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Trip review, day by day

Cincinnati, OH
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Trip review, day by day

Day 1(Thursday, June 7): Arrived at noon at the oversized Georgetown International Airport (yes, kidding) which perfectly fits the idealized concept of a Bahamian airport. Luggage was quick and easy, as was customs and immigrations...both took almost 30 seconds each. We all looked fairly harmless so that probably helped.

We rented our car from Thompson Car Rental for $520 (http://www.the-bahamas-car-rentals.com/thompsonscars/ and it was waiting for us at the airport with the keys in it. It wasn't the Rav4 we were expecting but regardless it started and ran...good enough. Now while I was expecting to be driving on the opposite side of the road, I was not expecting to have a car with a steering wheel on the right instead of the left....no biggie but if you think it might bother you ask specifically for what you want. Don't have high expectations as ours makes some odd noises and isn't exactly a thing of beauty. They are great to deal with and we just went in to sign the rental agreement the following day after we go settled. Again...island time...no rush.

We were met by Lem, the caretaker of the house who led us to our house stopping for a case of beer ($50) and slowing to show us some good restaurants, bars, grocery stores, etc... Upon arrival we were as impressed as we had hoped we would be as the house and the grounds were beautiful! It was about 15 min south of Georgetown, and a mile and a half north of the bridge to Little Exuma. After a few minutes of getting to know the place, and staring across the bay at the incredible water (see pics) half of the party went to groceries while the rest stayed and drank beer. The remainder of the evening was simply spent relaxing from a 0400 wake up and enjoying the house and vicinity.

Day 2: Woke up late (deserved it) and went for a run nearly to Little Exuma turning around at Bone Fish Lodge, which is now been sold and is being rehabbed and called Family Cay and to be opening soon. After nearly baking to death on the way back after the late start a quick dip in the ocean, followed by a rinse in the pool brought us back to life. We then packed a few things and headed out to Little Exuma to find Paradise Beach (otherwise known as the Tropic of Cancer Beach) which ended up being about a 10-15 min drive down the road. There were 2 beach access signs before getting to Paradise Beach which we will try to get to later in the week. It is a somewhat nice change over Eleuthera where you need GPS coordinates to locate the beach turn-off. Don’t get me wrong, they are still just rough dirt roads leading to the beach, but at least we didn’t have to be lost most of the time just looking for a beach. Like Eleuthera, the beaches are 98% empty and they are mostly yours to enjoy alone. Also, they are much, much cleaner than Eleuthera…we heard it has something to do with the way trash washes across the Atlantic and gets caught on Eleuthra from Protugual….but again, just what we heard. Paradise Beach was awesome, and while we only spent about 30 min there just to see if we could find it, I am sure we will be back. We then proceeded down to Santanan’s for lunch ($110 for 4 plus alcohol). A little road side stand about 2.5 miles on down the main road. This is where you can order up whatever is being served that day and look through the photo album they put down in front of you of all the celebrities and guests they have had there through the years. Also, next door is Mom’s Bakery where the bread is awesome…and it is Mom’s daughter who is the cook at Santana’s….so it is a family affair.

After that, we grabbed another swim at home, and went and settled up on the rental car in Georgetown then came back for a kayak trip at the house around the out island at the nature preserve and came across some giant starfish (see pics), two turtles, and a small shark. We finished the day by getting cleaned up and heading to the local fish fry which while they say is on Friday, it is actually every day. It is really just a spot north of Georgetown with a bunch of huts and each hut has a different style of food and drink. We ended up at Poor Mans having fried conch and rice with 3 sides…absolutely spectacular for just over 60 bucks. Without a doubt the locals are what makes this place spectacular…see pic.

Day 3: Started a little earlier than the day before as we had a boat tour at 9 leaving from the far side north side of the island near Barraterre. This all day tour given by Captain Ray and his son Justin was worth every penny. It was my dad’s 70th b-day present and he was completely thrilled with it! I am simply going to leave this link for you to check out and say that it is dead on the quality and value that you get! My guess is that this tour will end up being the highlight of our trip! tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g147429-d1…

After our amazing Cays tour, we had to finally get gas on the way home (an hour drive to and back) and oddly enough gas stations tend to be hard to come by…just fyi. By the time we got home it was all anyone could do to just get enough energy up to make some dinner and hit the bed…amazing how exhausted a guy can get going 50 mph in a boat all day!

Stay turned for more tomorrow!

Pics can be seen here:

https:/…

Burlington, Canada
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1. Re: Trip review, day by day

love ur review keep them coming

also post more pictures.

This will be our first time to bahamas especially the great exuma.

Reading ur review makes me want to go more

thank u

Mobile, Alabama
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2. Re: Trip review, day by day

I am enjoying your trip report!! What house did you rent? We were in GE this time last month so I am reliving some of it through your great photos- have a wonderful time and keep the stories and pix coming!

If you get a chance to go to Catch-a-fire on a Wed or a Saturday we enjoyed the music and dancing- we had better food elsewhere but the entertainment was fun.

