Traveling to Great Exuma is not that difficult, but it often requires a few connections. The flight options are constantly changing and some are seasonal, so searching through a more broad search engine for your dates and then booking with an airline directly, if you choose, is a good way to find out who is flying and when. We have direct flights from Miami (MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Atlanta (ATL), Toronto (YYZ) and Nassau (NAS), Bahamas. Orlando (MCO) and Charlotte (CLT) are occassional options as well. Domestic airlines that we use to travel from Nassau (NAS) to Georgetown (GGT) are:
Travel from the US is on the following airlines:
The direct flight from Toronto (YYZ) is on Air Canada
Flying to Staniel Cay is a little trickier, but still do-able. You can do private charters from Nassau and Georgetown, as well as South Florida. Here are a few airlines to check for flights directly to Staniel Cay:
Flamingo Air (from Nassau), Golden Wings Private Charter (from Florida & Nassau) Watermakers Air (from Fort Lauderdale), or ask us about our pilot we use to do our charter flights from Georgetown to Staniel Cay.
For guided trips you will receive a trip info packet that details everything you will be supplied as well as suggested items to bring with you.
For rentals we will be happy to offer suggestions if you need them. Travel light and practical. Definitely don't leave without your passport (mandatory to travel here), sunglasses, sunscreen and camera.
We have storage for any luggage that you do not wish to take out on the water with you. Our storage units are not air conditioned, so if you have items that may require a climate controlled environment, let us know and we can store it securely at our house for you. On guided trips you will be issued dry bags prior to your trip for all the personal gear you will be taking with you. We highly recommend renting or bringing your own dry bags (and using them as instructed) for rentals as well. You're out in the water... things get wet...it's always better to be safe.
Skill levels will range from beginner to advanced on our various trips and rentals. Some of our trips are designed with various levels in mind (this will be noted in the trip description). Guided trips require a lot less experience than our rentals. We offer instruction and guidance while out on the guided trips.
For rentals we expect you to have experience and knowledge on the activity you are choosing to face on your own in order to ensure your safety as well as the safety of our equipment. If you aren't sure whether or not you can handle it on your own, discuss your experience with us and we can answer any questions you may have to help make the safest decision.
For all of our trips we recommend at least 1 gallon of water, per person, per day you are out on the water. Many of the routes will not offer you a chance to resupply drinking water out there, so you defintely want to take enough for your trip. We have yet to have a problem with folks not having enough space for adequate water supply (kayaking or sailing).
Many US cell phone carriers have service down here. We know for sure that AT&T and Verizon have service here and you will be able to get reception pretty much all the way up the cays, but be prepared for possible roaming fees. We do recommend having at least one phone that you can contact us with in case of an emergency. We won't expect daily contact, so it is a great time for a little hiatus. What better place to excuse yourself than being on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere?
Great Exuma has many fun little adventures to find if you're up for it. There's some very quaint little settlements scattered throughout the island and a bridge connecting it to Little Exuma. Renting a car and driving around for a day is not a bad way to explore our tropical treasure. Just please remember-- stay to the left side of the road! Many accidents occur down here due to drivers veering into the wrong lane.
There are many companies that offer day trips around the mainland. Bonefishing is a very popular activity on our shallow flats. Elizabeth Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the Bahamas, is the site of the famous National Family Island Regatta. You could rent a boat for a day and find plenty of things to do while staying close to the mainland and sheltered in the harbour.
We have a few little shops around town, the traditional Bahamian straw market, a Greg Norman golf course, 5 star resorts & spas, a local Art Gallery and much much more. We will be happy to give you specifics (restaurants, directions, best snorkel spots, etc), just let us know what you are looking for.
On Great Exuma you have many options of places to stay. Some of our favorites include: Hideaways at Palm Bay, Peace & Plenty, Minns Cottages, Regatta Point and St. Francis Resort. For groups or individuals looking for the really budget-friendly option, there is a bunk house at the Exuma Foundation that has affordable group lodging rates. Other budget-friendly locations include Marshalls Guesthouse (1-242-357-0344), and Mrs. Munroe's Guesthouse (1-242-357-0786) in Barraterre near our launch site, but far from stores and restaurants. There's a few other options with more expensive resorts, as well as numerous homes and apartments for rent on sites like Airbnb & HomeAway. If you need assistance feel free to ask for more info.
