The Exuma island chain in the Bahamas consists of over 365 islands (cays), encompassing a remarkably diverse array of attractions. With Exuma yacht charter, the world of Bahamian beauty lies at your fingertips, including but not limited to idyllic sandy beaches, isolated anchorages, vibrant sea-scapes, delectable restaurants and up-scale resorts. Beginning just 35 nautical miles south of Nassau, home to Lynden International Airport with regular commercial flights to both the mainland United States and Europe, Exuma yacht charter is easily accessible and is undoubtedly one of the best yacht charter destinations in the world.
Divided into three main areas, Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays, the Exumas both complement and contrast Nassau’s energetic resorts. While Great and Little Exuma are well renowned for their laid-back atmosphere and sparsely populated beaches, the Exuma Cays boast an array of luxury resorts and private homes littered among some of the region’s most stunning scenery.
Due to it’s low elevation and position in the Gulf Stream the Bahamas has a winterless climate that is ideal for yacht rental. Peak season runs from December to April where the islands see average temperatures of 25 degrees celsius and a divine 23 degrees celsius in the sea. Christmas and New Years are the most in-demand dates for Exuma yacht charter, so it is advised to begin planning your retreat well in-advance.
The following itinerary is a sample designed to demonstrate what is possible during a 1 week yacht rental in the Bahamas. Your yacht charter remains completely flexible, allowing you to move as you please (weather permitting) and fill your charter with activities that will contribute to a truly memorable family vacation. During your Exuma yacht charter experience, you will benefit from the expertise of a captain and crew, who will further advise and endeavour to tailor your days to your tastes.
Continue reading to discover the beauty of the Exumas, or click here to explore a selection of charter yachts in the Bahamas (and elsewhere around the world).
Day 1: Nassau to Highbourne Cay
Begin your Exuma yacht charter in Nassau, where your crew will be prepared and waiting on the aft deck excited to welcome you on-board! After a round of introductions, a refreshing welcome beverage and a guided tour of your charter vessel, begin the short cruise across the Yellow Banks en-route for the elegant Exumas. While cruising, you might relax on the aft deck with a breakfast spread, tailored to your preferences.
With little delay, the dazzling turquoise and vibrant sandy beaches of Allan’s Cay will come into view, where you may meet your first Bahamian Dragon, a critically endangered species of Iguana. Allan’s Cay offers beautiful anchorages for your first lunch in paradise, and warm, crystal-clear waters to play with your collection of water toys.
Onwards at Highborne Cay, you will be treated to some of the world’s most stunning beaches, in generous supply and rarely occupied on the eastern shore. Enjoy your first evening meal created exactly to your preferences on the aft-deck, and enjoy an evening drink as the sun sets and you catch your first glimpse of the unbelievably starry sky. This is a great time to sit with your captain and discuss in more detail the daily agenda for your luxury yacht charter in the Exumas.
Day 2: Bell Island
On day 2, enjoy breakfast at anchor, followed by a morning swim or snorkel in the warm waters at Highbourne Cay. A short cruise South lies Norman’s Cay, once a notorious smugglers’ hotspot, boasting the world-class diving spots at Octopus Garden and Hammerhead Glutch, and the unique opportunity to explore the submerged wreckage of a smugglers plane. For a casual lunch on-land, MacDuff’s is the only option!
The afternoon can be spent exploring more secluded beaches on Bell Island – the perfect location for a private beach BBQ. For a more formal setting or a social drink, the Harbour Club Restaurant is quite impressive. For more adventurous guests, nearby Compass Cay offers the unique opportunity to pet the friendly nurse sharks who swim right off the docks. An Exuma yacht charter is filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences!
Day 3: Staniel Cay
Famed for its iconic Thunderball Grotto featured in the James Bond films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, Staniel Cay is a popular attraction along the Exuma Island Chain. The Grotto is a really-impressive snorkelling / diving spot, with colourful coral and tropical fish in abundance.
Lesser-known, Staniel Cay is also a fantastic location for bone, reef and deep-sea fishing, and is the perfect location to sample authentic rum-punch (Kermit’s Hilltop Restaurant and Tavern offer great food, drinks and views) and enjoy the friendliness the locals are renowned for.
