The 365 cays and islands in the Exumas are the perfect place for Bahamas adventure holidays. This Caribbean archipelago begins around 35 miles southeast of the capital, Nassau. Although known for its laid back, relaxing atmosphere, the best Exuma activities involve wind, water and excitement.
The Exumas were originally known as Yumey and Suma, after the Amer-indian peoples that lived here. But a lot has changed over the centuries. Today, the islands are divided into three main areas: Great Exuma, Little Exuma and the Exuma Cays. Each offers its own distinct Bahamian experience with a choice of holiday activities to suit almost everyone.
The Exumas have become a playground for the rich and famous, with countless luxury properties and resorts. However, as well as the glitz and glamour, there is also a rich history and thriving local culture to enjoy. With a huge choice of Exuma villas, from budget through to high end, plus plenty of hotels you can enjoy an active Exuma break in your own style.
17 best Exuma activities
Here’s a look at 17 of the best activities in Exuma. Try some or all during your stay for unforgettable Bahamas adventure holidays.
Kitesurfing and windsurfing
The endless natural harbours and acres of smooth water make this ideal kitesurfing and windsurfing territory. The waters are warm and so clear you’d swear you could breathe down there. But all of this is only good news if there’s enough wind. And it really does get up during parts of the year.
November through to July (excluding June) there are reliable trade winds to kite and windsurf. And with plenty of uncrowded spots around the archipelago, this may just be the Exumas best kept secret.
Scuba diving and snorkelling
Exuma boasts some of the most spectacular underwater caves and holes in the world. Thunderball Grotto, so called because it featured in the James Bond film of the same name, is a top spot for both divers and snorkelers.
Exuma scuba diving is well known for its diversity, offering everything from wrecks to reefs and caves to coral. In places the water is filled with lush vegetation and tropical marine life. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera.
You can also dive or snorkel with dolphins in several areas around the archipelago, even feeding them by hand. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is another top spot. It’s a nature reserve stretching for more than 22 miles. There are also plenty of PADI approved instructors who can teach you the basics around the islands.
Wakeboarding and water skiing
With so many large, flat natural harbours, wakeboarding and water skiing are some of the best Exuma activities to try during Bahamas adventure holidays. You can either charter a boat for yourself or go on an organised excursion to one of the many uncrowded areas.
Kayaking and canoeing
Explore some of the uninhabited cays and islands under your own steam. The Southern Cays are a mixture of mangroves and pristine beaches, with iguanas the largest inhabitants of some idlands. There’s an impressive blowhole and well know routes starting and finishing in George Town on Great Exuma Island.
Kayaking or canoeing trips can either be day excursions or you can pack a tent, get a permit and paddle your way around genuinely deserted paradise islands. The water is clear and warm, creating some of the very best sea kayaking opportunities in the world. Untouched coral reefs and deserted beaches – all just a short paddle away.
SUP and surfing
The Caribbean may not be known for its surfing but between November and April there is enough wind and waves to grab a board and hit the water. Bring your own board or hire one on the islands and explore some of the hidden breaks.
Heard about the fabled breaks that hit the north and west shores of Puerto Rico? Well they all hit the Bahamas first! The line ups are usually empty with secret breaks often just around the corner from the major tourist resorts.
And if you prefer your board sports a little more sedate – or surf not up – then grab a paddle board for an SUP adventure. As with the kayaking you can explore this beautiful archipelago. And if you do wind some waves a but of SUP surfing is always fun!
Jetski and powerboats
One of the best Exuma activities is jet skiing. Riding through deserted cays is an incredible feeling, with half day guided tours taking you to some of the most beautiful and secluded spots. If you want to ramp the experience up a notch then you can try power boating with options such as speed boats, jet boats and more.
Sailing and boat tours
Sailing is big news around the islands and should be included in all Bahamas adventure holidays. Each April Exuma holds the National Family Island Regatta. Where some of the world’s top sailors compete to be the best in the Bahamas.
The competition began in the 1950s and is held between George Town and Elizabeth Harbour. Of course, you can have a go yourself with a range of sailing schools around the islands teaching at different levels.
If you’d rather be a passenger, then take a boat tour through the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Or charter your own yacht and explore more of the 365 islands.
Fishing and ocean safari
With such a variety of waters, it’s no wonder that fishing is one of the best Exuma activities. Just a few minutes from the protected waters of the harbour the ocean floor drops several thousand feet. Which means you have the chance to land wahoo, tuna, dorado and even marlin.
Along the south east side of the islands, you can also go bonefishing in the flats. And all around there are plenty of snapper, jacks, barracuda and sharks.
Of course, if catching them isn’t your thing, you can go on an ocean safari. Expect to see dolphins all year round and various species of whale, including humpback and sperm, are known to visit. You can also feed sharks at Compass Cay or share the water with the famous swimming pigs at Pig Beach.
Relax on Bahamas adventure holidays
In a place as beautiful as Exuma, with endless sunshine and crystal clear warm waters, it’s tempting to just kick back and do nothing. If you’ve had your excitement for the day, then grab a cocktail, find the nearest deserted stretch of sand and simply soak it all up.
After all you can’t visit the Bahamas without spending some time relaxing!
We hope this guide to the 17 best Exuma activities has you planning Bahamas adventure holidays! If so be sure to check out our Caribbean adventure travel discounts as you could grab yourself a bargain.