Without exception, all of our guests rave about Captain Paterson Smith & his “4 Cs Adventures” Tours, Sailing and Fishing Excursions. Paterson Smith is our caretaker at Calypso but, more prominently, his renowned tours of Exuma and the adjoining cays universally serve as the highlight of any trip to Exuma, www.exumawatertours.com. Paterson is a life-long Exuma resident and a great resource for all things regarding Exuma.
Paterson can plan a day (or half-day) for your group to head out by boat to a host of destinations. The truth is that there are more opportunities for exploration and activities than there are days in the week, but consider some of the following for a quick sample:
• The Exuma Land & Sea Park. In the November 2008 issue of Caribbean Travel & Life, the Exuma National Land and Sea Park, which is protected by The Bahamas National Trust and encompasses much of the coastline, was named one of the Top Ten best reefs for snorkeling. The Park is accessible only by boat and is one of the major natural wonders and sightseeing destinations of The Bahamas, with an abundance of undersea life, reefs, blue holes, and shipwrecks. Established way back in 1959 by the Bahamas National Trust, this collection of tiny cays surrounded by coral reefs bathed in electric-blue water is the oldest land-and-sea park on the planet. Determined to give the area the highest level of protection so that "only osprey" would fish here, the government upped the ante in 1986 by declaring the 176-square-mile sanctuary a no-take zone. The protection has been so successful (conch populations are 31 times higher than in the surrounding area; grouper and lobsters that breed here are repopulating the archipelago), it has become a model for other refuges worldwide. It's accessible only by boat -- snorkelers and divers will be amazed;
• Fishing, conch and/or lobster gathering;
• Staniel Cay (also the home of Thunder-ball Grotto (extraordinary caves for exploration, etc., where the James Bond movie “Thunderball” was filmed));
• Sampson Cay (home of the swimming pigs);
• Iguana Cay (these iguanas are more like small dinosaurs);
• Sandy Cay (where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed);
• Celebrity Tours of the islands and cays owned by various celebrities (Tim McGraw & Faith Hill; David Copperfield; Johnny Depp; Nicolas Cage, etc.);
• Or just sail, catch a sunset, or find a secluded beach for an afternoon of drinks, picnics and snorkeling.
There are many more things to see and do and, ideally, you should speak with Pat well before you arrive (242-464-1720) about scheduling and pricing. Ideally you should book these activities prior to your arrival because Pat is often booked in advance by guests at the Emerald Bay Resorts.
Some other activities you may want to consider include the following:
Check out the “Flyin' Fish,” a Catamaran based in Exuma. Excellent vessel and crew. They offer a variety of cruises including the Sunset Cruise, Dinner Cruise, Cocktail Cruise, Full and Half Day trips, and Snorkeling Trips. Call 242-357-0441 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See www.chatnchill.com, located on Volleyball Beach, has a famous pig roast on Sundays (which is one of the must-do activities).
Located about one mile across the harbor from George Town. Get a ferry from Peace & Plenty (about $10 per person round trip). Call Peace & Plenty in advance to confirm departure times. Very quiet spot. Beach volleyball; open air bar; grill for lunches (burgers, sandwiches, cold drinks).
As per the New York Times Winter 2008 Travel Magazine: Exuma’s Coco Plum Beach has a picture-postcard setting — Victoria’s Secret has shot several campaigns here — but its real draw is Coco Plum Beach Club Restaurant (242-554-3358; entrees $10 to $24), a simple shack where you can have delicious blackened salmon and tropical bread pudding prepared by a Bahamian chef who cooked at several Ritz-Carltons.
In George Town, Minn’s has a variety of boats to rent, from 15’ to 24’. No prior boating experience is necessary. The boats are simple to operate and you can remain in the protected harbor, or boat over to various points of interest on Stocking Island. Great way to spend a day or two.
With several oceanfront holes, pro shop, driving range and lessons available. Named one of the Top Three Best Courses in the Caribbean in the October 2008 issue of Travel & Leisure Magazine.
Exuma Kitesurfing offers kiteboarding lessons and kiteboarding charters for all skill levels. (www.exumakitesurfing.com)
Information taken from the Exuma Visitors Guide