The Caribbean, in general, is one of my favorite regions of the planet. This part of the world is not only stunningly beautiful; but, it is also home to incredibly kind, funny, and welcoming people. If you are looking for a great place to vacation, you really can't go wrong with anywhere in the Caribbean. More specifically, the Bahamas is my favorite place to visit! With over 900 islands, you could go exploring for years and still not see everything!
My close friend, Valerie Fuselier, and I flew into Naussau, New Providence Island and explored around for a few days. While it was lovely, it is a cruise ship port city meant for tourists. We both prefer more off-the-beaten path adventures that provide a true cultural experience. Even the locals of Nassau kept telling us that we had to get out and see the "Sister Islands" as they are called. Since locals always know best, we decided to take them up on their suggestions.
We booked the next flight out to Exuma to spend the rest of our vacation exploring. I am beyond thrilled that we did, because Exuma and its surrounding islands are still to this day, my favorite places that I have been! We took a boat tour and island hopped. It was a once in a lifetime experience! And, in the end, I completely agree with the locals. Nassau is nice, but it doesn't compare at all to its outlying islands!
Read more about exploring around the Bahamas, and see pictures of everything from stunning abandoned beaches to larger than life iguanas below:
VIEWS FROM THE PLANE:
The views from the plane make the flight worth it in and of itself. You basically get a free island tour right out of your window! These were taken both on a DSRL camera and an iPhone. I was sitting on the right side of the plane (a helpful tip when choosing your seats). How incredible is the water?!
This was such a darwin-esqu experience. I can't even imagine what visiting the Galapagos Islands must be like. Most boat tours make a stop on this island. Thus, the iguanas are used to being fed, and they do not know the difference between a camera and food. While seeing a hundred huge iguanas coming toward me was literally my worst nightmare, I found the iguanas to be friendly, and it was such a unique experience!
SWIMMING WITH THE PIGS:
Let me just start by saying that the pictures make this adventure seem a bit more appealing than it is in real life. This is a very popular stop on many "Must See Lists for the Bahamas" so my expectations were quite high going into it. And, while I am glad I did it, I don't know that I would do it again.
Most of the pigs are very large and hungry. Along with that, they also lack any understanding of personal space. They will literally chase you even when you run from them. I found this to be too aggressive for my taste. In total, I was only able to stay in the water about 10 mins before heading back to the boat. My friend is a huge animal lover and even she hopped back in the boat with me. It is also worth noting that pigs will be... well... pigs. A constant stream of feeding tourists also means a constant flow of... ummm... excrements.
Just something to keep in mind before entering the murky waters of their home. It is certainly an interesting experience, and if you have never been, perhaps it is worth the stop. Just know that it isn't quite as glamorous as some of the instagram shots make it out to be. I always try to give honest advice on this platform; and, while I am grateful for the experience, the truth is that it just anything something I need to do again.
FEEDING FISHIES IN EXUMA ISLAND:
Put me 30,000 FT in the air in a plane, and I am a happy camper. I have no fear of flying. My rationale is that the pilot is just as invested in my safety as I am. Now, put me in open water with things with teeth and fins, and I am skittish. I just don't think that fish concern themselves with my safety at all. My usual vote is to be beached.
Val entered the water first here at Tropic of Cancer Beach. She immediately noticed that the fish were coming up to her signaling that they were used to being fed. She called out to me to grab the bread we had just purchased for ourselves so we could feed them. Shout out to my bestie for these shots and for talking me into coming in close contact with aquatic life.
One of the most mind-blowing things to me about the Bahamas is the ability to island hop so easily. Many islands are uninhabited or even abandoned. One island was owned by a wealthy British man during WW II, and he (illegally) allowed Russian submarines to re-stock on his island. The Bahamas found out and sent him back to England. His home and island are still sitting there abandoned. WHAT!
Also, there are endless sand bars or cays as they are called. You can just lay out in the middle of the ocean in shallow water with not a person in site. I had never seen anything like this! Of course, you need a boat to get to these areas so I highly recommend booking a good boat tour or splurging and renting your own water vessel! There are endless spots to stop and explore! Unlike other places I have visited, the islands are fairly close together making it even easier to hop around.
Exploring the Bahamas was truly incredible. Being on the boat, snorkeling ship wrecks, feeding wild fish, exploring endless crystal water, and spending quality time with one of my favorite people made for an unforgettable vacation. If you haven't yet, please add the Bahamas to your bucket list! It is well worth the visit! And, make sure to share your story and pictures!!! For ideas on what to pack for your next beach adventure check out our "Beach Must Haves!"