Words by Lindsay Coulter, Photos by Taylor Jackson
We wanted to check out Atlantis (mostly because of The Other Woman) but quickly found out that Nassau and Exuma (where the swimming pigs live) were about as different as Muskoka and Toronto. There’s no real easy way to connect these trips, but luckily from Toronto there’s a direct flight right in to the Exuma. It’s by far one of the most gorgeous places to fly in to, but certainly not on our list of top airports to visit… their check-in/security/gift shop are about as big as our condo’s lobby.
We picked up the most expensive rental car (in a Walter Mitty-esque fashion, we chose from a red car or a blue car) and headed to our 16-room hotel, Augusta Bay. It’s one of very few hotels in Great Exuma, and even fewer in Georgetown. Having done so many all-inclusive vacations this was an amazing eye opener to the true culture and vibe of the area. Instead of only seeing the locals on pick-up and drop-off, we had drinks with them every night, and chatted with them on the street and at the beach every day. We actually met one somewhat hilarious, somewhat insane Bahamian named Bahama Obama. We paid him $20/hour to take us around the Exumas…Everywhere he took us people immediately told us what they thought of him, both good and bad. It turns out he may or may not have been a pretty prolific drug dealer, but he did show us some of the most incredible sites in the area and also introduced us to one of our new favourite places on earth: Turquoise Cay.
Turquoise Cay is a beautiful boutique hotel, previously owned by the family who owns the majority of Coca Cola. It would be the perfect honeymoon destination, the suites are beautifully decorated, and the entire hotel has been designed to offer guests the best most relaxing experience. There are hammocks suspended over the water and a natural pool created out of rocks that you can always see sea turtles and tropical fish swimming in. And the best part: it’s surrounded by water on 3 sides. In the words of the owner of Turquoise Cay “Exuma is like the atlantis aquarium, only in real life”.
What you should know:
-Sand flies are the absolute worst thing that could happen short of someone stealing your money and your passport, put baby oil all over your body and they won’t be able to bite you. I had sand fly bites that lasted for over a month after getting home.
-In “off-season” (September/October) most bars and restaurants are open on Friday nights, some aren’t open any other time
-Expect nothing to be open on Sunday – Air Canada flies in on Sunday and Thursdays… so if you get in on Sunday you won’t be able to go to the store until the next day
-Rent a car, it’s expensive but everything’s too spread out to walk or cab to
What you should bring:
-A laid back attitude, the term “island time” has never been so apparent as it is in Exuma
-Baby oil & long pants
Who you should contact:
Augusta Bay: http://www.augustabayhotelgeorgetown.com/
Turquoise Cay: https://www.turquoisecay.com/
Bahama Obama: Go to any local bar and ask, they’ll find him for you