stayed August 25th to sept 1st 2013.......
This is one of those rare reviews I've written, that I find myself on the "fence". Its a little long, but there is some good info in here about Exuma in general.
These four, villa/cottage type houses have SO much potential!!
I'm not sure how to start, but i will start with random tips / thoughts......
- Its location is perfect in my opinion, 2 minute walk to a beautiful beach on Hoopers Bay. We cut thru a vacant beach house property, that had the sign out at road called "All is Well". Apparrently there is another, private path to follow but we never found it. The kayaks provided by the villas are decent, and the bay is easily crossed in short time..... the beach chairs are in good shape as well.
- we were dropped off at the villa's to the welcoming arms of..... NO ONE!! We didnt even have a greeting card in our villa, with our names on it, to ensure we knew we had the correct villa lol
- If you're staying here, your probably a seasoned, adventure type of traveller, and not looking to be pampered, cause you are on your own! Roslin the handy man didnt show up til about 36 hours or more later, and we rarely seen him. Which didnt bother us, but other might not like being left to fend for themselves. He's a quiet, nice guy though.....
- the internet rarely worked, and I know the villa book says put away the gadgets, but the internet is a valuable tool to check weather / day trips / reviews etc., The TV in our villa worked 6 out of 7 days..... the other villa with the couple from Vancouver, never had internet, nor TV, any of the days. I will tell you the TV was a nice luxury at night after a long day of being in the sun
- Its about a 20 minute bike ride into George town. We used the bikes at the villa's. They are a little dated / rickety, but worked well for us. We biked everyday into the town (rain or shine) and had a great time. We became a well known site on the road into town, and in the town. Particularly on the heavy rain day, the locals were all waving and in awe of us biking thru the town! People on bikes are a rarity it seems! Just be careful. The roads can narrow, and be extra careful at night. We found ourselves getting home late, and we were very sure to pull over, and let cars pass us.
- We also biked everyday to the grocery store (SMittys), which was about 3 minutes on bike. We'd bring a back pack and load up on food /beer. I found the food prices reasonable, and the beer was comparable to prices in canada. We found HIGH ROCK to be the best, with also the best prices (5 beers for $6 I think its was, or 6 beers for $ 5)..... all the same I guess. We bought limes to add to the beer.
- If you're coming in on a sunday, make sure you've brought food / drinks from home. We did thankfully, since everything seemed to be closed. In fact, we didnt bring enough food from home, and we didn't we bring any beer. We did bring coffee, tea, spices, rice, pasta, butter, cream, spaghetti sauce. The store does offer all these items though. Pasta was very reasonably priced, so if you have a room issue in your luggage, its cheap to buy. Coffee was expensive if i remember correctly. Bring bacon!
- we cooked everyday..... the frozen chicken breast from Smittys was very good, to my surprise....very flavourful. Its so easy to whip up a dinner, and save some dollars..... we werent on a tight budget, but the prices at the restaurents are not cheap...... a couple nights we had curry chicken with rice, next night pasta..... frozen hamburgers from smittys we cooked on the outdoor electric grill, and they were good!
- here's an easy curry recipe..... pan fry the chicken with onions / green peppers. In a side pot pour one can of cream of chicken soup, add a 3/4 can of milk (not a full as the label says)......add lots of curry powder to the soup, and let it simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. When done pour into fry pan with the chicken / onoins etc., simmer while the rice cooks. Then ladel some onto the rice. We bought all these ingredients from Smittys for about $ 9 except the curry powder which we brought..... the curry will give you a great flavour of the islands. Add in a few high rocks with lime, and you can feed four for about $ 20..... this meal would cost $ 150 at some popular places on the island
- the kitchen we had in our villa was not fully equipped (the oven part of the stove didnt work).....only a couple pots / pans but we cooked some great meals...... no can opener (bring one! the kind that has a bottle opener) there were Lots of plates etc, forks / spoons..... beware of being clean!!!! Our villa had a thousand ants it seems..... and they seemed to find a scrap or a crumb of food anywhere...... the ants didnt bother us at first, but they are prevalent in the villa, with no bug killer. We often used the broom to brush them out the door. Thankfully, we never found any ants in our bedroom.
