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Swimming pig in Bahamas

Cruising the Bahamas: Exumas sailing itinerary

With more than 700 islands and cays, cruising the Bahamas through the Exuma Islands means virgin white sand beaches, paradise desert islands and the most spectacular blue crystal clear waters that you can imagine.

The archipelago of the Bahamas is located just 150 miles from Miami and the coast of Florida (United States), and although technically it is located in the Atlantic Ocean, they are considered part of the islands of the Caribbean.

Bahamas means shallow waters. Its tropical beauty and the quality of its waters make it the perfect destination for sailing and sea lovers. This is why we propose in this post a one week itinerary cruising the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands. A private boat cruise for you to enjoy this paradise with your family or friends.

Reasons to cruise in Bahamas through the Exuma Islands

Boating vacations cruising the Bahamas - Video: Credits to our friend Jeremy Lopez

If you love visiting breathtaking beaches, traveling to the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands should be in your top must-see destinations. There's no doubt that this Caribbean archipelago hides some of the best beaches in the world.

Bahamas is a paradise on earth, and the reasons why you should choose the Exuma Islands for your next boat vacation are endless:

  • Well sheltered anchorages on desert islands of unbeatable beauty.
  • Shallow crystal clear waters that look like a pool as far as the eye can see.
  • Its incredible nature. Discover the swimming pigs, their exotic iguanas or snorkel among friendly turtles and thousand-colored fish in one of the largest underwater reserves in the world.
  • Enjoy the sun and summer temperatures all year round.
  • Pleasant trade winds and ideal sailing conditions all year round.
  • Discover the famous Thunderball Grotto.
  • Dive among sunken ships and planes, and if you dare, do it with the friendly nurse sharks.
  • Or just relax on its stunning virgin white sand beaches.

With its more than 365 islands, can you think of a better way to discover the Bahamas than by boat? This is why we propose a 7-day sailing itinerary on a catamaran, yacht or sailboat through the Bahamas and its exotic Exuma islands. A week of a private yacht cruise for you to enjoy with your family or friends, hopping across the most paradisiacal islands of the Caribbean.

A one week itinerary cruising the Bahamas

7-Day Bahamas & Exumas boat route map
7-day itinerary boating the Bahamas and the Exumas islands

Note: Each dot indicates the estimated places where the ship will anchor for the night. 
Keep in mind that the reason we share with you this itinerary is nothing but inspire you when planning your sailing trip to the Bahamas . You can modify for sure what you think is convenient and adapt it to your needs and preferences. If you plan to enjoy more days, do not think twice and make the itinerary longer to adapt it to your holiday in the Bahamas.

Keep in mind that the itinerary we propose you is nothing else but to inspire you when organizing your boat trip around the Exumas. Remember that you can modify what you think is convenient and adapt it to your needs and preferences. If you have more days, do not think twice and extend the itinerary to adapt it to your holidays in the Bahamas.

Useful information to cruise the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands

Cruise duration: 1 week (7 nights). It is also common to sail 10 nights or two weeks.
Embark: Palm Cay Marina, Nassau
Disembark: Palm Cay Marina, Nassau
Nearest airport: Lynden Pindling Nassau International Airport
How to get the marina: Palm Cay Marina is 23km or 30 min by car from the airport. You can get a transfer service, taxi or bus.
Best time to sail the Bahamas: The Bahamas offers a summery climate and ideal sailing conditions to enjoy a boat cruise all year round.
Best time to book: It is recommended to book several months in advance.
Weather and winds: Warm tropical climate with gentle constant trade winds that produce an average temperature between 21 and 32 ° C (70 - 90oF). They generally blow from the east, throughout the year. In open water and long sailing periods the winds are stronger. From April to October, temperatures are milder, ranging between 18 and 26 ° C (65 - 80oF). Trade winds usually blow from the east with a constant intensity between 5 and 20 knots, offering ideal conditions for sailing in the Bahamas. The 40-mile channel passage between Nassau and the island chain can offer ideal conditions for experienced sailors.
The variation of the tides is wide so it is necessary to know its operation especially in shallow water areas.
Recommended holidays for: A trip to enjoy with friends, family or partner. An ideal and romantic destination for honeymoons.
Traveling to the Bahamas is ideal for diving or snorkeling, nature lovers, and whoever enjoys paradisiacal tropical landscapes.

Detailed 7-Day guide to cruising the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands


Nassau: The Gate of Paradise

Charter yacht anchored in the desert island of the Bahamas
Luxury yacht anchored in a paradise island - Exuma Islands (Bahamas)

Our Bahamas boat vacations start on the island of Nassau, where our boat awaits us in the Palm Cay Marina. Once the provisioning is organized, you can spend the day discovering the history of the island. Stroll through the center of Nassau, which stands out for having a very colorful English colonial style, or perhaps relax on one of its most famous beaches, such as Cable Beach, Jaws Beach or Love Beach.

Curious fact: Did you know that the population of Nassau was practically made up of pirates until 1718?


Sailing to the Exumas: Allen Cay and Highbourne Cay

Iguana on Leaf Cay Beach (Exumas)
Catamaran in Leaf Cay - Exuma Islands (Bahamas)

Our boat sets sail for the Exuma Islands. Relax with the sea breeze and deep blue waters on the cruise to Allen Cay. Once there, you can explore these desert islands and be surprised by the exotic iguanas that roam the paradisiacal beaches of Leaf Cay.

Highbourne Cay is known as the Gate of the Exumas. It’s a private island with a first-class marina. In Horseshoe Bay you can snorkel among reefs and see colorful fish in the wonderful “Octopus Garden Reef”. If you prefer to relax in the sun, both the island itself and its neighbours own some of the most spectacular beaches in the Caribbean.

