Exuma are friendly and welcoming as their
island. The majority of the community is condensed in George Town, a
charming village of sprawling fig trees and small inns just a few miles
from the airport. The town has changed little in decades, and most activity
takes place in the open-air markets where women sell hand-made jewellery,
straw hats and hand-woven baskets.
George Town, the capital of the Exumas, is a quaint village surrounding
Lake Victoria, with a great natural harbour, which attracts sailors from
around the world, and annually is the host community of the Family Island
Settlements in Great Exuma
The capital and second largest settlement in Exuma, has a
population of more than 330 persons, and is also the centre of commerce
in Exuma. It is also home to the national Family Island Regatta held
in beautiful Elizabeth Harbour.
This place was the largest slave settlement area during Lord
time. Home of the famous Rolleville Regatta held during the Emancipation
Day weekend. (1st. Weekend in August). Point of interest is the aerial
view of the settlement from Kermit’s Hill.
Rolle Town is a quaint settlement with breathtaking views;
it overlooks the Harbour side, which leads into George Town. The commonage
inheritance land – the land passed down to the slaves - cannot
Police protection is provided by
the Bahamian government. The police force at Great Exuma is headquartered
in George Town, the largest town on the Island, and there are local
constables in other communities on the island not more than five miles
from any subdivision unit.
Fire protection is afforded by the Great Exuma
Fire Brigade under the control of the Island Administrator and headed
by a unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The Brigade is located
at the Exuma International Airport. Help is available on call 24 hours
Food, clothing, other staple goods, and building supplies are available in
George Town as well as in other villages on the Island. Certain major household
items may not be readily available locally and must be purchased in Nassau
or the United States.
Elementary schools are located in small villages on the Island with
one available within two miles from any subdivision unit. Exuma Senior
High School is located near Mosstown, approximately 5 miles/8 km
from George Town and not more than 15 miles/25 km from any subdivision
unit. School bus service is provided
Hospitals and Medical Facilities
While in The Exuma Islands, you can have peace of
mind knowing that there are facilities available to serve your health
- related needs. Health-care facilities are loca ted throughout The
Exuma Islands, along with full-service pharmacies.
The nearest hospital is in Nassau, where the government-operated
Princess Margaret Hospital is equipped to accommodate 460 patients.
Private hospital facilities in Nassau include The Doctors Hospital and
the Lyford Cay Hospital/Bahamas Heart Institute. In Great Exuma, there
is a government-operated clinic in George Town for emergency and overnight
treatment, staffed by a resident doctor and nurse, as well as a private
clinic. Where more comprehensive medical treatment is prescribed, patients
are flown to Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau
Transportation to George Town is available by mail boat from Nassau
and by scheduled airlines from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Nassau, as well
as by charter flight. Licensed taxis, rental cars and scooters operate
on Great Exuma.
Rental cars, equipped for left-hand driving, are available in larger cities.
Rental car facilities are often located at major hotels. Renting a car
is convenient way for you and group of your friends or family to explore
more the island on your own time.
A variety of accommodations are available on Great Exuma, ranging from
simple and clean guest houses to condominiums to full service hotel facilities.
Prices should suit all budgets.
Peace & Plenty
Beach Inn Peace & Plenty
Beach Inn offers 16 deluxe air-conditioned rooms with large balconies
facing the beach. A magnificent view of Elizabeth Harbour and
white sand beaches provide just the right t... More
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Known for its casual atmosphere,
outstanding dining and excellent beaches and snorkeling, Staniel
Cay Yacht Club has five waterfront cottages for two; three new, two-story
water front suites... More
Coconut Cove Hotel
Coconut Cove is an intimate
and romantic island get-away, and the ultimate location to revitalize
mind, body and spirit. Accommodations include eleven air-conditioned
beach front, beach side... More
Hotel Higgins Landing
An award winning eco-resort,
and the only hotel on beautiful Stocking Island, Exuma. This unique
sea-to-sea location offers everything you would want to do on or
in the water: snorkeling fr... More
Details www.higginslanding.com Stockisl@aol.com
Recreational activities include swimming, snorkelling, scuba
diving, sailing, and fishing. Exuma waters provide the best reef and
deep-sea fishing, and the flats off the southern shores of Great Exuma
is one of the best bonefishing spots in the world. The harbour at George
Town is the site of the annual Out Island Regatta sailing competition.
George Town is a headquarters for cruising yachtsmen, and marine supplies
are available as well as lodging accommodations.
The developer has deeded a 1,000 ft/300m ocean beach reserve on the
north shore and a 2,000 ft/600m south shore beach reserve to the Bahama
Sound Property Owners Association. In addition, there are lakes and park
reserves in residential areas available to purchasers of each and every
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park wildlife preserve, reached only by
boat, is an area set aside for yachting, skin-diving, hiking and observation
of Bahama flora and fauna. The Park is a project of the Bahamas National
Trust. There are nature trails varying from open dunes and cliffs to
dense sub-tropical forests. The Park's bird life includes 42 species
of nesting land birds. The rare Bahamian Iguana also is found here.
