Exuma Bahamas | Yacht Chartering The Exuma Cays and Islands

Exuma Bahamas | Yacht Chartering The Exuma Cays and Islands

Yacht Chartering the Bahamas in the winter, it’s still all about the water! This page is a quick overview of our recent yacht charter to the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas.

From Nassau, Bahamas to the Exuma Cays and Islands is a great Exumas yacht charter itinerary. With 365 islands and cays with countless coves, bays, anchorages, pristine remote beaches, sand bars, coral reefs, mangroves and flats stretched over a span of about 170 nautical miles…the area abounds with pristine beauty and sea life, amazing snorkeling and diving, some of the worlds best fishing and crystal clear waters of so many intense shades of turquoise there are not words to accurately describe it.

You really have to see it for yourself to believe it. And with so many beautiful places to explore you can keep coming back to the Exumas year after year and have a different experience each time.

We just returned from a one week catamaran charter cruising the Northern Exuma Islands starting and ending in Nassau. We had a relaxing sail from the beautiful new Palm Cay Marina in the eastern end of Nassau, the closest jumping off point for a trip to the Exumas. The crystal clear turquoise waters were calling to us, so as soon as we arrived at our first anchorage we just had to dive in to swim off the back of the boat. You will quickly discover that cruising in the Bahama Islands is all about the water. We snorkeled every day, kayaked, paddle boarded, fished, swam and enjoyed the wild beauty of these mostly uninhabited islands. Even though we live in Florida, the water in the first week of February did not feel cold at all while snorkeling… I could have stayed in for hours.

Exumas is Perfect for Tropical Yachting

Winter sailing in the Bahamas offers varied conditions. The tropical sun is always warm, but the wind direction and cloud cover affects the ambient temperatures. During the first week of February while the Bahamian sun was nice and warm, we had a northeast wind for the first two days and lots of clouds which made it chilly enough for us to wear a sweatshirt over our t-shirts. The rest of the trip the winds were from the east and southeast (much warmer), and with the tropical sun shining we were donning our bathing suits and slathering on the sunblock.

Anchor, Moorings and Enjoy the Waters

While there are a couple of nice marinas located in the Exumas we opted to anchor out or pick up a mooring each day and night to take full advantage of the peace and tranquility of being on the water. For this trip we cruised from Nassau to Highbourne Cay, gunk holed our way south through the islands to Cambridge Cay, just a few miles shy of Staniel Cay and then island hopped our way back to Nassau stopping in different places each direction. On our last night we treated our crew to dinner with a view at Xuma Restaurant, perched atop a hill adjacent to Highbourne Cay Marina before saying good bye to the Exuma Islands – – until next time, of course!

The Exumas are barely populated islands but the purely wild and intensely beautiful vistas and tremendous on the water and underwater experiences make the remoteness of the Exuma islands the perfect destination to get away from it all!

We listed some things you must do on your Bahamas Yacht Charter in the Exumas.