On Staniel Cay, we recommend staying at Staniel Cay Cottages, Staniel Cay Yacht Club or with Ms. Vivian Rolle (ask for contact info). We have had very good experiences with all of these locations on our guided trips.
Have a layover in Nassau? We usually recommend Orange Hill Beach Inn. It has a great location near the airport, and we've heard good things.
We offer the only expedition style kayaks in Great Exuma (maybe even in the Bahamas). Our single kayaks are Current Designs Squall & Storm, Wilderness Systems Tsunami, and Necky Eskia & Looksha IV model boats. Our double kayaks are Wilderness Systems Polaris & Northstar and Boreal Esperanto Heavy Duty boats. As for sailing goes, our Sea Pearl sailboats are 21' flat-bottom (sails over 12 inches of water) boats. They are double-masted with leeboards. They are fast and very easy to sail (and so much fun)! They are dinghies that can capsize, and cannot be righted in open water. You MUST have dinghy sailing experience.
We have various brands and styles of tents, stoves, spray skirts, dry bags, etc. Check here for rental rates on these items.
We recommend children be at least 8 yrs old and that children between 8 - 13 yrs old plan to kayak in a tandem accompanied by an adult. We do have a couple of small single expedition sea kayaks that would be appropriate for smaller kids ages 14 and up. Children 12 and older will be charged full price for our trips. Sailing trips and rentals are a little easier to do with younger children.
Travel is typically between 3-5 miles per day on our trips. The Staniel Cay Kayak could average closer to 6-8 miles per day.
Our climate stays fairly consistent all year long. Our winters average a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The coolest time is from September through May, when the temperature averages 70-75 degrees. And during the rest of the year, there’s high humidity, with the temperature ranging from 80-90 degrees. For more specific climate info check out this site. Be sure to see our reservations information in regards to trips being rescheduled due to severe weather.
Getting up into the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park is not hard, but it can get expensive. The park has changed it's rates recently, therefore, we no longer offer overnight trips up that way. Our Sailing Expedition gets up into the park a bit, but our other trips don't. Some folks travel one way to or from to have a little more time in the park, but that would add the additionl transport & park expense. Just ask us for a quote for you and your group.
Ground transportation from your hotel on Great Exuma to the launch site (and back) for all of our rentals and guided trips is already included. Some flights from Staniel Cay are included in a few of our packages.
Resupply is definitely possible. It will cost a little extra, and is usually not necessary unless you are going out for more than a week at a time.
There is absolutely no fishing in the Land & Sea Park. Crawfish (lobster) are prohibited from April 1-July 31. Nassau Grouper are prohibited from December 16-February 16. Harvesting and possession of conch without a well-formed lip is prohibited. We'll be sure to cover these details with you before you head out.
US cash is accepted across the Bahamas. It is very common for you to pay for things in US cash and receive part US and part Bahamian currency as change. It's a bit of a mess, but it makes it easy when traveling from the states. Major credit cards, mostly Visa and MasterCard, are accepted in some of the food stores, restaurants and hotels. Credit card fees apply and range from 2%-5%.
We have a couple food stores here on the island. They have limited hours of operation, so if you are coming in late and planning to leave early or coming in on a holiday you will need to take this into account. Groceries can be very expensive and limited at times on an out-island since everything is being shipped in. You can save your produce and cold items and anything last minute for buying down here, but we usually recommend bringing the basics and preferred items with you.
Short answer...not really. Though we do have shipping methods, it can be really expensive to ship things here. Anything coming in has customs, duty VAT and shipping fees added onto the item being shipped. Packages shipped in the postal mail system are often delayed for undetermined lengths of time, and some never arrive at all. So we do not recommend shipping things to or from for your trip. Save the headache and expense and check a bag through the airline...trust us, you'll still come out ahead of things!
You can either go in the ocean with the rest of the sea critters, or you can take a waste management system that we have to offer (or bring your own). We also have a portable toilet for larger groups. Please DO NOT use the islands as your toilet, it is not ideal to pull up on an otherwise pristine beach, all to yourselves and be greeted by others' remnants. We prefer to 'Leave No Trace' that we were there, and let nature greet others in all her natural beauty.
Many people ask us what language Bahamians (prounounced: buh-hey-me-ins) speak. They speak English, but they definitely add their own local flavor to it. Some common words that get mispronounced quite often are listed below with my best pronunciation effort to the right of the word. If you want to impress the locals...throw a few of these around:
We'll teach you more on the trips if you're interested!