Great Exuma, Bahamas
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Surrounded by clear waters and laying naked in soft, pink sand. I closed my eyes and thought, “I can’t believe I’m actually here.” I was with my incredible boyfriend, Luke, on a secluded beach in the Bahamas. I had already imprinted this moment in my mind as one to never forget. Luke suddenly became nervous and awkwardly affectionate, I was clueless. He fumbled around in his bag for something then turned to me on one knee with a box in his hand. I was overwhelmed with joy. This already perfect scene turned into the best day of my life. I of course said yes.
It’s hard not to be biased with this place considering these events. But I can assure you; the Bahamas provided a spark of magic that I’d never felt elsewhere.
When researching where to go, I never realised how big the Bahamas really were, with 700 islands and cays. We chose to explore Exuma, a district of the Bahamas consisting of over 365 islands. Our choice was mainly to do with the attraction of Pig Beach, (officially Big Major Cay). This is an uninhabited island home to feral pigs, which you can swim with on an organised tour.
Our trip started with the Great Exuma, just a quick 30-minute flight direct from Miami to George Town. Being the biggest island in Exuma, I was pleasantly surprised at how untouched the island really was. As our tiny plane lowered it, felt like we were about to land on the ocean but we flew straight in to what I swear was the smallest international airport in the world.
Transport is very limited over there so it’s quite important to organize pick up with your hotel before you get in. It was about a 25-minute drive to our resort, The Grand Isle. The Grand Isle was everything and more than what I expected. Our one bedroom, self-contained villa had a private balcony that looked over Emerald Bay and it was incredible.
The villa had a Bahamian / Hampton feel about it, which automatically made me feel at home, or at least made me want it as my home. The facilities were perfect; a small but useful gym and a pool also overlooking Emerald bay. The restaurant changed their menu every night, which meant we didn’t have to leave the resort for dinner. Not to mention, the staff were extremely helpful and accommodating.
On our first day we rented a scooter to go exploring. However, we soon discovered how big the island was and noted that a car would have been better suited. We drove for about 25 minutes trying to find excluded beaches, to the right we had mangroves and to the left was Emerald Bay, which our resort was based on. We then reached a little harbor that had small boats and a couple of locals.
One of the locals ‘Eddy’ offered to take us to Stocking Island that had a pink-sanded beach and the ‘chat n chill’, a beach hut that had a pig on the spit on Sundays. It was only a 15-minute boat ride for $12 return.
As we were pulling up the water became more and more crystal clear, I was in my absolute element. First we went out to the pink-sanded beach, we walked along a path then through water that reached our shoulders. We just held our bags above our head. We arrived and had the beach to ourselves, so I took off all my clothes and ran naked into the ocean. As I’m sure you’ve figured, this is where Luke proposed.
After, we walked over to ‘Chat n Chill’ and enjoyed the rest of the day eating local seafood ‘conch’ fresh from the ocean, pig on the spit, drinking Piña Coladas and laying in the shallows hand feeding stingrays. This day was the highlight of my trip, even without a marriage proposal.
Over the next four days we explored the islands and cays. We went on a day tour with Four C’s Adventures visiting Starfish Bay, Iguana Bay, Swimming Pigs, Nurse Sharks, Calming Cave, Sand Bars and private islands of the rich and famous including Faith Hill and David Copperfield. The whole day tour was definitely worth the $160 per person, they also took you to a local and traditional lunch by a Bahamian mama. I wouldn’t recommend the half-day tour as everything in whole day tour was worth seeing.
The must do’s besides the tour and Stocking Island is going for a drive on the Great Exuma Island and visiting ‘Santana’s’ for lunch, this was one of Johnny Deeps favourite grills in the Caribbean whilst he was filming ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. The food is incredible, the best ‘shrimp’ I’ve ever had and a MUST try. Every day the water got more and more aqua on our travels and just when I though it wasn’t physically possible, Santana’s tops it all.
On your way back, you’ll go past the beach ‘Tropic of Cancer Beach’. This is one thing you have to do before leaving the island, the squeaky white silica sand, the ocean calm and aqua. A great place to take a few hours out and relax on the beach.
The islands are the most romantic, heavenly places on earth. So deserted, so isolated yet so beautiful with as much or as little as you want to. I’m even trying to book my next trip back for my honeymoon.
Enjoy my video.
Love Amore Travels