Tip: If you are one of those who likes to enjoy tranquility, you may prefer to anchor in neighbouring Oyster Cay or Long Cay.


Warderick Wells Cay: The largest underwater park in the Caribbean

Anchored boats in a beautiful Exuma beach
A Paradise Beach in Bahamas

Warderick Well Cay is the exact definition of a paradisiac island. This desert island is the ideal place to get lost strolling along its incredible virgin white sand beaches or to take a bath in turquoise waters. But the greatest treasure of this jewel of the Exumas is hidden under water. Warderick Well Cay is home to the largest underwater natural park in the entire Caribbean. Explore its marine park and discover its thousand-colored reefs, tropical fish, sea turtles, stromatolites, and even the skeleton of a sperm whale. Snorkeling or diving in these waters will be definitely an explosion for your senses.


Bahamas by Boat: Compass Cay and Staniel Cay

Girl enjoying holidays in crystal clear waters
Woman on vacation in Bahamas

At the halfway point of our sailing holidays in Bahamas, you will find that the Exuma Islands will never stop surprising you. Enjoy the pleasant journey hopping from island to island through the Exumas to Compass Cay, where you will have the opportunity to swim with the cheerful nurse sharks. Don't worry, it is a harmless species! Will you dare?

The spectacular Staniel Cay has been the set for more than one James Bond movie. If you are going to cruise the Exumas in the Bahamas you cannot miss the impressive underwater caves of the "Thunderball Grotto", which actually gave name to one of the secret agent films.

In Big Major Cay, very close to Staniel Cay, you will be able to visit the curious swimming pigs enjoying the turquoise waters of this Caribbean beach. They are probably the Bahamas most representative icon!


Shroud Cay: Possibly the most beautiful island in the world

Shroud Cay - Exumas boats for charter
The most beautiful islands in the world - Shroud Cay

The next essential stop on your one-week route sailing in the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands, is Shroud Cay. Its beauty is difficult to describe just in words. You’ll enjoy tropical mangroves, virgin white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Some say that Shroud Cay is the most beautiful island in the world . Why not?

If you want to disembark during the day, you can take a hiking route through Explore Camp Driftwood Beach, where you will walk to the highest point of the island and you can share one of the best sunsets in the Caribbean. If you are looking for wonderful sites, be sure to explore its mangroves or dive among sea turtles, lobsters and tropical fish in Coral de Fuego or Wax Cut Drift Dive.


Cayo Norman: Discover the Secrets of the Caribbean

Family snorkeling in a sunken plane in Norman's Cay
Sunken plane in Norman's Cay - Exumas (Bahamas)

Norman Cay is one of the Exuma and Bahamas islands that attracts the most tourists. It is an abandoned island known for drug trafficking, which existed for almost five years in the past. However, this key has something much more to offer, such as its coral reefs, ideal for snorkeling or diving. During your visit to Norman Cay, be sure to visit the sunken plane that rests in the crystal clear waters. It is worth seeing it underwater!

At night you can freely anchor in a bay surrounded by an impressive natural environment.


Sailing trip back to Nassau, Bahamas

Family sailing on a catamaran through Exumas - Bahamas
Family cruising the Exuma Islands (Bahamas)

Do you want to take an unforgettable photo? Or maybe a spectacular selfie to get attention on social media... Little Norman's Cay sets its impressive beach and a background as a postcard.

Relax on your journey back to Nassau where you can spend the last night of your vacation cruising the Bahamas and the Exumas Islands. Once there, if you want to take advantage of sightseeing, be sure to visit the Nassau Pirates Museum or the Queen's Stairs, as well as the John Watling Distillery and Fort Charlotte.

After several days of sailing through the Bahamas, surrounded by nature and tranquility, you may want to walk through the “downtown”, especially along Bay Street, the main street of the town. You will find from international brand stores to restaurants where you will be able to enjoy local cuisine. It is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner with your family or friends and remember the unforgettable adventures lived in this week of vacation sailing through the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands.

Private 10-day or 2-week boat cruise in the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands

You will discover stunning beaches and hundreds of entertaining activities on your boat trip in the Bahamas and the Exuma Islands . Whether you decide to sail for 7, 10 or 14 days, the experience will be unique and unforgettable.

If you decide to extend your cruise hopping from island to island in the Bahamas, we definitely also recommend visiting Tropic of Cancer Beach in Little Exuma, Stocking Island or Moria Harbor Cay National Park. Live a magical vacation in the Exumas adding these islands to your itinerary!

What do you think of our one-week itinerary cruising the Bahamas and its impressive Exuma Islands?

What boat should I rent to sail the Bahamas?

A family on a boat enjoying a swim in the sea
A family on catamaran holiday in the Bahamas

One of the most popular options for cruising the Bahamas is chartering a catamaran. However, sailboats, power catamarans or motor luxury yachts are also perfect alternatives for your boat holidays in the Exumas . If you consider yourself an adventurous sea lion and own a nautical license, you can bareboat charter in the Bahamas to hop from island to island at your own pace. If, on the other hand, you prefer yachting the Bahamas and only worry about relaxing and enjoying the trip, we recommend that you rent a boat with a skipper or crew . At Yanpy, we have all kinds of boats with or without a crew, to offer you the experience that best suits your tastes and needs.

Let´s start planning your yachting holidays now

Get in contact and let our charter brokers help you find the perfect yacht for your next cruising holidays in the Bahamas.

Written by Yanpy · Sep 3, 2020


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