My husband and I got back from Exuma last weekend after our 10 day trip. Before I do anything else, I wanted to say thank you to all the people who on the MB or in private answered my numerous questions. It’s refreshing when a place or a thing lives up to the hype – and so it was with Exuma. It definitely lived up to the hype.
As I said to one of the Exuma Experts, this trip had been a trip from HE double hockey sticks to plan because first our flights were cancelled without AA telling us, so I had to scramble to find other airlines to make the schedule work as we had already booked and paid for our hotel. Then back in September, Skyauction advised us that our hotel was in foreclosure, so we had the option of going someplace else or getting our money back.
All I can say is that ultimately all things worked for good – because our flights on Jet Blue and Skybahamas went off without a hitch and we made all connections on our 3 flights going to Exuma, so we didn’t have to stay overnight in Nassau. Coming back every flight left on time except for our final leg – Fort Lauderdale to DC because of the snowy weather in the Northeast.
I know a couple people had posted on the MB and or emailed me privately about the connection between Jet Blue and Skybahamas flights and all I can say was that we were there in low season, so our flights were not very full – especially Skybahamas. Every flight we were on left on time so we were able to make our connections. If you’re going in high season or winter, your experience could be different because of the number of people as well as weather delays. We were fortunate in that neither really impacted our important flights which were the flights from Florida to/from Nassau and Nassau to/from GGT. Also, Jet Blue allows online check in to Bahamas, so we were able to speed up bag check on both ends of our trip. On arrival in Nassau everything went smoothly and we got thru Customs and Immigration promptly and our bags arrived quickly enough that we could hot foot it over (with the help of a skycap) to Skybahamas check in. We had a fairly tight window between our arrival in Nassau and our departure for GGT.
Palm Bay Beach Resort
We had chosen Palm Bay Resort instead of getting our money back because we got a really good deal on our original booking with Skyauction for the Beach Inn. Based on feedback from a TA member I knew that we should request an oceanfront location because the option Sky had given us was in the hillside villas – across the street and up a hill.
We were given a gorgeous 1 bedroom oceanfront villa that was a joy to sit on each morning when I woke up to see the sunrise. Our 1 bedroom villa had a living room, 1-1/2 baths, kitchenette, TV in the bedroom. Wireless Internet was available from our villa and it was reliable for the entire time.
Palm Bay staff were just wonderful to deal with from the time Sky switched our booking over to them, until the day we left. Staff never hesitated to say hello, share the time of the day or be responsive to our requests. I will do a post about Palm Bay separately, but to anyone staying at Palm Bay in the future, I could only say good things about the property. One caveat – we were in Villa #10 (and I’m not sure if this is a problem in other units) but our shower/tub was very high. On this trip I didn’t think to take my bathtub mat or sticky decals for the tub, so we had none and the hotel didn’t provide any. I slipped 3 times going to/from the tub because it is a high step up (you’ll see in my review when I post pictures) and so I came home with major purple bruises on my upper legs. Part of it is I’m petite so I have short legs, but there is a high step up to get into the shower/tub which didn’t help much. If you’re mobility-impaired, you might be sure to clarify whether it will be easy for you to get into and out of the tub in the unit assigned to you.
Most days we had the beach at Palm Bay to ourselves. There was an adequate number of chairs and either palapas or umbrellas, however it was low season. We walked down the beach at Palm Bay to Jolly Hall which was a gorgeous beach with powdery white sand. There was limited shade though.
We’d rented a car from Thompson’s (nice people to deal with) for two days to see the island but decided after going from one end to the other, that we only needed the car one day. Palm Bay had a shuttle to take us to and from Georgetown whenever we wanted as it was low season. During high season they do have a schedule. We saw all the major sites as we drove around. Our fave was the gorgeous view from the Salt Beacon on Little Exuma.
It had been suggested that we should rent a boat, which we did from Minns. My husband drove the boat very efficiently (to both our surprise) but we had picked a very choppy day so that was no fun. Next time we will pick our days better b/c the day after we had booked the boat the water was as calm and flat as bathwater. We’ll also probably chose a bigger boat as well next time. And there will be a next time because we definitely want to go back to the Out Islands and Exuma.
We ate a few breakfasts at Sam’s where I became known as the lady who hates butter and loves real turkey. We also had some lunches there – husband had cheese burgers and I had turkey sandwiches one day and the wings platter the next. The food at either meal was good. We had baked goods and soup from Towne Café. We loved them both.
We ate dinner one night from Charlie’s at the Fish Fry. I had the snapper platter and my husband had the pork chop platter. He said his was fine, but the snapper dinner was great. Also tried guava duff and guava bread pudding from Charlie’s. Both were good, but I am a bigger fan of the bread pudding.
We ate most of our breakfasts at Augusta Bay (formerly Beach Inn Exuma) because of the close proximity to Palm Bay and because of the consistent service from staff – they eventually knew what we wanted to drink before we opened our mouths. All were good though inconsistent in taste and quality. I guess it depends on the cook that day. Some days we ate lunch at Augusta as well. We usually got burgers and fries, and there was consistency in the quality of the food at lunch.
While driving around the island we stopped at Santana’s for lunch. We wondered if the hype was right because I had a sub-par shrimp meal and my husband had a pork chop platter. Not sure if someone else was cooking that day, or if it was lack of effort on the cook’s part but we both didn’t like our food.
We had dinner one night at Splash (the Palm Bay restaurant) and although my husband liked his fish sandwich, I hated the spicy fish burger I was served. I hate spicy food and think the waitress should have at least mentioned that it was a spicy burger, so I could make another selection. With other choices for meals, we never ate at Splash again.
What can I say about the Exumian people? They were some of the nicest we encountered. Having traveled through much of the Caribbean we were used to the somewhat reserved nature of the people on many islands. On our first day in Georgetown we were standing by the side of the road with a little map looking for Sams. Two ladies in a car were parked at the side and without our asking, they inquired what we were looking for and they directed us to Sam’s. We can honestly say that without exception whether we were waiting in line, standing at the side of the road, the people we encountered exchanged a greeting with us. On the first day we went to CnC we ran into KB who chatted with us at some length before we boarded the Water Taxi, thereafter when we ran into him in town or wherever he would hail us out. On our second visit he remembered us and stopped by to chat and say hello.
We rarely visit islands twice but Exuma is on our short list for a future visit.
If anyone has suggestions of other Out Islands with a similar slow vibe like Exuma, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to send me a private message. Thanks everyone.