Seven must-know things for a smoother experience in The Exumas, Bahamas.
Hi b*tchachos. As some of you may have seen through my Insta account, I’ve recently been to the Bahamas. Yeah, yeah, I know. I might have been a lil’ annoying but hey, can you blame me? Anyway, here’s a few things I wish I knew prior to my visit to Exuma!
First and foremost, the Exumas is a district in the Bahamas which is divided into three major areas known as Great Exuma, joined by Little Exuma through a small bridge and the Cays. The Cays are plenty, and is what you currently see on various Social Media platforms of people swimming with pigs, sharks, feeding iguanas, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto (where James Bond’s Thunderball and Into the Blue were filmed) and much more.
The Exumas is not the capital of the Bahamas, and as an effect has kept its old school charm. Although beautiful as this might be, there are cases where this can be dangerous and for people who live in more developed areas… frustrating. So below are things one should know before traveling to the Exumas and vacationing safely.
One: Great Exuma Clinic
Great Exuma has recently built a stunning clinic, with the most helpful and caring staff. If in case one should require medical assistance, 24 h nurses will cater to the needs of the ill. However, be aware that this is a clinic, and although there is a doctor available at most times, the clinic can only do so much. If in any case one should need serious medical assistance, like for example one of us choked on a piece of lobster and thought she had something stuck in her throat, you would have to fly out to Nassau (the capital) to get it taken care of. This is because the clinic does not have all appropriate medical supplies such as X-rays, so be extra careful when you’re there.
Driving in the Bahamas is like the British way, meaning they drive on the left side of the road. The variety of cars provided on the island range from both right and left hand drive, i.e. you can find cars with the steering wheel either on the left or the right. This can be confusing for some, so I strongly suggest paying that extra amount for full coverage insurance. Fun fact: most accidents that happen in the Exumas is caused by tourists. Furthermore, Great Exuma has one main road around the island, so it should be easier to remember to stay on the left side. We rented our car from this provider: Exuma Car Rentals. Be sure your car has working breaks and that it’ll be ready on time as ours wasn’t. Furthermore, I suggest renting a smaller more convenient car.
Three: Exuma Cays
One of the must-do things when visiting the Exuma cays is feeding and swimming with the pigs. This was one of the cutest experiences I’ve had in my life, and although the pigs are cared for, have their tags etc., they sometimes bite. There are two main pigs who bite; the big ones with the black dots on them. They supposedly go for the fuller, yummy, bigger butts. Here’s how to avoid that. You should feed the pig with your palm open wide and not shove your hand in their mouth. No brainer right? Also, be aware when dealing with the piglets. One of us picked one up and its mom came rushing in and bit her toosh. The pigs don’t really bite, but they scratch you with their sharp teeth. As a result, we had to go to the clinic and get tetanus shots to be extra safe.
Four: Bahamas Currency
Although the Bahamas has its own currency, US Dollars are accepted and the exchange rate is the same. Some places might want Bahamian dollars, so try to exchange cash to be on the safe side. Furthermore, we had some difficulty withdrawing cash from the ATM’s as there were just a few available, and the withdrawing fee is a little pricey.
One thing I love when traveling to new, exotic places is experiencing the local market and produce. However, Great Exuma doesn’t really have its own local market, and the grocery stores available import produce from the States, thus its hella pricey. I would suggest buying the basic necessities i.e. water (tap water is non consumable) and for meals, attend food markets such as ‘Fish Fry’ and other restaurants. These are the main markets: Exuma market, Shop Rite, Smittys Convenience and Prime Island Deli and Meats. Be aware that these close relatively early.
The local people are amongst the most helpful and polite people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. They are very hospitable, and would stop what they’re doing to help you out. So in case you require assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s help. Either for directions, recommendations, going out and about, Exumians will surely be of some help!
Lastly, the Exumas is a tropical paradise on earth. And although experiencing a tropical island has its perks, sudden heavy rain and strong winds might affect your vacation. I would suggest you visit the Bahamas during it’s drier, winter season i.e. August till May. A good time to visit is in March, the weather is delightful and chances are your plans will go uninterrupted.
To read more about my experience in Exuma, feel free to check my other blog posts here!
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it!