Think about a little bit island of solely 120 folks, the place everybody waves to you, the water is child blue, and also you’re a stone’s throw away from the unique swimming pigs of Huge Main Cay.
Staniel Cay is a little bit island within the Exumas of the Bahamas that’s stuffed with character and an important leaping off level not only for the pigs, however for grottos, cuddling with nurse sharks, sea turtles, iguanas that reside on the sand, and even an underwater piano. Listed here are my favourite issues to do there, plus the place to remain and what to eat when on Staniel Cay:
Issues to do:
Hire a Golf Cart and Discover:
Staniel Cay is small, and although you might stroll it, most individuals go for a golf cart since it may possibly get HOT in the course of the day, they usually’re enjoyable to drive anyhow.
I had truly by no means pushed a golf cart earlier than attempting on Staniel Cay, but it surely was a superb place to be taught. It’s not like there’s any site visitors to talk of on the roads, and should you handle to get misplaced, I’ll be impressed! The golf cart provides you the liberty to drive your self to the seashores and to dinner, and it’s how most individuals select to get across the island. Bear in mind to drive on the left!
You’ll be able to hire golf carts right here (affiliate hyperlink).
This was my favourite seaside on Staniel Cay, with white sand, child blue water, and the right situations for a floating session. It’s simple to get to, nestled on the north aspect of the island. Simply observe G&B freeway virtually to the tip, turning proper down a dust highway simply earlier than you attain it. I used Maps.me (a free map smartphone app) to navigate whereas I used to be there and located it simply.
Consider there shall be loads much less seaside at excessive tide, which relies on the moon section.
Sundown on the Yacht Membership
An establishment on Staniel Cay, the Yacht Membership is among the solely locations to eat on the island, and is a favourite hangout spot of most guests. Likelihood is good that when you’re staying on the island, you’re going to eat right here not less than as soon as. My suggestion is catching the sundown there, as it’s completely located dealing with west.
There’s a pleasant seaside simply earlier than you attain the Yacht Membership as nicely, the place I noticed a ray absolutely breach out of the water! There are nurse sharks close by as nicely.
The Swimming Pigs Tour
That is what you in all probability got here to Staniel Cay to see – the swimming pigs! I discovered the expertise to be pleasant. We had such an superior boat captain, Dave with 3N’s Exuma Holidays, who appeared to have a particular relationship with them. He’s even educated one to face up for treats!
The pigs actually do swim proper over to your boat, and you will get within the water with them and swim round, which I did! They have been lovable, and way more open to pets and stomach rubs than most different pigs I’ve met. There are additionally infants that your information will seemingly bottlefeed and possibly even provide the alternative to strive as nicely.
There are touristy issues that generally don’t reside as much as the hype, however this actually did for me. The place else on the planet are you able to see swimming pigs in completely blue, clear water? You’ll be able to e book it right here.
Snuggle Nurse Sharks
The swimming pigs excursions virtually all the time embrace the nurse sharks, too. You’ve in all probability additionally seen well-known images of individuals floating with the nurse sharks within the Exumas. These sharks are habituated, and have been for many years. They’re used to vacationers swimming within the water with them, and are so docile you possibly can even stroke them and hug them!
That stated, they’re nonetheless sharks, so please respect them and watch your fingers while you’re interacting with them. Your information will almost certainly convey alongside fish treats to draw them over. Even should you’re not comfy getting within the water, you possibly can watch them from the dock above.
A phrase to the smart: Whereas DSLR cameras are welcome elsewhere on the tour stops talked about on this publish, you’re solely allowed to take images and movie with a telephone on the sharks.
Go to the Sand Bar
Solely seen at sure instances of day, the Sandbar shall be a logical cease between the nurse sharks and the pigs on a day tour. You probably have a drone, that is the place to fly! You get good layers of colour because the sand fades to darkish blue channels for the water to movement by way of. Since you possibly can’t fly wherever on Staniel Cay as a result of proximity to the airport, I appreciated the chance of having the ability to fly on the sandbar.
However even should you don’t have a drone, the peerlessly white sand set amongst a multicolored blue backdrop makes for stunning images!
This cease has a small space that has a number of little, colourful fish and good corals for a fast snorkel.
I believed the corals have been notably good, with a number of sea followers, parrotfish, and generally even turtles, should you’re fortunate.
En route, ask your captain to cease by the aircraft wreck should you’re . It’s shallow sufficient to be seen from the floor.
The Thunderball Grotto will in all probability be your first or final cease of any boat tour out of Staniel Cay, and entry and exit all is dependent upon the tides. The present can generally be sturdy, however should you’re a powerful swimmer and in a position to maintain your breath and swim down into the cave, you’ll be simply wonderful.