Great Exuma
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3. Re: Trip review, day by day

great review and pics

Livermore...
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4. Re: Trip review, day by day

Thanks for the detailed report. Sounds awesome. Coincidently, we will be staying at the same house next week. Quick question, can you get US TV channels? Only reason we care is for the NBA finals. We look forward to your updates...have a great time!

Cincinnati, OH
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5. Re: Trip review, day by day

As far as i can tell the answer is no...there is no cable box or dish...just a PS3 for dvd's. Might be able to come up with some way to watch it online...probably a long shot though....sorry.

Houston
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6. Re: Trip review, day by day

Love the detailed review and the pics make me second home sick!

Cincinnati, OH
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7. Re: Trip review, day by day

Day 4: Woke up fairly early, don’t ask me why…probably because my boyfriend got up and decided that getting the daily run out of the way early and right to beer drinking is the best when on vacation. Headed down the road all the way to the Little Exuma bridge, passed maybe 5 cars total in 30 min…heaven on this side of the island.

Came back and cooled off again with a swim and proceeded to do absolutely nothing for several hours…kind of the point when on vacation I guess. Around noon headed down to the two beaches we had passed in Little Exuma on the second day when we were searching for Paradise/Tropic of Cancer Beach to see what they looked like. Both were massively crowded (fine, not really)…the first having a single guy sitting in a hut reading a book. It was a fair beach, located on your left as you approached from the parking area. Be forewarned, the roads to all the beaches are terrible so sometimes you have to park back a little bit and walk, and there are no “parking lots” per se…just park along side the road or in a wide spot somewhere. This particular spot was nice because there was quite a bit of wooded area where you can just chill in the shade if you don’t want to be in the sun the whole time. Also, straight ahead are some rocky outcropping that are nice to climb up and look around on. The second beach was much larger and considerably wider and nicer. The wind had kicked up today so as this was a little less protected area the waves were somewhat larger but plenty fun to play in. There was a family on the left and a couple on the right as we entered from the “lot” but since the beach itself is about a mile long I really don’t think this would have bothered anyone. Again, we didn’t stay…just stopped by to check things out.

Around 4pm we decided to take the kayaks out across the bay to Moriah Harbor Cay Environmental Park bnt.bs/_m1731/The-National-Parks-of-The-Baha… after receiving detailed instructions from Captain Ray on Saturday (see pic). Frankly, whatever we paid for the tour repaid itself in the 2 beaches that he led us to. They were perhaps the most beautiful beaches any of us had ever seen, and let me assure you, we have seen a few. No one for miles and all we saw was a small boat at one point several miles off. While we did have to travel a bit to get to that particular spot, there were many long and secluded beaches along the way that were nearly as good. The kayaks are certainly worth it. Just to note, as it was windy most of the day, we did get beat up somewhat on the way home. Caught glimpses of several sea turtles and a small shark on the way back in. I will say that I have complained NUMEROUS times on this trip that I didn’t think to bring a waterproof camera of some sort. This would have allowed me to capture the beauty we have seen while kayaking. Captain Ray’s son, Justin had mentioned to me that his experience had shown him Canon underwater cameras seemed to not only take the best pictures but also appeared to be the most dependable in terms of their ability to not fail in the water. This is not me speaking from experience nor an endorsement as I have no experience with any.

After building up quite an appetite (and thirst) we headed into town to the Peace N Plenty for drinks and dinner in town. First off the food was excellent, everything from the lobster to the seafood pasta. Trust me when I tell you it is a little pricey (see pic of menu) but I have to say it was some of the best food so far. One round of drinks at the bar (a beer and 2 mixed drinks) was $25 while we waited for our table. TAKE NOTE…while many places do take credit cards (mostly Visa, Mastercard and Discover) almost all add on a surcharge. At the Peace N Plenty they added 10% to the bill for credit card usage. At the grocery store I believe it was a 5% addition. Just know going in that it is worth asking about before throwing down the plastic.

Oh, there was a gas station I finally noticed on the top of the circle (one way) around Georgetown…hadn’t seen it before since we usually take the bypass around the bottom…fyi. Oh, and I heard there is no fire department on Exuma…so don’t burn your place down. As for those of you who wanted to know where we are staying…I hate giving away the secret, but I will anyway  www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p970094 I will agree with the other reviews (3 at this point) on Homeaway.com that this is a 5 star property. There are a few things that could be improved and I will write a full review at some point on Homeaway.com rather than go into it here so keep an eye on that site for additional info if you’re interested. I am sure most of the issues have to do with this being a brand new house (5 months old) and perhaps owners new to the rental game. Regardless the place is incredible and it is certainly nothing that can’t be overcome, forgiven, or forgotten about after a look out at the view from any floor in the house!

Stay turned for more tomorrow, going to maybe try the Chat N Chill, Mims, and Elvis the boat taxi driver…weather dependant!

