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1st Timers - Advice?

Wentzville, MO
posts: 67
reviews: 75
1st Timers - Advice?

My wife & I just booked our trip to Exuma today - for our 10 year anniversary. It will be our first trip ever to this area - we've only been out of country one time before. So this is a pretty special trip for us. I've been reading like crazy - and even the person we're renting from said I was well informed for being a first timer when I asked her some questions - but I wanted to see if the experts here on the forum might weigh in on some of my questions.

We're renting here - www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p155415 - 7 days

We'll be there in June 2014. It included a car as part of the rental - so looks like we're good to go on exploring for the week.

I was curious, as first times, what is the absolute must do's (other than relax, enjoy the view and the company of my lovely wife) for the week we're there?

I didn't know if someone might have a good itinerary for us to follow - we have 7 days, a Mon to Mon trip.

I was hoping to do one of the boat tours and a day of Minn's boat rental as well. Past that - we had nothing else planned. Ideas are MOST welcome.

The other questions:

1. As far as bringing food into the country - I've read and re-read and even spoke to the lady who runs the rental - and I'm still not 100% on the answer or who I should call to confirm with, but... let's say I vacuum seal cooked food (we do smoked BBQ a lot at home in bulk - like whole briskets/whole pork butts for pulled pork etc..) - and freeze the BBQ in vacuum sealed bags - can I bring those into the country for my trip?

2. Best items to bring for food and items I shouldn't even think about bringing?

3. Best way to bring food in for the trip? Soft cooler in a suitcase or a real cooler?

4. Credit cards - I get the impression they are almost useless on the island - should be just bring a lot of cash and not expect to use any credit cards?

5. Estimated - and I realize it's different for everyone - cost of fuel for a rental car for a week.

6. Everyday items to bring for the trip - must haves that most people forget or have to buy because they forgot them.

I think that's it for now - thanks for any help/advice you can offer to help make this the best anniversary trip yet and one to remember for a long time.

65 replies to this topic
Mobile, Alabama
posts: 2,061
reviews: 6
1. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

Do you know what kind of car it is? We rented a Honda Accord and I think we only burned one tank of gas the whole week we were there and driving alot- it is not a very big island! I am out of touch as it has been 2 years since we were there so my memory of gas prices would not be very helpful- maybe just a bit less than twice the price here? Not sure. We rented a boat all week from Minns and burned much more fuel in the boat.

There are some "small things" that are easily packed in your bags that save you from buying a whole box of something- for example, I pack some of every size ziplocs (snack, sandwich, quart, gallon- all inside each other) for leftovers and beach picnics. They even come in handy if you leave to come home with a damp bathing suit. A few chip clips or clothes pins come in handy, too. Since you have a washer you might throw in a couple of the little individual load packages of liquid tide and a couple of dryer sheets from home. I usually pack a picnic style disposable salt and pepper as well as a little bit of spices in snack bags- cinnamon comes in handy if there is wonderful homemade bread to buy for toast or french toast, some grilling spices if you are going to do that or blackening spices for grilling fish. You really do not want to have to buy a bottle of something when you just need a dash or two. Leave the rest for the next renter. Sunscreen and bug spray , of course- a tiny flashlight is sometimes a good idea or a plug in night light, as well.

have a wonderful time!

Oh- also, we have traveled to quite a few out islands and never had a problem yet with a soft sided cooler with meats- do not take any fresh vegetables or fruits as those are not allowed. My husband always packs a small jar of peanut butter, his special favorites of protein bars, and a can of mixed nuts as those things can be expensive or not available (the bars he likes). Some people take their own special coffee from home or a few filters just in case they are not at their rental house.

Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for Grenada, St. George's
posts: 2,866
reviews: 33
2. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

We got back a week ago from our first trip to Exuma and loved the island so much we already plan to go back this fall!! Gas was $5.86 give or take some cents as my memory is not that sharp, but definitely in the $5+ range. We rented a Jeep Liberty for two days, ran the a/c the entire time and used up $50 worth of gas which was 1/2 tank. Our trips were basically hotel (Exuma Beach Resort) to Tropic of Cancer beach to Santana's and back to hotel.... hotel to Big D's up in Steventon and back to hotel. Next day hotel to Barraterre, then to Tropic of Cancer again, and down to Santana's, and back to hotel.

As you can see there is a pattern on what we really enjoyed... TOC beach and Santana's! So I would say do not miss those!! You must have lobster at Santana's and say hello to Dee!