For some on-land exploring, many guests choose to rent a golf-cart from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, and spend the afternoon soaking in the island lifestyle! Or perhaps your afternoon would be better spent on the nearby Pig Beach of Big Major, where you can get close and personal with the adorable swimming pigs.
Day 4: Great Guana Cay
In the morning of Day 4, at your leisure, head to Great Guana Cay. This 9-mile-long island boasts an incredible five-and-a-half mile long beach (the longest in the Bahamas), much of which is typically deserted. Drop anchor and spend some hours enjoying watertoys, exploring the beach and relaxing on-deck. Your crew will be more than happy to serve canapés, fresh fruit and juices during your morning activities.
After a delectable lunch on-board, Farmer’s Cay Yacht Club may appeal. This idyllic Marina offers beautiful surroundings, an intimate atmosphere and warm local peoples (just 50-70 people call this cay home!). An evening spent in this calming port is sure to be relaxing.
Day 5: Warderick Wells
Warderick Wells is sure to host memories that will last a lifetime. Established as the headquarters for the Exumas Land and Sea Park in the mid-1980s, Waderick Wells is home to a variety of naturally occurring ecosystems. From bluffs to sand dunes, mangrove creeks and sand flats, this island has it all. For a relaxing walk before lunch on-board, hike through the gentle trails (there are 7 miles of trail in total), climbing to Park Ranger’s porch on Boo Hill for some great panoramic views. On Powerful Beach, you can find the skeleton of a 53’ sperm whale, while the ruins of the 1700s Loyalist Plantation shows the history of the island.
Your afternoon is all about what lies beneath. With strict limits to vessel size, anchorages, fishing and numerous other preservation efforts, this area offers a truly second-to-none opportunity to explore the tropical sea-life in all it’s glory. With a little luck, an afternoon here will involve countless tropical fish, turtles, rays and lobsters. This may be the best snorkelling you will every experience!
After an afternoon immersed in nature, dry out in your private beach club and climb to the upper deck for a delectable dinner of freshly caught fish, and an evening soaking in the sunset in one of the crowning jewels of any Bahamas yacht rental experiences.
Day 6: Shroud Cay
Shroud Cay is a beautiful archipelago of rocks and cays surrounding a shallow tidal mangrove salina which serves as a vibrant nursery for conch, sea turtles, crawfish (lobster), birds and a huge variety of exotic fish. This marina sanctuary boasts ample choice for a day exploring, including Camp Driftwood which was established by a lone sailor in the 1960s, the corals of Angelfish Hideaways and Neptune’s Oasis, and the Southern Estuaries that can only be explored by non-motorized vehicles (if your luxury charter yacht carries stand-up paddle-boards or kayaks, this is the perfect place to use them!).
For experienced divers, the 75 foot-deep Exumas Wall is widely considered to be one of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. After a day of exploring, depart for Eleuthera.
Day 7: Eleuthera
Undoubtedly one of the most unique and beautiful islands of the Bahamas, it is at Eleuthera that the royal blue waters of the Atlantic merge into the sparkling turquoise of the Caribbean Sea. This spectacular ‘glass-window’ really is a must-see.
For surfing, Surfer’s Beach offers large swell, while Ten Bay Beach is more relaxed with shallow waters and an interesting cave. If you are eager to get close to the region’s turtle population, a visit to Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve is a must.
Make sure to sample a pineapple from the so-called pineapple capital of the world, and perhaps explore the vibrant gardens, ornate churches, alluring boutiques and quaint architecture littered around the island. Enjoy your final dinner on-board, perhaps asking your chef to prepare an extra special meal for this final celebration, before relaxing in your jacuzzi with a glass of your favourite drink under the warm blanket of stars.
Day 8: Nassau
After cruising back through the beautiful Yellow Bank into Nassau it will be time to prepare for disembarkation. Your captain will arrange for transport to Lynden Airport, or onto your hotel to continue enjoying your luxury holiday in the Bahamas.
212 Yachts have extensive experience organising yacht charter in the Exumas, and elsewhere in the Caribbean and around the world. To explore charter yachts in the Exumas that best suit your requirements, or to discuss your Exuma yacht charter itinerary, contact our team today.