There’s quite a lot of fish inside, with a number of entry and exit factors that emit mild underwater. There are little bats inside too, although they’ll seemingly be sleeping while you go to.
Round midday, you possibly can even get solar beams taking pictures into the cave, which might be wonderful to see!
See the Sea Turtles
Whereas the pigs, sharks, grotto, and sand bar are all a part of the same old tour out of Staniel Cay, you possibly can go for one thing a little bit totally different heading within the different path. For those who’ve all the time needed to swim with sea turtles, you will get the prospect on Farmer’s Cay.
Like a lot of the animal points of interest within the Exumas, an area information takes their favourite meals — conch — out into the water to draw them.
I’m unsure how I really feel about feeding wildlife, however I additionally admire that that is what number of animal interactions around the globe are finished, from shark swimming, whether or not in a cage or the deep ocean, to attracting fish when snorkeling. The identical is true of feeding birds when out mountaineering, or, truthfully, placing out a chook feeder within the yard. Everybody has to determine for themselves how they really feel about it, however I not less than need you to enter the expertise with open eyes. Just like the nurse sharks, these guys appear habituated.
The Underwater Piano
About quarter-hour past the place you swim with the ocean turtles, there’s an underwater piano with a mermaid hanging out subsequent to it. That is additionally not a part of the everyday tour, however should you get a gaggle of associates collectively and get your personal personal boat, this can be a fairly cool one to cease by and is just about 15 or so ft down within the water.
This murals, referred to as the Musician, was commissioned by David Copperfield who owns an island close by. It was created by Jason DeCaires Taylor and supposed it to be a shock for the few personal friends of the island, in addition to day guests like me. Bonus – because it’s not on the same old tour, no one else was round.
Iguanas on the Seashore
In your means again to Staniel Cay, why not one other animal interplay? We did every thing talked about right here from the pigs onwards in at some point, and it felt so stuffed with fantastic animal experiences, I discovered myself appreciating how a lot selection and abundance there’s within the Exumas.
These iguanas principally survive off of berries and greens discovered on the island, and haven’t any pure predators. Just like the pigs, they’re cared for and taken care of by official employees, dwelling out most of their days fortunately on the sand.
The place to Keep:
I stayed at EMBRACE Resort whereas I used to be on Staniel Cay, and it’s nice for a lot of causes – it’s native, Bahamanian girl based, owned, and operated, the central location is nice, and it’s reasonably priced.
Whereas there are trip leases and some different choices on Staniel Cay, I cherished the vibe of EMBRACE. My bungalow was lovable, with my very own fridge, an enormous jetted tub, and an enormous mattress all for me. They might additionally convey by little treats now and again, and actually made me really feel welcomed and at residence.
There’s additionally a pool, simple golf cart rental and parking, and reductions on the excursions talked about above while you stick with them. In addition they provide COVID antigen testing onsite, which makes getting again residence simple!
They’ve a number of totally different room sorts, together with choices with a number of rooms and full kitchens. You’ll be able to try the choices right here.
The place to Eat:
There’s just one main restaurant on Staniel Cay – the Staniel Cay yacht membership. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Through the days, it may possibly get fairly busy with tour teams coming in to eat lunch, and for dinner you’ll need to e book forward of time for the multi course meals, which have been scrumptious.
That stated, Carole at Huge Canines restaurant makes incredible native meals. Every day there are a number of choices like hen, cornish hen, or my selection whereas I used to be there – oxtail. It comes with sides like rice, cole slaw, potato salad, and veggies. Ask at your lodging if they’ll name her to position an order. Orders should be positioned by 10:30am to eat at midday every day. That is true, home-cooked consuming and I LOVED it.
Staniel Cay is a couple of 30-minute flight from Nassau. I flew Flamingo Air on a little bit aircraft and loved the view.
You’ll nonetheless fly out of the worldwide airport, heading to the home aspect the place you’ll see Flamingo Air on the far left. Consider the schedule appears to be versatile, so strive to not go away check-in to the final minute. For assist reserving, you possibly can ask your lodging. EMBRACE dealt with my reserving for me and even referred to as me to let me know when my flight time moved up.
Staniel Cay was a little bit slice of paradise to me. I cherished the friendliness, the small-island vibe, the gorgeous seashores, and particularly the boat excursions. There’s actually a lot to see on the market, and should you love animals and tremendous clear water, you’ll love the Exumas.
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* This publish was created in collaboration with Staniel Cay Holidays. All ideas on the wonderful excursions and lodging are my very own.