Top Things To Do in the Exuma Cays and Islands on a Yacht Charter

    1. Breathe in the fresh sea air and gaze upon the vast expanse of open water as you cruise from Nassau across the Yellow Banks on your way to the Exuma Islands. At times it seems as if you have the entire ocean to yourselves.
    1. Try your hand at spearfishing, or snorkel and watch your captain or crew spear fish for snapper, grouper and huge lobster right before your eyes.
    1. You’ve heard of “farm to table”? In the Bahamas you’ll enjoy “ocean to table” as your chef serves up the freshest seafood meals you’ve ever tasted.
    1. Snorkel at Wax Cay Cut on a slack tide. This large coral reef has depths ranging from only 3 or 4 feet at the most shallow areas to about 35 feet at the deepest and it is just loaded with all types of sea life, abundant variety of corals and fans, lobster, grouper, sea turtles countless beautifully colored reef fish of all sizes, and an occasional nurse shark cruising along the bottom.
    1. Deep sea fish in Exuma Sound. With depths of up to 6,000 ft you can catch some of the Exuma’s massive groupers, red snappers, mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna, amberjack, white marlin, and more.
    1. Snorkel the reef in front of the Exumas Land N Sea Park office at Waderick Wells. An easy and shallow snorkel highly recommended for children, novices, and experienced snorkeler’s alike, where you will see countless colorful reef fish, sea turtles, huge spotted eagle rays gracefully gliding through the waters, large nassau groupers, beautiful sea fans and coral including patches of smooth green coral on the bottom resembling small underwater golf courses.
    1. Wake up early to see a spectacular sunrise with the waters gently lapping at the hull of your chartered yacht and a hot cup of coffee in hand.
    1. Take a tour at the park headquarters and learn some of the history of these ancient islands, flora and fauna.
    1. Visit the shop at the park with a variety of informative books, fish and reef guides, locally inspired novels, t-shirts, polos, and support the important conservation work they are doing to preserve the waters and undersea life of the Bahamas for generations to come.
    1. Hike the trail through the mangrove field and up some rocky paths to Boo Boo Hill, the highest point on the island, and marvel at the 360 degree view of the deep turquoise waves rolling in on the rocky eastern shore of Exuma Sound contrasted by the brilliant white sand beaches and vibrant turquoise waters of the flats along the western shore overlooking the Exuma banks.
    1. Snorkel the appropriately named, Sea Aquarium reef between Soldier Cay and O’Briens Cay. This is a “must do” snorkel shaped like an underwater half moon bowl with more tropical fish than you can imagine. Feed the fish with small pieces of bread, and you literally feel like you are swimming in a sea aquarium.
    1. Have a cheeseburger in paradise with a refreshing, cold Kalik beer, Pina Colada, fresh lemonade or Bahamian punch, if you prefer.
    1. Cruise around Johnny Depp’s island, Little Halls Pond Cay, and if the pirate flag is hoisted you’ll know he is on the island.
    1. Snorkel Airplane Reef located just off Pasture Cay, a triangular shaped reef on the remains of a small airplane from the 1980’s located in about 25 feet of water.
    1. Pick up a mooring at Cambridge Cay, a beautiful protected bay and a great place to explore by paddle board or kayak.
    1. Snorkel and explore at least five other excellent reefs, all dinghy distance from your mooring at Cambridge Cay: Molly’s “Chunky Monkey”, Cairn Gardens, Coral Garden, Larry’s Reef and Tom’s Elkhorn Reef where you will see rare elkhorn coral and an impressive reef abundant with tropical fish.
    1. Enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch in your bathing suits as you recount your adventures and try to identify how many different corals, sea fans and fish you have seen.
    1. Take a selfie to make your friends back home jealous!
    1. Tube, water ski, kneeboard, and wakeboard, as one of the crew take you for one thrill ride after the next.
    1. If your charter yacht has underwater lights, watch the sea life at night and take photos and videos of fish and sharks swimming and feeding in the water.
    1. Kayak through one of the mangrove channels at Shroud Cay winding your way through the island from west to east. High tide or a rising tide is the ideal time to do this. What a beautiful site to behold the sunlight dancing on the bright turquoise waters contrasted with the green leaves of the mangroves and the beautiful blue sky. It is pure tranquility as you kayak about a mile to arrive where the crystal clear waters of the flats meet the vibrant intense turquoise waters of Exuma sound with vast powder white beaches on either side.
    1. Swim in pristine shallow water natural pools and walk or play on powder white sand beaches where the only footprints will be yours!
    1. Flyfish for Bonefish in areas where you likely won’t see another angler all day long. The Bahamas are home to the largest area of bone fish flats in the world.
    1. Snorkel at and explore Rocky Dundas Caves just south of Cambridge Cay. The caves have large stalactites and stalagmite formations and legend has it they were sacred sites for the Lucayans.
    1. Tie a fish or lobster carcass to a rope behind the boat and wait to see how long it takes for a shark to cruise by and enjoy an easy meal!
    1. Snorkel the sunken plane wreck at Norman’s Cay. This plane is resting on the bottom of the sand in less than 10 feet of crystal clear turquoise waters, and on a catamaran or a tender you can anchor very close by. All parts of the plane are fully visible… both wings are still attached and the top portion of the cabin is gone so you can swim through the side of the plane and all the way down the center of the cabin into the cockpit and out of the front. There are beautiful corals growing all over the inside and outside of the plane where schools of beautiful tropical fish have made their home.
    1. Have lunch or dinner at MacDuff’s – Norman’s Cay Beach Club with delicious food, spectacular views and super friendly staff. Meet some of the locals and learn about the islands very sordid history.
    1. Enjoy sundowners and another amazing sun set over the water and as the aromas of fresh seafood on the grill mix with the slightly salty clean sea air.
    1. Take your pillow and a blanket out on deck to lounge under the beautiful night sky. Simply marvel at the sheer number of stars you will see. Count the shooting stars!
  1. And finally, plan your next Bahamas charter vacation because this is only the northern half of the Exuma Islands.

How about some more things to do in the Exumas?

“What about the swimming pigs?” you ask. Snorkeling at Thunderball cave? Feeding the Iguana’s at Allen’s Cay? Petting the nurse sharks, swimming with the sting rays, Staniel Cay Yacht club, and more? … well, there is so much to see and do in the Exuma Islands, you’ll want to come back time and again!

While there are Bahamas yacht charters available year-round, mid-March through early July are some of the best months to charter in the Bahamas with moderate winds, long sunny days and endless warm turquoise waters to enjoy!

That’s it, we hope this ignited a desire in you to visit these beautiful places and things to do in the Exumas, Bahamas. If so, give us a call (800.758.9676). We are Bahamas yacht charter experts and have been yachting there for 25 years.

Ready to plan your Bahamas yacht charter vacation?

Save time and costly mistakes. We are your Bahamas yacht charter experts, so whether your preference is a mega yacht, luxury power yacht, catamaran or monohull, we can recommend the very best yachts and crews. We will plan the perfect custom itinerary for your group to assure you’ll have an exceptional yacht charter experience.

Contact us now by sending an instant charter inquiry or if a good old-fashioned phone conversation is more your style, give us a call. We are passionate about yacht charter vacations and love to help you get started. Call now: 954.593.6817

Last updated: February 13, 2019 at 11:02 am
About Melanie Burke

Hi, I'm Melanie, your luxury yacht charter specialist. MGM Yachts offers exceptional yacht charter planning services with more than 24 years experience doing one thing, and doing it well… booking private yacht charters worldwide for discerning international clientele.

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