Pics can be seen here:

https:/…

Cincinnati, OH
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8. Re: Trip review, day by day

Day 5: First off…does anyone read this? Just wondering… Anyway, a few things before getting into the day’s details. For honeymooners staying at Sandals, apparently they have a “romantic” 6 hour island stay in the package. We learned this by talking to a couple who had participated in that package and they recommended skipping this particular event. Apparently a boat takes you to a remote deserted island with a cooler with food and drink, and a few beach items and an umbrella. I guess all is well and good until the ice melts getting your food all soggy and then you spend the last 4 hours huddled under the umbrella trying to not resemble Doug from The Hangover when they find him on the rooftop.

Moving on…basically it started like all the other days did, jog, pool, food, beer, etc…. Then around noon we jumped into the car and headed into town to search out the water taxi to get to the all famous Chat n’Chill located on Stocking Island. Finding the water taxi was the first challenge, but here is what we did…asked a local policeman for directions. Now for anyone reading this, this is what you do…take the one way street around the top of Georgetown, you will pass the gas station on your left, the bank on your right (Scotia Bank I think) and then you need to make the next right (by the police station) to what looks like a loading dock for the island. There is plenty of parking on the right as you drive back towards the harbor. The water taxi will be on your right with a bunch of guys lounging around under the Water Taxi sign. It is $12 per person round trip and that is well posted. Also, you can either pay as you go or as you come back…be honest, as it appears they were a little lax in their collection process. Also, exact change is good since he didn’t have change for $40 and we owed him $24…ended up settling on $22 since we had a few singles. The Taxi leaves each hour on the hour from 10a to 6p or by request (don’t ask me what “by request” is but probably if you show up with literally a boat load of people they will accommodate you). We also saw some tour guy negotiating a price for Elvis (the taxi driver) to take his folks to someplace for such and such a time and for such and such a price…so if you have somewhere else you want to go in the harbor this is a possibility.

Now…the Chat N’ Chill…it is ranked #2 on TripAdvisor for restaurants. Yeah….I am not high maintenance but frankly this is not a #2 restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice little place with plenty of atmosphere, a good beach and lots of potential. I realize we were there on a Monday in the off season but frankly the biggest reason I can see to return are the stingrays located just down the beach near the conch stand (more on that in a minute). We had kind of slow service to get beers and food (which is no biggie, island time after all) but we expected a little more upbeat and friendly atmosphere from this particular location due to its party-ish reputation. The food was moderate and the prices as expected for such a place. Santana’s was much better. Lots of trash piles on the beach but they had picnic tables throughout and chairs to use on the beach which was nice. Palm trees throughout so if you wanted out of the sun you could be. It looked like they had at least 4 potential volleyball courts but only one net was up and that one looked kind of sad actually. A burn pile was located just down the beach past the conch shack.

Now the conch shack sold $10 conch salad (pretty normal) and then the cook gave you the leftovers to feed to the stingrays located just 6 feet away in the water where you can sit and they come up and rub up against you (see pic). Personally we didn’t buy anything but they were all over me anyway since frankly stingrays don’t know if I spent any money on them or not. The cook at the conch shack gave me a few leftovers to feed them which was nice of him and fun for me! After a little exploring with no luck trying to find the much written about trails located around the place we again approached the conch shack cook and got directions. Here is what you do: Go directly behind the Chat N’ Chill to the half moon harbor full of boats of questionable quality and follow it around to the pink building you can see from the Chat n’ Chill where you start. On the way will be a sign (see pic) providing you with confidence you are on the right track. Continue on (you might have walk a few feet out into bay as the overhanging brush blocks your way) then make a right up the trail until you come to an inlet. At this point, depending on the tide, you will either have to wade (waist or chest height), or swim across to the other side…just know this if you have a pack or camera (see pic). Make sure you bring your flip flops for the climb up the hill on the other side. Basically what you are going to find is an Atlantic side beach that was pretty rough and kind of seaweedy (if that’s a word). It wasn’t a bad beach but in reality the journey to get there far outweighed the end results…but that is kind of the point when we go on vacation.

We spent about 2 hours total…that was plenty for our purposes. After that a quick stop at the grocery and liquor store (note beer prices in pic and just know that things are a little more expensive here than most places, and if anyone helps you carry your stuff out to the car expect to tip) finished off the day!

Stay turned for more tomorrow!

Pics can be seen here:

https:/…

Canada
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9. Re: Trip review, day by day

Kellip17, yes, I'm reading this ;) and really enjoying envisioning your exhausting sounding days. You are truly making the most of your time down there.

Looks like you have a great house and location, nice find.

So glad that you are enjoying yourselves - keep the reports coming.

Annie

Gastonia, North...
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10. Re: Trip review, day by day

Yep, definintely reading! Wishing I could put things in humerous ways like you do. I owe some people a trip report of our trip to Great Guana Cay 2 weeks ago, will you write it for me??? Just kidding...

You are definitely making me want to visit. How many days do you think one would need to see all of the top attractions on Great and Little Exuma? I was thinking of renting a place in Hartswell that comes with kayaks to be able to check out Moriah Harbour Cay. We probably wouldn't do any tours but would like to see all the great beaches, maybe rent a boat for a day to check out the harbor and eat at some good local places. I'm thinking of tacking on a side trip to G Exuma from Long Island that we're hoping to take in the fall.

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