You are welcome to take a walk along the
lovely beaches of Beachfront Hotels in Great Exuma. Though it is a
private beach normally reserved for guests only, visitors are allowed
to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere. Shroud Cays is another beautiful
beach nestled among large expanses of mangroves that is a must see for
visitors. Elsewhere on Great Exuma you will want to visit remote and
beautiful Cocoa Plum beach, see the historic boat building community
of Barre Terre. The impressive ruins of Crab Cays are great dive and
Bahamian waters produce a variety of game- and food-fish. Anglers from
all parts of the world come to test their skills. Modern facilities to
accommodate sports fishermen are available throughout The Bahamas.
is a list of some of the game species found in Bahamian waters: Allison
Tuna, Amberjack, Barracuda, Blackfin Tuna, Bluefin (giant) Tuna, Blue
Marlin, Bonefish, Dolphin, Grouper, Kingfish, Sailfish, Tarpon, Wahoo,
and White Marlin. With a choice of deep-sea fishing, reef fishing,
bottom fishing or fly-fishing, the appeal is endless for first timers
to fanatics. But it is the elusive bonefish that serious sporting enthusiasts
seek. These so called ‘grey ghosts of the flats’ or ‘grey
foxes’ are the ultimate angling challenge, known for their legendary
cunning and fierce fights to avoid capture. A good place to try is
Bonefish Bay and Stocking Island.
Boating & Sailing
The Bahamas is a boaters' paradise with some 700 islands, inlets and
cays stretching over 100,000 square miles of virtually pollution-free
ocean. Chartering a yacht, bare boating, deep-sea fishing or day or dinner
cruises are aqua adventure possibilities.
Great Exuma is one of the most popular spots to enjoy the best boating
and sailing in the world. Boating enthusiasts will find plenty of picturesque
harbours and modern marinas to cater for them. Boats of any shape and
size could be chartered for a flexible amount of time. Or you could rent
a crewed yacht or walk onboard for the many day trips or evening dinner
cruises. Speed junkies should try the powerboat to the Exuma Cays on
a 1,000 horsepower custom-built racer, which hurts at speeds of 40 mph
during the 55-minute journey. Seriously annoying sailing nerds / enthusiasts
can choose from numerous regattas and sailing competitions held between
June and August.
Bahamas is a popular stop-off point for cruise ships owing to its location
just off the Florida coastline. The Bahamas receives more than one million
cruise passengers every year and Saturdays and Tuesdays are the busiest
days. More than 12 major cruise lines dock at the islands with some like
Carnival, Celebrity, Disney and Royal Caribbean.
Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated
Port of Entry. As you enter port, fly the yellow quarantine flag and
notify Customs of your arrival. No one other than the captain is permitted
to leave the boat until your vessel has been cleared.
The fee for boaters for boats up to 35 feet is $150.00 and the fee for
boats over 35 feet is $300. These fees are inclusive of a cruising permit,
fishing permit and departure tax for up to four persons with no overtime
charges for Customs or Immigration. Each additional person above four
will be charged additional departure tax.
Did you know that the Bahamas are protected by a barrier reef system
that is the third largest in the world? It is little wonder that divers
regard the 100,000 square miles of tropical sea as among the best in
the world. The waters are renowned for their exceptional visibility ranging
from 80 ft to 200 ft. There are 29 diving destinations to more than 1,000
dive sites. Colourful parrotfish, angel fish, clown fish and so on browse
among the ocean bed filled with enormous barrel sponges, brain corals,
purple and red tube sponges. Divers can opt for different diving programmes
to see the wrecks, blue holes filled with stalagmites and stalactites,
experience shark and dolphin encounters or just participate in underwater
activity such as wall flying or view the flora and fauna from bubble-subs.
The newly opened Four Seasons Resort on Great
Exuma offers an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman.
Points of interest while you visit the Exuma Islands might include:
the ExumaLand and Sea Park, Three Sister's Rock, Stocking Island, The
Hermitage, St. Andrew's Anglican Church, the Rolle Town Tombs, and Shark
Honeymoon and Weddings
Exuma has hundreds of tiny pearl-like cays set amid emerald seas and
its no wonder it was the setting for two Bond movies. There are so many
natural wonders with stunning scenery, you be spoilt for choice. You
can tie the knot on a party boat, or even underwater in scuba gear with
dolphins. Getting married in the Bahamas is so popular that the Ministry
of Tourism has its own separate wedding divisions to assist you. Arranging
a wedding is simple, several hotels offer special packages, which include
an official to perform the ceremony.
There’s a wide variety of interesting
venues and cuisine available and emphasis is placed on the traditional
Bahamian cuisine such as seafood. The grouper is one of the most popular
fish, followed by snapper. The ingredient found in most popular dishes
is conch, a tasty shellfish included in specialities like conch chowder,
conch fritters, and so on. You could enjoy a conch salad at Big D’s
conch shack. Vegetables such as peas and rice, potato salad and fried
plantain are served as accompaniment for main courses like the Bahamian
lobster, a delicacy. For dessert try home made rum raisin ice cream,
coconut pie, and guava duff and pineapple tart. Beer drinkers may want
to give the Bahamian local brew, Kalik a go.
After-dark entertainment takes place in various hotel bars that take
turns presenting live music, usually a mixture of American tunes and
Bahamian rhythms. There are quieter alternatives like beach barbeques,
conversation over drinks at sunset, while people relax and take in the