|Above: If the
Exumas are a necklace of sparkling jewels, Staniel Cay is the diamond
The Exumas sweep down the middle of the Bahamas
forming the western rim of the incredibly deep Exuma Sound.
The necklace of some 365 cays stretches nearly 100 miles from Beacon
Cay, about 35 miles east of Nassau, to Little Exuma
near the northern tip of Long Island.
The Exuma National Land and Sea Park is a nature
lover's paradise kept in its original pristine setting. The Park consists
of underwater limestone and coral reefs, drop-offs, blue holes, caves
and marine life, and is home to the Bahamian iguana. [Bahamas
Location: 35 miles southeast of Nassau
Size: Great & Little Exuma, 72 sq. miles, Exuma
Cays, 40 sq. miles
Tourism info: Call Exumas Visitor Information at:
Getting there from Nassau: Fly with Bahamasair, Sky
Unlimited or private air charter. Bahamas Ferries provides high-speed
ferry service to George Town. The Bahamas Mailboat costs $40 one way
to George Town and takes 14 hours.
The most northerly populated island in the chain is Highborne
Cay. Just north of Highborne are Allan’s
and Leaf Cays, where indigenous iguanas live.
Further south is Norman’s Cay, once the home
of the infamous drug baron, Carlos Lehder, and his henchmen. A small
plane lies partly submerged within swimming distance of the beach.
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park runs from Wax Cay
Cut in the north to Conch Cut, 22 miles south. The Park is the world’s
first land and sea area to be designated a national park. It is illegal
to fish or remove any plant life, coral, sea fans, gorgonians, animals,
bird or marine life or eggs.
In the central Exumas, popular stops include Sampson
Cay and Staniel Cay where you can snorkel
into the spectacular Thunderball Grotto, site of
much of the underwater action in the 1965 James Bond thriller, "Thunderball".
Further south are some smaller islands with high-end upscale developments.
They include Cave Cay, Musha Cay,
Darby Island, with its mysterious castle, and Little
Towards the south end of the Exumas are Great Exuma
and Little Exuma, the chain’s two largest islands.
The Club Peace and Plenty in George
Town was named after the ship that brought the slaves of Lord John
Rolle to Exuma in 1783. The British Crown granted Lord Rolle a large
tract of land as compensation for land he had lost in Florida in the
South of George Town is Little Exuma, where you can
visit William’s Town, the 200-year-old Cotton House and the
ancient salt ponds that once supported a thriving salt farming industry.
North of George Town at Farmer’s Hill is the 470-acre $70-million
Four Seasons Emerald Bay Resort with its mile-long
crescent beach and 18-hole golf course. The resort’s 200-room
hotel is to be complemented by 120 condos, 100 residential lots, a
150-slip marina and eventually a casino.
Nearby settlements include: Great
Exumas, Little Exumas, a the many Exumas cays.
mailboats depart from Nassau and run weekly roundtrip to and from
Taxi service is available. Although metered rates vary by island,
they are reasonable and are fixed by law. Bicycles are also available
for rent at most popular tourist centers.
Rental cars are also available. You can use your home driver’s
license for up to three months, but remember, when you take to the
road, British rules apply, so keep to the left.
Pedestrians should remember to look right before
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Request a brochure, or find a travel agent who represents Bahamas
Cruises at the official Web site.
Inter-island mailboats depart from Nassau and run weekly roundtrip
to/from all islands.
Factbook -- Bahamas, The
The CIA factbook says the Bahamas are a stable, developing nation
with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking.
"Exumas Island in Bahamas"