Where to stay in Exuma
Believe it or not, there are much better options that Billy McFarland’s infamous hurricane shelter tents. If you’ve got the budget, splash it on the dreamy Grand Isle Resort, where the cliffside pool overlooks a mile-long stretch of sand, and European-style luxury villas are nestled between the palms. Further down the beach is Sandals Emerald Bay, an all-guns-blazing resort with 12 (yes, twelve) restaurants, six bars, and a pro golf course designed by Aussie legend and one-time choker, Greg Norman. If you’re after something a little more wallet-friendly, try Peace and Plenty for its handy location in Georgetown (don’t worry, you’re still right on the beach) or Hideaways at Palm Bay for cutesy cottages opening straight onto the sand. Lumina Point Resort is a honeymoon hotspot in splendid isolation out on Stocking Island, while Paradise Bay Bahamas has private, pastel-painted beach huts and a low-key, laid-back vibe.
The best restaurants in Exuma
The pick of the fancy-ish, you-might-actually-have-to-put-some-pants-on restaurants is poolside Palapa at Grand Isle – it’s all about Caribbean jerk seafood, plus weekly barbecues on the beach. Over at Lumina Point, you’ve got Blu on The Water, where you’ll find fresh conch on the menu and – if you’re lucky – turtles and sharks swimming in the dock. Mix it with the locals at the fish Fry shacks in Georgetown (Shirley’s is everyone’s favorite). And don’t forget to give you support (and custom) to Exuma Point Bar & Grille – you’ll remember owner Maryann Rolle as the restaurant manager from the Fyre documentary (she lost $50k of her own money in the fiasco).
The best bars in Exuma
Chat & Chill is an essential Exuma experience – take a water taxi out to Stocking Island, then… just chat and chill, duh. On weekends, expect big barbecue bonanzas, including whole pig roasts (not the swimming ones though, I was assured). If cocktails and cabanas are more your scene, live it up at the new-for-2019 23 North beach club. And absolutely, definitely set aside plenty of time for Big D’s Conch Spot. There’s nothing to there really, apart from swim in the sea and pose on the brightly-painted beach chairs, but you’ll happily waste away an afternoon there anyway – especially when the gregarious (and admittedly very big) proprietor Darren Tucker is attentively supplying you with Carib beers and his signature fried conch snacks.