Agree with the suggestions of bringing ziploc bags as they come in handy for a lot of things. At Lattitudes restaurant/bar at EBR we were able to use cc. Also Four C's takes cc payments on their Cays trip but tack in a small charge 3% if I remember correctly. All other places we went to we paid cash. We hit the Scotia ATM in town for more cash which dispenses both US$ or Bahamian$, you can select. We also withdrew cash from the Bank of the Bahamas ATM and that one only dispenses Bahamian$. So moral of the story is bring loads of cash. We did but still ran out of cash but we had chartered a 1/2 day from a local capt that was not pre-planned so we needed more cash for that.

Enjoy Exuma! You will be hooked!!

Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for Grenada, St. George's
posts: 2,866
reviews: 33
3. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

PS... next door to Santana's is Mom's Bakery. Yummy sweets and cakes. You must stop by and taste some of her yummy delights offered.

Wentzville, MO
posts: 67
reviews: 75
4. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

Pigsterz - Thanks for the heads up the CC's and fuel cost - that gives me some ideas there! TOC is for sure on my list. I figured on bringing an extra $500 over what I need for excursions/boat rental etc and I think I'll be ok. Good news to hear on the ATM in case I don't have enough.

And thanks for the note on Mom's Bakery too - I think I can make that happen! HAHAHA!

Appreciate the input - I'm still hoping to get a good solid answer on the bringing food in portion of my question - so if anyone knows - I'd sure appreciate any input!

Thanks once again!

Edited: 6:54 am, March 20, 2014
Wentzville, MO
posts: 67
reviews: 75
5. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

DnAMobile - sorry I missed your post - scrolled too far too fast when reading - oops!

The rental includes a Range Rover - but she said it wasn't bad on gas (I didn't ask - could be a 4 cyl model..).

Your ideas on things to bring are very noted _ had planned on bringing some grilling spices vacuum sealed for the trip in smaller packs. So that's good - the washer soap - we have some of those packs - so I'll put those on the list too! Had figured on the sunscreen and bug spray - so good to know my reading is paying off :)

The one question on the meats - if anyone knows - does it have to be in original packaging or could I bring my own stuff, vacuum sealed (that way I buy in bulk, and only take with me what I need)? Or is there someone I can call to confirm? I hate to show up and they be like - that's going to the trash - ouch!

Thanks once again for the help/ideas - I'll be watching the thread - appreciate it!

Manistee, Michigan
posts: 182
reviews: 17
6. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

We just got back from our first trip there. It was absolutely wonderful. We could not have been happier. I don't think I would bother hauling any food down. The grocery stores are pretty decent and the prices are not that high. There is a wonderful store called Prime Island Meats that had a great selection. We used our car every single day and only put gas it in one time. The island is not that big - you aren't logging a lot of miles. The only place we used a credit card was for the all day trip with 4C's which you shouldn't miss. It's a long day but lots of fun. The ATM in Georgetown is always open and we had no problem getting cash. Make sure you notify your bank you are going so they don't shut down the card. The money is all mixed and you get change in both currencies. Don't miss going down to Santana's in Little Exuma. We went for lunch two times. Get there early as it is busy and it's not very big. You'll never have deep fried lobster anywhere else. Every day we just lounged around and swam in the morning and then headed out for someplace for lunch and then found a different beach each day to spend the afternoon. Lots of public beaches everywhere. The water is unbelievably beautiful. Bug spray is important and something for the itching.

UK
posts: 582
7. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

Meats are prohibited: http://bahamas.visahq.com/customs/

Wentzville, MO
posts: 67
reviews: 75
8. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

MingMin19 - I read your link - and I hear - but you read threads like this - (realizing it's a little older..) - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147423-i671-k2611…

The lady on the phone said it was no problem wither - just my first time and I don't want to mess up ya know ;)

I'll do some more digging....thanks for the info/link though - much appreciated!

Manistee, Michigan
posts: 182
reviews: 17
9. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

They did ask us when we went through customs if we had any meats or vegetables.

Wentzville, MO
posts: 67
reviews: 75
10. Re: 1st Timers - Advice?

Maddiesmom66 - that's good to know. I found their web page this morning after doing some digging -

www.bahamashclondon.net/page.php?page=8

The have this part in there -

12. What can i bring into the bahamas as far as food items?

You may take any item up to a value of $100USD Duty free. However, no fresh fruit or vegetables allowed. Chicken and beef are taxable. One quart of alcohol including beer and wine and 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars are allowed for persons over 21. Additional information may be obtained from The Comptroller of Customs, Customs House, Thompson Blvd, PO Box N-155, Nassau, The Bahamas. (Tel: 001 242 3264401).

I'll see about emailing them or calling them to get some clarification. It would just be good info to know. Although I think the web page is pretty straight forward overall. Just passing along some thoughts about it.

Any other people's experiences would be nice to know too.

Thanks once again everyone!

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