- we also made lots of ice, to pack drinks with to head out with.... we forgot to bring our collapsable cooler, but we made out ok
- We rented a car from thompsons car rental..... it was a total of about $ 95 per day. We only rented it for one day, since we enjoyed the bike rides into town. We got the car at about 9 30 AMish, and you then have it for 24 hours. We first went to the Barraterre town tip of the island, and had a couple beers at the Circle T bar with Lloyd the owner, also met some other locals, bought some fruit. On the way back we stopped at some deserted beaches ( note: When we went to Exuma, it was slow season..... we went to 8 different beaches, and found almost no one.... to the point where we walked NAKED on almost every Beach, with a beer in hand!!....very liberating!!) .... on our way back thru Hoopers Bay and into George town, some of the locals we'd met were so happy we had a car lol, and no bikes. It was quite funny actually. I'd made a point to say Hi and talk to everyone we seen, and it paid off big time. Do it yourself.... everyone is so friendly.
- car rental tip....in slow season, rent the car at noon or 1ish, use that afternoon to do some exploring, then get up early the next morning and explore another part.... that way you almost get it for 2 days! just have it back by the 24 hour mark! Driving on the left is easy.... dont worry about it.
- After getting thru G Town, we headed south to LIttle Exuma, and to Williams Town. We wandered thru the Herimtage site, and we were left perplexed why its being left to ROT..... but pretty cool history though.
We then went to Santana's for a beer, and were shocked to see the most amazing little beach, with the most incredible water you may ever see in your life!! You most go there!
- We became regulars at the "Peace and PLenty"..... Doc Lermon behind the bar is a wonderful man, with a ton of island history in his head..... Magnolia at the front desk is a beautiful woman.... we sang the "Sloop John B" together at the bar one night. Make sure you visit Peace....
- dinners out were limited, but we did enjoy Shirleys, at the Fish Fry shacks, plus Bikini Bottoms in town for a fish sandwich. The best was the jerk stand near the town park. Really nice guy runs it, we had the ribs and chicken combo.
- Grab a few beers from John Marshalls Liqour store and sit on the wall of the bridge and watch the world go by. Say hi to everyone.....
Exuma is an interesting place..... its arguably 2nd World filled with 1st class people. The outlying parts of the island are as they might have been 50 years ago....
We were a little dismayed with the garbage all along the roads, but thats just the way it is.
We will be back, and we would consider staying here again.....but with so much to see/ and so many places to stay, we would probably go elsewhere. I dont think the Villa's get a lot of return customers..... we like to travel rough / budget (since thats where you meet the best people), but even we were a little bit put off by the place, but it was a great place for us to learn about the island....
Good luck, and feel free to ask any questions
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hoopers Bay Villas Exuma are authentic self-service Bahamian cottages. You will get a true Out-Island experience. You visit Exuma because you want to get away from the noise and crowded beaches. Coming to Exuma for the Disney effect is like going to Vegas for culture and studying the desert ecosystem. Exuma is rustic and pristine. There are no high-risers, traffic lights or fast food restaurants. What you will find is a quiet place to slow down, and reconnect with your inner self. Hoopers Bay Villas Exuma is the perfect place to relax after a day of biking, snorkeling, kayaking or relaxing on one of the nearby beaches. Recreation equipment is provided. You can take the kayaks and explore Hoopers Bay beach or your can explore the Mangroves to the south of the property. Some of our guests go bird watching (binoculars are provided). Each Exuma Cottage has 2 Bedrooms and 2 Bathrooms – one bedroom with a Queen bed and the other with two Twin Beds, great for families or couples. Kitchens are fully equipped and there are outdoor showers for rinsing off the sand, upon your return from the beach. You can enjoy the evening breezes on the front or back porches, grill your catch or just hang out with your neighbors. The property is centrally located and within walking distance to a well stocked food store and liquor store. There are nearby restaurants and downtown is only 5+ minutes away by car. This is a warm and welcoming community, the people are friendly and there is staff on hand to answer your questions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hoopers Bay Villas Exuma Hotel Great Exuma
- Hoopers Bay Villas Exuma Great Exuma, Bahamas